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Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the CIA manipulating Latin Americans

On the CIA manipulating Latin Americans,Chalmers Johnson writes in "Nemesis," pg. 104-106:

CIA activities in Chile, ranging from the early 1960s to 1990, occurred in both the pre and post-accountability eras. Before 1974, they were intended to overthrow the oldest and most stable democracy in Latin America, dating from the country's independence in 1818, and replace it with "the vilest of Latin American dictators in recent history." Having to report to Congress had little effect on CIA operations in Chile. If findings were ever signed and passed to Capitol Hill, we have no record of them. What we do have is a vast archive of thousands of highly classified reports and cables from the Oval Office, the CIA, the National Security Council, the State Department, the American embassy in Santiago, and the FBI that the U.S. government was forced to declassify because of the blowback that the operations themselves generated, including lawsuits by Chilean torture victims and demands for the arrest and trial of former secretary of state Henry

Chile was certainly not the first instance in which the United States government used its clandestine services to manipulate, undermine, or overthrow a fellow democracy. It had done so in many other place, including Italy in 1947-48, Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Indonesia in 1957-58, Brazil from 1961 to 1964, Greece from 1964 to 1974, South Korea from 1967 to 1987, and the Philippines in every year since it gained its independence from the United States in 1946. But Chile provides us with the first written record of a U.S. president ordering the overthrow of a democratically elected government . . . (then refers to Nixon.)

-- Even the heavily censored CIA documents released to the Church Committee in 1975 led Senator Church to produce his own definition of "covert action." It is a "semantic disguise for murder, coercion, blackmail, bribery, the spreading of lies, and consorting with known torturers and international terrorists."

>From the moment the Kennedy administration came to power in 1961 until the overthrow and death of Chile's president Salvador Allend on September 11, 1973, the CIA spent some $12 million on a massive "black" propaganda campaign to support Allende's primary political opponent, Eduardo Frei, the candidate of the Christian Democratic Party, and to denigrate Allende as a stooge of the Soviet Union. In addition, the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation (which owned the Chilean telephone system) and other American-owned businesses in Chile gave the CIA an extra $1.5 million to help discredit Allende. . . . ITT presented a plan "aimed at inducing economic collapse" in Chile. (obviously, that goes along with Naomi Klein's premise in "Shock Doctrine," on disaster capitalism, that companies seek to profit from disaster in other countries, swooping in like vultures to pick up deflated properties.)

In the 1964 campaign, the CIA directly underwrote more than half of Frei's campaign expenses. It spent more than $2.6 million in support of the election of the Christian Dmeocratic candidate. More sinister was the agency's disinformation campaign, which it later held up as a model of how to do it. The Church Committee reported, "Extensive use was made of the press, radio, films, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, direct mailings, paper streamers, and wall painting. It was a 'scare campaign,' which relied heavily on images of Soviet tanks and Cuban firing squads and was directed especially to women." (it gives three examples including:) The CIA placed radio spots that featured the sound of a machine gun, followed by a woman's cry: "They have killed my child -- the communists."

The CIA boasted that it produced and planted in various media around the world some 726 stories against an Allende presidency. Most of these appeared first in Latin American newspapers and were later reprinted in Chilean ones; some appeared in the CIA's own secret outlets, which included "Der Monat" in Germany, "Encounter" in Britian, the "Daily American" of Rome, and the "South Pacific Mail" of Santiago. Some seeped into the "New York Times" and "Washington Post," including the idea that Allende was a paid agent of the USSR. In 1964, these "dirty tricks" produced the desired results. Frei received 56 percent of the vote to Allende's 39 percent, an unprecedented and almost statistically impossible outcome, given Chile's multi-party electoral system. The targeted scare tactics worked well. While Chilean men voted for Allende by a plurality of more than 67,000, women gave Frei 469,000 more votes than Allende.

NOTE: When I wrote, "particularly against women," that's what I was referring to. I certainly do not believe that American women in this age are any more timid than men. However, I do notice that the media uses an awful lot of rape, kidnappings and murders against women in their coverage.
What the media and GOP are doing and have been doing for years is depicting Republicans as the "security party," on domestic, economic and international issues.

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