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Allen Dulles, Pioneer to the dark side and faithful servant to the Ruling Class

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

The Devil’s Chessboard, Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, David Talbot, 2015

This book is a reminder that our government’s journey to the dark side did not begin with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and W, or even with Henry Kissinger and Nixon. No its real roots go back to the OSS in WWII and to one man in particular, Allen Dulles.

kennedy duless

Any book dealing with Allen Dulles must also include his older brother John Foster Dulles. We will take Talbot’s nomenclature and use “Dulles” when referring to Allen, and “Foster” when referring to John Foster. There was also a brilliant younger sister Eleanor Dulles who was a lifelong diplomat and ambassador to Bonn Germany under Eisenhower. The Dulles clan were the children of a Presbyterian minister and Dulles sometimes referred to himself as the Calvinist.

Eleanor recalled a childhood incident summering on lake Ontario when Dulles was ten, Eleanor eight, and Nataline five. Nataline was playing with a rock when she fell into the lake. Eleanor screamed but Dulles, a strong swimmer, stood passively on the dock observing the struggling sister. He never moved but the mother, hearing Eleanor, ran from the house to rescue Nataline.

oss 55 and Carl Jung Agent 488 carl-jung

Dulles joined the OSS in WWII and assigned himself to serve in Bern Switzerland. His own wife Clover called Dulles the “shark” and she and Dulles’ long time mistress Mary Bancroft (they became close friends) sought counseling from Carl Jung in Switzerland. Jung observed in Dulles the disturbing mix of magnetism and ruthlessness common to dictators but Dulles had an impenetrable blankness making him hard to read. Other people, for Dulles, were either useful or nonexistent. Dulles was not capable of experiencing love. Only power was real to him. Dulles met Jung in 1943 and gave Jung an OSS spy number, Agent 488.

When Dulles’s brilliant only son Allen Jr., an Oxford graduate, failed to win affection or even attention from his father, he volunteered for the Korean War and was seriously brain damaged. Dulles subjected his son to CIA brain control researchers first with the notorious Dr. Wolff at Cornell and later with the equally notorious McGill University psychiatric facility. Clover finally intervened, moving Allen Jr. to a private institution in Switzerland where he remained until Dulles death. Allen Jr. was terrified of his father. Was Dulles a sociopath or a psychopath? Talbot never uses either term.

The Dulles brothers both worked at the Sullivan and Cromwell Wall Street Law Firm where Foster was the top executive. After WWI the firm developed a deep understanding of Swiss banking and played a central role in arranging German reparation contracts for leading German industrial firms like the cartels IG Farbin and Krupp steel. The brothers knew the key players in both Switzerland and Germany. It was no accident that Dulles positioned himself in Switzerland during WWII. For their entire lives, the Dulles brothers put their Sullivan and Cromwell clients and other American elite families like the Rockefellers, the Fords, the Carnegies, the Morgans ahead of the interests of their government. They remained throughout their lives faithful and trustworthy servants and stewards to those C Wright Mills referred to in his 1956 masterpiece as The Power Elite. Their class were almost exclusively ivy league educated WASPS belonging to the proper clubs.

C Wright Mills c wright mills

The men of the highest circles are not representative men; their high position is not a result of moral virtue; their fabulous success is not firmly connected with meritorious ability…They are not men shaped by nationally responsible parties that debate openly and clearly the issues this nation now so unintelligently confronts. They are not men held in responsible check by a plurality of volunteer associations which connect debating publics with the pinnacles of decision. Commanders of power unequaled in human history, they have succeeded within the American system of organized irresponsibility.

from The Power Elite

FDR was considered a traitor to their class because of his “radical New Deal” policies and they worked actively to ignore or undermine his policies. When FDR announced that only unconditional surrender would end WWII, Dulles acted treasonously to negotiate a truce with the fascists in Italy and attempted the same with the Nazis in Germany. He felt only existing right wing leaders in Italy and Germany would be able to withstand the encroachment of hated communism in both countries.

After FDR’s death in 1945, the Dulles brothers and their power elite set out to purge the government of all New Deal supporters. One of those recruited by Dulles for this purpose was Richard Nixon. Nixon was a Californian with Quaker roots and educated at Whittier College and Duke Law School. He applied to top law firms in New York in 1937 including Sullivan and Cromwell and received no offers (wrong class) an experience that left him bitter for the rest of his life. In 1945, naval officer Nixon was sorting through Nazi papers in an old torpedo factory in Alexandria when he found documents showing how the Dulles brothers laundered Nazi funds during the war. Nixon did what any patriotic military officer would do, he blackmailed Dulles. In return for his silence about the documents, Dulles would sponsor Nixon in the 1946 congressional race run against Jerry Voorhis, leader the the progressive caucus and one the the most powerful New Dealers in Congress. Dulles corporate friends supported Nixon lavishly and he won the election taking significant cash and a new car to Washington.

Alger Hiss hearings alger hiss

Nixon then went after New Dealer and FDR high ranking State Dept official Alger Hiss. Foster had just appointed Hiss to head the Carnegie endowment but Hiss had embarrassed Nixon in front of the HUAC and Nixon wanted revenge. Nixon discovered incriminating documents hidden in a pumpkin and Hiss career was finished. President Nixon later bragged to his staff how he had forged the documents.

truman dewey

The Dulles brothers expected to take over the State Department and CIA with the election of Dewey in 1948. When Truman won a surprising victory, Dulles had to look elsewhere. In 1949 Dulles founded an obscure intelligence outpost in the State Department meaninglessly named the Office of Policy Coordination. Dulles maneuvered Frank Wisner into position as OPC Chief and by 1952 OPC was operating 47 overseas stations and employed 3000 people. It specialized in the black arts of espionage sabotage, subversion, and assassination. Money for its operations came from Nazi loot that Dulles had access to. Many of its recruits were ex-Nazis. The OPC operated with no oversight or supervision. Few even knew it existed.

dulles eisenhower

In 1952 Foster went to London to convince Eisenhower, then head of NATO, to run for President. Foster simply bored Eisenhower and Churchill wickedly quipped, Dull, Duller, Dulles. Nevertheless Eisenhower ran and won and the Dulles era was launched in 1953. Dulles thought the HUAC was useful in the effort to purge New Deal government employee and he counted on Nixon to hold McCarthy in check. But no one could control McCarthy and he immediately attacked the Eisenhower administration starting with Foster’s State Department. Foster also felt cleaning New Dealers from his State Department was important and cooperated with the HUAC, even initiating purges of his own. State Department morale dropped to an all time low as countless careers were crushed. The US Information Service (USIS) was almost totally decimated and its libraries around the globe badly censored of material. Even the music of Aaron Copland (Appalachian Spring, Billie the Kid, etc.) was banned. When McCarthy turned to the tougher Dulles CIA the story was a little different. Dulles initially ignored or misplaced the HUAC subpoenas and when McCarthy refused to take the hint, Dulles went to McCarthy’s capital hill office to confront McCarthy with the extensive intimate dossier the CIA had assembled on McCarthy’s homosexual activities. McCarthy backed off the CIA and his ultimate downfall and Senate censure followed. McCarthy drank himself to death soon after.

The Dulles brothers sabotaged the government’s antitrust case against big oil’s Seven Sisters by having the case moved to Foster’s state department where it languished. Dulles organized the overthrow of the democratically elected Mossadegh’s government in Iran because they nationalized British oil production and cancelled a $650 million contract with Sullivan and Cromwell client Overseas Consultants. Eisenhower resisted efforts to overthrow the Iran government until the brothers convinced him that Iran’s oil was at risk of falling into communist hands. This new tactic worked magic with administrations for decades. Teddy’s grandson Kermit Roosevelt headed the coup efforts for the CIA and when the Shah ran away to Rome, Dulles went personally to escort him back to Iran and put him back on his Peacock throne. In 1954, CIAs Howard Hunt (of Bay of Pigs and Watergate fame) was sent to Guatemala to overthrow the legitimate Arbenz government because he had promised to redistribute unused United Fruit (another Sullivan and Cromwell client) lands to the people of Guatemala. United Fruit would have been compensated under the plan. Again Eisenhower bought into the fallacious threat of communist takeover argument. Then in 1956, CIA contractors picked up Columbia professor Jesus de Galindez who had written a 750 page dissertation critical of Dominican Republic dictator Trujillo, from the streets of Manhatten and flew him to the Dominican Republic where he was handed over to Trujillo who tortured and murdered the scholar. This is the first documented case of CIA Extraordinary Rendition.

This was the era of two revealing movies The Manchurian Candidate about mind control, and Dr. Strangelove.

CIA no match for Castro castro bay of pigs

After 8 years of continuous black ops, Dulles planned the ill fated Bay of Pigs invasion to overthrow Castro in Cuba that internal CIA assessments knew was doomed to failure. The CIA could never have successfully conducted an operation of this scale and against combat hardened well armed troops. Eisenhower amazingly approved the shoddy third rate plan scheduled to take place shortly after the inauguration of the new President JFK. Talbot says it was as if Eisenhower intentionally handed Kennedy a live grenade with the pin pulled. JFK, against the best advise of his team, kept Dulles and Hoover in their jobs upon assuming office but after the Bay of Pigs, for which Kennedy had to take full responsibility, Dulles career at the CIA was finished. Dulles, to the end of his life acted and was received by top CIA officials as if he still ran the agency. The CIA ran a black ops site near Williamsburg nicknamed the farm where Dulles kept an office til near his death in 1969.

Eisenhower had changed while in office. He no longer kept contact with his long time military friends but spent his spare time in the company of the power elite, most famously at Augusta National Golf Club. He embraced coups, assassinations, and other black ops as an inexpensive alternative to costly military action and also embraced massive nuclear retaliation as a reasonable response to soviet aggression. Kennedy promised a different future in this 1957 speech.

The most powerful single force in the world today is neither communism nor capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile–it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent. The great enemy of that tremendous force of freedom is called, for want of a more precise term, imperialism–and today that means Soviet imperisam and, whether we like it or not, and though they are not to be equated, Western imperialism…If we fail to meet the challenge of either Soviet or Western imperialism, then no amount of foreign aid, no aggrandizement of armaments, no new pacts or doctrines, or high-level conferences can prevent further setbacks to our course and to our security.

Congo President Patrice Lumumba lumumba lumumba stamp

Kennedy was a supporter of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first democratically elected leader following Belgium’s brutal colonial rule. In an act of incredible insubordination, Dulles went ahead with a CIA plan to kidnap Lumumba and hand him over to his enemies. Dulles was again acting on the wishes of Sullivan and Cromwell client firms with interests in the Congo. Lumumba was horribly tortured and killed but it was more than a month before Kennedy was told of his death.

Warren Commission Controlled by Dulles – Report Widely Discredited warren_report

Almost a third of this more than 600 page work is given to the assassination of the Kennedy brothers. This reader does not follow the research or theories of these events so is uncomfortable commenting on Talbot’s discussion. Talbot clearly believes JFK’s murder was a CIA, FBI, Secret Service conspiracy and a coup d’etat. He thinks RFK, an avid follower of all the research and writing on the JFK assassination did not support reopening the investigation because of the power of those responsible. RFK thought only if he were to occupy the white house would he be able to bring those responsible to justice. Talbot discusses the Jim Garrison New Orleans research which was the subject of Oliver Stone’s movie JFK . Federal agencies in Washington refused to provide documents to Garrison and others who were interested in further investigation like RFK were afraid to join Garrison’s efforts.

RFK’s assassination was eerily similar to that of his brother – problems with facts and evidence, fouled up investigations, and cover-ups. According to Talbot’s research both assassins had to be CIA patsies neither capable of executing anyone. Sirhan Sirhan may have even been drugged and pushed into place because he was totally incoherent at the time and later had no recall of events. During RFK’s assassination, fifteen shots were fired and the fatal shot came from the wrong direction, etc., etc. Dulles very cynically kept up a friendly exchange of letters with Teddy Kennedy after the RFK assassination, no doubt to assure himself that Teddy would not turn into the next big threat to investigate the assassinations.

De Gaulle at JFK’s funeral JFK funeral 1963

Talbot found an interesting quote published in France only in 2002 from Charles de Gaulle, who survived an attempted assassination in 1961 as dramatized in the movie Day of the Jackal.

America is in danger of upheavals. But you’ll see. All of them together will observe the law of silence. They will close ranks. They’ll do everything to stifle any scandal. They will throw Noah’s cloak over these shameful deeds. In order to not lose face in front of the whole world. In order not risk unleashing riots in the United States. In order to preserve the union and to avoid a new civil war. In order not to ask themselves questions. They don’t want to know. They don’t want to find out. They won’t allow themselves to find out.

The CIA’s Gray Ghost angelton
A minor character in the book is OSS spy James Jesus Angleton who met Dulles in Rome in WWII and remained Dulles life long acolyte. On his deathbed in 1987:

Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and more you betrayed, the more likely you were to be promoted…Outside their duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power. I did things that, in looking back on my life, I regret. But I was a part of it and loved being in it…Dulles, Helms, Wisner–these men were the “grand masters”. If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell. I guess I will see them soon.

Pax Britannica, Pax Americana, Pax Zhōngguó, The Last World Empire?

Friday, January 28th, 2022

To Govern the Globe, World Orders & Catastrophic Change, Alfred W. McCoy, 2021

Indeed, the Iberian (Spain and Portugal) vision of expansive sovereignty — acquisition of terrain by conquest and oceans by exploration — would continue under Dutch and British hegemony, illustrating the capacity of these global systems to survive the empires that created them…Thanks to the British and Dutch decisions to strip their colonial subjects of civil liberties and carry the transatlantic slave trade to new heights, the Iberian hierarchy of human inequality would, in all its cruelty and tragedy continue.

In the years following the (Dutch) East India Company’s founding in 1602, the city’s (Amsterdam) dynamism led to a host of financial innovations that soon made it… “the clearinghouse of world trade”. The new Bank of Amsterdam took deposits, transferred funds trans nationally and later stored vast quantities of precious metals in its vaults, helping make the city “Europe’s reservoir of gold and silver coin.” The Chamber of Maritime Insurance offered coverage for dozens of dangerous destinations, while the newspaper Amterdamsche Courant gave the city’s merchants critical information about the prices of goods arriving from those distant shores. Amsterdam also built the world’s first stock exchange, where up to five thousand met to trade more than four hundred commodities around a central courtyard that became “the nerve center of the entire international economy.”

William III Mary II

William’s (of Orange) reign also witnessed a modernization of the British economy along Dutch lines, exemplified by the founding of the Bank of England, the London Stock Exchange, and a profusion of private banks, insurance companies, and joint stock firms.

Coal was the catalyst for an industrial revolution that fused steam technology with steel production to make Britain master of the world’s oceans

Each step in slavery’s eradication was foreshadowed by a new stage in Britain’s use of coal-fired energy–including the introduction of steam power in mills and mines by the time Parliament banned the slave trade in 1807; the development of mobile steam engines for land and sea transport prior to the Later, abolition of West Indies slavery in 1833; and the adoption of coal powered steam power in almost all British industries by the 1850’s, when the Royal Navy’s anti-slavery patrols reached their coercive climax. Later, new forms of fossil energy — electricity and internal combustion engines — would render even the coerced labor of the imperial age redundant.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the Swedish physicist Svante Arrhenius would publish the first report on the capacity of industrial emission to cause global warming. By countless hours of painstaking manual calculations, he predicted with uncanny prescience and considerable precision “the temperature in the arctic regions would rise about 8 degrees to 9 degrees C., if the [carbon dioxide] increased 2.5 or 3 times its present value.”

Britain was the world’s preeminent power for more than a century, but its dominance nevertheless evolved through two distinct phases. From 1815 to 1880 it largely oversaw an “informal empire” with a loose hegemony over client states worldwide. In the period of “high imperialism” from 1880 to 1940, however the empire combined informal controls in countries like China, Egypt, and Iran with direct rule over colonies in Africa and Asia to encompass a full half of all humanity.

Parliament rescinded mercantilist laws that had protected British commerce for centuries, starting with the abolition of the (British) East India Company’s monopolies on Asian trade.

British engineers built the world’s first major central power plant at Deptford, London in 1888, capable of lighting two million electric bulbs. As electrical plants spread quickly, their generators were powered by the first coal-fired steam turbines…tying a knot between coal and electricity that persists to this day.

By century’s end (19th), discoveries (Iran, Indonesia, Burma) had created a sufficient supply of oil to enable a shift from steam to internal combustion engines in ships, trains, automobiles, and ultimately, aircraft.

Eleanor Roosevelt Universal Declaration of Human Rights

In fulfilling this commitment to human rights (The UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948), the United States would face some exceptional challenges. Unlike earlier imperial powers, it was, after all, a former colony with a long history of slavery and a succeeding system of racial segregation that would compromise its commitment to those principle at home. As its global power grew during these postwar decades, Washington would cultivate anti-Communist allies among authoritarian leaders in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, tacitly endorsing torture and repression in their lands. Even as the US practiced racial segregation at home and backed ruthless dictators abroad, civil society groups worldwide would continue to fight for human rights, just as African Americans would struggle for their civil rights at home, making this universal principal a defining attribute of Washington’s world order, almost in spite of itself.

By the time Washington’s world order was fully formed in the late 1950’s, the unequal power of its nuclear-armed bombers, its countless overseas military bases, and its covert interventions in the affairs of countless nations coexisted tensely with a new world order, epitomized by the UN, that was meant to protect the sovereignty of even small states and promote universal human rights. This underlying duality of Washington’s version of world power would manifest itself in numerous contradictions during its 70 years of global hegemony.

Washington’s visionary world order took form at two major conferences — at Breton Woods, New Hampshire, 1944 where 44 Allied nations forged an international financial system exemplified by the World Bank, and at San Francisco in 1945, where they drafted a charter for the UN that created a community of nations. The old order of competing empires, closed imperial trade blocs, and secret alliances would soon give way to an international community of emancipated colonies, sovereign nations, free trade, and peace through law. In essence, the UN charter’s many clauses rested on just two foundational principles that would soon become synonymous with Washington’s world order; inviolable national sovereignty and universal human rights.

Between 1945 and 2000, the US intervened in 81 consequential elections worldwide, including eight times in Italy, five in Japan, and many more in Latin America. Between 1958 and 1975, military coups, many of them American sponsored, changed governments in three dozen nations — a quarter of the world’s sovereign states — fostering a distinct “reverse wave” in the global trend toward democracy.

George Kennan supported covert operations

George Kennan, State Department official later called the creation of the CIA with authorization to conduct covert operations “The greatest mistake [he] ever made.

President Truman tried to limit the newly created CIA to intelligence gathering only with no authorization for covert activities. Allen Dulles maneuvered Frank Wisner into position as OPC Chief and by 1952 OPC was operating 47 overseas stations and employed 3000 people. It specialized in the black arts of espionage sabotage, subversion, and assassination. When Eisenhower became president in 1953, Kermit Roosevelt led the overthrow of the elected President of Iran and installation of the Shaw.

Throughout its rise to world power from 1820 to 1870, Britain increase its share of gross world product by just 1 percent per decade, while America’s rose by 2 percent during its accent from 1900 to 1950. By contrast, China was increasing its slice of the world pie at an extraordinary pace of 5 percent from 2000 to 2020.

…the accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers calculated that China’s economic output had already surpassed America’s in 2014 and was on a trajectory to become 40 percent larger by 2030.

Across Europe, hypernationalist parties like the French National Front, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Alternative for Germany, and the British Independence Party won voters by cultivating nativist reactions to just such trends, often attacking the economic globalization that had become a hallmark of Washington’s world order. Simultaneously, a generation of populist demagogues won power in nominally democratic nations around the world — notably Viktor Orban in Hungary, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, Narendra Modi in India, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and of course, Donald Trump in the United States.

While a weakening of Washington’s global reach seems likely, the future of its world order is still unclear. At present, China is the sole state to have most (but not all) of the requisites to become a new global hegemon. Its economic rise coupled with its expanding military and growing technological prowess under the “Made in China 2025” program, has given it many of the elements fundamental to superpower status…Yet, as the 2020s began, no state seemed to have both the full panoply of power to supplant Washington’s world order and the skill to establish global hegemony. Indeed, apart from its rising economic and military clout, China has a self referential culture, recondite non roman script (requiring 4000 characters instead of 26 letters), nondemocratic political structures, and a subordinate legal system that will deny it some of the chief instruments for global leadership.

Successful imperial transitions driven by the hard power of guns and money also require the soft power salve of cultural suasion if they are to achieve sustained and successful global domination. During its near century of hegemony from 1850 to 1940, Britain was the exemplar par excellence of soft power, espousing an enticing political culture of fair play and free markets that it propagated through the Anglican church, the English language and its literature, mass media such as the British Broadcasting Corporation, and it virtual creation of modern athletics (including cricket, soccer, tennis, rugby, and rowing). Similarly, US military and economic domination after 1945 was made more palatable by the appeal of Hollywood films, civic organizations like Rotary international, and popular sports like basketball and baseball. On the higher plane of principle, Britain’s anti-slavery campaign invested its global hegemony with moral authority, just as Washington’s advocacy of human rights lent legitimacy to its world order…China still has nothing comparable. Both its communist ideology and its popular culture are avowedly particularistic.

China has been a command economy state for much of the past century, and as such has developed neither the legal culture of an independent judiciary nor an autonomous rules-based order complementary with the web of law that undergirds the modern international system.

Xi Jiping – Zhōngguó (China) is translated as Middle Kingdom

If, however, Bejing’s potentially immense infrastructure investments, history’s largest by far, succeed in unifying the commerce of three continents, then the currents of financial power and global leadership may indeed flow, as if by natural law, toward Beijing. But if that bold project falters or ultimately fails, then for the first time in five centuries, the world could face an imperial transition without a clear successor as global hegemon.

From scientific evidence, it seems clear that, for the first time in seven hundred years, humanity is facing another cumulative, century long catastrophe akin to the Black Death of 1350 to 1450 that could once again rupture a global order and set the world in motion…If the “Chinese century” does indeed start around 2030, it is unlikely to last long, ending perhaps sometime around 2050 when the impact of global warning becomes unmanageable. With its main financial center at Shanghai flooded and its agricultural heartland baking in insufferable heat, China’s days as a global power will be numbered.

Given that Washington’s world system and Beijing’s emerging alternative are largely failing to limit carbon emissions, the international community will likely need a new form of collaboration to contain the damage. In the years following the Paris climate accord, the current world system — characterized by strong nation-states and weak global governance at the UN — has proven inadequate to the challenge of climate change. The 2019 Madrid climate summit failed to forge a collective agreement for emission reduction sufficient to cap global warming to 1.5C, largely due to the obstruction of major emitters like Australia, Brazil, China, India, and the United States. Any world order, whether Washington’s or Beijing’s that is based on primacy of the nation-state will probably prove incapable of coping with the political and economic crisis likely to arise from the appearance of some 275 million climate refuges by 2060 or 2070.

US Anticommunist Extermination Programs 1945-2000

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

The Jakarta Method, Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade & the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World, Vincent Bevins, 2020

Zhou Enlai Nehru Nasser Sukarno Nehru

In 1955 President Sukarno of Indonesia organized a conference of the leaders of the non aligned third world nations (former colonies) held in Bandung Java Indonesia. The conference was attended by representatives of 29 former colonial nations. Notable attendees in addition to Sukarno were Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Zhou Enlai of China. The core principles of the Bandung Conference were political self-determination, mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, and equality. US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (older brother of Allen Dulles) was strongly opposed to the conference. The Bandung conference represented the high point of the attempt to forge cooperation among non aligned third world nations.

This book features two contrasting Americans, Frank Wisner who worked for Allen Dulles in the WWII OSS and after at the CIA as Dulles’ master of covert (black ops) operations until Wisner killed himself in 1965; and Howard P. Jones, who served as US Ambassador to Indonesia from 1958 to 1964 and as Chancellor of the East West Center University of Hawaii from 1965 to 1968. President Truman wanted the CIA to serve as intelligence gatherers only, so Allen Dulles maneuvered Frank Wisner into position as OPC Chief and by 1952 OPC was operating 47 overseas stations operating out of US embassys and consulates and employed 3000 people. Wisner is the mastermind behind the early 1953 Iran coup (executed by Kermit Roosevelt) and the Guatemala coup of 1954 and every black ops through the 1964 Brazilian coup and the 1965 Indonesian coup.

Unlike Wisner, who was a die hard crusader, Jones had a completely different approach to the rest of the world. Rather than viewing every situation in terms of a black and white global struggle, he sought to engage deeply with the complexities of each situation.

Sukarno with Jones

Jones played an important role in repairing the damaged caused to United States-Indonesian relations by the Eisenhower Administration’s covert support for the failed PRRI/Permesta regional uprisings in Sumatra and the Celebes. Following the capture of an American pilot Allen Lawrence Pope (in 1958) who was participating in a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) black op in support of the Permesta rebels, Jones portrayed Pope as an American “paid soldier of fortune” and expressed his regret at the involvement of an American.

JFK traveled widely after WWII, visiting Indonesia twice. When JFK became President he told Jones that Jones was solely in charge of relations with Sukarno and Indonesia. Reeling from the Bay of Pigs disaster, JFK no longer trusted the CIA and wanted Jones to have a hand free of interference from CIA black ops. After JFK’s assassination, LBJ, with almost no international experience but listening to JFK’s holdover advisors, stopped all cooperation with Sukarno and recalled Ambassador Jones. The CIA now had a free hand to move forward with overthrowing the Sukarno government and attacking the PKI communist party of Indonesia, at the time the third largest communist political party behind China and the Soviet Union. The coup began on Sept. 30, 1965 and on October 2, an unknown (except to key US policy makers) army general Suharto took over the government. On Oct 5, Ambassador Howard Green cabled the State Department:

Spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality (this priority effort is perhaps most needed immediate assistance we can giver army if we can find way to do it without identifying it as solely or largely US effort). .. The army now has the opportunity to move against Communist Party if it moves quickly…”It’s now or never.”

On Oct 29 Frank Wisner killed himself.

On Nov 22, D.N. Aidit, leader to PKI in Central Java was arrested and executed. The military reported and Newsweek published Aidit’s confession that the PKI planned to take over the country. His confession was impossible and a part of an anticommunist black propaganda operation.

In Jan. 1966, Bobby Kennedy was the only American politician to speak up:

We have spoken out against the inhuman slaughters perpetrated by the Nazis and the Communists. But will we speak out also against the inhuman slaughter in Indonesia, where over 100,000 alleged Communists have not been perpetrators but victims

What followed was a state sponsored massacre and genocide of a million Indonesians, many ethnic Chinese. These events are largely unknown in the US although a 2012 documentary The Act of Killing and a companion 2014 documentary The Look of Silence raised awareness for some Americans and others around the world. Indonesia is the only country that engaged in genocide and never attempted an accounting or reconciliation.

…in the years 1945-1990, a loose network of US-backed anticommunist extermination programs emerged around the world, and they carried out mass murder in at least twenty-two countries. there was no central plan, no master control room where the whole thing was orchestrated, but I think that the extermination programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, East Timor, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Korea, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam should be seen as interconnected and a crucial part of the US victory in the Cold War… The men carrying out purposeful executions of dissidents and unarmed civilians learned from one another. Sometimes they even named their operations after other programs they sought to emulate. I found evidence indirectly linking the metaphor “jakarta”, taken from the largest and most important of these programs, to at least eleven countries. But even the regimes that were never influenced by that specific language would have been able to see, very clearly, what the Indonesian military had done and the success and prestige it enjoyed in the West afterwards.

Following are the conclusions of Harvard historian Odd Arne Westad:

We can see the Cold War as the global circumstances under which the vast majority of the world’s countries moved from direct colonial rule to something else, to a new place in a new global system. If we view it this way, then there is not a simple winner/loser binary between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the third world, there were many paths each country could take; more importantly, most of them are still on the specific path that was shaped and taken during the Cold War

The primary subject of this book is the CIA led mass murder programs designed to eliminate communist and any left leaning populations, but Bevins does spend some attention on the enormous economic pressures the US is able to exert on any government it is trying to undermine. The combination of trade policy, withholding of capital investment and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Neo-Liberal lending can bring any third world economy to its knees without any resort to CIA inspired mass murder programs. Neo-Liberal policies first found their experimental base in the 1972-3 Chili coup when several Chili native Chicago School graduates took charge of Chili’s economy under Pinochet and invited their professor Milt Friedman to advice them. Since that time, Neo-Liberal Chicago School economics have dominated most of the first world approach to the third world and Southern Europe and Ireland.

This book is very personal to this reader. In June 1965, I arrived as a graduate student grantee at the East West Center to work on a masters degree in International Relations with a goal of becoming a State Department diplomat. Chancellor (Ambassador) Howard Jones arrived at the East-West Center a month later.
Under the grant, students from the US and Asia study at the University of Hawaii for one year and then are granted a one year field trip in Asia or America. I passed the foreign service exam in Hawaii and was scheduled for an oral interview in Karachi Pakistan. There were a number of students from Indonesia at the Center and we all socialized so I was somewhat aware of events in Indonesia as they unfolded.

Hotel Indonesia Kempinski built by Sukarno in 1962

When I left Hawaii, I had heard that as many as a half million Indonesians, many of them of Chinese ancestry had been killed. Sometime in late 1966, I arrived in Jakarta for a couple of week visit. I was met by an American from the Embassy who claimed to be there by chance. I am sure he was sent specifically to escort me. He insisted I was required to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel (five star, now Hotel Indonesia Kempinski) and was required to arrange any travel through the official travel agency located in the hotel’s arcade. The nightly room cost alone put a huge dent in my monthly travel stipend. Then I got lucky. The young Indonesian woman at the travel agency, realizing I knew Indonesian students studying in Hawaii arranged a great itinerary; by bus and train to Bandung, then on to Yogyakarta (the old pre-colonial capital). During the train trip to Yogyakarta, I met a young, Dutch trained military officer who was on his way to his wedding. He invited me meet his beautiful fiancee and to the reception, an Indonesian feast. From there I traveled by bus to the coast where I boarded a WWII landing craft to cross to Bali. All hotels were Dutch colonial era with ceiling fans. In Bali, plans were underway for a massive tourist buildup with an enlarged airport and numerous beachfront hotels. Outrigger canoes were arriving from Hawaii and Hawaiians were busily training Balinese for the expected tourists. There were nightly gamelan tourist performances in Denpasar but if I walked away from town guided by the gongs, I could find natural events in the nearby villages. I met an engineer living in a beachfront cottage who was working on the airport expansion. I then flew back to Jakarta where I explored for a few more days. At no point did anyone mention the killings. Bevins says that one of the Bali tourist hotels is called Ku De Ta, which he thinks may be Indonesian humor. It is possible this hotel and others have been built on mass beach front burial grounds. Bali experienced the highest level of killings per capita anywhere in Indonesia.

I met other US diplomats on my travels and quickly concluded that the State Department was not for me. One of my professors in Hawaii was a Bengal Communist who introduced me to several Indian Communist Labor leaders. I met one in Delhi who told me about a labor demonstration scheduled for that day. I got a bicycle rickshaw and dropped by the demonstration on my way to an evening party at the US Embassy. The demonstration was met by armed police who opened fire and killed a number of demonstrators. That evening I asked a reporter from Time Magazine and several diplomats about the demonstration and the killings and no-one had heard anything. A month later, while I was in Calcutta, a Communist labor leader told me about an upcoming general strike. A few days later, Calcutta was completely shut down by a massive, coordinated labor strike. In the 1967 general election the Communist Party won a majority in the state of Kerala. India somehow was spared the “jakarta” mass extermination experience. I later met diplomats and their wives in Katmandu who were all miserable and disappointed with their career paths. I never showed up for my Karachi interview and have never regretted that decision.

Secrets in an Open Society

Monday, September 10th, 2007

Legacy of Ashes, the History of the CIA, Tim Weiner, 2007

A 500 page history using recently released documents and extensive interviews, Weiner concludes that the gross incompetence of the current American intelligence community is not new, they have been incompetent since their beginning in WWII. Our impressions have until now been based on rumor, speculation, and revealed screwups. With this book we have the full history in agonizing, painful detail.

Americans are incurious people, terrible at languages and ignorant of other cultures. For most of our history, America has been staunchly isolationist, wanting nothing to do with foreign intrigues. During WWII America relied heavily on British intelligence. The wartime OSS was largely an adjunct of British intelligence. After the war, a small cadre of mostly Ivy League OSS officers tried to build an American intelligence service. Throughout the CIA’s history they have never been able to find or attract talented agents and the history of intelligence gathering is almost non existent. America had no idea what was happening in the Soviet Union or Communist China. The Russian atomic bomb, the first space rocket, the Chinese invasion of Korea were all total surprises to our intelligence gatherers. When Stalin died in 1953 the CIA was clueless what might happen. On the other hand, foreign powers found easy access to American intelligence, infiltration our service freely and feeding false information at will.

Weiner focuses the early history on three cowboys not much interested in intelligence gathering but keenly interested in covert operations, Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, and Richard Helms. Their approach was to spend money to buy people and elections, to arm badly trained insurgents and then send them to their deaths in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China. One operative, nationalist general Li Mi, stranded in northern Burma was given money and guns. Li Mi refused to fight the Chinese communists and instead built a heroin drug empire in the area known as the Golden Triangle. The CIA had to start another war twenty years later to wipe out his drug empire.

In 1950, the CIA launched a fifteen year research program originally code named artichoke and later ultra to test heroin, amphetamines, sleeping pills, LSD, and “special interrogation techniques” for mind control. Some subjects were kept in Panama. One army employee test subject jumped out a hotel window in New York. Richard Helms later destroyed all record of these programs.

An early story of the Berlin tunnel reveals the pattern. The CIA committed 350 agents to dig a 1467 foot tunnel from American Berlin into East Berlin and to tap into a cable communications link. The tunnel was completed in 1955 and an army of translators decoded the tens of thousands of voice and telex messages. After 11 months, the tunnel was uncovered and an international uproar ensued. From documents released in 2007 we discovered that the Soviets had learned from a mole about the tunnel before it was even dug and were systematically feeding bad information to the CIA until they decided to create an incident over the tunnel itself. The Americans’ big coup was a disaster from the start.

During WWII the British SOE operations returned three out of four agents sent behind enemy lines to conduct covert operations see. The CIA has lost virtually every agent ever dropped into covert operations. Of these deaths the cavalier, urbane, Allen Dulles said;
Allen W Dulles Allen Dulles

You have got to have a few martyrs. Some people have to get killed.

The agencies first “success“, was the overthrow of the elected Iranian government of Mohammad Mossadeq to preserve British oil rights in Iran. The CIA planned to return the weak willed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi to power but he kept disappearing. In one bizarre coincidence. Allen Dulles ran into Pahlavi checking into the same luxury hotel in Rome. The CIA had lost track of him. The coup that restored the Shah was almost an accident. For the twenty years of Pahlavi’s reign in Iran, he was known throughout the country as the CIA’s Shah.

The CIA’s next “successes“, was the overthrow of the Arbenz government in Guatemala. Cowboy diplomat and CIA associate Jack Peuifoy said of his visit to Guatemala City;

I have come to Guatemala to use the big stick. I am definitely convinced that if the President (Arbenz) is not a communist, he will certainly do until one comes along.

The coup was again almost accidental but the result was forty years of military rule, death squads, and repression. The CIA was also responsible for the assassination of Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in 1961, personally sanctioned by JFK.

Following WWII the CIA was willing to work with anyone anti-Communist. This included former Nazis and Hitler youth throughout Germany and Eastern Europe. These efforts were largely futile as the Nazis were widely hated by everyone.

More successful were the recruitment and support of two Japanese war criminals. Nobusuke Kishi signed the declaration of war against the US in 1941. After his release from prison Kishi masterminded the conservative misnamed Liberal Democratic party that dominated Japanese politics for fifty years. Kishi’s prison cellmate was Yoshio Kodama was a gangster who amassed a personal fortune of $1,750,000 running black markets in occupied China during the war. Together, the war criminal cell mates ran crime and politics in post war Japan. All with the support and financial assistance from the CIA.

The CIA’s record of total failure in intelligence gathering was finally broken when Allen Dulles succeeded in infiltrating, bugging, and planting false information in the offices of Senator Joseph McCarthy who was upset that communists had been so successful in planting spies within the CIA. Dulles succeeded in discrediting McCarthy. Dulles said of his operative, James Angleton, in the McCarthy case; “You have saved the republic.”

In Feb 1956 Nikita Khrushchev delivered a speech to the 20th Congress denouncing Stalin. It took Angleton three months to get a copy of the speech from the Israelis who provided almost all intelligence, however biased, on the Middle East. The CIA immediately began broadcasting the speech via Radio Free Europe but were oblivious and ignorant of the ensuing political crisis in Poland, Hungary, and Egypt. When finally informed, Dulles and the CIA totally misrepresented these events to the President. The CIA knew nothing of Israel’s plan for war against Egypt and of Britain’s plan to use the war as a excuse to seize the Suez canal. Dulles advised the President that the Hungarian uprising meant that Khrushchev’s days were numbered. The CIA had one person in Hungary, Frank Wisner, who had no agents, no Hungarian speakers, no contacts with the rebels, no weapons, no plans, nothing except Radio Free Europe which they used to give the appearance of a full scale revolution. Wisner left Budapest for Vienna. Dulles reported to the President that 80% of the Hungarian army had joined the rebels. He was wrong, the rebels had no arms and the Russians crushed them.

By 1957, the Middle East and it oil became the front line in the cold war. Eisenhower did not believe that those in the Middle East would be able to successfully run free governments. He decided that the best course was to promote the idea of an Islamic Jihad against communism. “We should be everything possible to stress the holy war aspect” (Eisenhower). The CIA would deliver guns, money, and intelligence to King Saud of Saudi Arabia, King Hussein of Jordan, President Chamoun of Lebanon, and President Said of Iraq; “These four mongrels were supposed to be our defense and communism and the extremes of Arab nationalism in the Middle East”. The CIA spent the next decade trying unsuccessfully to overthrow the government of Syria. When the CIA ran into trouble in Iraq they eventually threw support behind the emerging Ba’ath Party where Saddam Hussein would rise to the top.

In 1957, Eisenhower ordered the CIA to overthrow the non aligned Sukarno regime in Indonesia where oil had been discovered, and where the communist party was gaining strenth. The resulting attempt was a total failure with an American bomber pilot captured with full identification and records of his missions. The CIA backed off and Sukarno stayed in power for seven more years while the communist party gained strength. Indonesia, following Hungary drove covert operator Frank Wisner over the edge into insanity and he was committed and subjected to shock treatment.

Frank Wisner Frank Wisner

The CIA’s best analyst, Abbott Smith,wrote in 1958:

We had constructed for ourselves a picture of the USSR, and whatever happened had to be made to fit into that picture. Intelligence estimators can hardly commit a more abominable sin.

The CIA, defense department, and military contractors convinced Eisenhower that the USSR had over five hundred ICBMs pointed at the West. In reality they had four.

Frank Wisner was replaced as head of clandestine operations by Richard Bissell on Jan 1 1959, the same day Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba. In December Bissell was ordered to remove Castro from Cuba. Bissell and his second in command Richard Helms hated one another. The players from the successful Guatemala coup were brought together and the invasion group of chatty Cubans was sent to Guatemala for training. Nixon, facing a touch presidential race, asked them to hold off an invasion until after the election. In the meantime, the CIA backed the overthrow of Patrice Lumemba in the Congo by Joseph Mobutu. He ruled for thirty years, stealing billions and slaughtering thousands to preserve power.

Kennedy won a tight election and was told by his father Joe to retain J Edgar Hoover and Allen Dulles because they knew Kennedy family secrets including a wartime affair of John with a Nazi spy. Kennedy assumed that Eisenhower had approved the Bay of Pigs invasion and Bissel did not tell him otherwise nor that Bissel believed the invasion would fail. The invasion without proper air support was a disaster.

An autopsy of the Bay of Pigs, the Tailor Board heard the following testimony from CIA pioneer General Walter Bedell Smith:

A Democracy cannot wage war. When you go to war, you pass a law giving extraordinary powers to the President. The people … assume when the emergency is over, the rights and powers that were temporarily delegated to the Chief Executive will be returned… When you are at war, cold war if you like, you must have an amoral agency which can operate secretly…

JFK, after the debacle at the Bay of Pigs, moved covert operations to the control of brother Bobby who launched almost as many covert operations in three years as Eisenhower launched in eight years.

When JFK was killed, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, and others including the CIA worried that Fidel Castro was behind the murder. LBJ once said “Kennedy was trying to get Castro, but Castro got to him first.” The Warren Commission that included Gerald Ford was never told that RFK had ordered the assassination of Castro and had made several attempts including poison and a mafia hit man. Castro had a mole in the CIA and presumably knew of all these attempts.

Spy Kim Philby Kim Philby

James Angleton’s old friend and tutor in counterintelligence, Kim Philby, defected to Moscow in 1963. The paranoid Angeton, seeking redemption after Philby, believed that KGB defector Yuri Nosenko knew something about JFK’s murder. Nosenko was imprisoned and tortured for five years until the CIA finally decided he was telling the truth and knew nothing.

Immolated Monk

Among covert CIA operations, Vietnam stands out. The CIA created a government under Catholic Diem who started oppressing the Buddhists more than he fought the communists. The embarrassed CIA, tired of watching images of burning Buddhist monks and nuns on TV and newspapers, arranged for his removal, starting a long succession of CIA puppet governments set up and removed one after the other.

A supposed incident in the Gulf of Tonkin where two American destroyers were attacked was used by LBJ to push through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of August 7, 1964 authorizing war in Vietnam. The incident never happened but the lie only came fully to light in 2005. Intelligence about Hanoi during the war was non existent. The CIA estimated enemy troop levels at 500,000 in 1966 but this was reduced under military and diplomatic pressure to 299,000. At 500,000, the actual number, the Americans would never win the war. While pretending to negotiate an end to the war Nixon and Kissinger simply stalled until Americans were forced out in 1975. Neither ever intended to end the war despite Nixon’s campaign promises in 1968 and 1972 to end the war if elected.

Covert operations were taking place in Thailand, where a CIA backed political party, elections, and military government was created in 1965.

The CIA paid an annual subsidy of $180,000 directly to the Dalai Lama and established Tibet Houses in New York and Geneva. Their attempts over twenty years at a cost of millions of dollars to train insurgents to harass the Chinese in Tibet killed numerous insurgence and resulted in capture of a single satchel of Chinese military documents. See the CIA’s secret war.

Covert operations continued in Indonesia, where attempts to overthrow Sukarno were given a boost as the aging Sukarno joined forces with the communists to remove key military leaders in 1965. Five generals were assassinated, The CIA recruited and funded Indonesian diplomat Adam Malik who together with a central Java sultan and army general Suharto and a political movement the Kap-Gestapu, launched a civil war in which 500,000 Indonesians were killed and 1 million arrested, Suharto began his long standing military dictatorship and Malik became foreign minister and eventually President of the UN General Assembly. For forty years the CIA denied involvement in this massacre.

Tony Poe’s Troops
Tony Poe

Covert operations in Laos focused on the Ho Chi Minh Trail through the country, where the CIA coordinated American bombing and headed geurilla forces involving tribal Hmong fighters. Notorious CIA operator Anthony Poshepny known as Tony Poe, was the probable model for Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in the movie Apocalypse Now. Like Kurtz, the CIA believed Poe mad. Like Kurtz, Poe had his fighters cut off the ears of dead enemy combatants. Unlike Kurtz, Poe was left alone to fight as he saw fit.

Tony Poe Tony Poe

In Latin America the CIA was backing the leaders of eleven nations, providing money, weapons, and military training. The CIA sent agents in the hunt for Che Guevara and in 1967 he was found and killed in Bolivia.

Helms and LBJ Helms and LBJ

LBJ finally appointed Richard Helms as Director of the CIA. James Angleton, who the Israelis had given the 1956 Khrushchev speech, now received complete details of the upcoming 6 day war of 1967 when the Israeli military overran the entire area. This intelligence coup was the high point of CIA prestige. They totally missed the 1973 Yom Kipper war because no one told them about it before hand. On balance, Angleton’s paranoia concerning Soviet infiltration of the CIA meant that the CIA remained almost totally blind to Soviet events throughout his tenure at the agency. If Angleton ever learned anything, he often kept it to himself telling no one else.

Helms and Nixon Helms and Nixon

When Nixon came to power Richard Helms formed the Covert Operations Study Group in 1968. Among their findings (secret of course);

Covert operations can rarely achieve an important objective alone…At best, a covert operation can win time, forestall a coup, or otherwise create favorable conditions which will make it possible to use overt means to finally achieve an important objective.
On balance, exposure of clandestine operations costs the U.S. in terms of world opinion. To some, exposure demonstrates the disregard of the U.S. for national rights and human rights; to others it demonstrates only our impotence and ineptness in getting caught…Our credibility and our effectiveness in this role (expanding the international rule of law) is necessarily damaged to the extent that it becomes known that we are secretly intervening in what may be (or appear to be) the internal affairs of others.

Henry Kissinger Henry Kissinger

The only recommendation of the group adopted by Nixon was to appoint Henry Kissinger to direct covert operations. One of Kissinger’s covert successes was the overthrow of democratically elected Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973 after three years of effort. Chile, which had been a democracy since the 1930s was thrown into a violent repressive military dictatorship under Pinochet. In 1976 Pinochet arranged to blow up a car with some enemies only forteen blocks from the White House. Pinochet’s reign of terror lasted seventeen years. Today survivors of Pinochet’s Caravan of Death are pursuing Kissinger in the courts of Chile, Argentina, Spain, and France.

The CIA backed a rogue Greek general Ioannidis who started a Greek Turkish war over Cyprus. The intense Watergate investigation brought light and heat on CIA operations greatly weakening the agency. During this time, the extent of CIA domestic surveillance came out. Seymour Hersh of the New York Times broke the story of CIA domestic spying on anti Vietnam war forces in 1974. During the investigations that followed Angleton said:

Angleton James Angleton

It is inconceivable that a secret arm of the government has to comply with all the overt orders of the government.

From Nixon’s time forward, CIA intelligence was generated (made up) for political purposes and had little to do with reality. This continued into the ridiculous claims about Soviet military power to support the Reagan star wars initiatives. An assessment by John Huizenga in 1971 sums up;

I really do not believe that an intelligence organization in this government is able to deliver an honest analytical product…and have it taken at face value… I think that intelligence has had relatively little impact on the policies that we’ve made over the years. Relatively none. ..The intelligence effort did not alter the premises with which political leadership came to office. They brought their baggage and they more or less carried it along.

Under Carter, the CIA missed the overthrow of the shah of Iran by a fanatic ayatollah and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. They not only missed them, they were in denial that these things could happen. The CIA didn’t even know who Khomeini was. In 1979 a group of Iran students and followers of Khomeini stormed the American embassy. CIA agent Daugherty, captured in the raid remembers;

It had been difficult enough for them to accept that the CIA would post an inexperienced officer in their country. But it was beyond insult for that officer not to speak the language or know the customs, culture, and history of their country.

The hostages in Iran were released when Carter left the White House in 1981. Iranians seized other hostages and Reagan indicated his willingness to sell arms to Iran for hostage release. Delirious, Iran seized more hostages. In the most boneheaded scheme in CIA history, the agency spun off money from arms sold to Iran to give to the Nicaragua contras. The complex scheme leaked and the ensuing scandal did more to damage the CIA than Nixon’s Watergate.

Carrying on the grand tradition, the clueless CIA watched the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 live on CNN along with the rest of us. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the CIA all but ceased to exist. The fall of the Soviet Union had an impact “analogous to the effect of the meteor strikes on the dinosaurs.” Well said!

Aldrich Hazen Ames Aldrich Hazen Ames

In 1994 Aldrich Hazen Ames, CIA agent since 1967 was arrested. Ames was a Soviet mole since 1985, giving up virtually all agents operating behind the iron curtain. Most were executed. No wonder the CIA had no intelligence on the Eastern Block.

The CIA went on to miss the nuclear tests in India and Pakistan in 1998; and the bombings of three embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole by Al Qaeda. They then provided bad actionable intelligence leading Clinton to bomb a Pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, the Chinese embassy in Serbia, and an empty Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. The CIA became so gun shy after these debacles that they passed up numerous opportunities to send agents to assassinate Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan.

The CIA failures to uncover the 9/11 attacks and the false intelligence generated to support war with Iraq were the final straws. Bush sent conservative political hack Porter Goss to dismantle the service. All senior and liberal agents were sacked and replaced by fellow conservative political hacks. Intelligence and covert operations moved to the Defense Dept. and State Dept. and to private beltway bandits who have built a $50 billion intelligence industry out of the ashes.

Personal Conclusions

Eisenhower warned Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson that war cannot be won without good intelligence. In Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, we did not and do not have good intelligence. Maybe it is time to admit certain truths. We can start with an admonishment from Richard Helms;

Richard Helms Richard Helms

The only remaining superpower doesn’t have enough interest in what’s going on in the world to organize and run an espionage service.

The following are my personal conclusions after reading this well researched book and should not be confused with Weiner’s own conclusions.

First, democracy and war are incompatible and a President should only be given war powers under very extreme circumstances such as those that existed in WWII and have not existed in the cold war or since. Having war every few years to enhance executive power is dangerous and perhaps fatal to our democracy. All other conflicts should be handled through diplomacy and international organizations.

Second, espionage requires deception and amoral judgments, in addition to language and cultural skills that are basically and perhaps fortunately rare skills hard for Americans to acquire. Those capable of deception are equally capable of deceiving themselves, the American people and the President. Judging from the CIA, they tend to be rogue characters impossible to harness. If possible, Americans should devise ways of acquiring intelligence without relying on espionage.

Third, covert operations should be banned altogether. Most of todays international conflicts find their origins in our own past covert actions and many of the weapons used and trained personnel involved in today’s conflicts were provided and trained under cover of American covert activity. This continues to be true throughout the world including Afghanistan and Iraq. Covert actions during the cold war invariably supported fascist right wing extremists all over the world and the repercussions of their repressions are still felt today and will be felt for some time. Covert operations did more to encourage Islamist Jihadist radical extremists than Middle East oil money supporting extremist madrasas. What goes around comes around.

In summary, An open democratic society is incompatible with a government that operates, even in part, in secret. The government must remain completely transparent throughout all its parts and to its people. A government with secrets is a danger both to itself and to everyone else.

As an aside, some of Barack Obama’s recent remarks about actionable intelligence to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden brings back nightmare images from Clinton’s mis targeted bombings. I hope Obama takes the time to carefully study this book before making further foreign policy pronouncements.

Shocking Greed

Monday, January 7th, 2008

The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, 2007

naomi_klein.jpg shockdoctrine.jpg
Milton Friedman friedman-galbraith.jpg and John Kenneth Galbraith -The long and short of Twentieth Century Economics.

This book is a history of neoconservatism from its Milton Friedman Chicago roots in the 50s to today. The use of shock to effect neoconservative economic transformations started with the Indonesian military coup of 1965 and continued into Latin America (Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay) in the 1970s. Bolivia and Poland demonstrated in the 1980s that sufficient economic shock (inflation devaluation flight of capital) could coerce democratically elected governments to implement neocon economic “reforms”. Trinidad and Tobago showed that the IMF could effect an economic crisis by fabricating statistics and causing a flight of capital. With Russia and the 1997 Asian economic crisis, the neocons perfected the mechanism of crisis to engender massive transfers of wealth and ownership into private and foreign hands. And finally, the Bush administration neocons have learned to use armed force and the threat of force to create the crisis that can then be exploited to massively move ownership and wealth into new private hands. In fact, the force itself has largely been privatized. The public core is being emptied of all its critical functions.

Sukarno overthrown by Suharto sukarno-suharto.jpeg

Augusto Pinochet pinochet2.jpgpinochet.jpg

The theoretical underpinnings of neoliberalism (Neoconservatism) were born at the Chicago School of Economics in the 1950’s with Milton Friedman as chief guru although significant contributions were made by Harvard and Berkeley (in 1965, at the height of the Vietnam protests). Klein discovers that the Keynesian era with its New Deal, European and Japanese reconstruction under the Marshall Plan, and European social welfare programs were all made possible by the threat of Communism and radical socialism at the time. The Chicago (and Berkeley) boys (economists educated at these schools) were able to effect massive changes in Indonesia and in several Latin American countries such as privatization (often selling key national assets to foreign multinationals), removal of price controls, free trade, and reduction of social programs and safety nets because of crisis conditions in those countries. The crises led to or resulted in military coups and reigns of terror such as Pinochet in Chile and Suharto in Indonesia where thousands were arrested, tortured and died. Then the neoconservatives learned to exploit economic crises in a democracy without overthrowing the government with examples from Bolivia and South Africa.

To aid in creating or expanding economic crisis worldwide, the Chicago School effectively took control of both the IMF and the World Bank, created after WWII to reduce economic crises. By insisting that massive foreign debt incurred by corrupt dictatorships or Apartheid regimes be honored, and by refusing aid and loans to desperate governments, the IMF and World Bank could manipulate and expand economic crises to create conditions (runaway inflation, massive unemployment) to force governments to implement neoconservative policies or to be overthrown by those who would be willing to implement such policies.

Milton Friedman with Reagan friedman-reagan.jpg

The Chicago School crisis addicts were certainly on a speedy intellectual trajectory. Only a few years earlier, they had speculated that a hyperinflation crisis could create the shocking conditions required for shock policies. Now a chief economist (Michael Bruno), an institution funded, by this time, with tax dollars from 178 countries and whose mandate was to rebuild and strengthen struggling economies, was advocating the creation of failed states because of the opportunities they provided to start over in the rubble.

Whistle Blower Davison Budhoo budhoo.jpg

IMF staffer and whistle blower Davison Budhoo explained some tactics used to precipitate and expand an economic crisis, the manipulation and fabrication of statistics, which he called statistical malpractice. In the mid 1980s Budhoo wrote reports doubling the actual cost of labor in oil rich Trinidad and Tobago and fabricated huge unpaid government debts. This resulted in financial markets labeling the area a bad risk and cutting off financing. The resulting crisis forced the government to come begging to the IMF for a bailout. The IMF could then impose its conditions. Budhoo’s confessions never made the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, or any major newspaper.

Deng’s New China timedeng.jpg

In China Deng Xiaoping had to call out the army with tanks in Tienanmen Square to put down the student rebellion against his economic policies,

Yeltsin with Clinton yeltsin-clinton.jpg

On Yeltsin and the remaking of the Russian economy:

…he (Yeltsin) ordered a reluctant army to storm the Russian White House (Parliament), setting it on fire and leaving charred the very building he had built his reputation defending just two years earlier. Communism may have collapsed without the firing of a single shot, but Chicago style capitalism, it turned out, required a great deal of gunfire to defend itself: Yeltsin called in five thousand soldiers, dozens of tanks and armored personnel carriers, helicopters and elite shock troops armed with automatic machine guns – all to defend Russia’s new capitalist economy from the grave threat of democracy.

With the conversion of China to free market policies under Deng Xiaoping and the collapse of the Soviet Union and overthrow of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary), the Chicago school disciples were free to carry out their shock therapy throughout the world without fear of revolutionary reactions.

This volumes makes an interesting companion piece to the Legacy of Ashes. The CIA was directly involved in creating and exploiting virtually every crisis in Asia and Latin America, allowing the Chicago (or Berkeley) boys to remake their economies along Neoconservative lines. While the CIA history is a legacy of incompetence and blindness, the Neoconservative history is a history of success after success until the entire world is being remade in their image.

And that is how the crusade that Friedman began managed to survive the dreaded transition to democracy – not by its proponents persuading electorates of the wisdom of their world view, but by moving deftly from crisis to crisis, expertly exploiting the desperation of economic emergencies to push through policies that would tie the hands of fragile new democracies. Once the tactic was perfected, opportunities just seemed to multiply. The Volcher Shock (interest rates of 18-22%) would be followed by the Mexican Tequila Crisis in 1994, the Asian Contagion in 1997 and the Russian Collapse in 1998, which was followed shortly by one in Brazil. When these shocks and crises started to lose their power, even more cataclysmic ones would appear: tsunamis, hurricanes, wars and terrorist attacks. Disaster capitalism was taking shape

Nature Helps the Neocons neworleansflooding.jpgtsunami.jpg

The movement that Milton Friedman launched in the 1950s is best understood as an attempt by multinational capital to recapture the highly profitable, lawless frontier that Adam Smith, the intellectual forefather of today’s neoliberals, so admired – but with a twist. Rather than journeying through Smith’s “savage and barbarous nations” where there was no Western law (no longer a practical option), this movement set out to systematically dismantle existing laws and regulations to re-create that earlier lawlessness. And where Smith’s colonists earned their record profits by seizing what he described as “waste lands” for “but a trifle”, today’s multinationals see government programs, public assets and everything that is not for sale as terrain to be conquered and seized – the post office, national parks, schools, social security, disaster relief and anything else that is publicly administered…Where Smith saw fertile green fields turned into profitable farmlands on the pampas and prairies, Wall Street saw “green field opportunities” in Chile’s phone system, Argentina’s airline, Russia’s oil fields, Bolivia’s water system, the United States’ public airwaves, Poland’s factories – all built with public wealth, then sold for a trifle. Then there are the treasures created by enlisting the state to put a patent and a price tag on life-forms and natural resources never dreamed of as commodities – seeds, genes, carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. By relentlessly searching for new profit frontiers in the public domain, Chicago School economists are like the mapmakers of the colonial era, identifying new waterways through the Amazon, marking off the location of a hidden cache of gold inside an Inca temple.

John Williamson, inheritor of Friedman’s guru status, explained the new strategy in January 1993:

One will have to ask whether it could conceivably make sense to think of deliberately provoking a crisis so as to remove the political logjam to reform. For example, it has sometimes been suggested in Brazil that it would be worthwhile stoking up a hyperinflation so as to scare everyone into accepting those changes…Presumably no one with historical foresight would have advocated in the mid-1930s that Germany or Japan go to war in order to get the benefits of super growth that followed their defeat. But could a lesser crisis have served the same function? Is it possible to conceive of a pseudo-crisis that could serve the same positive function without the cost of a real crisis?

The human costs of the IMF’s opportunism were nearly as devastating in Asia (1997 economic crisis) as in Russia. The International Labor Organization estimates that 24 million people lost their jobs in this period and that Indonesia’s unemployment rate increased from 4 to 12 percent. Thailand was losing 2,000 jobs a day at the height of the “reforms” – 60,000 a month. In South Korea, 300,000 workers were fired every month – largely the result of the IMF’s totally unnecessary demands to slash government budgets and hike interest rates. By 1999, South Korea’s and Indonesia’s unemployment rates had nearly tripled in two years. As in Latin America in the seventies, what disappeared in these parts of Asia was what was so remarkable about the region’s “miracle” in the first place: its large and growing middle class. In 1996 63.7 percent of South Koreans identified as middle class; by 1999 that number was down to 38.4 percent. According to the World Bank, 20 million Asians were thrown into poverty in this period of what Rodolfo Walsh would have called “planned misery”.

Rumsfeld and Cheney Enjoy New Wealth rumsfeld_cheney.jpg

As proto-disaster capitalists, the architects of the War on Terror are part of a different breed from their predecessors(like Allan and John Foster Dulles in the 50s), one for whom wars and other disasters are indeed ends in themselves. When Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld conflate what is good for Lockheed, Halliburton, Carlyle and Gilead with what is good for the United States and indeed the world, it is a form of projection with uniquely dangerous consequences. That’s because what is unquestionably good for the bottom line of these companies is cataclysm – wars, epidemics, natural disasters and resource shortages – which is why all their fortunes have improved dramatically since Bush took office. What makes their acts of projection even more perilous is the fact that, to an unprecedented degree, key Bush officials have maintained their interests in the disaster capitalism complex even as they have ushered in a new era of privatized war and disaster response, allowing them to simultaneously profit from the disasters they help unleash.

The right to limitless profit-seeking has always been at the center of neocon ideology. Before 9/11, demands for radical privatization and attacks on social spending fueled the neocon movement – Friedmanite to its core – at think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, Heritage, and Cato.
With the War on Terror, the neocons didn’t abandon their corporatist economic goals; they found a new, even more effective way to achieve them.

Iraq’s current state of disaster cannot be reduced either to the incompetence and cronyism of the Bush White House or to the sectarianism or tribalism of Iraqis. It is a very capitalist disaster, a nightmare of unfettered greed unleashed in the wake of war. The “fiasco” of Iraq is one created by a careful and faithful application of unrestrained Chicago School ideology.

The Chicago School crusade, which emerged with the core purpose of dismantling the welfare statism of the New Deal, had finally reached its zenith in the corporate New Deal. It was a simpler, more stripped-down form of privatization – the transfer of bulky assets wasn’t even necessary: just straight-up corporate gorging on state coffers. No investment, no accountability, astronomical profits.

Paul Bremmer Remakes Iraq bremer.jpg

Iraq under Bremmer was the logical conclusion of Chicago School theory: a public sector reduced to a minimal number of employees, mostly contract workers, living in a Halliburton city state, tasked with signing corporate friendly laws drafted by KPMG and handling out duffel bags of cash to Western contractors protected by mercenary soldiers, themselves shielded by full legal immunity.

Seen from this perspective the documentary film No End In Sight by Charles Ferguson containing interviews with the bewildered participants of the Iraqi occupation including Retired Gen. Garner who can’t understand why the policy decisions were made now make sense, if only to the neocon true believers who made them – total destruction of a country so it can be rebuilt from a clean slate.

For the Bush administration, it was a natural evolution: after claiming it had a right to cause unlimited preemptive destruction, it then pioneered preemptive reconstruction – rebuilding places that have not yet been destroyed…
Until Iraq, the frontiers of the Chicago crusade had been bound by geography: Russia, Argentina, South Korea. Now a new frontier can open up wherever the next disaster strikes.

The oil and gas industry is so intimately entwined with the economy of disaster – both as root cause behind many disasters and as a beneficiary from them – that it deserves to be treated as an honorary adjunct of the disaster capitalism complex.

This discarding of 25 to 60 percent of the population has been the hallmark of the Chicago School crusade since the “misery villages” began mushrooming throughout the Southern Cone (South America) in the seventies. In South Africa, Russia, and New Orleans the rich build walls around themselves. Israel has taken this disposal process a step further: it has built walls around the dangerous poor.

Kline ends on a higher note. The “third way” of Chile’s Allende is reemerging throughout Latin America. The IMF and World Bank are in sharp decline with only a fraction of their peak loans and struggling to survive. Lebanese poor, Thai fishing villagers, and New Orleans neighborhoods are learning to take control of their own reconstruction and recovery. Chinese protests and demonstrations are forcing improved rural health care and education.

For a short film inspired by the book see Alfonso Cuaron’s Shock Doctrine