Cold War Blues: A Review

Long overdue recognition for a nearly forgotten part of the Cold War

Image of the Amazon kindle edition cover of Jim Stark's book.

Image of the 2010 Amazon kindle edition cover of Jim Stark’s 1989 book.

Cold War Blues: The Operation Dismantle Story is unique. Jim Stark’s book is a rare and worthy addition to our history of this enigmatic and most dangerous war. First, this book is original history, i.e. a primary source, from the Cold War. It’s not a rehash of espionage dramas, combat ops, or Cuban Missile Crisis politics. It is a detailed account of this planet-wide conflict on a personal level from the anti-war camps. Specifically it addresses the rise and fall of the Operation Dismantle campaign of 1977 – 1985. What makes the book an especially novel read is it’s written in memoir fashion from the perspective of a Canadian pro-peace and anti-nuclear weapons activist, not those espousing American or Soviet viewpoints. One hears the desperation and hope of those within other nations compelled to choose sides in a glacial world war that more than once almost erupted into thermonuclear Armageddon.

Jim and his fellow Canadian activists carved or threatened to established a third front to challenge not just Soviet Communist totalitarianism but the hypocrisy and murderous arrogance of the Western Capitalist, anti-Communist regimes. “Yes, I managed to piss off both superpowers at times,” wrote Jim.[1] Operation Dismantle became a major force to be reckoned with not only in Canada but also with the Americans as it came close to stopping the deployment of U.S. cruise missiles including those quietly armed with atomic warheads into sovereign Canadian territory.

Jim the Musician in 1972 before helping launch Operation Dismantle in 1977. From a foto by Ann Dale Stark on the cover of his book, "Songs I Rote."

Jim the Musician in 1972 before helping launch Operation Dismantle in 1977. From a foto by Ann Dale Stark on the cover of his book, “Songs I Rote.”

The West’s actions lead one to wonder if totalitarianism needs to be redefined. Yes, there existed the naked raw tyranny of the Soviets often trumpeted in the Western media. In addition, there are also the clever, Orwellian doublespeak and Truman Showish deceptions of the de facto Euro-American global empire spying on and disrupting Canadian nuclear disarmament activists who dared to bridge both NATO and Warsaw Pact for world peace. The Canadian activists relied upon nonviolent action and civil disobedience as tools in their struggles against an almost invisible form of tyranny.

So much information has emerged, for example, of the horrors of secret NSA, CIA, FBI, and military experiments and policies regarding mind control, biological warfare, atrocious medical experiments, drug trafficking, secret torture dungeons, massive domestic surveillance, widespread intimidation, and even murder of fellow Americans considered too risky to remain “free.” Jim’s book, while skirting such topics, nonetheless echoes the Canadian version of what we know about the extent of the U.S. government’s Cointelpro operations as well as presages the recent revelations of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. It also highlights the American domination of the Canadian state, especially its military, and the infiltration of Canadian antiwar activist groups by regime spies. What Jim Stark reveals regarding the orchestrated demise of Operation Dismantle by covert intelligence operators and their agents provocateurs playing upon the growing paranoia of activists constantly under threat is as disturbing as are the revelations about Cointelpro, about the U.S. in Indochina in Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, and the latest by Assange and Snowden today.

My only quibble, perhaps, is I’d like to see more of the broad canvas of the Cold War described in the background as the Canadians descended into spy versus spy infiltration paranoia. What else was going on the world during those years?

Jim Stark in the early 21st Century, Canada.

Jim Stark in early 21st Century Canada.

Cold War Blues is not an academic exercise in history, but a firsthand account of a passionate Cold War warrior for world peace and nuclear disarmament. The harassment of Jim Stark and his fellow activists by the Canadian and American regimes demonstrates the seriousness superpower military-industrial-surveillance complexes viewed anti-nuclear protesters. One may wonder what might’ve transpired had these Canadian activists had been successful.

Because the threat of omnicide has returned and more dangerous than ever. Indeed, it never went away.

Atomic, nuclear, and thermonuclear Armageddon remains a planetary omnicidal threat, whether from war, terrorism, or accident. We've become normalized, placid, and forgetful. Be aware. Stay alert. The lessons from Cold War Blues remain as relevant as ever.

Atomic, nuclear, and thermonuclear Armageddon remain local, regional, and planetary threats, whether from war, terrorism, or accident. We’ve become normalized, placid, and forgetful. Be aware. Stay alert. The lessons from Cold War Blues remain as relevant as ever. Extinction is a constant few seconds away. “I have become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds,” said Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer of the Manhattan Project quoting from the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita after the first atomic bomb detonated in New Mexico. Our species continues to head into increasingly dangerous and uncertain territory in which the outbreak of thermonuclear warfare would snuff out all the many opportunities and rewards otherwise possible.


William Dudley Bass
Sunday 4 January 2014
Seattle, Washington


[1] From the email correspondence between Jim Stark and William Bass, Friday 29 April 2011.

*An earlier version of this write-up appeared on’s Jim Stark Page at <>.

Visit Jim Stark’s Page at here at <>.

Jim Stark, based on the Quebec side of its border with Ontario, has since moved forward to establish Vote World Parliament. VWP hosts the ongoing Global Referendum for a Democratic World Parliament. Go vote “Yes!” here at <>. Thank you.

COLD WAR BLUES. Order your copy now.

COLD WAR BLUES. Order your copy now.


Copywriter © 2015, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.

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4 thoughts on “Cold War Blues: A Review

  1. Always good to hear from you, William, and thanks again for the thorough review and penetrating comments and analysis. I suppose if had it to do over again I would (I hope) find and extra bag of courage to stand up against the folks who drove me out of town. I went form a fairly prominent national figure with solid results to a recluse in a matter of weeks, and there I remain until this day. I greatly fear that “resistance is futile,” as the Borg famously said. Still, I labour on as best I can as a “lone wolf” peacenik … much like yourself, I think. In any event, I hope we do meet some day … perhaps when my health improves. In the meantime, I wish you well with your crusade.

    • Jim, you are welcome. The past is the past, the future is always never anywhere except in our abstract thoughts, so all we have is being & doing right here now in this present moment already passing. As for being a “lone wolf,” I’ve never been called such before, and, you’re right. I move thru different groups over the years, and I have a low tolerance for political & religious purity. Removing one’s blinders opens one to experience results. Our Isms are often deadly. If omnicide ever arrives, & I certainly intend it doesn’t, any attempt at omnicide will without a doubt be clothed in the justifications & explanations of self-righteous politics & religion.

      Also, Jim, here’s the link you requested posting. Again, thank you for your service to humanity. Never give up. Keep going even if “going” means sitting for a while. Change directions. To paraphrase and expand upon what a mentor once taught me, “Do whatever it takes. If you can’t go straight through your obstacles, go over, under, around, backwards, forwards, sideways, inside, outside, thru the mind, up the spine, out the heart, deep thru the belly. Aye, whatever it takes!”

  2. Pingback: William Dudley Bass | Philosopher & Storyteller | Not Too Late to Rescue our Planet Earth: An Urgent Review

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