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Secret Wars of CIA Have Cost Taxpayers Billions

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It's been estimated the Iraq war, besides making that country pretty much unlivable, will flush $3 trillion in U.S. taxpayer dollars down the Pentagon drain. Nobel Prize economist Joseph Stiglitz, who made that cost estimate, wrote with co-author Linda Bilmes in The Washington Post March 9, 2008, "The Iraq adventure has seriously weakened the U.S. Economy...you can't spend $3 trillion---yes, $3 trillion ---on a failed war abroad and not feel the pain at home."

The Stiglitz study is well known and is a factor in making many Americans want to get out of Iraq. (A CNN poll this January found two-thirds opposed the war.) But other costly wars have been waged by the White House, Pentagon, and CIA that have been kept largely secret. Their costs ran into the billions of dollars and not only cheated uninformed taxpayers but lacerated innocent nations, turning their populations against us, and ruined for American business countries that should have been harmonious trading partners.

Take El Salvador. President John Kennedy in the early Sixties worked to help El Salvador's military set up ORDEN, a rural paramilitary network, and ANSESAL, an intelligence agency, that were the forerunners of the dreaded Death Squads. Between 1980 and 1992, the U.S. literally waged a war to help the government suppress El Salvador's poverty-struck people. The CIA created right-wing Death Squads to murder labor leaders who fought on behalf of the poor for decent wages. By the time those killer bands had finished their slaughter, 75,000 civilians lay dead and "the U.S. Treasury depleted by six billion dollars," according to journalist William Blum's "Rogue State" from Common Courage Press.

" Officially, the U.S. Military presence in El Salvador was limited to an advisory capacity. In actuality, military and CIA personnel played a more active role on a continuous basis," Blum writes. "About 20 Americans were killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas, and considerable evidence surfaced of a U.S. role in the ground fighting as well."

That the CIA was involved up to its ears in the blood-bath is more than a hollow assertion. The man known as the "father" of El Salvador's notorious Death Squads, General Jose Alberto Medrano, told The Progressive magazine at the time that his killer outfits were established with the support of the CIA. What's more, Covert Action magazine reported that in 1963 the Pentagon's Green Beret Col. Arthur Simons of Panama sent 10 Army Special Forces men to help Medrano set up the first paramilitary Death Squad. These Green Berets carried out political assassinations in coordination with Salvadoran military, that magazine said.

Besides Green Berets, The Progressive identified both the State Department and the Agency for International Development(AID) as participating in the concerted effort to suppress dissent. As far as Medrano was concerned, anyone who took the side of employees against corporate owners was a Communist. "You discover the communist by the way he talks," Gen. Medrano said. "Generally, he speaks against Yankee imperialism, he speaks against the oligarchy, he speaks against military men. We can spot them easily."

Medrano added, "In this revolutionary war, the enemy comes from our people. They don't have the rights of Geneva. They are traitors to the country. What can the troops do? When they find them, they kill them." (So much for free speech and human rights.)

One of the "enemies" was Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero who urged soldiers to stop killing on grounds they were "not obliged to obey an order contrary to the law of God"---a comment that is as relevant today as the hour it was uttered. The very next day while saying mass in a cancer hospital chapel, Romero was shot dead. According to Craig Pyes, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner, the Salvadoran National Guard also set up safe houses "where they tortured and then murdered those they considered 'subversives.' Their idea was to cleanse the country of hundreds of thousands of people."

President Reagan not only funded the savage El Salvador government, he used that nation, as well as Guatemala and Honduras, as springboards to attack Nicaragua. James Carroll, in his award-winning "House of War"( Houghton Mifflin), said Reagan "increased what had been relatively modest support to three of the most repressive regimes in the world, just as their police-state methods reached new levels of savagery, all in the name of staving off the Marxists."

Just why the U.S. Developed Death Squads in El Salvador may have something to do with profit-hungry US corporations operating Central America. As Carroll sees it, "More than two thirds of the region's people had been made desperately poor over three generations by an American-sponsored, single-crop, agri-business economy that had made a mere 5 percent of the population fabulously wealthy."

" The Latin oligarchs were not owners, exactly," Carroll explains, "but in effect agents of such American companies as United Fruit and Domino Sugar, and multinational corporations like Gulf & Western. Dictators had been installed in these countries to protect this U.S. dominance."

The slaughter in El Salvador, in which the CIA played a primary role, expresses the duality of U.S. foreign policy---where the White House espouses freedom and self-determination for all peoples while the reality, kept from the knowledge of the American public, is a policy of oppression to serve the interests of misguided U.S. corporate officials exploiting foreign labor. Should it be a surprise that after years of busting labor unions from El Salvador to Iraq, US politicians are attempting to do the same Stateside? Is it surprising that after denying millions of people the world over their fundamental right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the U.S. Congress has extended the Patriot Act and President Obama has assumed kingly powers, including the right to arrest anyone and throw away the key?

In this stunning disintegration of American democracy, the CIA is regularly found siding with the worst corporate interests---big oil companies such as BP that want government to punish those who expect them to agree to a fair profit; agricultural giants that want cheap labor to maximize short-term profits; and so forth. Such firms are afraid of both free enterprise and fair enterprise, and have turned the face of the nation towards unbridled corporate fascism. Like the Ku Klux Klan of old, the CIA is the new illegal, "invisible empire," one that works harmoniously with its one-time employee, President Obama, to serve the needs of the Empire. The Republic is dead.#

(Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant for good causes who also writes on political and military topics.)

 

Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
 
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from London. Stayed for a week and realized that t... by bogi666 on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 11:38:57 AM
abolished. Immediately. Their shadowy hand is behi... by Daniel Geery on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 12:12:27 PM
There is only one way to abolish an organization l... by Jack Heart on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 4:23:17 PM
Who ya gonna shoot?... by Maxwell on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:52:21 AM
Yes, Dan, right you are. Can you figure out a way ... by Sherwood Ross on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 10:51:55 PM
Do you think paved streets and good water is a sig... by bern on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 12:24:51 PM
MAYBE YOU WEREN'T AWARE THAT RUSSIA HAD TENS OF TH... by bern on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 12:33:36 PM
There were no means of paving for Genghis Kahn, as... by bogi666 on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 5:46:53 AM
but your post  has nothing to do with the pow... by bern on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 12:41:30 PM
threatens you with expulsion from here, bogi666, l... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 8:46:49 AM
Ad hominem indeed. There are greater dangers. ... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 8:52:54 AM
Ned. It may be when a commentator has more signifi... by bogi666 on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 3:04:26 PM
I just believe STRONGLY in people speaking their m... by Ned Lud on Thursday, Jun 9, 2011 at 9:19:54 AM
I had a similar epiphany when I was at university ... by Gary Williams on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 10:22:33 AM
I  HAVE LOOK AT THE TITLES OF SEVERAL OF YOUR... by bern on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 12:29:44 PM
Bern,don't get your panties in a wad,he's just try... by GUY P. FRASER on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 1:58:39 PM
Why do you believe that the CIA represents this co... by Davey Jones on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 12:48:45 AM
If the CIA is running this country, why don't I kn... by bern on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 12:55:45 PM
Bern is a USG operative spying on the internet, by... by bogi666 on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 2:24:14 AM
Find a right-wing paper to comment in. You're maki... by Elly Faden on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 1:14:59 PM
Certain people on this site appear to be the most ... by bern on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:25:57 PM
I would hesitate to use the words "ignorant" and "... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 6:56:37 PM
You toss all that psycho analysis at the posters h... by Christopher Lunn on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 8:52:05 PM
your rant merely re-states my position.  Y'al... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:40:31 PM
Okay...and you I am to accept as leading the way i... by Christopher Lunn on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 10:40:28 PM
"Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean th... by comncents on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 11:22:06 PM
Is an amateur ANALyst in this case.... by bogi666 on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 2:29:32 AM
bogi(us)666 is a delusional paranoid.Now that we h... by Doc McCoy on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 8:28:26 AM
"we can"... by bogi666 on Thursday, Jun 9, 2011 at 8:09:05 AM
McCoy just has that certain inimicable style of th... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 8:33:43 AM
Same thing applies to bern. A disease of mind.... by Ned Lud on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 8:38:25 AM
As a result of its covert and overt actions since ... by S. Juniper on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 1:25:00 PM
In the aftermath of September 11, a great deal o... by nativenezperce on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 2:31:12 PM
Gestapo!... by bogi666 on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 5:50:13 AM
I recommend starting your new reading program with... by bern on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:30:31 PM
you are lacking in skills, You're instilled with m... by bogi666 on Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011 at 2:43:19 AM
Of course, all of the above are merely the indis... by nativenezperce on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 2:35:17 PM
Except for the UFO cover-up thing.... by Maxwell on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 11:52:22 AM
Rear Adm. Sidney W. Souers Lt. Gen. Hoyt S. Van... by nativenezperce on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 2:43:22 PM
United Fruit is a subsidiary of the criminal Bush ... by Jack Heart on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 4:08:50 PM
It was all down hill from there: a drunk named tai... by Jack Heart on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 4:10:46 PM
Excellent book to read in this context. Chicago-sc... by Vaikunthanath Kaviraj on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 4:51:58 PM
Nothing in life is really as it seems.  The C... by Doc McCoy on Sunday, Jun 5, 2011 at 9:57:39 PM
... by Dante DeNavarre on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:14:28 AM
And even Santa works for the CIA and will bring lo... by Marika on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 2:06:58 AM
send me some of that stuff you smoke so I can post... by bogi666 on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 5:54:58 AM
Doc, it was a pleasure to read your apology for th... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:18:23 AM
and a lot of the evil directed at America has been... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 10:52:39 AM
Doc, you say that "none of us possess a crystal ba... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 5:07:41 PM
Facts have a nasty way of getting in the way of th... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 7:34:46 PM
There is an absolute sense of goodness that is wor... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 8:18:54 PM
"other costly wars have been waged by the White Ho... by Keith Pope on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 12:44:15 AM
The previous post, as can be easily seen, was writ... by Dante DeNavarre on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:03:05 AM
I re-posted this piece here. Thanks for another gr... by Steven G. Erickson on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 2:30:34 AM
"It's been estimated the Iraq war, besides making ... by Rixar13 on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:18:23 AM
The CIA has a black budget just like much of the P... by Odyseus_97 on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 11:01:11 AM
Congratulations Starla you are the clear winner of... by Jack Heart on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 12:05:57 PM
I thought poppy production was down about 90 perce... by bern on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 1:02:35 PM
Actually: All of my figures are taken from various... by Jack Heart on Tuesday, Jun 7, 2011 at 7:11:43 AM
I actually agree with a few of your statements.&nb... by Maxwell on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 12:56:45 PM
Admittedly, the CIA may need some restraints. ... by Doc McCoy on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 7:45:32 PM
The 'Black Budget' is just that BLACK...no can see... by Christopher Lunn on Monday, Jun 6, 2011 at 9:12:39 PM
Chris; where I come from people who don't believe ... by Jack Heart on Tuesday, Jun 7, 2011 at 7:18:46 AM
~ ~ ~"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyon... by Amelia Gora on Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 11:08:07 AM