From U.S. Intelligence Foreign Intelligence: The Secret Side of American History by Charles Ameringer, Lexington Books: Lexington, Massachusetts, 1990. In much the same way, the International Organizations Divi- sion used private international organizations-a number of them based in the United States-as instruments of covert action in foreign policy. These organizations, representing such diverse interests as students and youth, labor unions, community development, health care, and freedom of the press and human rights, were rarely aware of CIA sponsorship. In fact, many of them were part of the non-Communist Left and strongly opposed certain foreign governments that were considered U.S. allies at the time. The contradiction between official U.S. foreign policy and the one being carried out by the IOD caused consternation and controversy when the American public became aware of it in the mid-1960s. The IOD provided funding to organizations that were outspoken in their criticism of U.S. foreign policy and that would have been outraged to know that they were receiving CIA support (although in some cases insiders knew what was going on). In order to conceal its involvement, the IOD devised the "pass-through," a means of channeling money through several conduits before it reached the intended beneficiary. The CIA would create a phony foundation that was little more than a post office box; it would contribute funds for a particular purpose to a legitimate foundation that was known to support certain causes and to have the necessary connections; the legitimate foundation finally passed the money to the organizations that the CIA wanted to favor in the first place. Since the IOD seemed to be fomenting change in countries where the United States was officially supporting the status quo, the purported split between "DDI liberalism" and "DDP/DDO conservativism" was not really that clean. From 1950 to 1954, the chief of the IOD was Tom Braden, a former OSS operative and liberal journalist. (Thirty years later, Braden sat "on the left" in the Cable News Network program Crossfire.) His successor for the rest of the 1950s and into the 1960s was Cord Meyer, who had lost an eye in World War II combat and came out of the war dedicated to the cause of world federalism. Ray Cline, who became DDI in 1961, had earlier been station chief in Taiwan. But there was less doubt about where the Special Operations Division stood politically. ... In Albania, Kim Philby betrayed the U.S.-British infiltration teams even before they left their base in Malta, resulting in the ambushing and killing of many brave men. Yet if Philby was a monster of sorts, the CIA's Eastern European programs themselves had particularly malodorous features. Frank Wisner, who was in charge of the Office of Policy Coordination (the forerunner of the DDP), ran the programs with the collaboration of General Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen was a German officer who had been responsible for Soviet intelligence during the war; he had planned his own capture by American forces in the closing days of the war and had brought his files with him. Gehlen aided Wisner in assembling "a cadre of German specialists on the Soviets [but] without regard for their pasts; some of his best experts were in fact former Nazis. This and similar Army connections with Nazis would prove embarrassing for the United States many years later." Conducting guerrilla operations behind the iron curtain was infeasible, and the situation in Western Europe was improving in any case through conventional diplomacy. So Clandestine Services shifted its attention to parts of the globe where there was unrest. Events in China and Korea helped focus attention beyond Europe and broadened the cold war to the world arena. Some foreign affairs specialists questioned whether every coup or insurgency in Asia or Latin America was Moscow-inspired, but the American president did not have to worry about public debate in using his new secret weapon. Employing covert action, the CIA replaced the marines as the instrument of "Yankee interventionism." The chart in figure 19-1 lists the places-where the CIA has intervened since its beginning. It is not exhaustive and has been compiled exclusively from published sources and public documents, but it serves to indicate the extent of the "new interventionism" and to identify the various covert action tactics used. In the rich variety and broad extent of its deployment, covert action produced a new American personality: the "swashbucklers of secret wars," such as Edward Lansdale, Kermit "Kim" Roosevelt, John Peurifoy, Cord Meyer, William Colby, and Oliver North. Though there have been many others, these persons are ----------------------------------------------------------------- Baltic states 1948-54 the Ukraine 1948-54 Albania 1949-1954 the Philippines 1949-53 Korea 1950 Vietnam 1954; 1955; 1963 China/Taiwan 1951-54; 1967 Burma 1952-61 Tibet 1959-69 Thailand 1960-73 Laos 1962-71 Indonesia 1958 Iran 1953 Guatemala 1954 Costa Rica 1955; 1959-61 Hungary 1956 Cambodia 1958-59 the Dominican Republic 1960-61 Cuba 1960-65 British Guiana (Guyana) 1963-64 Chile 1962-73 Ecuador 1960-63 Uruguay 1964-66 Mexico 1967-68 Bolivia 1967 the Congo/Zaire 1964 Ghana 1966 Angola 1965/1975 West Germany 1963 the United States 1952-67 Iraq (Kurds) 1972-75 Afghanistan 1979-89 Libya 1981/1984 El Salvador 1980 Nicaragua 1981-87 Figure 19-1. CIA Covert Operations -------------------------------------------------------------- associated with some of the CIA's most sensational episodes. Marchetti and Marks suggested that Lansdale's work was the "proto-type" for CIA covert operations during the 1950s: "His exploits under agency auspices, first in the Philippines and then in Vietnam, became so well known that he served as the model for characters in two best-selling novels, The Ugly American by William J. Lederer and Eugene Burdick, and The Quiet American by Graham Greene. In the former, he was a heroic figure; in the latter, a bumbling fool." In the list of covert operations, Lansdale figured in the very first episode outside Europe, which occurred in the Philippines in 1949. Lansdale, an air force colonel, assisted Philippine leader Ramon Magsaysay in putting down the rebellion of the Communist Hukbalahaps, or "Huks." He was one of the earliest advocates of counterinsurgency warfare, or the use of guerrilla tactics to defeat guerrillas. Lansdale's mission enabled Magsaysay to win popular support by providing effective propaganda and by secretly providing funding for economic and social reforms. It ended when Magsaysay was elected president in 1953. Lansdale's success in the Philippines inspired President Eisenhower to have him try the same tactics in Vietnam. Although Eisenhower warned against getting involved in a "land war" in Asia, the CIA's proprietary airline CAT airlifted supplies to the beleaguered French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. After the French were defeated and Indochina was divided in compliance with the Geneva Accords, the Eisenhower administration concentrated on South Vietnam as the place to stop "the dominoes from falling." Lansdale gave his support to Ngo Dinh Diem, an anti-Communist leader who had also opposed the French and Japanese, and engineered his election to the presidency in 1955. But Diem was no Magsaysay. He and his brother, Ngo Dihn Nhu, proved to be corrupt and repressive. This led to Lansdale's departure and created in time a made-to-order situation for the Communist Viet Cong and the North. Moreover, the usually astute Lansdale had intervened in favor of a Roman Catholic in a predominantly Buddhist nation. On November 1, 1963, as U.S. involvement in Vietnam was deepening, Diem and his brother were overthrown and subsequently assassinated. The CIA had put Diem in power and had now removed him after secretly conspiring with a group of army generals. ... The CIA intervention in Guatemala stirred up a great deal of ill will toward the United States in Latin America. Even moderate, pro-United States leaders in the region, who had shunned the Arbenz regime, now complained about a Yankee double standard that used "free world" rhetoric against communism but that ignored the transgressions of right-wing tyrants. President Jose Figueres of Costa Rica, for one, urged the United States to stop arming dictators and to fight communism by eradicating poverty and injustice in Latin America. His urgings led to his becoming involved with the CIA as a target of intervention himself and, then, as an "agent of influence." In the mid-1950s, Figueres was one of the Caribbean's few progressive leaders to hold office. He condemned the region's dictators and permitted political exiles to engage in conspiratorial activities on Costa Rican soil. Figueres's policy riled Nicaragua's Somoza, who, encouraged by the events in Guatemala, decided it was time to get rid of his annoying neighbor. Citing evidence that Figueres had abetted an assassination attempt against him in April 1954, Somoza helped Figueres's enemies launch an invasion of Costa Rica from Nicaragua in January 1955. Figueres had played a dangerous game, but he had also abolished the Costa Rican army, which forced him to appeal to the Organization of American States to protect his country from Somoza's aggression. The OAS, with the concurrence of the U.S. representative, ordered a cease-fire and sent a delegation to Costa Rica for an on-site investigation. At that point, Somoza realized that he had to act quickly. He called in his IOU from the CIA. He had permitted the CIA to use Las Mercedes Airport, outside Managua, as a base for its P-47s during the Guatemalan intervention. Now he wanted the planes that were parked there to help him in his feud with Figueres. On January 15, three days after the OAS action, a P-47 Thunderbolt violated Costa Rican airspace and bombed and strafed a number of Costa Rican towns. Figueres, alarmed by this escalation, pointed out that Costa Rica had no defense against "modern weapons" of this kind and again appealed to the OAS. The council of the organization immediately authorized the United States to sell four F-51 Mustang fighters to Costa Rica for a dollar apiece. The State Department, responding to pressure from certain U.S. congressmen and sensing an opportunity to improve America's image in Latin America after Guatemala, came to the rescue and preserved the Caribbean's "lone democrat." Its gesture ended the "invasion," and the State Department scored one over the CIA. But the roles were soon reversed. Within the State Department, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Henry F. Holland considered Figueres a "troublemaker." He rebuked him for his interventionism and refused to take seriously his warning of "reform now, or revolution later." Meanwhile, the CIA acting covertly hedged its bets when Latin American dictators started to slip toward the end of the 1950s and after the rise of Fidel Castro. Cord Meyer, chief of the DDP's International Organizations Division, was already intervening in behalf of the non-Communist left and extended CIA support to Figueres in the wake of the so-called Nixon riots in the spring of 1958. Americans were shocked by that series of hostile demonstrations during Nixon's "goodwill" tour of Latin America. They climaxed in May in Caracas, where a mob stoned and spat upon the vice president's motorcade and threatened his life. At the invitation of Representative Charles Porter of Oregon, Figueres (at the time, just out of office) came to Washington to explain what had caused these events. "People cannot spit on a foreign policy," Figueres told a House committee, "which is what they meant to do." Figueres insisted that Latin America supported the United States in the cold war, but he asked, "If you talk human dignity to Russia, why do you hesitate so much to talk human dignity to the Dominican Republic?" He testified that the United States must change its policy in Latin America and that it could not sacrifice human rights for "investments." But the best that Figueres could do was to induce the CIA to help Latin America's liberals secretly. The CIA gave him money to publish a political journal, Combate, and to sponsor the founding meeting of the Institute of Political Education in Costa Rica in November 1959. The institute was organized as a training school and a center for political collaboration for political parties of the democratic left, principally from Costa Rica, Cuba (in exile), the Dominican Republic (in exile), Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua (in exile), Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. The CIA concealed its role from most of the participants except Figueres. Its funds passed first to a shell foundation, then to the Kaplan Fund of New York, next to the Institute for International Labor Research (IILR) located in New York, and finally to San Jose. Socialist leader Norman Thomas headed the IILR. After the CIA connection was revealed, Thomas maintained that he had been unaware of it, but the IILR's treasurer, Sacha Volman, who also became treasurer of the institute in San jos@, was a CIA agent. The CIA used Volman to monitor the institute, and Meyer collaborated directly with Figueres. Meyer came to San Jose sometime in the summer of 1960. He and Figueres created the Inter-American Democratic Social Movement (INADESMO), which was nothing more than a front. A flier describing the idealistic purpose of INADESMO carried the same post office box as Figueres's personal letterhead. The INADESMO setup enabled Meyer to disperse funds more directly, without having to bother with conduits or the accounting procedures of the institute. For example, INADESMO contributed $10,000 to help finance the First Conference of Popular Parties of Latin America in Lima, Peru, in August 1960. The following May, Meyer returned to San Jose for a more urgent purpose. In the wake of the Bay of Pigs failure, he provided Figueres with INADESMO funds to sponsor a meeting at his farm (May 12-20) between the leaders of the principal Dominican exile movements, Juan Bosch and Horacio Ornes. With Figueres as sponsor, Bosch and Ornes agreed to form a coalition government in anticipation of the overthrow of dictator Rafael Trujillo. As the United States moved to rally the hemisphere against Fidel Castro, Trujillo had become expendable, because the United States needed to demonstrate that it opposed all dictators, not just those on the left. For over a year, the CIA had been in contact also with dissidents inside the Dominican Republic who argued that assassination was the only certain way to remove Trujillo. The CIA station in Ciudad Trujillo (now Santo Domingo) had encouraged the dissidents and actually delivered to them three pistols and three carbines "attendant to their projected efforts to neutralize Trujillo." Because the Bay of Pigs failure created an uncertain situation, the United States tried to put the brakes on this operation and refused to pass along additional weapons to the dissidents which the Dominican station already had, specifically M-3 machine guns. The National Security Council, meeting on May 5, "noted the President's view that the United States should not initiate the overthrow of Trujillo before [knowing] what government would succeed him." On May 30, Trujillo was ambushed and assassinated. The same "action group" with whom the CIA had been in contact and to whom it had delivered pistols and carbines carried out the attack. According to the 1975 report of the Church Committee, there was "no direct evidence" that CIA weapons had been used in the assassinations and the effect of the Bosch-Ornes pact upon the events that transpired remains a matter for speculation. Nonetheless, the CIA described its role in "changing" the government of the Dominican Republic "as a 'success' in that it assisted in moving the Dominican Republic from a totalitarian dictatorship to a Western-style democracy." Bosch himself was elected president of the Dominican Republic. Sacha Volman followed him there, establishing a new "research and publication center" and taking with him the CIA funding that used to go to Figueres in Costa Rica. Though one cannot prove that there was a coordinated link between the external and internal opposition groups, Meyer was in a position to know what both elements were doing. In March 1962, Meyer's IOD was merged with the Covert Action staff, and Meyer became chief of the new and enlarged unit. In this review of Meyer's activities in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, there have been repeated references to Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. In fact, most of the CIA's clandestine operations in Latin America during the 1960s occurred in the context of Cuban developments. Elsewhere in the hemisphere, too, CIA actions had the objective, "No more Cubas." In British Guiana (which became independent Guyana in 1966), the CIA worked through its assets in the international trade union movement to topple the pro-Communist government of Prime Minister Cheddi Jagan. In the early 1960s, Jagan had made friendly overtures toward Castro and had chosen to make the labor unions a factor in his bid for absolute power. In 1963 and 1964, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and its international allies, the Inter-American Regional Labor Organization (ORIT) and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), helped stage an eighty-day general strike that prevented Jagan's takeover of the unions and led to his eventual political defeat. Tom Braden later revealed that when he was head of the IOD, he had passed money to American labor leaders to fight Communist labor unions in Italy and Germany. Columnist Drew Pearson wrote, "Jay Lovestone, sometimes called [AFL-CIO president George] Meany's minister of foreign affairs . . . takes orders from Cord Meyer [Braden's successor] of the CIA." Lovestone, who was appointed executive secretary of the AFL Free Trade Union Committee after World War II and a dedicated cold warrior, needed little prodding from Braden and Meyer in opposing Communist influence in the international labor movement. At about the time that Meyer took charge of expanded operations in international organizations as chief of the Covert Action staff, Lovestone helped create the American Institute of Free Labor Development (AIFLD) for the purpose of training labor leaders in Latin America in labor organizing techniques and tactics. The AIFLD was one of several AFL-CIO entities that received covert funding from the CIA; Philip Agee alleged that its collaboration with CIA stations abroad was extremely close, amounting to a "country-team effort." In the British Guiana case, Jagan accused the AIFLD of intervening in the general strike and denounced its executive director, Serafino Romualdi. Romualdi, the AFL's long-time "roving ambassador" in Latin America, did not deny the charge but showed only nonchalance: "I simply put at the disposal of the strike committee the services of six graduates of [AIFLD]. . . . who were working as interns with various local unions. They performed so well that one of them, David Persaud, later was elected President of the BGTUC [British Guiana Trade Union Congress]."" In reality, the operation had not been simple. The strike became very violent and had taken a toll of 160 lives and required huge sums of money to sustain. Jagan insisted that there were eleven, not six, AIFLD graduates active in the strike, and one critic claimed there were "more visitors to that tiny country in the name of 'labor solidarity' in 18 months than in the previous 18 years." Romualdi charged that Cuba and Russia had acted as "strikebreakers" by shipping food and fuel to Jagan, but, in the end, before British Guiana became independent, Jagan was out as premier. Jagan's defeat paralleled another CIA initiative, at the other end of South America in Chile. The CIA's intervention in Chile began in 1962, with a $50,000 covert contribution to the Christian Democratic party; it lasted through 1970-73, when it made an $8 million expenditure to oppose the government of Salvador Allende. Chile, a nation with a democratic tradition and chronic economic ills, troubled the United States because its leftist political parties appeared to be capable of achieving electoral victory. During the period 1962-69, the United States provided Chile with more than a billion dollars in direct, overt economic assistance to improve economic and social conditions. During the same period, the CIA acted covertly to strengthen the Christian Democratic party as the most viable reformist movement. It expended during a fifteen-year period of discreet cooperation...was based on a shared commitment to a common purpose. The NSA leadership wanted to cooperate with democratic and representative university student groups abroad and to oppose the attempt of the Communists to dominate the international student community. The Agency shared that objective and was prepared to help them achieve what they had already decided to do. "II The students had been denied open support by the State Department and Congress because "they were considered too far to the left in the general climate of McCarthyism and anti-intellectualism of the 1950s. They had then turned to the CIA and accepted its secret funding. Under the arrangement, "CIA funds would support only the international division of the National Student Association; only the NSA President and the International Affairs Vice President would be witting of the CIA connection. Each year, after the election of new student leaders, the CIA held a secret briefing for the new officers, and elicited from them a secrecy agreement."" Despite the seeming "blank check" relationship between the CIA and the NSA, the Agency in fact made "operational use" of individual students. Students attending world youth congresses were asked to report on "Soviet and Third World personalities" and to observe "Soviet security practices." In 1957, a U.S. student delegate to the Sixth World Youth Festival in Moscow "was instructed to report on Soviet counterintelligence measures and to purchase a piece of Soviet-manufactured equipment. Besides these actions pertaining to the international sphere, the CIA intruded upon the functioning of NSA itself by influencing the selection of officers, spotting sympathetic leaders and promoting their candidacies. It was this latter aspect that created the greatest furor. Immediately after the publication of the Ramparts article about the NSA, the New York Times and the Washington Post published lists of private American organizations and foundations that had received CIA secret funding. The presence of educational and private voluntary organizations, labor unions, elements of the media, and religious groups on the list aroused grave concerns about the effects of CIA operations upon the "independence and to insist upon human rights compliance and unload associations with dictators without developing viable alternatives. However, such policy decisions could be firmly pursued through open diplomacy (without returning to the days of Cord Meyer and the covert funding of the non-Communist left, as much to deceive the Congress and the American people as to protect secrets). Carter's failure to force Anastasio Somoza to leave Nicaragua in January 1979 was a policy error and had no relationship to the status of Clandestine Services. That Clandestine Services had declined, there was little doubt. Even the Carter administration tried "to resurrect covert action" in 1980 '41 after events brought President Carter around to George Kennan's thinking of thirty years earlier. The idea of a contingency force was updated, as stated by Stansfield Turner: "the talent necessary for covert action is available in the CIA and it must be preserved. Carter extended covert support "to opponents of the Sandinistas," including "newsprint and funds to keep the [opposition] newspaper La Prensa alive,"50 and he responded to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 with covert arms shipments to Afghan rebels. U.S. intelligence was not caught unawares by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as Carter's critics charged, but Carter, shocked by Soviet recklessness, resorted to covert action to "punish the Soviets," since going to war "wasn't feasible."" The. tragic clandestine rescue mission that was aborted in the Irani-an desert in April 1980 was a failure, but it was no more a failure than the Bay of Pigs in the heyday of Allen Dulles. If Carter's "failures" were also "intelligence failures," the problem was in the function of clandestine intelligence collection (HUMINT). In reforming Clandestine Services, no one had made clear the distinction between foreign intelligence or espionage and covert action. When Ranelagh affirmed that the CIA under Carter and Turner had "lost the quality of being special,"51 he overlooked the fact that the FI people had lost out a long time before (to say nothing of the DDI analysts). Turner's purge of two hundred covert operators did not ruin the CIA, and Carter's problems in foreign affairs were more complex than his obvious disdain for covert action.