An Introduction to the Secret History

George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
In an altogether more “wised-up” age, George Bernard Shaw sounded even gloomier.

“What we learn from history is that man can never learn anything from history.”

Yogi Berra put it best. “Its déjà vu all over again.”

We spent three years in Venice Florida tracing the outlines of a massive covert operation which brought hundreds of Arab men to Southwest Florida.

But nothing we wrote about it sums it up as succinctly as a matter-of-fact item in the "From the Archive” feature in the Sarasota Herald Tribune, reprinting a news story which ran in the paper 50 years ago,  an item from March 26,1947:

Two planes were seized by customs officials at the Venice airport, suspected of being involved in a plot to overthrow the governments of Cuba or possibly some countries in Central or South America.

The planes were seized by U.S. authorities, along with a cache of arms in New Orleans. A Honduras chicle grower announced that the equipment,  including tanks, planes and guns, had been designated for farm development in Honduras.

The planes were held in Venice under orders from federal court in Tampa until the case was resolved.

"La plus ca change…”

The news did nothing but re-emphasize how little we really know. How much we remain in the dark. How long have things been this way?

Was it ever thus?

What Actually Happened
Ever wonder why movies about amnesiacs seem to be so popular? The Borne Supremacy, Memento, 50 1st dates… just the latest in a long line of flicks about people who have forgotten who they are or where they are. Why do we find the recurring theme of amnesia so fascinating?

Maybe because we see ourselves in their plight.

We are all amnesiacs, in some ways.  We are sleepwalkers, drifting through a landscape filled with events which never get explained to us, or make much, if any, sense.

When it comes to the big events which have occurred in our lifetime, the sad truth is we have hardly a clue to pass on to our grandchildren about what was going on while we were alive.

Our major national events have been a cipher, a code, to which we haven’t been given the key. Who killed J.F.K.? What was Vietnam all about? Watergate. Iran Contra. CIA drug trafficking.

Why is it that, wherever you are on this wirelessly-wired world filled with 24/7 news on the quarter hour, you’re watching a newscast that somehow never quite gets to the news?

One day while having coffee with a man who used to work for something like the CIA, we heard him muse out loud, “You know, I don’t know when it was, exactly, when newspapers stopped reporting what happened every day.”

In the gap between what happens and what gets reported lies the secret history. Its the news they’re able to keep out of the papers. And while its secret, it's not hidden.

Its too big to hide… The secret history is more like a raging river, rushing right through town. And the 9.11 attack is just the most recent example…Take the news recently that said the government received even more warnings about hijacked aircraft than the dozens we already knew about.

ShowLetterHere’s the secret history: With all those threats of an aviation attack, is it even conceivable that NO ONE in the government checked to see if there were kamikaze pilots stashed in U.S. flight schools?

Of course not. Nobody is that dumb. Not even the FBI…

So, what, then? The secret history is the story of ‘what, then.”

Remember the old movie Koyaanisqatsi? It’s a Hopi expression meaning 'life out of balance.'

What an old Hopi expression has to do with America's secret history is that only knowledge of our secret history will ever restore that balance to our world.

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Daniel Hopsicker

Daniel Hopsicker is an investigative journalist and the author of two books on transnational crime, Welcome to Terrorland and Barry & the Boys.