Ambition IS THIS!
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Author:  nathaniel heidenheimer [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Ambition IS THIS!

Here is a review I just wrote of a book that came out in 1996. I just finished it, and I fell that it is a CRIMINALLY NEGLECTED MASTERPIECE THAT IS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE TO US ALL. (sorry, but its corny n' true)

The Book is alled THY WILL BE DONE: NELSON ROCKEFELLER, EVANGELISM, AND THE CONQUEST OF THE AMAZON IN THE AGE OF OIL. It is by Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennet. The title is somewhat misleading, although any one would be, so multi-faceted is this one!

Let me be at least the second reviewer to say this is among the very best books I have ever read.

It makes the exotic seem at the center of change and hundreds of aspects of domestic politics gleam with light from angles never imagined. Even its wide ranging title fails to capture the all encompasing and yet never laborious nature of its contagious curiosities.

And these curiosites are not peripheral or for amusement. One is dead certain that one is reading about the turn in the American Century. The 1960's was a time when the US was making a decision that few knew about; should we remain country that produces goods for the rest of the world working more multilatterally (at least compared to today) or should we become more unilatteral and focus our economy more on direct investment in Latin America, oil and weapons. This book shows the connections between domestic politics and US intervention in Latin America in startling new ways.

As another reviewer mentioned this is in many ways a book about the Kennedys as well. It shows a clear difference between their policies and those of Johnson, Rockefeller, Nixon and those that followed. This difference is not based on naive assumptions of liberal authors. These authors know their history, and do not spare any of the grim realities that have defined US relationships with Latin America. They call imperialism what it is. Yet those who subscribe to the view that Kennedy was "just another Cold Warrior "-- as is virtually a pre-requisite to be published with any degree of publicity right now-- would do well to read this book.

A must for students of Latin American History, US capitalism, US imperialism, the Vietnam war, US evangelism, the US oil industry, Nelson Rockefeller, the US cold war, and the transformation of the US economy and the roots of NAFTA. All in all a stunningly ambitious read, and one really gets a sense that the country NEEDS this book. One can certainly see many powerfull interests that would rather see it burried! It comes as no surprise that the DuPont family tried mightily to block the publication of Colby's first book. It seems reviewers have done the next best thing with this one: it is a crime how little this diamond it known. it is because of the bloodyness of the rough and US responsibility.

Oh did I mention the CIA? This is a book about the CIA. It is particularly dangerous because its description of the CIA is inseperable from the movement of American Capitalism itself. Hence it would be tougher to marginalize. One more reason for powerful interest to bury it.

Author:  Catherine [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 9:56 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks, nathanial...I'll have to keep my eye out for this book. I wonder if my library has it or could get it via interlibrary loan. I'll ask!

Refresh my memory...wasn't it Nelson Rockefeller's son Michael who disappeared on some kind of expedition into the Amazon? :?

Author:  Purple Tang [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:02 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Boyce, this stuff is fascinating. I found this Amazon review to be among the most helpful:

The Political and Economic History of the US from 1930-1980: Those who Control and Shape the Movement, August 10, 2006
By Mark Fegley (Philadelphia Area) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon : Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil (Paperback)
This book is simply superb in the information it presents. This book receives my higest level of recommenation. Colby spent 19 years researching the material for this book. The story is largely told through quotes, letters, and words of the Rockefellers, Presidents, Politicians, and big business leaders.

The book covers many topics. There are two main story lines. The first is the invasion of foreign lands and people using religion as the means to pacify the indigenous people, with the central focus on SIL and Cam Townsend. I found this part of the book interesting but not as interesting as the other topics in the book.

The other story line emphasized politics, economics, and influences from the Rockefellers; focuses on Nelson and his manipulation of presidents and use of government authority for his (and his family's) own interest. The most interesting topics were Nelson's manipulation of FDR and establishing a branch of government to push the Rockefeller Latin American interest, Nelson's authority and power over the CIA. Nelson's manipulation and pushing of the Cold War and an "American War Economy," The Rockefeller Kennedy struggle, Business interest in the Vietnam War, LBJ and Nelson Rockefellers personal friendship, and the crafting of the "Dollar Zone" by David and Nelson that models modern day NAFTA and CAFTA.

The book also has very interesting insight on the Kennedy assignation without ever mentioning conspiracy. The book highlights hatred of Kennedy from both David and Nelson Rockefeller, briefly mentions the Kennedy and the Steel Crisis, highlights the Kennedy movement from private to government loans to government to government loans something which David Rockefeller deeply resented Kennedy for. The book also goes into detail about the wrongdoings of the CIA and the Bay of Pigs and later describes the CIA investigation in the 1970s, which was headed by and manipulated by Nelson Rockefeller.

Another Review pointed out Battling Wallstreet by Donald Gibson. This is an excellent book which can be read in conjunction with the JFK material in Thy Will Be Done. Dr. Gibson's book focuses on the economic politics of JFK and the opposition JFK faced from the Rockefellers and big business. Highlights the Steel crisis in great detail and goes more into the objectives and motives certain business interest. Again never mentions any conspiracy.

Thy Will Be Done is an essential must read book if you want to understand what is wrong with politics. It is packed with loads of information, I suggest reading it slowly and taking time to think about the material. The behind the scenes looks of politics and economics is guaranteed to greatly interest anyone interested in economics, political science, or history. Like one reviewer said this is a book to own not just to read. I have gone back cited and re-read many sections.

Too bad the book is not available for less money. I am in somewhat poor financial straits these days. However, I will figure out a way to get it.

Author:  Purple Tang [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:31 pm ]
Post subject: 

This is so important that I copied this entire review for your reading pleasure:

NELSON ROCKEFELLER and Evangelism in the Age of Oil

"Thy Will Be Done", The Conquest of the Amazon:

by Gerard Colby with Charlotte Dennett
Harper Collins, 1995. 960 pages

reviewed by Carmelo Ruiz

Carmelo Ruiz is a Puerto Rican journalist and research associate at the institute for Social Ecology, email ise@ at Goddard College, Vermont. Connect: ernail: carrneloruiz@hotmailcom

In 1976, reporters Gerard Colby and Charlotte Dennett traveled to Brazil as part of a journalistic team to write stories about the work of Christian missionaries in the Amazon basin. High on Colby and Dennett's list of priorities was to learn about a mysterious missionary organization called the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). This outfit, also known as the Wycliffe Bible Translators, had gotten kudos from both conservatives and liberals for translating the Bible into hundreds of indigenous languages in Central and South America and helping native peoples cope with the intrusion of Western civilization into their lives.

However, Colby and Dennett had heard of a darker side to SIL. Numerous critics had alleged that SIL was the vanguard of the destruction of both the rainforests and their native inhabitants. They had heard from Latin American acquaintances that SIL was, in military fashion, a scouting party that surveyed the Amazonian hinterlands for potential sources of opposition to natural resource exploitation (read cattle ranching, clearcutting and strip mining) among native peoples and that it employed a virulent brand of Christian fundamentalism that relied on linguistics to undermine the social cohesion of aboriginal communities and accelerate their assimilation into Western culture. In addition to all this, numerous articles in the Latin American press accused 511. of being funded by the American intelligence community.

That last charge sounded particularly believable, since the authors' trip took place in the wake of recent revelations by the Church Committee of the US Senate, which investigated the activities of US intelligence agencies. It bears mentioning that Colby was by then no stranger to corporate and political intrigue. In 19 74, writing as Gerard Colby Zilg, he published Dupont: Behind the Nylon Curtain, a 600+ page tome that narrated the Dupont family's corrupt history, from its profiteering on gunpowder sales to its manufacture of ozone-depleting gases. However, don't expect to see it in bookstores. When a Dupont PR representative said the book was scurrilous and actionable, publisher Prentice Hall was intimidated into letting Dupont go out of print. (In 1984, an expanded and updated 900 page-long edition of the book was published, which included, among other things, the Dupont's little-known connection to the Nicaraguan contras. Unfortunately, it met the same fate as the previous edition.)

Dennett was also a veteran journalist, having recently been stationed in Beirut, where she covered the civil war then raging in Lebanon. The authors found SIL a veritable empire whose missionary activities spanned every country in the Amazon basin, with a network of bases that look more like picket-fenced American suburbia than the frontier outposts for the global economy that they actually are. SIL even has its own air force and communications system, the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS), which permits it to act virtually independently from the governments of the countries where it operates. After years of research, Colby and Dennett found a number of irrefutable links between SIL and US counterinsurgency operations. Among these, SIL agressively denied that the native peoples of Brazil and Guatemala were being slaughtered by the military regimes of their countries; it allowed its base in the Ecuadoran Amazon to be used by Green Berets who were combing the Western Amazon for signs of armed insurgency; and it assisted the Peruvian air force, which had napalmed the Mayoruna and Campa Indians.

If Colby and Dennett had limited themselves to just exposing SIL, Thy Will be Done would still have been a formidable journalistic achievement. But the authors went on to research the American institutions, private and governmental, that provided support for SIL's mission. These included Standard Oil of New Jersey; the Pew family, creators of the Sun Oil Company (Sunoco) and the Pew Charitable Trusts, the US Agency for International Development, and the US military through its donations of surplus military equipment. Although they could find no smoking gun directly linking the CIA to SIL, they did find several circumstantial and indirect links, such as financial support from a foundation that was later exposed as a CIA front and the fact that JAARS's top pilot, Lawrence Montgomery, was on the Agency's payroll.

In the course of their investigation, the authors learned that SIL had a big debt to institutions and individuals associated with the Rockefeller family. SIL founder William Cameron (Cam) Townsend was inspired by the antihookworm and antimalaria campaigns of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller Sanitary Commission, and his linguistics methods owed much to the work of linguist Edward Sapir of the University of Chicago, an institution that was also supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. Another influence on Townsend was Mexican anthropologist Manuel Gameo, whose interdisciplinary studies on native peoples were sponsored by the University of Chicago, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fund and the Social Science Research Council.

The last two were run by Beardsley Ruml, a member of the inner circle of the Rockefeller family. One thinker who had a great influence on Townsend's approach to native cultures was John Mott, one of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s most trusted envoys. Mott was a millenarian who hoped to evangelize the world in his generation, but rather than embracing fundamentalism, he rejected it in favor of a broad-minded science-based approach. In a report he co-authored in 1932 called Rethinking Missions, Mott called for more cultural tolerance and social concern on the part of missionaries working abroad and less reliance on vociferous evangelical proselytizing. Such an approach, he argued, would win more converts in the long run and neutralize the nationalistic and communist revolts then brewing in what years later would come to be called the Third World.

Colby and Dennett found the Rockefeller connection particularly intriguing, and went on to investigate the Rockefeller family's financial interests in the commercial and industrial development of the Brazilian Amazon. In 1941, Nelson Rockefeller was named by president Roosevelt to the post of coordinator of the Office of Interamerican Affairs (CIAA), which ran intelligence and propaganda operations against the Nazis in Latin America. In one of its many flagrant violations of the separation between church and state, SIL assisted the CIAA in its Intensive Language Program for American and Latin American military officers and gathered intelligence on native peoples. As coordinator of the CIAA, Nelson acquired invaluable information about Latin America's untapped natural resources, especially mineral reserves, information that ended up in his files and which he used after the war, when he formed the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC). This company became a key component in the post-World War Two opening of the Amazon rainforest to commercial exploitation, a process that eventually led to military dictatorships, genocide of native peoples, loss of biological diversity and unprecedented misery for the majority of Brazilians.

The Rockefeller-led effort to conquer the Amazon and exploit its natural riches had been made possible in no small measure by SIL's missionary activities. Colby and Dennett found a historic parallel in John D. Rockefeller, Sr.'s support for Christian missionaries in the American west, who were compiling extremely useful information on Native American communities, which were potential sources of opposition to the entrance of Standard Oil into their lands.' As a bonus, the evangelization process weakened the American Indians' social structure and so undermined their resolve to fight for their rights. The authors quote Baptist reverend Frederick Gates, who for many years was John D. Sr.'s right-hand man, as saying that "We are only in the very dawn of commerce, and we owe that dawn to the channels opened up by Christian missionaries.... The effect of the missionary enterprise of the English speaking peoples will be to bring them the peaceful conquest of the world."

On the other hand, it is also true that SIL's mission was greatly helped by the Rockefellers and the industrial development process that they were such an important part of. SIL's missionaries believe that when the last tribe in the jungles is evangelized, the Second Coming of the Lord will take place; so for them the race to develop the Amazon basin's natural resources is only a means to an end. In practice, this symbiotic relationship between commercial exploitation and Christian fundamentalism was a match made in hell that spelled doom for native peoples and the rainforests they inhabited.

The authors follow Nelson Rockefeller's consuming interest in Latin America: his days in Venezuela working for Standard Oil subsidiary Creole Petroleum, where he developed his concepts of corporate social responsibility; his tenure as coordinator of the CIAA; his brief stint as Assistant Secretary of State, in which he was a key behind-the-scenes player in the international negotiations that led to the founding of the United Nations and the Organization of American States; his formation of IBEC, his service to the Eisenhower administration as special assistant for cold war strategy, a position in which he was briefed on top secret CIA operations, including coup d'etats and the infamous MKULTRA mind control experiments, his membership in president Nixon's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board at a time when the CIA was destabilizing Salvador Allende's democratic socialist government in Chile, and much more.

Of special interest to Colby and Dennett were a series of by-invitation-only seminars hosted by Nelson under the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) in Quantico naval base during the Eisenhower administration. The Quantico seminars, known officially as the RBF Special Studies Project, advocated increased military spending and a more confrontational policy towards the Soviet Union. The participants included men who would later become instrumental in developing the Kennedy administration's counterinsurgency doctrine, such as Eugene Rostow, Edward Lansdale, Paul Nitze, Adolf Berle, McGeorge Bundy, Walt Rostow, Henry Kissinger and Dean Rusk (who was then president of the Rockefeller Foundation and would become Kennedy's Secretary of State).

The book only skims through Nelson's deeds as governor of New York, although it does mention his ignominious performance during the Attica prison uprising. Colby and Dennett focus instead on his presidential ambitions, which came to a climax with his botched attempt to beat Barry Goldwater to the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, and his international activities, such as his disastrous 1969 tour of the Americas. Nelson's crowning political achievement was getting appointed to the vice presidency of the United States in 1974. Unelected Vice President Rockefeller was then called on by unelected President Ford to chair a commission to investigate CIA abuses. As the authors point out, no one could have been less qualified for that last job.

Those who may feel tempted to dismiss Thy Will be Done's conclusions as conspiracy theory will have a hell of a time trying to refute the book's arguments and conclusions. The 830 pages of text, 92 pages of footnotes and bibliography and dozens of charts, graphs, photographs and maps eloquently document and support every single charge made by the authors. It is precisely in order to placate the skeptics that Colby and Dennett adopted this mindbogglingly exhaustive approach. In spite of this, the book is amazingly readable and does not come across as stuffy and academic.

Those who read books on American foreign policy in search of titillating revelations of sensational CIA covert operations while neglecting to study the social, political and historical context in which they are embedded will find this book a difficult, even annoying, read. Conspiracy buffs may have an encyclopedic knowledge of CIA intrigues and scandals, but they're not interested at all in doing the hard intellectual work of learning about the nature of the system of corporate profit and exploitation which intelligence agencies were created to serve. They will undoubtedly be frustrated by the book's scholarly dose of anthropology, linguistics and history, and will probably skim through the pages in search of startling revelations of covert intrigue and secret wars. The authors' implicit message to the self-proclaimed conspiracy researchers is clear: that all the muckraking investigative journalism in the world will not bring about social change if it is not accompanied by a critical analysis of the economic, political and historical context of the times we're living.

Upon a superficial examination, one would tend to think that the book will appeal to the Bible-thumping, right-wing populists of the John Birch fringe who despise the Rockefellers. This band of the American political spectrum, which has been known to publicize bizarre allegations of a Rockefeller--orchestrated plot to create a socialist world government, will be baffled and perplexed by one of Thy Will be Done's chief conclusions: that they've been had. According to Colby and Dennett, far from being a threat to the Machiavellian power of the Rockefellers, the Christian fundamentalists were extremely useful in furthering the global designs of the heirs of the Standard Oil fortune.

On the other hand, left-leaning liberals will find the book's conclusions even harder to swallow, since the Rockefeller philanthropies (which include the Rockefeller Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Rockefeller Family Fund) are among the main funding sources of liberal political activism in the US, including civil liberties, feminism and the environmental movement. Beneficiaries of Rockefeller charitable giving in recent years have included groups like Essential Information, the ACLU, the Ms. Foundation, the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Environmental Action, the Student Environmental Action Coalition, the Center for Responsive Politics, the NAACP who are much more likely to say, "Wait, you're being a little unbalanced. Sure, they've done terrible things in the past, but they're funding some really terrific stuff nowadays." As much as one may try to rationalize the embarassing predicament of taking money from the ultra-rich to finance social change, the question remains: What are the prospects for an American progressive agenda when it is heavily dependent on funding from a philanthropic system that owes its forhine to commercial activities that destroy ecosystems worldwide, erode biological diversity and create a holocaust for indigenous peoples? Colby and Dennett do not pose that question to readers, but it will certainly hover ominously over the mind of any American reader whose political beliefs are at least five degrees to the left of National Public Radio or The New Republic.

Thy Will be Done is a very challenging and deeply disturbing book. Although much lip service has been paid to the concept of holistic thinking, Colby and Dennett do actually put together the pieces of the macabre puzzle of the destruction of the Amazon rain-forest and the genocide of its indigenous dwellers and reach conclusions that are unsettling for conservatives and liberals alike. All or most environmentalists agree that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest can't be seen as separate from a host of social, political and economic factors in South America as well as in industrialized countries like the US, but it takes nothing less than a book like Thy Will be Done to show what this actually means.
Louis Proyect (

Author:  Purple Tang [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:38 pm ]
Post subject: 

Catherine wrote:
Thanks, nathanial...I'll have to keep my eye out for this book. I wonder if my library has it or could get it via interlibrary loan. I'll ask!

Refresh my memory...wasn't it Nelson Rockefeller's son Michael who disappeared on some kind of expedition into the Amazon? :?

Good was New Guinea ... ockefeller

Author:  nathaniel heidenheimer [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:39 pm ]
Post subject: 

Catherine wrote:
Thanks, nathanial...I'll have to keep my eye out for this book. I wonder if my library has it or could get it via interlibrary loan. I'll ask!

Refresh my memory...wasn't it Nelson Rockefeller's son Michael who disappeared on some kind of expedition into the Amazon? :?

Catherine you are correct it was Nelsons son who died. It was in one of the islands of New Guiny spelling wrong. I almos t forgot to mention Nelson. This book really makes you wonder about the meaning of the world liberal.

given that Rocky was called a liberal but was so right in Latin american policy and much else. ALso ABSOLUTELY FACSINATING stuff on the early connections between oil companies and evenagelical churches first in the US west and the then moving south in the 1930s. One of the main topics of the book is a group called Wycliffe Bible Translators. Even though the Rockefellers were thought of as liberal church types, they were the ones who funded the is evangelical group and this groups peregrinations might be seen as a cathode of the spinal column of the american century. (whahappa?)

THis book is worth owning. If you can afford about 30 its a keeper. It is filled with so so so many names that you have read before and in 30 0ther books but have never heard THAT about them.

J. C. King is one of the CIA old boys whose importance in the assassination seems to grow every thursday. This is THE book on J.C. King!

If you dont buy my guess is its going to have to be interlibrary.I had to go to the research library -- the one with the lions where you cant check stuff out-- to find it here in nyc. I read fifteen pages, fell out of my chair and got on Amazon!

Author:  nathaniel heidenheimer [ Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Purple, yes that review is probably more usefull than mine, but together we have barely even scratched the surface. For example the book goes int o great detail about the CIA s MKULTRA program and Neslsons VERY DIRECT INVOLVEMENT. FOR THE FIRST TIME I saw what Fletcher Prouty was talking about in terms of a skein of CIA contacts that permeated the various federal buraucracies like wainscoating.

Sorry, I ve been wanting to use the word wainscoating it since I first read it in Jayne Eyre during the first Reagan Adiministration!

Author:  Purple Tang [ Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

Ah yes.....wainscoating. One of those absolute must use words, I have no idea why I have failed to use it with regularity.

As for book purchases, I recently got off the phone with my mom. I somehow bought a couple books and had them delivered to her address for some reason that I forget. She was about unglued...claiming that I buy and read too many 'radical' books. That I say too many 'radical' things and implying that I may get everyone in very serious trouble.

The majority of our citizens are extremely cowardly these days. Thus playing directly into the hands of the 'dark side'. You know who the 'dark side' is.

Dangerous times for seekers and speakers of truth.

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