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Success, Failure...some of my greatest failures have been a springboard to my greatest successes...the terms are truly fluid.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

McCone, not just a building on campus....



McCone, not just a word….

I am a lucky sort of person and outrageous coincidences happen to me almost daily.

I suppose it is best illustrated by laying out a side exploration I have had going on while at my school.

It has been common place for me to go into a large building that holds the Irvine auditorium. It is called the McCone Building. Inside there are two portraits of smiling white people from the mid part of the last century. They are clad in expensive looking clothes and exude wealth. His wife, Theiline's name, is prominently displayed over the front door along with John Alexander McCone's name.

The counselors to us students and many of the teacher's offices are housed in this building along  with my program regarding international policy.

I had the fortune of running into a man while buying some burgers at McDonald's during my orientation week....we talked for a few minutes and I learned so much about McCone that I have been collecting information ever since.

John Alexander McCone has his own Wikipedia page since he is such an interesting man. He was head of the CIA post Bay of Pigs and he correctly noted in a telegram to the Kennedy Administration that the assessment by the CIA was not to be trusted...he felt that  indeed the Russian government might be capable of trying to put nuclear weapons in Cuba. His assessment was pre-Cuban Missile Crisis and of course correct. This is now a famous telegram aptly named "The Honeymoon Telegram" since McCone sent it to President John F Kennedy on his honeymoon with Theiline in Paris.

This was all relevant to me since during the Cold War my own father was in the military having at one point been assigned to Fort Ord near here. His expertise was caring for a Nike missile in the  Bay Area....my mother was pregnant with me when the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolded.

In my Spanish class I was involved in a discussion which talked about Bechtel's  stranglehold on the Engineering department at UC Berkeley...and how it was infiltrating research in a negative way since Bechtel now could stop any projects that interfered with their financial interests. The story told by a class member vividly described the ruthless nature of Bechtel's infiltration which culminated in a very influential professor being exiled out of the country without pay. McCone had a big stake in Bechtel, at one point they had a joint venture, Bechtel McCone Parsons Corporation.

For an assignment in that same Spanish class, I was assigned a video this week that asked us to watch a segment discussing a Chilean uprising in 1973. McCone involved himself with the CIA in order to protect an American company, ITT's interests. ITT is a telecommunications company that was going to have its Chilean sector publicly taken over by the Chilean government, under the new democracy being born. The democracy in question was squished with McCone's ITT friends winding up on top with their monopoly in tact while the Chilean people would be heavily terrorized by a ruthless dictator's 17 year regime. Our Mr. McCone served on the board of ITT, and used his connections at the CIA to protect a corporation, ITT, vastly effecting US foreign policy to work against a democratically elected president in what had been a peaceful transition of power, creating a terribly violent and unjust period in Chilean history.
In the history books the Pinochet Coup is referred to as CIA supported and backed by the US.
McCone is portrayed in 2 movies, X-Men first Class and a docudrama, Thirteen Days, about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I am not surprised that there is a confusion for companies like Bechtel over what is appropriate use of public entities like UC Berkeley or McCone over CIA involvement in another country's democracy....it seems like it is a long running tradition in American politics...I also can see why other countries are not quick to leap at our help in internal affairs like Syria...we do have a tendency to allow our country's banks and corporations to first say in "country building" and therefore turn a profit.

http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/9/10/the_pinochet_file_how_us_politicians_banks_corporations_aided_chilean_coup_dictatorship?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dnp+(Democracy+Now+Podcast+Feed)

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_A._McCone
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bechtel

http://books.google.com/books?id=MGCxll53tFkC&pg=PA304&lpg=PA304&dq=mccone+chile&source=bl&ots=B4_kyMmQRY&sig=NWqapCaG6ziUSX9Op3eHDfuG1No&hl=en&sa=X&ei=JmU0UqCeFc_YigKV3oGQAw&ved=0CDoQ6AEwBQ

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/chile/8549199/Timeline-of-Augusto-Pinochets-dictatorship.html

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