The CIA: Beyond Redemption and Should Be Terminated

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by Sherwood Ross: The
Rise of Mercenary Armies: A Threat to Global Security

 

 
 

The Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) has confirmed the worst fears of its creator
President Harry Truman that it might degenerate into “an American
Gestapo.” It has been just that for so long it is beyond redemption.
It represents 60 years of failure and fascism utterly at odds with
the spirit of a democracy and needs to be closed, permanently.

Over the years
“the Agency” as it is known, has given U.S. presidents
so much wrong information on so many critical issues, broken so
many laws, subverted so many elections, overthrown so many governments,
funded so many dictators, and killed and tortured so many innocent
human beings that the pages of its official history could be written
in blood, not ink. People the world over regard it as infamous,
and that evaluation, sadly for the reputation of America, is largely
accurate. Besides, since President Obama has half a dozen other
major intelligence agencies to rely on for guidance, why does he
need the CIA? In one swoop he could lop an estimated 27,000 employees
off the Federal payroll, save taxpayers umpteen billions, and wipe
the CIA stain from the American flag.

If you think
this is a “radical” idea, think again. What is “radical”
is to empower a mob of covert operatives to roam the planet, wreaking
havoc as they go with not a care for morality or, for that matter,
the tenets of mercy implicit in any of the great faiths. The idea
of not prosecuting CIA interrogators (i.e., torturers), as President
Obama has said, is chilling. These crimes have to be stopped somewhere,
sometime, or they will occur again.

“The CIA
had run secret interrogation centers before – beginning in
1950, in Germany, Japan, and Panama,” writes New York Times
reporter Tim Weiner in his book Legacy
of Ashes, The History of The CIA
(Random House). Weiner
has won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the intelligence community.
“It had participated in the torture of captured enemy combatants
before – beginning in 1967, under the Phoenix program in Vietnam.
It had kidnapped suspected terrorists and assassins before…”

In Iran in
1953, for example, a CIA-directed coup restored the Shah (king)
to absolute power, initiating what journalist William Blum in Rogue
State
(Common Courage Press) called “a period of 25
years of repression and torture; while the oil industry was restored
to foreign ownership, with the US and Britain each getting 40 percent.”
About the same time in Guatemala, Blum adds, a CIA-organized coup
“overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government
of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of military government death
squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable
cruelty, totaling more than 200,000 victims – indisputably
one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century.” The
massive slaughter compares, at least in terms of sheer numbers,
with Hitler’s massacre of Romanian and Ukrainian Jews during
the holocaust. Yet few Americans know of it.

Blum provides
yet other examples of CIA criminality. In Indonesia, it attempted
in 1957–58 to overthrow neutralist president Sukarno. It plotted
Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony
sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to
wage a full-scale war against the government, including bombing
runs by American pilots, Blum reported This particular attempt,
like one in Costa Rica about the same time, failed. So did the CIA
attempt in Iraq in 1960 to assassinate President Abdul Kassem. Other
ventures proved more “successful.”

In Laos, the
CIA was involved in coup attempts in 1958, 1959, and 1960, creating
a clandestine army of 30,000 to overthrow the government. In Ecuador,
the CIA ousted President Jose Velasco for recognizing the new Cuban
government of Fidel Castro. The CIA also arranged the murder of
elected Congo Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961 and installation
of Mobutu Seko who ruled “with a level of corruption and cruelty
that shocked even his CIA handlers,” Blum recalls.

In Ghana, in
1966, the CIA sponsored a military coup against leader Kwame Nkrumah;
in Chile, it financed the overthrow of elected President Salvador
Allende in 1973 and brought to power the murderous regime of General
Augusto Pinochet who executed 3,000 political opponents and tortured
thousands more. In Greece in 1967, the CIA helped subvert the elections
and backed a military coup that killed 8,000 Greeks in its first
month of operation. “Torture, inflicted in the most gruesome
of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, became
routine,” Blum writes.

In South Africa,
the CIA gave the apartheid government information that led to the
arrest of African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, who subsequently
spent years in prison. In Bolivia, in 1964, the CIA overthrew President
Victor Paz; in Australia from 1972–75, the CIA slipped millions
of dollars to political opponents of the Labor Party; ditto, Brazil
in 1962; in Laos in 1960, the CIA stuffed ballot boxes to help a
strongman into power; in Portugal in the Seventies the candidates
it financed triumphed over a pro-labor government; in the Philippines,
the CIA backed governments in the 1970–90 period that employed
torture and summary execution against its own people; in El Salvador,
the CIA in the Nineties backed the wealthy in a civil war in which
75,000 civilians were killed; and the list goes on and on.

Of course,
the hatred that the CIA engenders for the American people and American
business interests is enormous. Because the Agency operates largely
in secret, most Americans are unaware of the crimes it perpetrates
in their names. As Chalmers Johnson writes in Blowback
(Henry Holt), former long-time CIA director Robert Gates, now
Obama’s defense secretary, admitted U.S. intelligence services
began to aid the mujahideen guerrillas in Afghanistan six months
before the Soviet invasion in December, 1979.

As has often
been the case, the CIA responded to a criminal order from one of
the succession of imperial presidents that have occupied the White
House, in this instance one dated July 3, 1979, from President Jimmy
Carter. The Agency was ordered to aid the opponents of the pro-Soviet
regime in Kabul – aid that might sucker the Kremlin into invading.
“The CIA supported Osama bin Laden, like so many other extreme
fundamentalists among the mujahideen in Afghanistan, from at least
1984 on,” Johnson writes, helping bin Laden train many of the
35,000 Arab Afghans.

Thus Carter,
like his successors in the George H.W. Bush government – Gates,
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz,
and Colin Powell, “all bear some responsibility for the 1.8
million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million
unexploded land mines that followed from their decisions, as well
as the ‘collateral damage’ that befell New York City in
September 2001 from an organization they helped create during the
years of anti-Soviet Afghan resistance,” Johnson added. Worse,
the Bush-Cheney regime after 9/11 “set no limits on what the
agency could do. It was the foundation for a system of secret prisons
where CIA officer and contractors used techniques that included
torture,” Weiner has written. By some estimates, the CIA in
2006 held 14,000 souls in 11 secret prisons, a vast crime against
humanity.

That the CIA
has zero interest in justice and engages in gratuitous cruelty may
be seen from the indiscriminate dragnet arrests it has perpetrated:
“CIA officers snatched and grabbed more than three thousand
people in more than one hundred countries in the year after 9/11,”
Weiner writes, adding that only 14 men of all those seized “were
high-ranking authority figures within al Qaeda and its affiliates.
Along with them, the agency jailed hundreds of nobodies…(who)
became ghost prisoners in the war on terror.”

As for providing
the White House with accurate intelligence, the record of the CIA
has been a fiasco. The Agency was telling President Carter the Shah
of Iran was beloved by his people and was firmly entrenched in power
in 1979 when any reader of Harper’s magazine, available
on newsstands for a buck, could read that his overthrow was imminent
– and it was. Over the years, the Agency has been wrong far
more often than it has been right.

According to
an Associated Press report, when confirmed by the Senate as the
new CIA director, Leon Panetta said the Obama administration would
not prosecute CIA officers that “participated in harsh interrogations
even if they constituted torture as long as they did not go beyond
their instructions.” This will allow interrogators to evade
prosecution for following the clearly criminal orders they would
have been justified to disobey.

“Panetta
also said that the Obama administration would continue to transfer
foreign detainees to other countries for questioning but only if
U.S. officials are confident that the prisoners will not be tortured,”
the AP story continued. If past is prologue, how confident can Panetta
be the CIA’s fellow goons in Egypt and Morocco will stop torturing
prisoners? Why did the CIA kidnap men off the streets of Milan and
New York and fly them to those countries in the first place if not
for torture? They certainly weren’t treating them to a Mediterranean
vacation. By its long and nearly perfect record of reckless disregard
for international law, the CIA has deprived itself of the right
to exist.

It will be
worse than unfortunate if President Obama continues the inhumane
(and illegal) CIA renditions that President Bill Clinton began and
President Bush vastly expanded. If the White House thinks its operatives
can roam the world and arrest and torture any person it chooses
without a court order, without due process, and without answering
for their crimes, this signifies Americans believe themselves to
be a Master Race better than others and above international law.
That’s not much different from the philosophy that motivated
Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. It would be the supreme irony
if the American electorate that repudiated racism last November
has voted into its highest office a constitutional lawyer who reaffirms
his predecessor’s illegal views on this activity. Renditions
must be stopped. The CIA must be abolished.

Reprinted
from Global Research.

July
28, 2010

Sherwood
Ross [send him mail] has
worked for major dailies and wire services and served in an executive
capacity in the U.S. civil rights movement. He currently is active
in the anti-war movement and operates a public relations firm for
good causes.

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