Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

August 5, 2009


William Blum, Anti-Empire Report - If you catch the CIA with its hand in the cookie jar and the agency admits the obvious . . . that its hand is indeed in the cookie jar, it means one of two things: a) the CIA's hand is in several other cookie jars at the same time which you don't know about and they hope that by confessing to the one instance they can keep the others covered up; or b) its hand is not really in the cookie jar - it's an illusion to throw you off the right scent - but they want you to believe it.

There have been numerous news stories in recent months about secret CIA programs, hidden from Congress, inspired by former vice-president Dick Cheney, in operation since the September 11 terrorist attacks, involving assassination of al Qaeda operatives or other non-believers-in-the-Empire abroad without the knowledge of their governments. The Agency admits to some sort of program having existed, but insists that it was canceled; and if it was an assassination program it was canceled before anyone was actually assassinated. Another report has the US military, not the CIA, putting the plan - or was it a different plan? - into operation, carrying out several assassinations including one in Kenya that proved to be a severe embarrassment and helped lead to the quashing of the program.1

All of this can be confusing to those following the news. And rather irrelevant. We already know that the United States has been assassinating non-believers, or suspected non-believers, with regularity, and impunity, in recent years, using unmanned planes (drones) firing missiles, in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia, if not elsewhere. (Even more victims have been produced from amongst those who happened to be in the same house, car, wedding party, or funeral as the non-believer.) These murders apparently don't qualify as "assassinations", for somehow killing "terrorists" from 2000 feet is morally and legally superior to doing so from two feet away. . .

I've compiled a list of CIA assassination attempts, successful and unsuccessful, against prominent foreign political figures, from 1949 through 2003, which, depending on how you count it, can run into the hundreds (targeting Fidel Castro alone totals 634 according to Cuban intelligence). The list can be updated by adding the allegedly al Qaeda leaders among the drone attack victims of recent years. Assassination and torture are the two things governments are most loath to admit to, and try their best to cover up. It's thus rare to find a government document or recorded statement mentioning a particular plan to assassinate someone. There is, however, an abundance of compelling circumstantial evidence to work with.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time we reduce the number of clandestine operatives, private mercenaries, and even military stationed overseas.

Use those funds to finance the development, training, and staffing of a respectable and politically independent diplomatic corp – one whose members would be trained in the language, history, and customs of the country in which they would be serving.

It may take some time to repair our reputation but possibly in a decade or two our diplomats may begin to be taken seriously. If we start right now... today.

We should not accept what we have now. Our taxpayer money should Not be used to pay for assassinations, political manipulations, economic pressure, anti-labor antics, or even religiously inspired social norms.

With a few notable exceptions, one possible explaination for military conflict would be that enough people just weren't talking... and listening.

-Da Theorist

August 6, 2009 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Mairead said...

Funny you should say that. I was just re-reading The Ugly American the other night.

If we ignore the rabid nationalism, the prescriptions are very sensible and exactly what you're suggesting: send only people abroad who speak the language, are willing to live on the local economy, and who have skills to share freely.

August 6, 2009 7:06 PM  

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