Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Friday, December 11, 2020

Former CIA officer Phillip Agee - a true patriot & friend



I first came to know former CIA case officer Phillip Agee in the spring of 1991 when I organized a speaking event for him at a church in Orlando, Florida while I was coordinating the Florida Coalition for Peace & Justice.  (I even found the link to the article advertising that event in the Orlando Sentinel - see it here.) Agee's talk was attended by a couple hundred people who came from across the state to hear his controversial reporting on the illegal and immoral deeds of the CIA.

Agee joined the CIA in 1957, and over the following decade had postings in Washington DC, Ecuador, Uruguay and Mexico. After resigning from the Agency in 1968, he became a leading opponent of CIA practices. Long before the Internet and WikiLeaks, Agee used mainstream and alternative media to disclose Washington's corrupt dealings with Latin American and Caribbean military dictatorships. 

His first book 'Inside the Company' identified 250 CIA officers and agents. While written as a diary, it is actually a reconstruction of events based on Agee’s memory and his subsequent research. 

Inside the Company was published in 1975 in Britain, while Agee was living in London. In an issue of Playboy magazine after the book's publication, he said, "Millions of people all over the world had been killed or at least had their lives destroyed by the CIA ... I couldn't just sit by and do nothing."

Agee stated that President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica, President Luis Echeverría Álvarez (1970–1976) of Mexico and President Alfonso López Michelsen (1974–1978) of Colombia were CIA collaborators or agents. 

Agee was a co-founder of CovertAction Magazine which began publishing in 1978 as a newsletter, then called Covert Action Information Bulletin and later as CovertAction Quarterly. The magazine developed a following not as a conspiracy-theory-related publication, but as a source for reliable, consistent, and accurate investigative reporting.

I can't recall how I first came in contact with Agee but because he was from Tampa, Florida somehow I was able to invite him to speak in 1991.  After that event he told me he had a sister who lived very close to my office in Orlando and suggested I try to get her involved in my work.  So she became a regular volunteer in my office and once organized a classical music fundraiser for the Florida Coalition at her home along with a couple other excellent musicians.


Agee, as he vividly described in his remarkable book On the Run, was chased out of country after country following Washington's revocation of his US passport.  He eventually got passports from governments of Nicaragua and the Caribbean island of Grenada and in 1990 won one from Germany after a harrowing journey to get into that nation.

In 1995 I was going on a speaking tour of Germany to promote our opposition to the planned 1997 launch of NASA's Cassini space probe that was to carry 72 pounds of deadly plutonium-238 on-board.  Agee's sister suggested I make a tour stop in Hamburg where Phil was then living and she contacted him to make arrangements.   

I arrived in Hamburg and was welcomed by a friendly and kind Phil who quickly put me to work helping him and his wife fix up an apartment they appeared to be renting out.  Over the course of my two-day stay with him he took me for a walking tour of Hamburg and to an Italian restaurant for a meal that I'll never forget - one of the best spaghetti sauces I've ever had. When I left Hamburg he gave me a signed copy of On the Run.

For someone who was so infamous, and who had so many incredible experiences while running afoul of corporate-dominated governments around the world, I found Phil to be as genuine and humble as anyone I'd ever met.  I surely learned much during my visit with him.

I am now re-reading On the Run which is full of important lessons for anyone who presumes to understand and wishes to organize against our out-of-control capitalist government. It's written much like a mystery and the stories of his escape from one country to the next are certainly a late-night page turner.

In his later years Phil moved to Cuba where he created a travel company in order to help bring people to pick the  'forbidden fruit'.  He died in Cuba in 2008.

I'll always cherish the memory of Phillip Agee - I wish more people knew of him - his was the life of a real patriot who risked everything for truth, freedom and true democracy for all people.




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