Greg Guma: “Cracks in the Covert Iceberg”

1998-06-05

Richard Moore

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                    Cracks in the Covert Iceberg
                           by Greg Guma
                  Editor, "Toward Freedom" magazine
                  As published in the May 1998 issue




Publishers note:

I imagine Greg was no more surprised than I by these latest revelations,
that is as regards the underlying facts.  I first suspected the CIA was
behind the Afghan war by signs I picked up in the tv coverage.  The quality
of video that was coming out of the Afghan front lines just didn't look
like amateur stuff carried out by llama, and it was always _so current.
And then there was the trail of weapons leading to Pakistan and thence to
all points in the Western arms industry.

But it was in reading John Stockwell's "In Search of Enemies" that the
overall US strategy in Angola, Afghanistan, and even the whole arms race,
became clear.   Pawns, all, in the campaign to destabilize and bankrupt the
Soviet Union.   And now we can read it from the lips of one of the actual
conspirators.  Please share this with anyone you know who thinks
"conspiracies don't happen".

rkm


------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: •••@••.•••
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1998 11:33:24 EDT
To: •••@••.•••
Subject: Re: your editorial in May issue


Cracks in the Covert Iceberg

For almost two decades, the US government claimed that it bankrolled
the overthrow of Afghanistan's revolutionary regime only in response
to the invasion of Soviet troops in the final days of the 1970s. But early
this year, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Carter's National
Security Advisor at the time, finally admitted that covert US
intervention began long before the USSR sent in troops. "That secret
operation was an excellent idea," he explained. "The effect was to
draw the Russians into the Afghan trap."

The resulting war -- provoked to turn Afghanistan into a geopolitical
pawn -- led to almost 2 million deaths. Ultimately, much of the country
was reduced to rubble, and a government attempting to shake off
feudalism was replaced with a fundamentalist regime that lynches
opponents without trial and bars women from employment and
education. Today Afghanistan is open territory for energy companies
building a masive oil and gas pipeline to Pakistan. Meanwhile, millions
of people, including even those who once worked for the CIA, are
paying a high price.

Whenever such operations are exposed, officials and pundits are quick
to say that, as bad as they sound, they're "ancient history." Things were
different during the Cold War, after all, and beating communism
required extreme, often unsavory, tactics. Yet, the same cynical
manipulation and disregard for human life characterizes current US
operations around the world.

A recent example, which at least has sparked some outrage, is US
training of Indonesian commandos accused of torturing and killing
civilians. Despite a congressional ban, the Pentagon exploited a legal
loophole allowing human rights training to provide instruction in
demolitions, sniper techniques, psychological operations, and "military
operations in urban terrain." The targets include workers who've lost
their jobs during the country's economic crisis, students opposing
President Suharto's military-dominated regime, and East Timorese who
want independence. Nevertheless, the Clinton Administration defends
its actions as "engagement with an important country" that serves US
national interests.

Less publicized, but equally deadly, is US involvement in the low-
intensity war being waged in Mexico. Under the guise of anti-drug
operations, the US has provided $50 million to Mexico for arms and
training since 1995. This includes the US training of the Air-Mobile
Special Forces Group (GAFE), created in direct response to the 1994
rebellion in Chiapas.

After courses at Fort Bragg, GAFE units have gone on to kidnap,
torture and kill opponents of the government. Wearing hoods, they
enter homes in the middle of the night to surprise their targets, and raid
hotels and restaurants without presenting search warrants. Although
responsibility for the massacre of 45 civilians in Acteal last December
hasn't yet been directly traced to GAFE, that incident also reflects
counter-insurgency lessons learned at the School of the Americas
(SOA) in Georgia and other US training centers.

In the new documentary, Father Roy: Inside the School of Assassins,
Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who's spent the last two decades
trying to close the SOA, points out that the insurgents under attack are
usually reformers, human rights workers, and peasants who oppose
repressive governments. Despite platitudes about human rights, the US
continues to pursue the same agenda that marked its past intervention
in Latin America and Southeast Asia -- making the world "safe" for
corporate exploitation.

And just as in the past, what we read or hear these days about US
intervention is only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, the
emergence of 24-hour news and the information superhighway
promotes the illusion that there are no secrets left. In reality, however,
for the last 15 years the CIA has effectively used the National
Endowment for Democracy as a cover to fund hundreds of so-called
non-governmental organizations as fronts for its operations, particularly
in Africa and Latin America. Declaring Islamic fundamentalism the
post-communist global menace, it also runs covert operations in places
such as Libya, Iran, and the Sudan.

Not long ago, the Council on Foreign Relations suggested that the CIA
should be allowed to use use journalists and clergy as cover -- as if
they don't already. There also are clear signs that the Agency is
moving into economic intelligence and computer-age information
warfare.

On the other hand, growing public skepticism about the accuracy of
news reports -- not to mention the need to start another war with Iraq --
suggest that not everything's going as the military-intelligence
establishment would like. The public may not know the whole story
yet. But the more they learn, the less they're willing to swallow the
official line.

-- Greg Guma

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