The Façade of the 3-Letter-Agency: Recent Atrocities of the CIA (Part 3)

By BlueJay

Warning: This article does contain graphic images of extreme violence, reader's discretion is advised.

Welcome once again, readers, to the third and final installment of articles listing the many crimes of the CIA. If you have not yet read the first two installments and are interested in doing so, please click here. In this final analytical chronology of the history of the CIA we will be taking a look at the activities of the 1970s up into the mid 90’s (the purpose of that stopping point only being the fact that any activity reaching into more present times is not yet declassified). Please note that this article will contain no speculation as to present-day illicit activities of the CIA, as I do not wish to throw a metaphorical bone to the conspiratorial mind - however, as we have all too painfully learned, history is fond of repeating itself. This is especially true when applied to the CIA, where in the last forty or so years we have borne witness to multiple failures in Central/South America, Southeastern Asia, the Middle East, and, perhaps most alarming to the average citizen, on domestic soil.



The 1970’s were an extremely active time for the CIA and, unfortunately for other nations, this activity meant a lot of overreach and unnecessary deaths. Kicking things off in 1970 we witnessed the overthrow of King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. Sihanouk wished for a neutral approach to the Vietnam war - a goal that did not come without compromises. In order to avoid violence, Sihanouk allowed Vietnamese Communists to operate covertly at certain bases within Cambodian borders. This trade treated Cambodia well, and while peace and prosperity was fragile, it remained while the surrounding nations boiled under turmoil. These actions did not sit well with the anti-communist United States government, who overthrew the King in a CIA supported coup led by General Lon Nol, who led his people into slaughter. This decision led to the rising of opposition party Khmer Rouge, who ended up massacring millions of Cambodians in their four year reign of terror.

Lon Nol calls for the militant mobilization of all men aged 17-45 directly following the Coup of King Sihanouk, 1970.

In 1971 a CIA backed coup overthrows President Juan Torres of Bolivia - previously the General in charge of the capture of Che Guavera. After Torres became president and not only expelled the Peace Corps from the country, but also canceled the U.S. concession on the Matilda zinc mine, the CIA backed coup led by colonel Hugo Banzer Suarez that ousted Torres and put him in charge.

Students are placed under arrest by soldiers during the Suarez regime in 1971.

"There were no unions, there were no political parties, there was no parliament and nowhere to make a complaint. So how can anybody defend a dictatorial attitude where people's opinions didn't count."

The above quote comes from Simon Rojas, former leader of the United Left in Bolivia after Suarez’s reelection in 1997 led to fervent protests.

Suárez would lead a regime that politically oppressed any voices of disagreement, leading to arrests without the luxury of trial, as well as raping's, torturing's, and executions for thousands of dissidents.

This same year, President (dictator) of Haiti, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, passed away,

Jean-Claude “Baby-Doc” Duvalier

leaving his 19-year-old son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in charge of the nation at the urging of the United States. He continues the oppressive legacy that his father had started with full awareness of the CIA’s involvement in their rise to power.

The Case-Zablocki Act was proposed and passed in 1972, enforcing requirements for congressional review of executive agreements. While the partial intention of this bill was to make the CIA more accountable for their actions, it is only partially effective due to loopholes within the regulations.

Perhaps the most famous of both CIA and Presidential blunders was the Watergate Scandal and break-in orchestrated by former President, Richard Nixon. 1972 was the year in which the unsuccessful wiretapping took place. The President had sent a team of five burglars with extensive CIA backgrounds to wiretap the Democratic offices at Watergate - an office and apartment complex in Washington D.C.

An aerial view of the Watergate building.
The burglars of Watergate. Left to right: James W. McCord, Security Coordinator for the Republican National Committee and CREEP; former agent to both the CIA and FBI. Virgilio R. Gonzalez, Locksmith and Cuban refugee. Frank A. Sturgis, associate of Barker’s real estate business in Miami, Florida with other CIA connections. Eugenio R. Martinez, CIA connections including Barker and Cuban refugee. And Bernard L. Barker, Former CIA operative known for involvement during the Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1962.

The entire affair and Presidency in general was filled with corruption and illegal activity, many of which were assisted by CREEP, or the Committee to Reelect the President. These activities included scandals as large as Watergate, to lesser known crimes such as money laundering. Though the scandal blew up, the government did its best to cover things up and Nixon was reelected for a second term in office.

In 1973 General Augusto Pinochet of Chile led a CIA backed coup that resulted in the

Dictator Augusto Pinochet

assassination of democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende - if the name Pinochet strikes a cord in your memory, it is due to the infamous 17 year dictatorship that he led in the South American country where, as you may have suspected is a revolving trend, led a murderous and bloodthirsty reign in which he murdered thousands in his quest to purge the political left.

Prior to his presidency, Allende was put on the CIA’s radar after he threatened to nationalize American-owned firms within Chilean borders. President Nixon contacted CIA director Richard Helms, allotting $10 million dollars to prevent Allende from rising to power, giving him specific instructions not to allow the U.S. embassy to become aware of the plot. Initially attempting bribery, coercion, defamation, and other tactics to prevent Allende’s election. These attempts were mostly blocked by General Rene Schneider, who was against the interference in democratic processes. He was murdered conveniently by a right-wing group that later received a check for $35,000 by the CIA - who later claimed that they “Had only wanted him kidnapped”.

The Washington Post (known as having the most involvement with the CIA) reports first on the Watergate Scandal in 1973 as the news begins to get out to the American People. What is omitted from the reports, however, is the clear CIA involvement in the events. President Nixon fired director Helms the same year for failing to cover up the scandal.

As 1974 begins, greater are the number of CIA activities being brought to light by the media, such as the publishing by Seymour Hersh on Operation CHAOS. This greater awareness of corruption leads to some reform - such as the firing of James Angleton, the CIA’s Chief of Counterintelligence - due to illegal spying on American citizens that did not hold up with Congress. However, the CIA is still able to adapt to this newfound awareness, as the House clears the agency from any involvement in Watergate - a suspicious view at how far the roots of corruption may stretch.

The Hughes-Ryan Act further limits corroboration between a President and the CIA by requiring all non-intelligence related CIA operations to congressional committees “in a timely fashion”.

In 1975, the CIA assisted in toppling the democratic government of Australia after Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, a social democrat, stirred up international politics with a number of policy changes and government action including pulling troops out of Vietnam and condemning the United States’ actions during the war - specifically the rampant bombings of North Vietnam, as “barbaric”.

Also the same year, Henry Kissinger - then Secretary of State and National Security Adviser, worked to spark a Civil War in Angola in order to reassert American military superiority in light of the losses during the Vietnam War. The war, which was started on the completely unbased grounds that the country was at risk for Communist influence, led to the deaths of over 300,000 Angolans over a period of more than twenty years.

Angolan soldiers, 1975.

1975 was also the year that several former officials, such as Victor Marchetti, John Marks, and Philip Agee publish their first hand accounts of the heinous acts committed during their time in the agency. Such reports spark outrage which leads to Congressional investigation and reform - though as future crimes and scandals will prove, the CIA is able easily manipulate and navigate around the rest of the government and its laws. Immediately after the revelations made by Congress, President Ford attempted to “White Wash” CIA history through the development of “The Rockefeller Commission” (Named after Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, a CIA figure himself). The Commission held eight members, five of whom were also officials in the CIA.

In 1979, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi - Shah of Iran - was unsuspectedly removed from power. This came as a shock to the CIA, as the Iranian was a puppet to the U.S. and founder of the SAVAK, the organization of secret police which the CIA backed. Iranian Nationalists were furious at the United States for allowing the regime to last for so long, and the Muslim fundamentalists took 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran for over a year, known as the Iran Hostage Crisis.

American hostages being paraded by their captors outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, 1979.

The Soviets also invaded Afghanistan in 1979 resulting in the rapid and indiscriminate funding of rebel groups that led to advanced weaponry amongst opposing factions and the outbreak of brutal civil war once the Soviets pulled out of the Middle East. These arms also fall into the hands of extremist groups, with members such as Sheik Abdel Rahman - a future perpetrator of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - gaining access to them as well.

The United States takes interest in El Salvador as a group of military officers overthrows the right wing government in 1979. The CIA however compels the inexperienced new government to include former members into the regime, effectively returning things to the way they were and disheartening the new officials.

CIA backed dictator Anastasio Samoza falls in 1979 after President Jimmy Carter withdraws U.S. military support. Samoza’s detested personal army, the National Guard, who were known for their murderous habits towards dissidents, later became the Contras who will be discussed later in their relation to the Iran-Contra Scandal in the 1980s.



"I beg you, I plea you, I command you in the name of God: Stop the repression!"

The words above come from Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, spoken during mass. In 1980 Romero pleaded to President Carter in a letter to cease American military aid that was leading to the slaughter of his people. The President refused, and right wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson assassinated the Archbishop shortly later that year by shooting him several times while he was performing mass. President Carter approved $5 million in military aid to El Salvador not months after the assassination occurred. The Latin American nation dissolved into a U.S. funded and CIA assisted Civil War in which CIA trained death squads that aided the military government in rounding up and executing tens of thousands of El Salvadorians by 1992.

Members of the congregation surround the body of Archbishop Romero moments after he is shot.

In 1981 President Reagan and the CIA initiated the first stages of what would later be known as the Iran-Contra Scandal. The CIA was able to sell weapons to Iran for a hefty fee despite an embargo forbidding the U.S. from doing so. In turn, the money was utilized to fund the right-wing insurgent Contras group in Nicaragua, who were battling against the Cuban-backed Sandinista government. If you were unable to guess already, this was all done for the sake of fighting Communism. The Contras fit the exact definition of a terrorist organization, but the CIA - along with President Reagan - did not see them as such. As a matter of fact, President Reagan went as far as to make the comparison that the Contras were “...the moral equivalent to our founding fathers”. Prior to my own research I hadn’t the slightest clue that the founders of the United States launched attacks on unarmed civilians, tortured captives, and committed a number of other human rights violations, but surely President Reagan didn’t mean it in that way.

Child soldier of the Contras in Nicaragua, 1987.

In 1983 the CIA gave out the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual - 1983 to

Reprinted copy of the original training manual, available for sale online.

Honduran military officers with the intent to educate the officers on the strategies of utilizing torture. Infamous Battalion 316 used these techniques under the watchful eyes of the CIA on thousands of leftists opposed to the current regime. An estimate tallies the death toll to a minimum of 184.

Though the last of the Boland Amendments (a series of acts devised by Congress to limit - and eventually cut off - CIA interference in Nicaragua) was passed in 1984, though through legal loopholes and the new control of the trade under Colonel Oliver North who continued to easily bypass the Amendments through the CIA’s secret networks of funding and transportation.

The Iran-Contra scandal takes a turn when in 1986 the Nicaraguan government shoots down a U.S. C-123 transport plane filled with illegal arms being traded to the Contras. The crash proved fatal for all passengers except one, a Eugene Hasenfus - a CIA employee. When not only this piece of information was found out, but also that the airline that the plane was flying from was a CIA front, it made a fool out of President Reagan’s denial of government connection to the Contras. 1986 was the first year that the scandal really hit the press and came into wide public attention, with a number of key figures, such as Oliver North, lying under oath during hearings by Congress.

For the last of the events of 1986, the U.S. takes action during the Haitian uprising against the dictatorship of “Baby Doc” Duvalier, flying him out of the island nation and into retirement in the south of France before the people could try him for his crimes against humanity. The CIA rigs the next election in an attempt to place another right wing dictator in the office of their once strong puppet state but the government dissolves into four years of politically fueled violence. This spurs them to create the National Intelligence Service (SIN); employed by Haitian Armed Forces and CIA operatives, the organization was formed under the guise of working to prevent drug trafficking and political violence, when in reality it was engaged in suppressing revolt through torture and assassination of dissidents. In 1987 armed forces of SIN under leader Jean Claude Paul murdered 30-300 voters on election day. The CIA continued to give up to one million U.S. dollars per year to fund the organization, despite that between 1986 -’91, SIN murdered around 5000 members of democratic movements.

Election day massacre, Haiti 1987.

In 1989 the CIA invaded Panama to dispose of dictator Manuel Noriega who had been getting paid by the CIA in return for information since 1966. Noriega had previously established contact with the CIA as a lieutenant colonel upon promotion to Chief of Military Intelligence and worked to benefit U.S. interests during the Nixon administration. Upon his rise to power, his spotlight became clouded with persistent (and accurate) rumors in his involvement in drug trafficking - to which the CIA conveniently turned a blind eye to. The U.S. government only took action against Noriega after he authorized the killing of a U.S. Marine.

Nearing the end of our list we enter the early 90’s, where the CIA is yet again meddling with the nation of Haiti. In the 1990 election between ten fairly equal candidates, the leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide ended up with close to 70% of the total vote. However the democratically elected president did not even make it an entire year in office before he was overthrown by the CIA puppeteered military. Several dictators rose again in the following years bringing starvation and bloodshed to follow as the Haitian people fled to the seas in droves of unseaworthy watercraft. The CIA launched a disinformation campaign in the wake of Aristide’s overthrow to disrupt the popular call for his return, using the false claim that he was mentally unbalanced.

In 1991 the Gulf War takes a turn as the U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq, however CIA support for dictator Saddam Hussein dates back to the 60’s when the U.S. assisted in the Ba’ath party’s rise to power. As Hussein’s influence grew, the U.S. provided all the tools necessary for a long term military conflict, including the supplying of arms, intelligence, chemical weaponry, and military advisors during Iraq’s war with Iran in the 1980s - all with apparent little concern for Hussein’s many human rights violations along the way, such as the use of poison gas. The eight year Persian Gulf War would lead to over one-thousand U.S. casualties - many of which Americans inflicted on themselves with cluster munitions and other instances of accidental friendly-fire.

A Sergeant wounded during the Gulf War sobs as a Corporal peers into
a bodybag containing the remains of their comrade.

In the same year the CIA fails to predict the fall of the Soviet Union. If you have not yet read the first article in this series, I will be happy to remind you all that the monitoring and prevention of communism was the primary objective that the CIA was created to do. The most important question people begin to ask here is that if the agency failed at foreseeing this momentous event, what have they been busy doing? Although communism in its largest sense seems to have fallen, we do not see the CIA disbanded, or even its budget reduced.

As the goals of the CIA have shifted we see our government resorting to utilizing the criminal-like skills of the agency to steal secrets and information from other world governments and to assist in the odd assassination now and again. 1993 is the final time we witness the CIA in Haiti (that we know of), as President Clinton orders the deposition of dictator Raoul Cedras. While the U.S. is occupying Haiti, none of the military leaders face justice, but instead face comfortable retirements and heavy wallets on the American dime.

As we come to the conclusion on the historic corruption of the CIA, do not for one moment believe that these are the final acts of the CIA. To the contrary, without the loose goal of defending the United States from the “Communist Threat”, the CIA has risen in power to undermine any who stand in its way. These historic events are only glimpses into the vast, morally depraved activities of one of our governing institutions originally designed to protect us American citizens. To think what members of the agency have been working on within the last twenty years and even today should send shivers down the spine of any man or woman with a sense of human decency about them. You will hear whispers of conspiracy now and then of their potential work - journalists gone missing after a potential “scoop of the century” on the CIA only to turn up dead weeks later, former members of the agency having their media presence being mysteriously silenced after revealing classified information, and the list goes on - yet in the age of information we are at a loss for what to believe. Hear this message, however: The CIA does not stand for the interests of the majority of America and never once has. The information it keeps secret from even some of the highest of government officials belongs to the people whose taxes inflate their paychecks. We the American people have a duty to not just sit idly by, but to stand up for our fellow human beings if we have even a shred of the sense of responsibility we should feel for being included in the population of “The Most Powerful Country in the World”. We all have the capability to unite and make change, even in this modern era of muddled media, political corruption, and moral ambiguity. To the CIA we give but two options: Reform, or Abolish.

Until next time,

Fly on, and Fight on.


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