John D. Marks

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John D. Marks (born 1943)[1] is the founder and former president of Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC that focuses on international conflict management programming.[2][not in citation given] Marks now acts as a Senior Adviser to SFCG. He is also a former Foreign Service Officer of the U.S. Department of State and co-authored the 1974 controversial non-fiction book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence with Victor Marchetti.


Marks is a graduate of Phillips Academy and Cornell University. He worked for five years with the State Department, first in Vietnam and then as an analyst and staff assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. After leaving the State Department, he became Executive Assistant for foreign policy to US Senator Clifford Case (R-NJ), responsible within the Senator's office for passage of the Case–Church Amendment, which eventually cut off funding for the Vietnam War.[3][not in citation given] He also worked with Marchetti on a book about the need to reform the Central Intelligence Agency.

The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence[edit]

The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence was completed in 1973. CIA officials read the manuscript and told Marchetti and Marks that they had to remove 339 passages, nearly a fifth of the book. After long negotiations the CIA yielded on 171 items. That left 168 censored passages. The publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, decided to go ahead and publish the book with blanks for those passages, and with the sections that the CIA had originally cut then restored printed in boldface.

The publication of Marchetti and Marks' censored book, which became a bestseller, raised concerns about the way the CIA was censoring information. It contributed to investigative reports by Seymour Hersh in The New York Times and the decision by Frank Church to establish the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities in 1975. The report, Foreign and Military Intelligence, was published in 1976.

The Search for the Manchurian Candidate[edit]

Marks' 1979 book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate describes a wide range of CIA activities during the Cold War, including unethical drug experiments in the context of a mind-control and chemical interrogation research program.[4] The book is based on 16,000 pages of CIA documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and many interviews, including those with retired members of the psychological division of the CIA, and the book describes some of the work of psychologists in this effort with a whole chapter on the Personality Assessment System.

Marks later became a fellow of Harvard's Institute of Politics and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School. In 1982, Marks founded the Nuclear Network in Washington, DC, which soon was renamed Search for Common Ground.[5]

From 1982 to 2014, Marks was President of Search for Common Ground, a non-profit conflict resolution organization.[6] He also founded and headed Common Ground Productions.[7][not in citation given] He wrote and produced The Shape of the Future,[8][not in citation given] a four-part, TV documentary series that was simulcast on Israeli, Palestinian, and Arab satellite TV, and he is executive producer of The Team [9][not in citation given] TV and radio series in 17 countries and numerous other TV and radio programs.[10]

Honors and accolades[edit]

John Marks is the recipient of numerous awards. These include:

  • Honorary Doctorate from the UN University of Peace (2010- with his wife, Susan Collin Marks)
  • The Marvin E. Johnson Diversity and Equity Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution (2010-with Susan Collin Marks) [11][12][not in citation given]
  • Senior Ashoka Fellow (2009)
  • Social Entrepreneurship Award from the Skoll Foundation (2006-with Susan Collin Marks)
  • The Temple Awards for Creative Altruism from the Institute of Noetic Sciences (2005-with Susan Collin Marks) [13]
  • Cultures of Peace Award from Psychologists for Social Responsibility (2002)[14][not in citation given]
  • Wild School Award from Upland Hills School (2001-with Susan Collin Marks)[15]


  • The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence with Victor Marchetti ( Knopf:1974;Dell Paperback Edition: 1975)
  • The CIA File, edited with Robert Borosage (Grossman Viking:1976)
  • The Search for the Manchurian Candidate (Times Books:1979, Norton Paperback:1991)
  • Common Ground on Terrorism, edited with Igor Beliaev (Norton:1991)


  1. ^
  2. ^ International Conflict Transformation, Resolution, Peacebuilding | Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
  3. ^ Mr. John D. Marks - Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
  4. ^ The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control: The Secret History of the Behavioral Sciences: John D. Marks: 9780393307948: Books
  5. ^ Letter from the President | About SFCG | Search for Common Ground
  6. ^ :"Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-25. Retrieved 2011-06-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Common Ground Productions | Programmes | Search for Common Ground
  8. ^ The Shape of the Future | Common Ground Productions | Programmes | Search for Common Ground
  9. ^ The Team | Common Ground Productions | Programmes | Search for Common Ground
  10. ^ Soccer plays a critical role in African society - ESPN Soccernet Archived 2010-02-03 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ ACR | Marvin E. Johnson Diversity and Equity Award
  12. ^ Association for Conflict Resolution
  13. ^ Temple Award Winners | About | Institute of Noetic Sciences Archived 2010-11-27 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ PsySR: Psychologists for Social Responsibility
  15. ^ Upland Hills School - A Michigan Independent School - Wild School Awards