Some years ago I was talking with a man who had been Canadian Ambassador to Iran in the 1970s, before Ayatollah Khomeini’s Revolution. A decent, highly-intelligent man, with an open mind, he spent much of his free time in the holy city of Qom, discussing Islam with the mullahs, imams, and ayatollahs there. Returning one day from Qom to Teheran, he ran into then CIA Bureau Chief, Richard Helms, who asked him where he had been. After hearing the answer, Helms said, “Why do you waste your time with those guys; they’re of no account here.” As we know, the Iranian clergy were the heart and soul of the Revolution. I asked the Ambassador how it was that the CIA could have overlooked the radical influence of clerics, and he replied, “Well, Intelligence may be the Agency’s middle name, but it is not its modus operandi…”
Fast forward to today, and we find:
- The disastrous scandal of the Senate report on CIA torture practices.
- The embarrassing failure of a CIA attempt to co-opt Cuban hip-hop artistes and train them in subversive activities, with cash incentives. This resulted in the Cuban government’s ban on a previously untampered-with hip-hop festival in Havana, thus defeating its own purpose.
- Now, today we hear that the US Government intends to normalize relations with Cuba, a nation unjustly persecuted on ideological grounds for 55 years now, not only by trade embargoes, but by covert CIA operations, ranging from the Bay of Pigs fiasco to attempts to poison Fidel Castro, and even make his beard fall out by placing toxins in his shoes.
Do we need to list all the other botched CIA operations, from coups and assassinations in Central and South America, to the laughable attempt to deploy New York abstract expressionist art, and Encounter magazine as a Cold War weapon against Soviet Russian social realism and the lack of creative freedom typical of totalitarian states?
No, I think not. My memory is good, although my sight is non-existent, so I cannot check on the CIA’s rate of success in its dastardly operations, all – including the proven drug-trafficking – protected by the magic cloak of National Security, a shield behind which most political abominations hide. I have interviewed a couple of ex-CIA directors and found them to be pathological liars. George Bush the First was a CIA director, before becoming Vice-President, then President. As VP, he held important portfolios – rare to the post – including those of the so-called War on Drugs, to Terrorism, both of which activities flourished on his watch. It should, perhaps, thus not be so surprising to find out how many subsequent CIA directors were close friends of the elder Bush and his close buddy Dick Cheney.
Now, however, it seems that the Agency is in its death-throes, with even its most reliably, if irrationally, hated of foes, Cuba, being extracted from the hoary old hit-list. One must conclude that the cowboys of Langley, Virginia, will soon be seeking employment in the booming private-sector security business – if, indeed, anyone there can concoct a resume demonstrating skilled success in any aspect of their previous career. I await with keen anticipation the well-researched book detailing all CIA operations since 1950, revealing the resounding successes – if any – and the ignominious failures, of which we seem to know already so much more, implying that either success is modestly concealed, or failure is laudably admitted to.
If the American people could tune out Fox “News” and the rest of their propaganda machine – whose success is measured by its apparent objectivity: lies don’t work if you know they’re lies – and, possibly read some reputable sources, like Gore Vidal or Noam Chomsky – or Counterpunch.org — they would be hollering for a full investigation of their own terrorist organization, condemned by half the world, yet still operating with impunity in the USA. Such an investigation would, and, I believe, will, result in the arrest and prosecution of many, and the dismantling of this lair of bungling criminal half-wits at Langley, who have lied to the taxpayers funding their calamitous, illegal schemes for over sixty years.
Love from Paul William Roberts.