Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Other than the likely end of Bill Cosby's career, there haven't been a whole lot of obituaries of prominent people lately.

One-time Chicago mayor Jane Byrne, 81, died in a hospice recently. She was the Windy City's only female mayor, and she lasted just one term.

Thereafter it was back to the same old corrupt shit.

Former representative Marge Roukema, 85, died in New Jersey.

She was a Republican, but she wasn't one of those crazy shits who now dominate the party. She was one of the good ones.

Times were a lot different when she was in politics.

One-time CIA agent John Downey, who survived 20 yeas in Chinese prisons, died at the age of 84.

He had quite a story:

John Downey, of New Britain, and another CIA paramilitary officer, Richard G. Fecteau, of Lynn, Massachusetts, were on their first overseas assignment when their plane was shot from the night sky in a Chinese ambush. Both survived, and Fecteau was kept behind bars for 19 years. Their pilots, 31-year-old Robert C. Snoddy of Roseburg, Oregon, and 29-year-old Norman A. Schwartz of Louisville, Kentucky, were killed in the crash.

The secret mission was smothered in U.S. government denials, but bits and pieces of the story emerged over the years, revealing a tale of personal triumph, tragedy and CIA miscalculations from the early years of the spy agency's existence.

Their mission was to recover a spy working for the CIA in the Manchuria region of northeastern China. Downey and Fecteau had been assigned to a covert program that airdropped noncommunist Chinese exiles into the area to link up with disaffected communist generals, but the agent they were picking up had betrayed the Americans.

Fecteau is still alive and is quoted in the piece.

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