In late June, the US Central Intelligence Agency released to the public files on some of its many crimes. The files, 702 pages dubbed the “family jewels,” detail numerous illegal actions committed by the Agency between 1959 and 1973.
* The release attempts to take some heat off the widespread indignation about what the CIA, the US Department of Defense, and other government agencies are doing now.
The current CIA leadership and the Bush administration want the admission of past misdeeds to bury the perception that the CIA is still, in Cuban President Fidel Castro’s words, “a killing machine.” This is also a key aim of the US bourgeoisie.
What the files say is interesting, but not new information … they mostly confirm what has been reported already many times.
The files discuss CIA actions that were not authorized by any law, such as plots to assassinate foreign leaders, experiments with LSD and other mind-altering drugs, spying on at least 300,000 US citizens, infiltrating anti-war and radical groups, and harassing almost anyone who opposed US government policies, including the genocidal Vietnam War.
Books have been written about these things. For example, volumes have examined the hundreds of plots hatched by the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro. Then-attorney general Robert Kennedy personally managed some of the plots, and the government worked with the mafia to accomplish them.
All of this is very damning. The crimes of imperialism should be revealed for all to see.
* So, what is behind the CIA’s decision to release files more than 30 years later?
They make the CIA look bad, right?
When announcing the decision to release the files, CIA director Michael Hayden said, “The documents offer a look at very different times and at a very different Agency.”
At a time when the popularity of the executives steering the US government — the Bush administration and Congress — is at an all-time low, the most secretive of US agencies is trying to “clear the air” and give the false appearance of transparency.
But even the few files released are incomplete … around 100 pages of the “family jewels” were blacked-out to protect “sources and methods” — the traditional excuse given to protect officials and avoid public scrutiny.
The capitalists cannot preserve their rule by spewing right-wing propaganda exclusively. Browbeating US workers about “weapons of mass destruction” or the “axis of evil” without some occasional liberal corrective breeds suspicion and discontent — we’ve seen a glimpse of this in the past several years.
The capitalist class needs to pretend it is unbiased and deeply concerned with upholding the “rule of law.” The release of the “family jewels” gives a left-sounding veneer to the CIA’s past and current bloodletting.
Releasing information that is already widely known does nothing to harm the CIA. In fact, it helps the agency strike a confessional pose in the eyes of the US public.
No different agency
The CIA is not “a very different agency” today. Since its 1947 founding — in line with its precursor, the Office of Strategic Services — the CIA has been an essential intelligence and enforcement arm of the US capitalist class. Its main aims are collecting and analyzing information on foreign governments, disseminating propaganda, and conducting covert operations in the service of US imperialism.
Everything described in the now-public documents is still being carried out. The CIA still tries, and fails, to assassinate Fidel Castro (add Hugo Chavez to the list too). It still spies on people in the United States. It is more brutal and violent today than ever before.
Now, there are targeted assassinations and kidnappings, CIA torture prisons, extraordinary rendition “torture flights,” orchestrated coups, counterrevolutions and destabilization campaigns, and much more. In most cases, these result from official CIA policies crafted and overseen by the agency’s leadership in coordination with the White House.
The CIA has been quiet about its recent tactics, but some information has seeped out.
Targeted killings in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan, carried out by CIA drones, have killed dozens, maybe hundreds, since September 11, 2001. The Los Angeles Times in 2006 confirmed that unmanned CIA planes successfully launched 19 rocket attacks against “terror suspects” in that time period. A former US State Department official told the Times, “In most cases, we need the approval of the host country to do them. However, there are a few countries where the president has decided that we can whack someone without the approval or knowledge of the host government.”
Before 2001, CIA targeted killings happened in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
A recent investigative report exposed the CIA for running secret torture prisons between 2003 and 2005 in European countries like Poland and Romania. Prisoners were kept in solitary confinement, denied food and water for days, beaten and otherwise tortured using illegal methods.
* The agency also has cooperated with NATO to use the airspace of member states to illegally transport people to the prisons and other CIA facilities.
Hiring private contractors to fly “enemies of the state” all over the world for torture by CIA operatives and their local counterparts has been a hallmark of CIA work. The policy is officially called “extraordinary rendition.”
In one case, CIA agents, in concert with Italy’s homegrown spies, kidnapped an Egyptian in Milan in 2003. They transported him to US bases in Italy and Germany before finally rendering him to Egypt, where he was imprisoned and tortured for four years.
More unacknowledged recent CIA crimes include organizing and backing the 2002 anti-Chavez coup in Venezuela, carrying out the 2004 coup in Haiti and kidnapping President Aristide, shepherding CIA asset and anti-Cuba terrorist Luis Posada Carriles into the United States, arming sectarian death squads in Iraq, and supporting the “color revolutions” that resulted in US-favored candidates coming to power in former Soviet bloc countries.
That is just the short list.
The CIA remains a primary instrument of the US drive for world domination. Its tactics are terror, murder and disinformation. This is not just history. The release of the “family jewels” is designed to obscure this fact. VHeadline.com Venezuela