The Central Intelligence Agency was born out the Office of Strategic Services in 1947 and from the very beginning it's been involved in illegal covert operations ostensibly to protect American government interests. Declassified documents and accidental leaks have uncovered some of the weirdest, most deplorable programs imaginable over its quarter century of existence.
The CIA has the reputation of being the most influential and far-reaching intelligence agency in the world and known for its legendary James-Bond-like actions. The functions of the CIA include information collection but do not exclude secret actions when and where needed. Although the CIA has conducted many operations successfully to achieve its objectives, but everything has not been always a success story. At times it had pocket failures too. A suicide attack at a CIA base in the province of Khost, Afghanistan on December 30, 2009, killed seven CIA officers leaving six others seriously wounded. The CIA was seriously criticized for its inability to help abort the 9/11 attack proactively, but these claims were denied by the agency citing its efforts made in the preceding two years. The CIA continues to influence foreign governments by exerting political pressure.
1. Operation Paperclip
Operation Paperclip was a CIA program to recruit German scientists - Hitler's top weapons makers, with an intention to brainwash them and prepare them to serve in the U.S. In 1945, the U.S. President Harry Truman ordered the execution of the plan on condition to exclude those found ‘to have been a member of the Nazi Party. This would have excluded almost all of the German scientists. Therefore, the CIA white washed the public profiles of the German scientists and tailored their biographies to serve their purpose. About 1600 scientists legally migrated to the U.S. These dedicated Nazi scientists played an undeniable role in the realization of the U.S.’s ballistic missile technology and space programs. Many were directly in charge of prosecuting horrific war crimes. The intelligence community did not care, however. They were seen as necessary future leaders of the military industrial complex. The success of Operation Paperclip was, therefore, one of the most valuable services rendered by the CIA to the Anglo American establishment that famous historianCarroll Quigley and Bill Clinton mentor called, The Network.
2. The Stargate Project
This one was turned into an amazing Ron Jonson book and George Clooney movie. Military Intelligence and the CIA were of the opinion that the U.S. psychic research about some foreign countries was unreliable on account of possible Soviet disinformation. They weren't wrong about Soviet disinformation campaigns as defected Soviet agent Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa explains in the book Disinformation. But this got weird fast.
The CIA and military began exploring "Remote Viewing". Remote Viewing is the psychic ability to see the events happening at remote distances through the use of paranormal capabilities like the use of ESP (Extra-sensory Perception). Researchers, however, concluded that the telepaths were 80 percent of the time wrong. The information obtained through this method was not found scientifically reliable or strategically actionable; therefore, the CIA supposedly canceled the costly project forever in 1995 during the Clinton Administration. Though, to be fair, the public has no verification that it has.
2. The CIA Ships in the Drugs
The CIA has been involved in drug-running from its very inception.
Just months after its creation in 1947, the agency began a relationship with theCorsican mafiathat controlled the Old Port of Marseille in post-war France. That relationship involved a quid pro quo: The CIA would protect the mafia if the mafia would keep the communists from taking control of the port. In this case, “protecting the mafia” meant protecting their most lucrative business, which just happened to be smuggling heroin into the United States. This “French Connection” thrived for decades, with the majority of the heroin in the US in the post-war period coming via France under the watchful eye of the CIA.
From the Korean War to the Vietnam War and beyond, CIA-supported warlords used CIA-run airlines like Air America to ship heroin from the “Golden Triangle” at the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. As evenThe New York Timesreported, the agency prevented the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs from monitoring drug trafficking in the region. They even stopped an investigation into “an Air America DC-3 loaded with heroin packed into boxes of Tide soap powder” that had been seized on its way to the US.
In the 1980s, yet more agency involvement in drug smuggling rings came to light. This time it was drug traffickers connected to the Contras in Nicaragua that received help from the agency. After the Contra-connected trafficking came to light, a Senate investigation headed by Senator John Kerry confirmed government complicity in the drug trade.
BOB MCKEOWN: As for the CIA, it’s denied ever aiding or condoning drug smuggling.
JOHN KERRY: Reports were reaching the highest councils of our government, in the White House and in the Justice Department. There is no question of that. I can document that.
MCKEOWN: The White House and Justice Department disputed Kerry’s report at the time. But he still believes some government officials turned a blind eye towards drug dealing in the mid-1980s, after the time at the heart of Gary Webb’s stories.
In the 1990s, award-winning journalist Gary Webbtracedthe Contras’ CIA-protected backers to cocaine shipments into the US, and, ultimately, to the crack epidemic of the 1980s. He was suicided.
Stories of CIA drug-running continue to be covered up almost as quickly as they are exposed, from the CIA Beech 200 that wasapprehended in Nicaraguawith 1100 kilos of cocaine to the crash of a Grumman Gulfstream II that had been used for CIA rendition flights that wascarrying 3.3 tons of Columbian cocaine. Then there’s the CIA’srelationshipwith Afghan drug warlord Ahmed Wali Karzai in Afghanistan and the admission that the Sinaloa cartel was aided by US agencies and the recent confession that famed Columbian drug king Pablo Escobarworked for the CIA.
At this point, the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency has facilitated drug-running into the United States is one of the worst kept secrets in history.
4. The Bay of Pigs Invasion
The Bay of Pigs Invasion, also known as Operation Zapata, was undertaken soon after John F. Kennedy became the President of the United States. The purpose of the invasion was to overturn the Communist Castro regime and to replace it with some more acceptable alternative. To divert the attention from any U.S. involvement, Cuban exiles were trained for the operation. On April 17, 1961, an amphibious troop transport and 1300 guerrillas were unloaded on a beach in the Bay of Pigs. Contrary to the expectations of the CIA, the Castro troops were already well informed of the possibility of this attack and were fully ready to counter it. About 2,000 Cubans and more than 100 invaders were killed while 1200 were captured, and many of them were executed under the orders of Fidel Castro. The remaining were freed in exchange foe $53 million in the form of food and medicines for the Cuban people.
5. Operation Midnight Climax and MKUltra
Operation Midnight Climax was initiated by the CIA with an aim to explore the possibility of mind control through the use of drugs like LSD on unwitting (kidnapped) Americans and others. Prestigious researchers such as Donald Ewen Cameron, a former President of the American Psychiatric Association, at the Allen Memorial Institute used processes called "psychic driving" and "depatterning" which involved incredibly abusive psychological torture while often being dosed with massive doses of LSD, electroconvulsive shock treatments and muscular paralytic drugs like curare to subdue them. Basically an evil horror show straight out of Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange. of Known now as the "Montreal experiments."
But the scope of Project MKUltra was broad, with activities carried out under the guise of research at more than 80 institutions, including colleges and universities, hospitals, prisons, and pharmaceutical companies. The scope, however, is impossible to truly know because the CIA illegally destroyed all records of the program when Congress demanded the information. Only a fraction of experiments and programs were made public. Some include:
6 subprojects involving tests on unwitting subjects were conducted.
8 subprojects involving hypnosis, including 2 that also used drugs were performed.
7 subprojects included the use of drugs or chemicals.
4 subprojects used “magician’s art . . . e.g., surreptitious delivery of drug-related materials.”
9 subprojects studied sleep research (read: deprivation) and psychotherapy’s influence on behavior.
6 subprojects studied the effects on human tissue of “exotic pathogens and the capability to incorporate them in effective delivery systems.
Another intention was to find the possibility of using this drug for sexual blackmailing. Prostitutes were used by the CIA to administer LSD via food to the chosen subjects surreptitiously. After the CIA Inspector General’s staff discovered in 1963 that the agency was running a program involving use of the psychotropic drug LSD by unwilling people, the project became controversial even within the agency. At least that's their story to cover their ass. The relevant files were destroyed while only a few of them survived because they were likely overlooked.
There has never been any accountability regarding the programs. Two cases went to the Supreme Court. Both were basically dismissed over national security justifications.
In 1985, the Court held inCIA vs. Simmsthat the names of the institutions and researchers who participated in Project MKUltra were exempt from revelation under the Freedom of Information Act due to the CIA’s need to protect its “intelligence sources.”
In 1987, inUnited States v. Stanley, the Court held that a serviceman who had volunteered for a chemical weapons experiment, but who was actually tested with LSD, was barred from bringing a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Once military escalation was begun through this false flag operation and LBJ's Tonkin Resolution, a program called Operation Phoenix was designed with the stated objective to neutralize the NLF (National Liberation Front of South Vietnam), and it utilized infiltration, capturing, terrorizing, assassinating, converting, or killing to meet its objectives. More than 80,000 suspects were neutralized by the Phoenix operatives, killing more than 25,000 Vietnamese, and leaving the others disabled due to extreme torture. According to an internal communication, the intent of Operation Phoenix was to attack the NLF with a rifle rather than a shotgun to target the Vietnamese political leaders, command and control elements of the NLF activists. It may be America's largest and most involved program of targeted assassinations ever.
7. Operation Gold
Operation Gold was a combined hacking project of the CIA and the British intelligence agencies. The purpose of the operation was to intercept and tape telephonic communications of the Soviet headquarters in Berlin. A secret tunnel measuring 450 x 6 meters was built under the constantly patrolled border. It started from a purposely constructed basement in the Rudow district of the American Center. Construction of the tunnel started on September 2, 1954, and the work was completed on February 25, 1955. The KGB, however, got information about the tunnel through a secret agent and communicated only about unimportant routine matters. Although a few celebrated the success of this operation, many were skeptical about the usefulness of the operation.
9. Operation Gladio: The Granddaddy of "Stay Behind" Missions
The term "false flag" has become mainstreamed over the last decade or so. But did you know that as WWII was coming to a close, the Anglo-American military establishment that became the world hegemon for the rest of the 20th Century put in place an elaborate "stay behind" paramilitary forces of NATO-supported right wing terrorists to commit acts of terror and blame them on leftwing groups and communist parties?
Operation Gladiois the name given to the covert long-running program that appears to have begun to thwart soviet influence in Europe using WWII partisan networks in some cases, and outright Nazis in others. It's existence came to public knowledge when Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti revealed it to the Chamber of Deputies on October 24, 1990. He and other leaders had been involved in the Gladio organization and coverup.
10. Acoustic Kitty
The CIA was behind the Acoustic Kitty project launched by the Directorate of Science and Technology in the 1960s. The idea was to use trained cats equipped with electronic equipment for recording and spying in the Soviet embassies. The spy cat was equipped with a microphone in its ear, an antenna implanted in its tail, and batteries inserted in its forelimbs. The estimated cost of the project exceeded $20 million. The first test failed when the spy cat was run over by a taxi. Some other tests also did not yield any positive results. Therefore, the project was canceled in 1967.
11. Operation Mockingbird
American citizens have been assuming that their press enjoys complete freedom unlike many government-controlled media of the developing countries. How far is this American presumption true can be realized by recognizing the fact that they have the most sophisticated and influential, secret agency in the world, the CIA. A publisher of the Washington Post, Phillip Graham, was assigned to direct the Operation Mockingbird. The plan was conceived in the 1940s when the CIA started systematic access to the corporate media. The CIA intended to compete and nullify the influence of Communist activists over European labor unions. At its peak, Operation Mockingbird used about 3,000 CIA agents to control the press and as many as 25 newspapers were under its influence. The writers of some very prestigious magazines were also influenced by this program.
Apparently the stated and implied objectives of the CIA are in the U.S.’s interests, but practically they are debatable and are an embodiment of controversy. Whereas most of the U.S.’s citizens are impressed by the efficiency of the CIA, many others in the U.S. and other parts of the world are the least impressed by its activities. The CIA has won many sincere enemies for the U.S. but only a few and insincere friends for America. Actions speak louder than words, and perhaps everything is a little more pronounced in the case of the CIA.
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