_EP: 05

EP 5: The Super-Technocrat Of Them All

Stafford Beer suddenly faces stinging accusations from radical British leftists. Is he engineering a cybernetic Big Brother? Meanwhile, Allende battles a political whirlwind, abandoned by the Kremlin and unable to fully overcome Washington's invisible blockade.

_Episode Notes

02 : 06 "Will he be disappointed"

The Moscow trip is well-covered in Chapter 6 of Harmer, Tanya. Allende's Chile and the Inter-American Cold War. United States, University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

02 : 46 "a stab in the back"

–°ited in Allende's Chile and the Inter-American Cold War, p. 99.

03 : 47 "The Operations Room is a puzzle"

Espejo, Raul. Telex to Stafford Beer. November 10, 1972. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

04 : 00 "Owner refused "

Espejo, Raul. Telex to Stafford Beer. November 14, 1972. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

04 : 20 "discovers the perfect location"

This was relayed to me in several conversations with Raul Espejo.

07 : 39 "a trip to Davos"

This is discussed in our interview with Timothy Stott. Also check the account of Beer's Davos visit provided by George Mallen, the author of that computer installation. See Mallen, G. L. "A Journey – Crossing Boundaries." Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Taylor and Francis, Apr. 2017, 193-200. Available here.

09 : 39 "not a nut or bolt "

On the nut or bolt quote, see Korry, Edward M. "Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Chile (Korry) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (Meyer) and the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)." Santiago, September 21, 1970. Available here.

10 : 36 "He sends a telex to Raul"

Beer, Stafford. Telex to Raul Espejo. January 2, 1973. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

11 : 30 "with their headline"

Hawkes, Nigel. "Chile Run by Computer." The Observer, Jan. 7, 1973.

11 : 38 "CIA's press digest"

The CIA press digest where that article is included: "Director's Message" United States, Central Intelligence Agency, Sep. - Oct. 1971. Available here.

13 : 32 "moves the government to a textile factory"

confirmed to me by Joan Garces. It's also mentioned in "United States and Chile During the Allende Years, 1970-1973." United States, Congress, House Foreign Affairs Committee, Washington, 1975, p. 625. Link

14 : 01 "That's what he says"

The English translation of Allende's speech at the textile factory (SUMAR): Allende, Salvador. Discurso Ante La Asamblea De Trabajadores De La Industria Textil ex-Sumar. Available here.

21 : 04 "super-technocrat of them all"

Joe Hanlon wrote two articles about Beer and Cybersyn. Hanlon, Joseph. "Comment: The Technological Power Broker." New Scientist, vol. 57, no. 833, Februrary 15, 1973; and Hanlon, Joseph. "Chile Leaps into Cybernetic Future." New Scientist, vol. 57, no. 833, Februrary 15, 1973.

24 : 17 "interview Stafford for his dissertation"

Mike Hales has published several interesting books on the subject, among them Hales, Mike. Living Thinkwork: Where Do Labour Processes Come From?. United Kingdom, CSE Books, 1980; and Hales, Mike. Science Or Society? The Politics of the Work of Scientists. United Kingdom, Pan Books in conjunction with Channel Four Television Company, 1982. His dissertation is Hales, Mike. Operational Research and the Forces of Production: A Marxist Analysis of Science and Ideology, PhD Dissertation, University of Sussex, 1978.

32 : 18 "reflect on that experience"

Quote from the early draft of the Chilean chapters of Beer, Stafford. Brain of the Firm. Stafford Beer collection, Box 88, Liverpool.

35 : 57 "nothing short of monstrous"

Grosch, Herb. "Letter to the editor." New Scientist, March 15, 1973. The Beer-Grosch kerfuffle is also discussed in Medina, Eden. Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile. United Kingdom, MIT Press, 2014.

36 : 05 "a bold response in the same pages"

Beer, Stafford. "Beer to Grosch." New Scientist, March 15, 1973, pp. 685-86.

36 : 35 "Stafford writing to that scientist"

Beer, Stafford. Letter to Herb Grosch. April 5, 1973. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

40 : 00 "Raul's telex message "

Espejo, Raul. Telex to Stafford Beer. March 29, 1973. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

40 : 14 "British radicals go for the jugular "

See Adams, John. "Chile: Everything under Control." Science for the People, April–May 1973, and the brief editorial preceding it.

42 : 31 "gems like this"

Beer, Stafford. "Letter to the editor." Science for the People, June–July 1973, p. 5.

44 : 51 "pimp his own consulting gig"

Mentioned in the first draft of the Chilean chapters of Beer, Stafford. Brain of the Firm. Stafford Beer collection, Box 88, Liverpool.

45 : 33 "Stafford's own recollections"

This, too, is recounted in the first draft of the Chilean chapters of Beer, Stafford. Brain of the Firm. Stafford Beer collection, Box 88, Liverpool.

46 : 05 "Stafford would recall later"

Stafford recounts that experience in one of his lectures: see Beer, Stafford. "Cybernetics of National Development." Link.

47 : 33 "today's image of the project"

Espejo, Raul. Telex to Stafford Beer. April 5, 1973. Stafford Beer collection, Box 66, Liverpool.

48 : 32 "a scathing essay"

Beer, Stafford. "On Decybernation: A Contribution to Current Debates." April 27, 1973. Stafford Beer collection, Box 64, Liverpool.

50 : 09 "expert on the Information Research Department "

On IRD, see Cormac, Rory. "Techniques of Covert Propaganda: The British Approach in the Mid-1960s." Intelligence and National Security, vol. 34, no. 7, July 2019, pp. 1064–69, available here; and Moulton, Aaron Coy. "'We Are Meddling': anti-Colonialism and the British Cold War Against the Guatemalan Revolution, 1944–1954." The International History Review, Oct. 2021, pp. 1–19, available here. See also McGarr, Paul M. “The Information Research Department, British Covert Propaganda, and the Sino-Indian War of 1962: Combating Communism and Courting Failure?” The International History Review, vol. 41, no. 1, Nov. 2017, pp. 130–56, available here.

52 : 29 "a CIA-funded company"

For more on this, see McEvoy, Kevin M. “Before the Rubble: Britain’s Secret Propaganda Offensive in Chile (1960-1973).” Contemporary British History, vol. 35, no. 4, Taylor and Francis, Sept. 2021, pp. 597–619, available here.

52 : 50 "the elusive founder of Forum World Features"

In addition to Beckett, Andy. Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile's Hidden History. United Kingdom, Faber & Faber, 2003, some information on the founder of Forum World Futures can be found in Michaels, Jeffrey H. "The Heyday of Britain's Cold War Think Tank: Brian Crozier and the Institute for the Study of Conflict, 1970–79." Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War: Agents, Activities, and Networks, 2014, pp. 146-160.

55 : 24 "a publishing empire with links "

On the CIA-IPC connections, see Richard Keeble's chapter Hacks and Spooks in Klaehn, Jeffery (ed.) The Political Economy of Media and Power. Austria, Peter Lang, 2010.

55 : 38 "bring down the British government"

Just how far Cecil King's plans went with regards to the coup remains heatedly debated in the UK. For a recent development, see "Alleged Plotter Wrote Talk of Wilson 'Coup' Was Nonsense, UK Archives Show." The Guardian, 19 July 2022, available here.

56 : 01 "his days at IPC were numbered"

Beer discusses some of his dealings with King here: Beer, Stafford. "A Filigree Friendship." Kybernetes, vol. 30, no. 5/6, Emerald Publishing Limited, July 2001, pp. 551–60, available here.

58 : 43 "a report is sent to Henry Kissinger"

See "Memorandum From William J. Jorden of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)." United States, National Security Council, Washington, May 24, 1973. Available here.

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