Talk:Miles Copeland Jr.

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Problem in Article[edit]

It states under CIA Career section, "Saddam fled to Cairo and bided his time under Egyptian protection until a coup against Qassim — which blindsided American officials — occurred in 1963." But this runs contrary to the Komer memo to JFK prior to the coup, and this coup is described routinely as one in which the US had a lot of foreknowledge. Even on the following wiki page, the memo is described as such, and it is contrary to how Miles Copeland, Jr would have described the incident: This is consistent with writings by the chief CIA for the Soviet division, Harry Rositzke, description of the event as well, as in this is an event that was FAR from blindsiding American officials. Lots of problems with this page, but this one is pretty obvious. (talk) 05:19, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

The Komer memo, which is usually considered the strongest direct evidence of American complicity in the February 1963 Iraqi coup, is actually evidence of the opposite, as Komer writes that "I doubt either [CIA] or UK should claim much credit for it," and suggests "we will make informal friendly noises as soon as we can find out whom to talk with," despite the fact that the U.S. would have known exactly who to contact if it had arranged Qasim's overthrow. As far as I know, Rositzke is the only CIA official ever to claim that the U.S. had prior knowledge of the exact timing of the coup, and his testimony is suspect precisely because he was from the Soviet division and lacked any particular expertise on the Middle East. To the contrary, former senior CIA Middle East hand Ed Kane vehemently denied any American involvement in the Ba'th Party's actions, as have several other CIA officers, both on the record and off. Although one might leap to the conclusion that Kane et al. were/are lying, a more plausible explanation for the discrepancy between those U.S. officials who have claimed they were "blindsided" and the repeated assertions that the CIA was well-informed on the planning is that the CIA was notified of the aborted Ba'thist coup plot in July 1962 rather than the coup that succeeded several months later, and there is a distinction between the CIA's "intelligence-gathering" and "covert action" responsibilities. This is also not inconsistent with Chritchfield's recounting "we knew perhaps six months beforehand that [a coup] was going to happen," unless you believe the exact timing of the coup was determined six months in advance, which is contradicted by the evidence (i.e., "the coup was triggered by Qasim's recent arrest of a large number of Bath Party members. The remaining members still at large felt that if they were ever going to attempt such a coup it would have to be done now").
But I'm mainly using the comment above as a segueway to discuss the Historical Dictionary of Middle East Intelligence, which was previously cited in this article and is still used as a source at Gamal Abdel Nasser. According to the Dictionary, "Copeland admittedly oversaw CIA contacts with the Iraqi regime and internal opponents, including Saddam Hussein and others in the Ba'th Party." Now, Copeland was never shy about taking credit even for very morally questionable things, but in his many public statements and books I have yet to find any evidence that Copeland ever made such an admission of association with a thug of Saddam's caliber. Unless proven otherwise, I can only assume that the Dictionary entry is based on the fact that "In the mid-1980s, Miles Copeland, a veteran CIA operative, told UPI the CIA had enjoyed 'close ties' with Qasim's ruling Ba'th Party, just as it had close connections with the intelligence service of Egyptian leader Gamel Abdel Nasser"—in other words, that the Historical Dictionary of Middle East Intelligence is not very scrupulous with its facts and probably should not be considered a reliable source. (For the record, much of Sale's reporting in that last piece—which attempts to tie the U.S. to the Ba'thist assassination attempt on Qasim in October 1959—has since been thoroughly debunked. For example, Allen Dulles expressed skepticism over the "rumors" that "an attempt would be made on Kassem's life in the next two months" just six days before it happened, while the timing is off—according to Chritchfield, the CIA took an interest in the Ba'th around 1961, which might suggest it was the assassination attempt itself that caused American officials to take note of the Party. However, even Sale unearths some exculpatory evidence regarding the 1963 coup, with one former CIA officer telling him: "We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened." Because—like all of Sale's sources, with the exception of Adel Darwish—this source is anonymous, you may invest as much or little importance in it as you like.)TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 00:06, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

King Farouk coup[edit]

All the following text was removed without proper justification except for a claim. "In the American Central Intelligence Agency, the project to overthrow King Farouk - known internally as "Project FF (Fat Fucker)"[1]- was initiated by CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. and CIA Station Chief in Cairo Miles Copeland, Jr. (who in his book the Game of Nations boasted that he later had an office next to Gamal Abdel Nasser in the Presidential Palace in Cairo).[2][page needed]". I think removing all this text need more than a claim or an opinion. Copeland was an intelligence man. He knows what he writes and know what is meant by responsibility about ones writings. It is not fair to remove all the text, the proper handling of this issue is by mentioning a documented opinion below the main claim. Other wise it is not fair.--Ashashyou (talk) 08:46, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

There is no evidence to substantiate Copeland's story that he and Kim Roosevelt met with the Free Officers prior to the Revolution and offered American support. According to America's Great Game: The CIA's Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East (pg. 138): "William Lakeland, who himself had close links to Nasser and the Free Officers, expressed doubts that Miles and Kim met with leading members of the movement before the revolution....In a second echo of March 1949, when Za'im approached British military adviser Colonel Gordon Fox prior to launching his coup, there is evidence of the Egyptian Free Officers courting Western suitors besides the Americans. In December 1951, another British military instructor, former RAF intelligence officer Group Captain Patrick Domville, wrote the Conservative member of Parliament Julian Amery telling him that friends in the Egyptian army and air force had asked him to seek secret British support for a plot 'to overthrow....the King and then to set up a military dictatorship.' Perhaps most damaging to Miles' claims, both Kim Roosevelt himself and several of the Free Officers allegedly involved later denied any CIA role in the conspiracy to depose Farouk." As everyone knows, Copeland was a notorious yarn-spinner who never let the facts get in the way of a good story.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 10:12, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Glenn Miller[edit]

One claim from one book in which the author dislikes the subject isn't enough to convince me that Miles Copeland lied about playing for the Glenn Miller orchestra. More sources are needed. I wonder what his sons have said on that subject. The preceding sentence, moreover, creates doubt that he was a musician while simultaneously including a lukewarm quotation from the same biography that grudgingly admits he was one. This is the equivalent of damning with faint praise. It would be odd to lie about either of these facts: that he played trumpet and that he played trumpet briefly with Glenn Miller. What would be gained by such a lie? This article requires more sources, reliable ones if they can be found, and more impartiality.
Vmavanti (talk) 18:22, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

A primary source is not equivalent to an academic historian; I know of no evidence that the historian in question, Hugh Wilford, "dislikes" Copeland personally or that his conclusions were motivated by any sort of irrational animus. It is manifestly silly to assert that equally hefty sourcing would be required to assert that a.) someone played the trumpet and b.) that someone played the trumpet with Glenn Miller.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 10:35, 26 June 2018 (UTC)
You're right that there is no equivalence between a primary source and an academic historian. The academic is usually wrong. It's silly to find sources that say he played trumpet and that he played trumpet with Glenn Miller ONLY if those facts have been called into question. Not only have they been called into question by this article, they have been announced "discredited" because of one book by one university professor. Delete that and we can mark progress. Otherwise, find a balance. Any "discredited claim" ought be defended by more than one source, regardless of what you conclude about that one source.
Vmavanti (talk) 03:38, 22 August 2018 (UTC)
Google Books has some excepts from the America's Great Game by Hugh Wilford. This is the source used for the claim that Copeland was lying about playing trumpet for Glenn Miller. Anyone who has read the whole book might want to inform us whether this subject comes up in the body text itself. The Google Books except is from the introduction: "In his memoirs, Copeland makes several impressive statements about his days as a jazz musician...that in September 1940 he spent a week playing fourth trumpet for the Glenn Miller orchestra on the Roosevelt Hotel roof in New Orleans...the nearest Glenn Miller orchestra got to New Orleans in the latter part of 1940 was Washington, D.C." I would like to see the proof of this assertion. There are some possibilities. Maybe Copeland got the date wrong. The peripatetic nature of the musician's life means that one's whereabouts are often in flux. Dates are notoriously difficult to pin down. Discographers know this as well as anyone. Nevertheless, and more to the point, it's bad form and bad policy to rely on one source for a fact, especially if the fact in question means calling the subject of the article a liar. There are sources that state Copeland did play trumpet for Glenn Miller. A Google search easily turns them up: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and Der Spiegel. His son, also named Miles Copeland, concurs on the AND magazine site. Google Books has an excerpt from the book Lipstick on a Pig by Torie Clarke which concurs. So in a few minutes I found six sources saying the opposite of what Wilford says and what the Wikipedia article currently says.
Vmavanti (talk) 00:46, 23 August 2018 (UTC)
  1. ^ Geoffrey Wawro, Quicksand: America's Pursuit of Power in the Middle East. The Penguin Press, 2010.
  2. ^ Miles Axe Copeland, Jr., The Game of Nations: The Amorality of Power Politics, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1970