Seventy years ago, the U.S. government founded the Central Intelligence Agency with the mandate “to collect and analyze strategic information required by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to conduct special operations.” But over the years, the CIA has metastasized into a body that appears to actively work against the best interests of the American people.
When President Harry Truman established the CIA, its aim was to legally collect, process, and analyze information from around the world that was pertinent to national security. President Truman would never have imagined that the CIA would morph into an organization that commits egregious and iniquitous acts that do not serve the country.
President Donald Trump tweeted a birthday message to the CIA on Monday, an intelligence community that acts as the adversary to the incumbent administration. To share the president’s jubilant message, let’s briefly peer into the CIA’s history.
Overthrowing Governments Since 1949
Many historians point to 1953 as the very first time the CIA has overthrown a foreign government. If you dig down deeper into the CIA’s past, the entity tried three more times before that: China in 1949, Albania in 1949 and East Germany in 1950. It just wasn’t successful until 1953.
Throughout much of its history, the CIA has denied ever participating in such events. However, in recent years, the CIA has confirmed it assisted in a handful of coup overthrows, including Guatemala, Cuba, and Iran. Of course, the CIA has had successful and failed coups worldwide: Chile, Brazil, South Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Congo, Ukraine, and Iraq – the elimination of Iraq’s Abd al-Karim Qasim allowed the rise of Saddam Hussein.
To get specific leaders in charge, the CIA supported drug lords, oppressive regimes, and other questionable individuals. Many of these actions have produced unintended consequences. The Hillary Clinton-led State Department ousted Muammar Gadafi from Libya – we came, we saw, he died – but it resulted in the refugee crisis the globe has been experiencing for a few years now.
When Morgan Freeman, Keith Olbermann, and Clinton shriek about Russia, accusing the Kremlin of damaging the U.S. democratic process, they need to take a look into the nation’s history and learn about the atrocities committed in the name of American democracy and national security.
Arming Radical Terrorist Groups
In 1979, the CIA ran Operation Cyclone, a plot to finance and arm the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviets. This wasn’t secret from the U.S. government either; President Jimmy Carter, encouraged by Zbigniew Brzezinski, signed a covert-action order that provided Afghan rebels with money, weapons, medical aid, and propaganda. Although the Soviet invasion had come to an end in the early 1990s, many in Washington still advocated sending as much as $200 million to the mujahideen. This would have been matched by Saudi Arabia. Fortunately, it did not happen.
Once the Soviet invasion ceased, al-Qaeda was formed by Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, a prolific Palestinian cleric. Experts note that al-Qaeda was born because of the financial resources and training provided by the CIA.
The Agency ran similar efforts in Libya during the 1980s, though unsuccessfully. Undeterred by their failure, they armed so-called moderate rebels in Syria against the Bashar al-Assad government. These rebels eventually splintered off into ISIS or aligned with al-Qaeda, both enemies of the U.S. It wasn’t until June 2017 that an administration would finally end the policy of funding rebel groups. Championed by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), President Trump ordered the CIA to discontinue this policy.
MKUltra is a National Tragedy
There have been many myths, rumors, and innuendo surrounding the CIA’s 1950s mind control project known as MKUltra. Though once dismissed as a conspiracy theory, the CIA has released thousands of declassified documents pertaining to the initiative. Despite being highly illegal, the CIA conducted odious procedures with drugs, interrogations, torture, and even hypnosis. The project took place at nearly 100 institutions, including universities, hospitals, and prisons.
Who suffered the most by the program? Unwitting Americans and Canadians. The ultimate objective was to control human behavior through brainwashing as well as chemical, biological, and radiological materials. To do what exactly is unknown. CBC’s “The Fifth Estate” produced a documentary in 1980 about the CIA mind control endeavor:
Thankfully, it came to an end in 1964. Unfortunately, no one was held accountable.
CIA’s Subterfuge and Sabotage
Much of what the CIA does can be called into question. Whether it is infiltrating the media and dictating the news or maintaining ruthless torture techniques, the CIA has morphed into a monster. By the end of it, most Americans do not have the faintest idea as to what spies in Langley really do with their $44 billion annual budget. The CIA won’t tell the general public, but at least we have WikiLeaks to inform us regularly on their behavior.
CIA employees do not weigh good and evil, right and wrong; they play cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers. Subterfuge and sabotage are the CIA’s chief mandates right now, toppling foreign governments that are deemed malevolent and treacherous by the international community because they do not bow down to their western overlords. We have seen this in the past and today in Iraq, Afghanistan, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. And we will see it elsewhere around the world tomorrow – perhaps for another 70 years.
As Richard Burton said in John Le Carre’s “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold”:
“I would have killed Mundt because I thought him evil and an enemy – but not today. Today, he’s evil and my friend.”
Spies are not James Bonds or superheroes. They are just regular people – but they attempt to brighten their lives with some sort of meaning of defending their country. And this includes Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who may not be a spy but there certainly are whispers that he’s collaborating with the CIA. Scary.
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