John Stockwell: Lessons From 1987.

by Jerry Alatalo

“… for historians ought to be precise, faithful, and unprejudiced, and neither interest nor fear, hatred nor affection, should make them swerve away from the truth, whose mother is history, the rival of time, the depository of great actions, the witness of the past, example of the present, and monitor of the future.” Don Quixote Pt. 1, ch. 9

– MIGUEL DE CERVANTES SAAVEDRA (1547-1616) Spanish novelist, playwright, poet

aaa-44There was some hesitation about sharing the following talk from 1987 delivered by John Stockwell. That is because this writer sat in the front row during a talk by Mr. Stockwell at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan in that same time period. At the time, John Stockwell was the highest ranking CIA officer in history to “blow the whistle” on his former employers, had been the CIA’s station chief in Angola, and wrote the international nonfiction bestseller “In Search of Enemies” – of which the profits from sales were withheld from Mr. Stockwell.

It’s remarkable/worth noting that successful efforts to stop the Reagan administration from starting a major war in Central America with Nicaragua – what people at the time perceived as potentially  “another Vietnam” – became carried out before the rise of the global internet.

One of the foremost mysteries for those aware of John Stockwell was his decision to leave the public arena completely in the early 1990’s, and not re-emerging up to this day. He was born in 1937, as far as known is still alive,  and so is 78 years old. Leaving speculation about Mr. Stockwell’s personal choices aside, one must admit being fascinated with the possibility – if his mental/intellectual capacity has held – of John Stockwell’s agreeing to interviews and sharing his experiences over the past 20 or more years.

Alphabet The reason for hesitating to post his talk…  In the mid-1980’s this writer had only begun gaining an awareness of what was occurring around the world; geopolitics naivete accurately described the personal situation.  To more effectively spread his message, John Stockwell (he had no website) had compiled a list of dozens of books he believed important and brought copies to the many universities and other venues where he talked, and offered the book lists in handout form for free to men and women attending.

So, the reason for hesitation in sharing his 1987 talk is that I took his bibliography of books/authors and read a good number of those he suggested, and since reading them have at times wished attending Mr. Stockwell’s talk hadn’t occurred. In other words, the information presented in those books was very difficult to deal with, and – for those who aren’t familiar with the message Stockwell delivered across America in the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s – his talk will be equally difficult to deal with.

Sharing this information from 1987 was done in the hopes of reaching men and women who come this way unaware of the historical facts Stockwell presented. Ideally, the recipients will include university students majoring or minoring in – and college graduates/persons interested in – fields including political science, international relations, economics, history, philosophy and many others – or, in the broadest sense, people who wish to gain more of the total truth, past and related to the present, of what has occurred on Earth.

Some will have the thought that a talk given in 1987, 28 years ago, has no relevance to events occurring now in 2015. This is understandable, yet gaining a fuller understanding of past historical events helps the person trying to come up with explanations for current events. What was conveyed in the famous saying  by philosopher George Santayana –  “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” –  applies to the highly condensed, astonishing  measure of historical facts presented by John Stockwell in 1987 during this nearly 2-hour talk that includes a 35-minute question and answer period.

The writer wishes to express the sincerest apology for any emotional, psychological, spiritual or other distress produced in persons who listen to John Stockwell’s 1987 talk in Boulder, Colorado at what was called the “World Affairs Conference”.  Again, the information he presented across America during the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s was/is not for the faint of heart.

It is impossible to predict whether some young men or women attending university who listen to this powerful and disturbing 1987 talk will become effective leaders for world peace and nuclear abolition as a result.  The same goes for older men and women aware of John Stockwell because they heard him in person decades ago or in other ways.

While all too aware of the possible psychic harm and sadness which will occur for persons who pass this way and experience this post in its entirety, the overarching vision involves encouragement of utilizing increased knowledge of recent, not-so-recent, and important historical events in efforts to prevent war in 2015. That humble vision or dream can come true in various ways, the common, essential aspect being greater understanding of the realities that have comprised war and violence on Earth.

The greatest manifestation of that vision would be a man or woman who passes this way one day delivering their acceptance speech after becoming awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Obviously, the odds of that are near non-existent, and only mentioned for encouragement and inspiration.

The odds that person(s) passing this way may become effective voices for peace are much higher, and for that reason hesitation is not an option.

****

(Thank you to Americans For Change at YouTube)

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