By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, July 28, 2019
Every government on earth, beginning with the United States, should shut down and be done with secret agencies, spy agencies, agencies used for murder, torture, bribery, election-manipulation, and coups.
While these agencies prevent the public from knowing what is being done in its name, they do not acquire any knowledge that benefits the public and that couldn't have been acquired openly, lawfully, through simple research, diplomacy, and law-enforcement actions that respect human rights.
While these agencies occasionally succeed in their criminal enterprises on their own terms, those successes always create blowback that does far more damage that the good if any accomplished.
The CIA and all of its relatives in the U.S. government and around the world have normalized lying, spying, murdering, torturing, government secrecy, government lawlessness, distrust of foreign governments, distrust of one's own government, distrust of one's own qualifications to participate in self-government, and acceptance of perma-war.
Labeling terrorism "counter-terrorism" doesn't make it something other than terrorism and doesn't change the fact that it increases rather than decreases terrorism by others.
We should do something that Woodrow Wilson never did, and take seriously the first of his 14 points: "Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view." This is as critical a democratic reform as public financing of elections or public counting of paper ballots.
Annie Jacobsen's latest book is called Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins. It's based on interviews with former top members of the CIA who simply adore the CIA. The book simply adores the CIA. Yet it remains a chronicle of endless disastrous failure after failure after failure. This is a collection of pro-CIA voices leaking super-top-extra-special-secret information, much of it over 50 years old. And yet there's not a speck of justification for the CIA's existence to be found.
Jacobsen's book on Operation Paperclip, which I reviewed here, told the story of how the U.S. military and CIA hired large numbers of former Nazis. The scandal that one is supposed to see in that story is, apparently, that people had been Nazis, not that they had participated in horrific atrocities, because participating in horrific atrocities is depicted as a courageous and noble service in Jacobsen's newer book.
There is, of course, a case to be made for the existence of Nazi influence on post-WWII U.S. atrocities. As I wrote at the link above,
"The U.S. military shifted in numerous ways when former Nazis were put into prominent positions. It was Nazi rocket scientists who proposed placing nuclear bombs on rockets and began developing the intercontinental ballistic missile. It was Nazi engineers who had designed Hitler's bunker beneath Berlin, who now designed underground fortresses for the U.S. government in the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Mountains. Known Nazi liars were employed by the U.S. military to draft classified intelligence briefs falsely hyping the Soviet menace. Nazi scientists developed U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs, bringing over their knowledge of tabun and sarin, not to mention thalidomide and their eagerness for human experimentation, which the U.S. military and the newly created CIA readily engaged in on a major scale. Every bizarre and gruesome notion of how a person might be assassinated or an army immobilized was of interest to their research. New weapons were developed, including VX and Agent Orange. A new drive to visit and weaponize outerspace was created, and former Nazis were put in charge of a new agency called NASA.
"Permanent war thinking, limitless war thinking, and creative war thinking in which science and technology overshadowed death and suffering, all went mainstream. When a former Nazi spoke to a women's luncheon at the Rochester Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1953, the event's headline was 'Buzz Bomb Mastermind to Address Jaycees Today.' That doesn't sound terribly odd to us, but might have shocked anyone living in the United States anytime prior to World War II. Watch this Walt Disney television program featuring a former Nazi who worked slaves to death in a cave building rockets. Before long, President Dwight Eisenhower would be lamenting that 'the total influence economic, political, even spiritual is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government.' Eisenhower was not referring to Nazism but to the power of the military-industrial complex. Yet, when asked whom he had in mind in remarking in the same speech that 'public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite,' Eisenhower named two scientists, one of them the former Nazi in the Disney video linked above."
It may be worth noting that all five Democratic members of Congress who just voted for continuing the gravest human disaster currently underway, the war on Yemen, are former members of the CIA and/or military. Total influence means the end of awareness of the influence. While Jacobsen's book doesn't document any successes, it exhibits a certain kind of success through the familiar propaganda subtly built into it.
"Every operation reported in this book, however shocking, was legal," Jacobsen claims, despite acknowledging some 450 pages later the existence of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and despite noting the existence of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter, and despite no doubt being aware that the nations within which the CIA commits many of its crimes have laws forbidding them. Those nations don't count. They're made up of nothing but "indigs," the term used throughout the book for mere indigenous people. On page 164 Jacobsen writes: "The reason for SOG's [Studies and Observation Group] highly classified nature was that it violated the Geneva Agreement of 1962, the declaration on the neutrality of Laos, which forbade U.S. forces from operating inside the country." But don't be shocked or you'll forget that everything the United States (not just Richard Nixon) does is, by definition, legal.