[Part I-IX were published here earlier]
by Farooque Chowdhury
Frontier | Sep 13, 2016
Ecuador’s case can be cited as a current example. Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa at a June 8 press conference confirmed CIA’s involvement with the country’s journalists, media and politicians to destabilize his government through smear campaigns. His allegation was confirmed by an investigation by TeleSUR. Correa said: “The National Endowment for Democracy is the CIA’s financial branch – like in Venezuela, in Bolivia. It does not fund the Red Cross anymore, it funds groups providing training on democracy. This means, destabilizing the government and other opposition movements.” He said his government knew of the CIA’s involvement in the country: identities of the opposition groups that received funds and the strategies they used including social networks, web pages, alleged political analysts and researchers, who cause outrage. This is “an organized action to discredit and, if possible, to destabilize” the government, said Correa.
TeleSUR’s investigation showed:
“The CIA, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), gave funds to opposition forces to destabilize progressive governments in the region with the aim of keeping geopolitical control under the thumb of big US companies.
“The audiovisual material by TeleSUR demonstrated the role of several Ecuadorean and foreign politicians in the CIA’s destabilization plans, including the former intelligence director of the armed forces, Mario Pazmino; oil trade unionist Fernando Villavicencio, who was convicted of libel against president Correa; and SWAT agent Leyla Hadad Perez, a Lebanese citizen who was operating undercover in the country relaying US orders to politicians in Ecuador.
“Among the allies of the US strategy are journalists Emilio Palacio (who sought asylum in the United States), Juan Carlos Calderon, Christian Zurita, Carlos Vera, Martin Pallares and Cesar Ricaurte, who have been given funds to comply with US aims.
“Digital media that includes PlanV, Focus, Crudo Ecuador and 4Pelagatos – financed by U.S. offices for the alleged development of democracy, human rights and freedom of speech – are part of this network.
“TeleSUR also revealed suspicious meetings between CIA agents and Ecuadorean politicians such as Gustavo and Marcelo Larrea; Marta Roldos’ relationship with US agencies seeking finance for projects; the constant organization of violent demonstrations by Andres Paez, and other US activities.”
The TeleSUR report said:
“The […] CIA, according to declassified documents and testimonies of previous agency officials, had a permanent operation to intervene in political and social decisions of Ecuador.
“Starting from the 1960s, the CIA infiltrated governments, police, civilian groups, and NGOs to advance US interests in the country, and continues to fight for its power and influence in the region.
“Unfortunately, few have knowledge of the political moves that led to the intervention of foreign intelligence forces and the deadly consequences it had for South and Central America, as well as the impact on the new world order.”
“In the early 1960s, nationalist Ecuadorean president Jose Maria Velasco Ibarra and later his successor, vice president Carlos Julio Arosemena Monroy, were pressured by the agency to break diplomatic relations with the new socialist government of Fidel Castro in Cuba. When both refused to isolate Castro’s government, both were successively ousted by the country’s military forces, backed by CIA operations.
“Ecuador, like other South American countries, was part of the US-backed Operation Condor in the 1970s. This plan endorsed state-sponsored terror to control what was perceived to be the threat of communism and eliminate subversive sectors of society.
“Operation Condor’s targets were activists, organizers, and opponents of the dictatorships the US helped set up in the region. Two prominent presidents in Latin America – Panama’s Omar Torrijos and Ecuador’s Jaime Roldos – strongly opposed the US measures.
“Roldos and Torrijos were both killed in a plane crash and, according to declassified CIA documents, their deaths could have been connected to this plan, as other leftist leaders were also targeted throughout the region.
“Investigators continue to believe that Roldos’ death is tied to a CIA operation in the country, since the president wanted to reorganize the hydrocarbon sector, a strong threat to US interests in Ecuador.
“The agency’s less known activities include the infiltration of hundreds of its agents into diplomatic offices, political parties and military forces in Ecuador.
“Agents at airports would report on passengers traveling to socialist countries such as Cuba and Russia, and mail sent to these countries was opened and recorded for the CIA to analyze. Any ‘special interest’ guest in a hotel would be surveilled constantly. Even the medical staff in charge of president Velasco Ibarra reported on their weekly tasks to a CIA station in the country.
“Spies kept extensive lists of data on targets such as full name, residences, workplace, phone number, preferred leisure activities and locations, hobbies, the name and dossier of spouses, and the names of schools attended by their children.
“Relevant information of interest to the agency was then passed onto US headquarters.
“The agency’s main targets at the time were the young socialist or communist political groups in universities. The Revolutionary Union of Ecuadorean Youth (URJE) was considered the most dangerous organization and the main target for destabilization, along with its parent party, the Communist Party of Ecuador.
“Agents would infiltrate social groups and systematically work to discredit their popularity while fabricating or planting evidence to ensure that leaders were falsely prosecuted for crimes such as the bombing of right-wing political headquarters or even churches.
“The CIA counted on the support of right-wing media outlets [that] published false information and didn’t question the sources or veracity of facts.
“It was through such methods that the leftist movement lost unity and power in political and social spaces in the country.
“Despite the documentation and testimonies verifying these activities, the CIA so far hasn’t acknowledged that its mission in the country also involved infiltrating social movements, radio stations, airlines, hotels and even hospitals.
“The current Ecuadorean government has maintained that US financial aid groups linked to the CIA are acting against leftist organizations in Latin America.
“The […] USAID and the […] NED are seen by many as tools used by the US government to advance their political, economic and social interests.
“Many opposition groups and media networks in Latin America are funded by USAID, the NED or other US-based private and public institutions. In addition to Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa, other leftist presidents have denounced these institutions that are operating to destabilize their governments as was the case with the late Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and NED funding to opposition groups, and more recently the civil liberties groups behind the impeachment process against Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.
“According to president Correa, these organizations are acting politically to promote social unrest and opposition towards his government’s policies. In 2012, Correa threatened to kick out USAID after accusing it of financing opposition groups and involving itself in the country’s internal politics.
“He said other progressive governments were analyzing whether or not to take the same actions.
“Some reports also indicated that president Rafael Correa could be targeted by the CIA, given his strong opposition to US intervention in the country and region. Since taking office, he has closed a US military base in Manta and expelled two US diplomats who worked for the CIA. He has also given asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in London to Julian Assange.
“As it did 50 years ago, the CIA continues to intervene and infiltrate through new methods and new assets in Ecuador.” (“For more than 50 years CIA went deep into Ecuadorean society”, June 5, 2016)
Citing a CIA agent the claim of financial payment to presidents, king and generals was also made by Oliver Boyd-Barrett:
“US intervention has often taken the form of secret CIA payments. In commenting on substantial CIA payments to the [then] president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, from 2002 onwards, Giraldi […], an ex-CIA agent who has had direct experience in such transactions records the following:
“There is a long history of CIA buying foreign heads of state. In the Middle East, the late King Hussein of Jordan received $7 million yearly from the agency and a succession of Christian presidents of Lebanon and their parties benefited similarly. Nearly all the generals who headed military style governments in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s were on the CIA payroll. In Europe, the process was more subtle, with the money generally going to a political party or even a faction within a party rather than to a politician.” (Media Imperialism, SAGE, London, California, New Delhi and Singapore, 2015)
The pretext for intervention has evolved over the years. “Intervention since the collapse of Soviet communism and much of the communist world from 1989 […] could no longer be justified on the pretext of mounting a defense against Communist expansion. In the ensuing quarter century, interventions have been justified instead on the basis of the following four pretexts: the ‘war’ on drugs, ‘humanitarian’ intervention, the ‘war’ on terror (which also incorporates pretexts relating to ‘weapons of mass destruction’), and the promotion of ‘democracy’. Sometimes more than one of these pretexts is employed simultaneously. Mainstream media almost universally and uncritically adapt the values that underwrite these rationales.” (ibid.)
History provides an analogy: “Far from being humanitarian,” A Atmore and S Marks write, “though it inevitably ‘wore humanitarian garb’ in the nineteenth century, the British intervened to protect their own interests in South Africa. And while these interests were in part designed to protect the sea-route to India, they were essentially, although not invariably, related to the development and demands of the British economy.” (“The imperial factor in South Africa in the nineteenth century: Towards a reassessment”, in E F Penrose (ed.), European Imperialism and the Partition of Africa, Frank Cass, London, 1975) Today, “humanitarian” interventions are made to secure imperialist interests.
“[I]nterventions require significant manipulation of public opinion through control of or influence over the media.” (Oliver Boyd-Barrett,op. cit.) In countries that turn into victims of intervention, manipulation of public opinion is found. The work of manipulating public opinion may go for years. At the same time, it, part of intervention, depends on capacity of intervening state.
“Intervention capacity”, Helmut Kramer and Helfried Bauer of Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, write, “does not only mean the available and applied resources and means for military actions or threats: it also sub sumes the level of economic, social, and political stability required in the imperialistic nation itself for performing and continuing interventions in the Third World. The international and national weakening of US imperialism as a consequence of its failure to achieve its military goal in Southeast Asia is analyzed in this perspective.” (“Imperialism, intervention capacity, and foreign policy making, on the political economy of the US intervention in Indochina”, Journal of Peace Research, December, 1972, vol. 9, no. 4) This – the capacity – sometimes changes velocity of intervention.
Intervention doesn’t help democracy. William Easterly, Shanker Satyanath and Daniel Berger found “a negative prognosis for democracy in intervened countries.” (“Superpower interventions and their consequences for democracy: an empirical inquiry”, working paper 13992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 2008) Developments in post-intervened Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are burning examples of the state of democracy in these societies. Deaths instead of democracy are the predominant fact of life in today’s Afghanistan.
Intervention irrespective of forms, velocity and extent is a crime against people, is a criminal aggression against people as purpose of intervention is loot and exploitation by subjugating a people, which disfigures a people’s life and struggle for a better life. Years ago, the American Anti-Imperialist League announced: “subjugation of any people” is “criminal aggression”: “We hold that the policy known as imperialism is hostile to liberty […] an evil [….I]t is necessary […] to reaffirm that all men of whatever race or color are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. […] We insist that the subjugation of any people is ‘criminal aggression’ […]” (Marcus G Raskin,Liberalism: The Genius of American Ideals. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Lanham, Maryland, 2004) Today, people in countries subjugated and countries facing intervention for subjugation can logically and rationally raise the issue of criminal aggression. Therefore, there’s need and scope to raise the issue of criminal aggression at national and international level. Brazil has the right to raise the issue.
Farooque Chowdhury, a Dhaka-based freelancer, has authored/edited only three books in English: Micro Credit, Myth Manufactured(ed.), The Age of Crisis, and What Next? The Great Financial Crisis (ed.), and doesn’t operate any blog like “Farooque Chowdhury’s Blog”.