Monday, June 16, 2008


The PEN American Center in New York appears to be a protected organization. I base this on how swiftly my blog about them was shut down.

Why is this? What's going on?

Looking at their stated causes, their targets like China and Iran, one can speculate that the organization is an extension of neo-con foreign policy. PEN has no hesitation in becoming an instrument of foreign policy. An example of this is the recent award to an Iranian-born author whose wealthy family fled the country during the Iranian revolution. Is a signal being sent with this award? Possibly. This at a time when certain ideologues have presented a case for bombing or invading Iran.

WE CAN HYPOTHESIZE that someone is using PEN in this way. I have no evidence to support this. None. I'm speculating.

But think of it. A literary organization with a spotlessly liberal veneer, supported by major literary names, whose stated purpose and indeed actions are right and just. There ARE writers abused in countries not under the American umbrella. What a tool such an organization could make. What an ideal "cutting edge"; cultural and ideological missionaries for the soldiers and conglomerate salesmen to follow.

I don't know if this is the case. Nobody does. With the literary world we seem to be forever in the dark.

We DO know that American literary journals and organizations were used this way in the past. The Paris Review/CIA revelation was one example. It's because of the PRESENT situation that we need the full truth from the Paris Review about CIA involvement in their founding; how far and long it extended. We've received to this question: silence.

We'll never comprehend the present if we're not allowed to understand the past.


Anonymous said...

Given the amount of controversial material on blogs, I find it hard to believe that PEN shut you down. Have you talked to the blogger staff?

Your points about PEN are completely bogus, but you certainly deserve to post them.

neville said...


But I don't understand. Where does PEN get its funding? From members I understood. So if the funding is coming from members does that mean all of the members are part of some conspiracy? Surely some members of PEN must be as isolated as the members of the underground, shouldn't that be the case? I'm willing to believe that there is a lot about PeN that I don't know but it just seems a little unmanageable that Pen would be that deeply conspiratorial and then just let anybody join who publishes a book.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

??? Does it gets it funding strictly from members? Few nonprofits do.
Its big annual gala, whioh I'll be addressing, is perhaps its major source of funding-- a celebration for plutocrats whose tickets go at least a grand a head. At the least, it's hardly a democratic (small d) organization.
As I said, I'm speculating-- but keep in mind that the literary industry was an extension of U.S. foreign policy for many years. Can we assume this was discontinued?
Why? In the case of Eastern Europe, the policy was extremely successful.
Note: UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday announced new sanctions against Iran while standing side-by-side with President Bush.

King said...

Btw, I recently received forwarded by e-mail a long tome by a John P.C. Mathews about the Free Europe Press. His essay details how the U.S. publishing industry was used for decades by the CIA as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy.
It makes sense to question whether this is still happening today.

neville said...


Do you mean things like William Faulkner traveling for the state department? I didn't know that was connected with spydom, but again, I am a little naive about such things I guess. I remember reading about the CIA sponsoring literary magazines and that sort of thing but I am curious about the effect. Did it change much in the foreign countries they were trying to change things in or did it have an effect stateside which seems to be your concern. I guess I just wonder as an "outsider" possibly a little more ignorant than average what it is that PEN might have as an agenda beyond the usually expressed one of supporting foreign writers who are oppressed or banned, bringing new or obscure writers to America, offering various kinds of support to American writers and so on and so forth. And then I guess there are the awards and that kind of thing. Does it add up some kind of agenda or alterior motivation? I don't know. Maybe can you elaborate about your speculation? You seem to have a very compelling group of ideas about this organization that I've always thought of in pretty benign terms that maybe it didn't deserve. Can you fill in some blanks here? Thanks, Karl.

King said...

As I said, PEN's actions are laudable-- but they do seem to be working in synch with other happenings! Mere coincidence?
According to Mr. Mathews (I forwarded the essay to the ULA to see if they'd run it on their site), the actions put into play by Cord Meyer and others were very successful.
I don't have all the answers by any means. . . .

Anonymous said...

By PEN, I take you mean PEN American Center, the US branch, one of the 144 branches around the world of the organization PEN International. From its literature, PEN International does seem to have a nodding (distant) relationship with the UN.

What exactly are you getting at?

Anonymous said...

Here's a suggestion: perhaps Wenclas and the ULA would look closer to home, or be more forthcoming about their own associations and agendas. A ULA writer Wenclas regularly cites on these matters, Richard Cummings, identifies himself in biographies attached to his articles as a member of the Association of Retired Intelligence Officers. Bill Totten's weblog (Oct 16, 2007) re-reprints one of Cummings's articles and describes him as a former CIA officer in the middle east.

So what's this? Is Wenclas in regular contact with a CIA officer? Does the ULA have a mole in the government?

If so, why have we heard nothing of this?

neville said...


This is all very interesting. I personally as it happens have no objection to Karl being a intelligence operative because as time has shown again and again we need intelligence to make decisions in this complicated world so why not decisions about literature? Ovbiously Karl was able to deliver the coupe de gras to Harland via some sort of deductive means and I think this is no small feat.

Anonymous said...

correction: association of former intelligence officers... see, where ULA's author/king's associate is member who posts.

Anonymous said...

I'm dismayed by your attitude about the ULA and King Wenclas's possible connection to the CIA, through their writer/confidante Richard Cummings of Bridgehampton, NY. At the very least they should clarify whether Cummings is still an active intelligence officer, a former intelligence officer (if there can be such a thing), whether he is a DISGRUNTLED former intelligence officer, or whether he instead POSES as a former intelligence officer in some sort of literary con-game or hoax. Bill Totten's weblog indeed identifies the ULA's Richard Cummings as "a former CIA agent in the middle east." But then you can't believe everything you read on the internet.

I think before King Wenclas goes any further about PEN America or PEN International, he might explain about this.

neville said...

It's not "Neville," it's "neville." Another literary creation, alas.

Anonymous said...

What specifically do you mean when you mentioned your blog was "monitored"? Do you mean Read?

Meanwhile, this leads one to ask about your monitoring of your those who read and comment on your site. Do you do this, track IP addresses and locations?

The poster known as "Harland" was the best thing going on this site, and now he's gone. Please explain how you learned his identity, or unmasked him? Were you monitoring his reading of your site?

How did you do this, and did you have assistance from any other party or organization in doing so?

We miss Harland.

Anonymous said...

King Wenclas and the Underground Literary Alliance conferring and cavorting with a "CIA agent"?

Can this be real? It's hard to believe. Nonetheless, their touted author Richard Cummings of Bridgehampton, NY does identify himself in various on-line articles as a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. He has posted on their site as a member. And Bill Totten's weblog does introduce his article/guest post by saying he's a former CIA agent based abroad.

Nonetheless, I don't buy it. Perhaps their author is a former operative, now disgruntled. In that case, it'd be interesting to know the circumstances of the termination of his relationship with that agency.

More likely, he's a poseur, creating for himself the false appearance of a former government operative for purposes of investigation, or even pulling some sort of a hoax. In that case, it'd be interesting to know what King and ULA knew of this, and when did they know it.

Of course, there's the last possibility, that Cummings was what he implies he was.


Anonymous said...

The number of letters in the *real* first and last names of the person who calls himself Harland is odd. If Wenclas can tell us the letter falling exactly in the middle -- x letters before and x letters after -- he can demonstrate that he actually knows Harland's identity without revealing it here.

Anonymous said...

the idea of King being a witting intelligence operative is silly. the question of whether he might be someone's "useful idiot" is another matter. there are a lot of people and governments who'd like to damage the credibility of PEN International.

Anonymous said...

Karl Wenclas couldn't possibly fulfill that role. The noise-to-signal ratio is much too high for him to be an effective propagandist. Note well that Karl attacks any organization, publication, or institution where he feels that literary "power" obtains. Not that it's an inherently bad suspicion, but he's incapable of making useful distinctions between, say, The New York Times Book Review and PEN.

Now, how about my challenge? The letter falling precisely in the middle of Harland's true name, Wenclas -- what is it?

King said...

??? PEN American Center is a plutocratic organization in synch with the most conservative voices of the foreign policy establishment-- those pushing for war with Iran. How could the establishment seek to discredit themselves? It doesn't make sense.
Re Cummings I get a lot of stuff e-mailed me for my perusal, and will discuss it, or pass it on to the ULA, if I think it's of interest to my/our readers.
This was the basis under which we published the original Cummings essays about the Paris Review-- for informational purposes. I'd affirmed then that I didn't know for certain if what he said was true-- but that I believed his sincerity, abd more important, thought it a subject worth examining.
We DON'T know all the machinations which have gone on between the CIA and the literary industry. I ask for openness. That's what I'm doing.
Re Harland. H's arguments, when examined, were made out of tissue paper. They were addressed mainly at discrediting the messenger (myself), because that was H's objective. I'm more discouraged about the matter than anybody, believe me, and wish the matter resolved.
Interesting to me is that H's comments were made under a pose of logic and objectivity-- yet darker motives lurked behind the mask. Such is the nature of human personality-- the greatest area of turf to examine and understand for any novelist or writer.
I'll address some of the points made on this blog, in a post. Any other comments I have will be done on a fictional basis-- I hope you have enough sense to know where to look for that.
(I'm beginning to suspect that H. and myself were communicating on a much higher level than that attained by the rest of my readers. . . .)

King said...

Or, deeper level, if you like.

Anonymous said...

"Re Cummings I get a lot of stuff e-mailed me for my perusal, and will discuss it, or pass it on to the ULA, if I think it's of interest to my/our readers."

Yeah, you wouldn't just want to cut and paste it, after all these months.

" I ask for openness. That's what I'm doing."

"Any other comments I have will be done on a fictional basis."

Hmm, wouldn't naming the letter in his first name be more open than your fictionalized allegory?

Anonymous said...

So what's the answer, Wenclas?

Odd number of letters to first and last names combined, letter falling precisely in the center, *n* letters before, *n* letters after. Name the letter.

Either that or post a photo of Harland holding today's La Repubblica.

King said...

I've said, the answer is right in front of you. Try thinking.
To Harland: I don't know what you want. Peace or war? I'll put this blog itself, and most of my others (except Literary Mystery) on the bargaining table, but you'll have to contact me first.
Someday I'm just going to say "Enough!" to all the lies and bullshit and vanish. I see a used car lot awaiting me somewhere. . . .

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes shades of Anglo-American conspiracy. So much for casting of vague aspersions, why don't you instead try being specific and factual?

The fact is Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Germany have much more active branches of PEN do the US or the UK.

It seems to me the values that PEN espouses--freedom of expression and tolerance--are as closely associated with values and traditions in the Netherlands and Scandinavians as they are in the US and UK.

A conspiracy among Swedes and Dutchmen isn't nearly as sensational though, I suppose...