Sunday, February 06, 2005

Secret agent man

What evil lies in the heart of man? Only the CIA knows...

We now know more than before, about the heinous history of our great Central Intelligence Agency, courtesy of FOIA document releases to the non-profit The National Security Archive. From Haaretz, a liberal Israeli newspaper (think Jewish folks might find this disturbing?):

Five of Adolph Eichmann's Nazi assistants were recruited and employed by the Central Intelligence Agency after World War II, according to recently declassified intelligence documents.

. . .

The revelations cast a negative light not only on American intelligence activity but also the U.S. Army's conduct in Germany at the conclusion of the war. The military made efforts to recruit members of the SS and the Gestapo into its ranks despite simultaenously waging a campaign of de-Nazification over vanquished Germany, a process which included arresting and trying Nazi war criminals.

The documents also reveal in great detail CIA efforts to recruit Reinhard Gehlen, who was the Wermacht's chief intelligence officer for the eastern front during the war.

The recruitment evolved into a new intelligence sub-organization known as "Gehlen's Organization," which served as the basis for what would later become West Germany's foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).

Nice. Freedom is on the march. Yeah. We also know some other stuff about the checkered past of the CIA:

Developed from the wartime Office of Strategic Services and set up by Congress as part of the National Security Act, on the lines of the British Secret Service, the CIA was intended solely for use overseas in the Cold War. It was involved in, for example, the restoration of the Shah of Iran in 1953, South Vietnam (during the Vietnam War), Chile (the coup against President Allende), and Cuba (the Bay of Pigs). On the domestic front, it was illegally involved in the Watergate political scandal and in the 1970s lost public confidence when US influence collapsed in Iran, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Yemen, and elsewhere.

Re: Chile:

In September 14, 1970, a deputy to then National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger wrote him a memo, classified SECRET / SENSITIVE, arguing against covert operations to block the duly elected Chilean socialist Salvador Allende from assuming the presidency. "What we propose is patently a violation of our own principles and policy tenets," noted Viron Vaky. "If these principles have any meaning, we normally depart from them only to meet the gravest threat to us., e.g. to our survival. Is Allende a mortal threat to the U.S.?" Vaky asked. "It is hard to argue this."

Kissinger ignored this advice. The next day he participated in a now-famous meeting where President Nixon instructed CIA Director Richard Helms to "save Chile" by secretly fomenting a coup to prevent Allende's inauguration. When those covert operations failed, Kissinger goaded Nixon into instructing the entire national security bureaucracy "on opposing Allende" and destabilizing his government. "Election of Allende as president of Chile poses one of [the] most serious challenges ever faced in this hemisphere," says a newly declassified briefing paper Kissinger gave to Nixon two days after Allende's inauguration. "Your decision as to what to do may be most historic and difficult foreign affairs decision you will have to make this year.... If all concerned do not understand that you want Allende opposed as strongly as we can, result will be steady draft toward modus vivendi approach."

Re: Iran:

To illustrate the dark side of American oil policy, we offer two tales, stitched together from declassified government documents and oil-industry memos, involving a pair of Iraq's neighbors, Iran and Afghanistan. The first one begins with the rise of a member of Iran's parliament, Mohammed Mossadegh, an impassioned speaker and popular politician who had long chafed at British domination over his country's oil.

. . .

On Aug. 19, 1953, after the deaths of about 300 people in street riots, the 71-year-old Premier was overthrown. He was replaced by a retired army general, Fazollah Zahedi. The American-friendly Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who had earlier fled the country, returned triumphantly, resumed the throne and reasserted his control. Media accounts of the coup were seemingly straightforward. The Washington Post reported that Iran had been saved from falling into communist hands and that the communists were blaming Brigadier General H. Norman Schwarzkopf "for alleged complicity in the coup." The paper said Schwarzkopf, whose namesake son would lead U.S. forces nearly a half-century later as they drove the Iraqi military out of Kuwait, had visited Iran "but only to see friends, the State Department said." TIME reported: "This was no military coup, but a spontaneous popular uprising."

It was anything but. When Mossadegh delayed settling with Anglo-Iranian on the takeover of the company, the British approached the CIA with a plan to remove the Premier and get Britain's oil back. The British could not do it alone, since they had left Iran. Allen Dulles, the CIA director, and his brother John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State, agreed. The Dulles brothers assigned the task of overseeing the clandestine venture to Kermit Roosevelt, a longtime intelligence operative and the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt. In the months leading up to the coup, Roosevelt spent much of his time in Tehran, coordinating efforts of CIA agents and Iranian sympathizers. To ensure the cooperation of a then indecisive Shah, the CIA turned to one of his old friends, General Schwarzkopf, who in 1942-48 worked with an internal-security force under palace command that helped the Shah maintain rule.

The CIA's fingerprints were everywhere. Operatives paid off Iranian newspaper editors to print pro-Shah and anti-Mossadegh stories. They produced their own stories and editorial cartoons and published fabricated interviews. They secured the cooperation of the Iranian military. They spread antigovernment rumors. They prepared phony documents to show secret agreements between Mossadegh and the local Communist Party. They masqueraded as communists, threatened conservative Muslim clerics and even staged a sham fire-bombing of the home of a religious leader. They incited rioters to set fire to a pro-Mossadegh newspaper. They stage-managed the appearance of Mossadegh's successor, General Zahedi, whose personal bank account they fattened.

Is it any wonder that we find this new verification of widely held beliefs, that the US government and its operatives are truly the craven villians and hypocrites they seem to be, and nothing they do is surpassed by other despots around the world. Right wingers will sputter and whine "Realpolitik...self interests...national defense...we had to do it."

Bullshit. We simply set out on a course to take what we want, when we want, with apparently no thoughts to long term ramifications. The Iranian coup we engineered led directly to the '79 revolution. The Chilean coup led directly to the disappearances of thousands of innocents.

And the merging of Nazi oficers into the modern German security apparatus led to...well, we will have to wait for further horrors, soon, at a theater near you. Starring Henry Kissinger, Donald Rumsfeld, Allen Dulles, Adolph Eichman, and a cast of thousands.

When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.