Mulholland's CIA Manual

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Magic Newswire
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Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 7th, 2009, 10:41 pm

Thought lost since the 1970's, the manuals that John Mulholland was hired to write for the CIA have resurfaced and been published by Harper Collins.

On this weekend in which we are thinking magic history, I thought I'd post my interview with Bob Wallace, one of the book's authors.

In addition, watch for a follow-up interview with Ben Robinson, the author of MagiCIAn : The Secret Life of John Mulholland.

LISTEN HERE

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 8th, 2009, 3:24 am

Sorry to disagree, but I published most of the manual in Genii years ago. It was never thought to be lost.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Marco Pusterla » November 8th, 2009, 4:20 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Sorry to disagree, but I published most of the manual in Genii years ago. It was never thought to be lost.


August 2003 ;)
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 8th, 2009, 8:03 am

Interesting. Even Wikipedia says that all documents for MKULTRA were ordered destroyed... hence they were thought "Lost" until they resurfaced. I knew of the Genii Article on Mulholland in 2001 and Robinson's book in 2008. Never heard of this one.

I thought of you when we were chatting because we discussed the fact that they had all of the illustrations redone because they were so poor in the copy of the original which was available.

I'll be interested to hear how they stand up to comparison from someone who has both.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 8th, 2009, 12:50 pm

There were copies of Mullholland's drafts in private hands, and an unredacted copy was also floating around. Nobody would even know anything about this if it wasn't for Michael Edwards' article in Genii and his request through the Freedom of Information Act for the manual.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 8th, 2009, 1:03 pm

That was a fantastic issue! The spy museum recently held an event which centered around the release of this new version of the manual in which John Mclaughlin (the "Merlin" of the CIA) opened with some magic and Ben Robinson lectured on Mulholland's involvement with the CIA based on his Bio "MagiCIAn : The Secret Life of John Mulholland."

Bob Webster, one of the books co-authors and the gentleman with whom I spoke, is a 30 year CIA veteran and was the Director of the CIS's Department of Technical Services. These are the guys that make the gadgets for the operatives.

Wish that I had been aware of your publication before we spoke.

Lance & Jeff McBride offered the following endorsements of this edition:

Lance : "A legendary lost piece of magic history. It's James Bond meets Harry Houdini!"

McBride: "Entrancing! I was amazed to see how the magician's trade can be twisted to aid in the dark arts of espionage."

Are copies of your edition still available Richard?

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Michael Edwards » November 8th, 2009, 9:49 pm

I find the claim that Keith Melton & Robert Wallace "discovered" the manual in 2007 a bit bizarre. As has been noted, years of research and a number of Freedom of Information Act requests yielded a heavily redacted version of Mulholland's work a decade ago...and it -- along with scores of other documents I was able to obtain from the CIA and other government, security, and law enforecement agencies -- formed the foundation of "The Sphinx and the Spy: The Clandestine World of John Mulholland" which Richard published in the April 2001 Genii. At that time, the CIA was claiming it could not find a full-text version. However, I had reason to believe such an unexpurgated version did indeed exist within the Agency and continued to pursue the matter. That pursuit finally yielded results in 2003 when the Agency "found" such a copy, reviewed its classification and redacting at my request, and in August 2003 released the full, unedited, illustrated version to me.

But the CIA's copy was not the only one. A copy of Mulholland's original typed manuscript was among the Milbourne Christopher Collection items Geno Munari purchased at auction. Richard published that complete text in the August 2003 Genii.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Michael Edwards » November 8th, 2009, 9:59 pm

Magic Newswire wrote:I thought of you when we were chatting because we discussed the fact that they had all of the illustrations redone because they were so poor in the copy of the original which was available. I'll be interested to hear how they stand up to comparison from someone who has both.


The CIA provided me the "best quality" copy it could and indeed the illustrations were very poor. But the original drawings were done by Mulholland himself; another artist (Phil Franke) has redone them in the Melton/Wallace publication and they have a very different feel. While they are certainly clearer, they also lose some of unique character Mulholland provided. Mulholland was his own model...which means that some of the illustrations he drew look remarkably like self-portraits (see the April 2001 Genii) and thus were a subtle yet wonderful link between John Mulholland and this piece of history which, by CIA instructions, were not to bear his -- or anyone else's -- name.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 8th, 2009, 11:21 pm

One other note...

Since I first posted this, I have been told that this is indeed the first complete publication of BOTH manuals that Mulholland produced for the CIA. Earlier publications are said to have contained approx 85% of the material of the first manual and none of the second. What was previously available was obtained as a part of the Melbourne Christopher auction which by Gino Munari. This was told to me by Ben Robinson who curated the MC auction. You'll hear a bit more on this in my chat with him later this week.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 8th, 2009, 11:24 pm

BTW.. I just realized my error with the original link. You will find the story on the front page of MagicNewswire.com, but the actual link should be http://www.bit.ly/MagicCIA

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Michael Edwards » November 8th, 2009, 11:53 pm

The CIA provided me with both full documents in 2003. There seemed no reason to publish the complete "Some Operational Applications of the Art of Deception" once Richard had published the vast majority of the text from the Christopher collection version. The "Recognition Signals" paper really isn't a manual; it's a short discussion of some means by which strangers can recognize one another without the method being apparent to other observers.

The basic point is that this simply is not new material. It is true that the MK-ULTRA material was ordered destroyed by Richard Helms; but it should also be noted that this was not carried out and that cartons of this material have been public since 1977. That Mr. Wallace couldn't find anything about the Manual inside the Agency in 2001 (as he notes in your interview) is remarkable, inasmuch as the CIA had already provided me scores of documents relating to Mulholland's work for the Agency including an edited version of the booklet. That a high ranking CIA official couldn't get the same information that I could seems highly improbable. And keep in mind that by April of that year, the story of the Manual as well as excerpts had already appeared in Genii. The fact that he was able to find a declassified version in the Archives in 2003 is directly attributable to the review the CIA undertook in response to my formal FOIA appeal and request for re-review of its classification. And by that time, Genii was publishing most of the unexpurgated text.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 9th, 2009, 11:16 am

Keep in mind that Richard's book was not distributed outside of the magic community and these authors are not magicians. Hence, I'd not be surprised that they didn't become aware of the manual until later.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 9th, 2009, 11:28 am

That's irrelevant: it's a sign of poor research.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby James Munton » November 11th, 2009, 12:32 pm

Talking of the Spy Museum, I will be performing my family spy show at the museum on January 30. Here is the info:

Image
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby James Munton » November 11th, 2009, 1:54 pm

Oh, and attendees of the Kapital Kidvention get a discount.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 11th, 2009, 2:18 pm

Excellent, been a while since kids played a direct part in the regime's intelligence efforts.

Do adults in your neighborhood water the lawn even on the wrong days? Have they ever said anything bad about our beloved president? Have they said things which make it sound like our hated enemies might be even a little bit good? Let us know - and here's your onetimepad so you can keep it secret and nobody but your spybuddies here at central need know.

(insert evil laugh sound effect there)

After you learn how to collect intelligence and get it to central we can send you to advanced classes where you can learn how to call for direct assistance when bad things are happening and even how to put resources in place so the bad people can't pretend to be innocent.

Your unwise association,

JonT
Last edited by Jonathan Townsend on November 11th, 2009, 2:23 pm, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: hmmm i had no idea that drawer was full of flour ... or whatever that stuff is.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby James Munton » November 11th, 2009, 2:43 pm

Ha! You would have enjoyed the meeting I had with our own beloved Richard Kaufman and the Executive Director of the Spy Museum, Peter Earnest, a couple of years ago. He told the the former spy to his face that the CIA murdered Frank Olson. There was a brief uncomfortable silence before Peter, who is usually a very affable fellow, fixed Richard with an icy stare and said in an eerily calm voice, "the CIA does NOT push people out of windows."

I was so embarrassed. I didn't think we were going to survive the elevator ride back to the lobby. I kept thinking the floor would drop away and we'd end up as shark food.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 11th, 2009, 2:53 pm

Yeah, and the CIA hasn't murdered, or hired to murder, any foreign despots, either. Make me laugh.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 11th, 2009, 2:54 pm

I thought that's where folks go to learn how to cook.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 25th, 2009, 2:05 pm

Yet more publicity for this and no credit to Genii either for breaking the story years ago or originally publishing the manual.
http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/11 ... esurfaces/

And here:

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/CIA_illusion/
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » November 25th, 2009, 6:54 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:There were copies of Mullholland's drafts in private hands, and an unredacted copy was also floating around. Nobody would even know anything about this if it wasn't for Michael Edwards' article in Genii and his request through the Freedom of Information Act for the manual.


Ben Robinson talked about this in my interview with him RE: MagiCIAn : The Secret Life of John Mulholland

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby John M. Dale » May 24th, 2010, 9:44 pm

Just saw on a commercial for "The Rachel Maddow Show" that they are gonna talk about Mulholland's Spy Manual on tomorrow's show (5/25) as part of their "Geek Week" event. Showed some B/W footage of someone in a top hat doing the multiplying candles as part of the blurb.

JMD

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Magic Newswire » May 24th, 2010, 9:55 pm

Yep.. Looks like it is an appearance by Robert Wallace discussing the Mulholland manual that I interviewed him about. You can LISTEN HERE

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 24th, 2010, 11:28 pm

I'm tired of these [censored] claiming to be the first people to find it and publish it. Pisses me off. Had it in Genii years ago.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Kevin Connolly » May 25th, 2010, 12:16 am

Well, if he's trying to sell a book, that show has zip for ratings.
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Steve Bryant » May 25th, 2010, 10:16 am

It's rather tempting to disagree and to expand with arguments that do not belong on this forum.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Joe Pecore » May 25th, 2010, 10:22 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:I'm tired of these [censored] claiming to be the first people to find it and publish it. Pisses me off. Had it in Genii years ago.


They do credit Genii and Michael Edwards in the "Acknowledgments" (page. ix).
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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Dustin Stinett » May 25th, 2010, 12:08 pm

Steve Bryant wrote:It's rather tempting to disagree and to expand with arguments that do not belong on this forum.

Actually Steve, Kevin is not incorrect strictly from a numbers aspect (welcome to my life).

Weekly cable ratings are very skewed right now because of the NBA playoffs, but while she recently cracked 1,000,000 viewers in her timeslot likely due to primary coverage on 5/18everyone on cable news experienced a bump that weekthe dailies have her back to just over 800,000 which is her average. Nickelodeon* has more viewers. In her category her ratings are less than 50% of the number-one show. She does beat Larry King consistently, but CNN is in the tank across the board. Overall (total weekly viewers, primetime) none of the news networks even crack the top 25 on cable.

Dustin

*And youd probably be surprised by the demographics of the viewersnot kids as you might expect.

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Re: Mulholland's CIA Manual

Postby Bill Mullins » May 25th, 2010, 2:21 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote: And youd probably be surprised by the demographics of the [Nickelodeon] viewersnot kids as you might expect.


I know many adults who are watchers of Spongebob Squarepants.


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