Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Abbreviations

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pp. ix-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-11

On September 5, 1985, retired U.S. Army general John K. Singlaub, a thirtyyear veteran of special operations, took the stage at an upscale hotel in Dallas, Texas. In the glow of crystal chandeliers and television camera lights, Singlaub straightened his back and surveyed the crowd.1 Seated behind him were the leaders of anticommunist paramilitary groups from Afghanistan, Angola, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Nicaragua, surrounded by the flags of two dozen nations that had fallen under communist rule in the previous forty years. The auditorium was filled with business owners, wealthy socialites, former...

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1. The Flames of Anticommunist Revolution

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pp. 12-27

In March of 1957, conservative organizer Marvin Liebman embarked on a two-week mission to forge bonds with anticommunist groups in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. His ultimate purpose, he later recalled, was to initiate a “worldwide anticommunist revolution by establishing an organization to coordinate and mobilize international activity that would combat the Moscow-based International.” It was to be a kind of “anti-Comintern” with Liebman pulling the strings.1 The Asian Peoples’ Anti-Communist League (APACL) sponsored his trip, paying for his airfare,...

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2. Crossroads of Conservatism

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pp. 28-54

If the late 1950s were years of hope for anticommunist internationalists, then the early 1960s were years of panic and desperation. Three unfolding struggles drove those fears. The first was the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and the inability of the U.S. government, Cuban exiles, and their allies in the Caribbean basin to unseat Fidel Castro’s regime. The second was the mounting armed conflict in Southeast Asia, above all the war in Vietnam. And the third was the decolonization crisis in the Congo and its reverberations across southern Africa. Each of these events, in its own way, signaled to anticommunist internationalists that...

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3. Revolution and Counterrevolution

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pp. 55-85

In September 1967, as the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam approached 500,000, a small band of Americans arrived at a mountainside palace just outside of Taipei, Taiwan.1 Led by organizer Marvin Liebman, former U.S. Congressman Walter Judd, and Catholic Reverend Daniel Lyons, they had traveled to Taiwan for the first meeting of the World Anti-Communist League (WACL). Meeting hundreds of activists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, they spent a week electing officers and hammering out a constitution.2 The Americans and the other delegates hoped the new group would expand...

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4. Covert Warriors for Hire

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pp. 86-117

In the summer of 1978, retired U.S. Army General John K. Singlaub, a thirtyyear veteran of special operations, joined the American Security Council as a paid lecturer.1 As he traveled the country, he spoke to conservative groups about the need for a renewed anticommunist offensive, both at home and abroad. He told audiences that liberals in Congress had gutted the United States’ clandestine forces by organizing new intelligence oversight committees and passing new laws forbidding U.S. covert operations. He also talked of how President Jimmy Carter had purged the highest ranks of the CIA and the military,...

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5. Private Wars in Central America

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pp. 118-154

In May 1985, John Singlaub placed a call to his old friend Robert K. Brown, the brash editor of Soldier of Fortune magazine. He needed someone to assemble a team of veterans to train the beleaguered Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua. Their backs were against the wall, Singlaub told Brown. “Congress has cut off aid to them. They need you to take over where the CIA left off.” Brown set about recruiting a unit of unconventional warfare specialists. He’d known most of them for years. Some were veterans of Rhodesia’s bush war. Others had been working in Central America as private consultants for state security forces in...

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6. Rebels for the Cause

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pp. 155-196

In June 1985, the leaders of armed anticommunist movements from Nicaragua, Afghanistan, and Laos gathered at the remote stronghold of the paramilitary group known as UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) in Jamba, Angola. Organized by a group of American activists, the meeting was, in a certain sense, a right-wing version of the Tri-Continental Conference of 1966, at which leftist revolutionaries from a dozen countries had gathered in Havana to proclaim their solidarity with one another.1 In Jamba, anticommunist guerrilla leaders discussed how they could join forces to reverse...

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Conclusion. The Twilight of the Anticommunist International

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pp. 197-218

On the morning of October 6, 1986, a C-123 aircraft departed from a secret CIA base in El Salvador loaded with ten tons of ammunition and gear. Behind the controls were two CIA men and a seventeen-year-old Nicaraguan radio operator. In the back of the plane, Eugene Hasenfus, an ex-Marine from Wisconsin who had served in Vietnam, prepared to kick the supplies out of the cargo bay.1 Hasenfus had traveled down to Nicaragua after being laid off from his job as a steelworker, hoping to find some of the adventure he had missed since returning from Vietnam.2 He was the only one wearing a parachute, which he...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 219-224

A vibrant and supportive community of scholars, colleagues, friends, and family helped me bring this story to the page. My deepest gratitude goes to Michael Sherry of Northwestern University, who shepherded this book from its earliest stages. His patience, generosity, and ceaseless support guided me at every turn. And his confidence that this story was important and that it needed telling always kept my spirits high during the tough moments of academic life. Beyond that, he is a peerless scholar. His work continues to illuminate and inspire.

Others at Northwestern provided invaluable advice and apt critiques. Daniel...

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Note on Sources

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pp. 225-228

This story delves into a shadowy world of people who tried to shield their activities from outside view. Unsurprisingly, they left behind a partial, scattered, and sometimes deceptive paper trail which presents a serious challenge for researchers. To navigate that obstacle, I have pulled widely from U.S. and international sources, including governmental records and documents, private correspondence, congressional hearings and reports, direct-mail broadsides, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, radio and television programs, films, and reports from international human-rights organizations....

Notes

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pp. 229-316

Bibliography

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pp. 317-338

Index

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pp. 339-351