Sunday, June 18, 2006

David Wallace: The CIA's History Problem is Our History Problem - Yahoo! News: "

David Wallace: The CIA's History Problem is Our History Problem David Wallace
Fri Jun 16, 9:22 PM ET

The author David Lowenthal once noted that the 'past is a foreign country.' The past might be better described as being more like a moving target - always in transition and susceptible (and vulnerable) to becoming unrecognizable to what we once believed. And more often than not new revelations are disorientating and troubling.

Means for deriving and recreating the past can be traced in large part to the types of source materials - such as archives and records - available for examination. And once you focus your attention to these source materials (as I do as an archivist) it becomes evident that archives and records are one of the primary fuels that shape and legitimate society's memory and belief systems. These belief systems not only provide us with the means for understanding and making sense out of the historical past, but also inform much of the rough and tumble world of contemporary politics and struggles to influence public opinion and individual perceptions of reality. The key is recognizing that far from being static documents that hold stories and 'truths' about the past, records and archives are highly dynamic objects of control and persuasion that can easily surface evidence of a manipulated past and present. And it is in this space where archives and records get interesting, problematic, and challenging.
Such is the case with recent news accounts in the Washington Post and the New York Times that in the late 1950s the CIA knew that Adolf Eichmann was living in Argentina and had a pretty close"


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