Friday, October 21, 2011

A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

by Steve Kangas
from SteveKangas Website

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment.

So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal:

"We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us."

The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator.

The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be "communists," but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious "School of the Americas." (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the "School of the Dictators" and "School of the Assassins." Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington's will.

The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator's control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this "boomerang effect" include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein.

The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization.

The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.

The culture we lost — Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, "Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail."

COI created — In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William "Wild Bill" Donovan heads the new intelligence service.

OSS created — Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that "OSS" stands for "Oh, so social!" or "Oh, such snobs!"

Italy — Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America’s most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.

OSS is abolished — The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.

Operation PAPERCLIP – While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union.

With full U.S. blessing, he creates the "Gehlen Organization," a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the "Butcher of Lyon"), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s).

The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the "intelligence" the former Nazis provide is bogus.

Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious "missile gap."

To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.

Greece — President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

CIA created — President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC — there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to "perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct." This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.

Covert-action wing created — The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include "propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world."

Italy — The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works -- the communists are defeated.

Radio Free Europe — The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.

Late 40s
Operation MOCKINGBIRD — The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player.

Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.

Iran – CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

Operation MK-ULTRA — Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide.

However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.

Guatemala — CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.

North Vietnam — CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem.

These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.

Hungary — Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.

Laos — The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an "Armee Clandestine" of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao.

After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.

Haiti — The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the "Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.

The Bay of Pigs — The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But "Operation Mongoose" fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.

Dominican Republic — The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.

Ecuador — The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire) — The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.

Dominican Republic — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.

Ecuador — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.

Brazil — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down "communists" for torture, interrogation and murder.

Often these "communists" are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.

Indonesia — The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being "communist." The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.

Dominican Republic — A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.

Greece — With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.

Congo (Zaire) — A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.

The Ramparts Affair — The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire "professors" to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods.

MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.

Greece — A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the "reign of the colonels" — backed by the CIA — will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents.

When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: "Fuck your parliament and your constitution."

Operation PHEONIX — The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 "Viet Cong."

Operation CHAOS — The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.

Bolivia — A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.

Uruguay — The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice.

"The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect," is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.

Cambodia — The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.

Bolivia — After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.

Haiti — "Papa Doc" Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son "Baby Doc" Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.

The Case-Zablocki Act — Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.

Cambodia — Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.

Wagergate Break-in — President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.

Chile — The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.

CIA begins internal investigations — William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.

Watergate Scandal — The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, "Deep Throat," is probably one of those.

CIA Director Helms Fired — President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.

CHAOS exposed — Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.

Angleton fired — Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.

House clears CIA in Watergate — The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.

The Hughes Ryan Act — Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.

Australia — The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.

Angola — Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism.

The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.

"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence" — Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.

"Inside the Company" — Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.

Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing — Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation ("The Church Committee"), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.)

The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.

The Rockefeller Commission — In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the "Rockefeller Commission" to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.

Iran — The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Afghanistan — The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

El Salvador — An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to "normal" — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.

Nicaragua — Anastasio Somoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.

El Salvador — The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter "Christian to Christian" to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government.

The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.

Iran/Contra Begins — The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be "pressured" until "they say ‘uncle.’"

The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.

Honduras — The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious "Battalion 316" then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.

The Boland Amendment — The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to "hand off" the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network.

This includes "humanitarian aid" donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.

Eugene Hasenfus — Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

Iran/Contra Scandal — Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.

Haiti — Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that "Baby Doc" Duvalier will remain "President for Life" only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement.

The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.

Panama — The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.

Haiti — Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats.

As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.

The Gulf War — The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing.

This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.

The Fall of the Soviet Union — The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information.

The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.

Economic Espionage — In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones.

Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.

Haiti — The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements.

Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.


In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said:

"By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage."

Clinton’s is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don’t know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.

Furthermore, Clinton’s statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specific operations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA. These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.

The CIA’s response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church’s fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA’s criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee’s On the Run for an example of early harassment.)

However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton’s "Americans will never know" defense is a prime example.

Another common apologetic is that,

"the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all."

There are two things wrong with this.

First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.

Second, this argument begs several questions.

The first is:

"Which American interests?"

The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country’s cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama.

The second begged question is:

"Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples’ human rights?"

The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world.

So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.


1. All history concerning CIA intervention in foreign countries is summarized from William Blum’s encyclopedic work, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995). Sources for domestic CIA operations come from Jonathan Vankin and John Whalen’s The 60 Greatest Conspiracies of All Time (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1997).

2. Coleman McCarthy, "The Consequences of Covert Tactics" Washington Post, December 13, 1987.

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The Origins of the Overclass

The Origins of the Overclass

by National Committee,

“In 1999, a journalist [Steve Kangas] who had written exposes of Richard Scaife was by all appearances murdered in the Oxford Centre of Pittsburgh, PA - the office complex of the foundation of his subject - Scaife. Richard Mellon Scaife is the heir of the Mellon fortune and a major funder of the Heritage Foundation and other right wing organizations, although, like the Coors family, Scaife also funds abortion and gay rights organizations. Shortly before his death in February 1999, Kangas catalogued the gruesome accomplishments of the CIA and issued a scathing indictment of their paymasters - the very elites who created the CNP!”

- The Council For National Policy

he wealthy have always used many methods to accumulate wealth, but it was not until the mid-1970s that these methods coalesced into a superbly organized, cohesive and efficient machine. After 1975, it became greater than the sum of its parts, a smooth flowing organization of advocacy groups, lobbyists, think tanks, conservative foundations, and PR firms that hurtled the richest 1 percent into the stratosphere.

The origins of this machine, interestingly enough, can be traced back to the CIA. This is not to say the machine is a formal CIA operation, complete with code name and signed documents. (Although such evidence may yet surface — and previously unthinkable domestic operations such as MK-ULTRA, CHAOS and MOCKINGBIRD show this to be a distinct possibility.) But what we do know already indicts the CIA strongly enough. Its principle creators were Irving Kristol, Paul Weyrich, William Simon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Frank Shakespeare, William F. Buckley, Jr., the Rockefeller family, and more. Almost all the machine's creators had CIA backgrounds.

During the 1970s, these men would take the propaganda and operational techniques they had learned in the Cold War and apply them to the Class War. Therefore it is no surprise that the American version of the machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the foreign versions designed to fight communism. The CIA's expert and comprehensive organization of the business class would succeed beyond their wildest dreams. In 1975, the richest 1 percent owned 22 percent of America’s wealth. By 1992, they would nearly double that, to 42 percent — the highest level of inequality in the 20th century.

How did this alliance start? The CIA has always recruited the nation’s elite: millionaire businessmen, Wall Street brokers, members of the national news media, and Ivy League scholars. During World War II, General "Wild Bill" Donovan became chief of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the CIA. Donovan recruited so exclusively from the nation’s rich and powerful that members eventually came to joke that "OSS" stood for "Oh, so social!"

Another early elite was Allen Dulles, who served as Director of the CIA from 1953 to 1961. Dulles was a senior partner at the Wall Street firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which represented the Rockefeller empire and other mammoth trusts, corporations and cartels. He was also a board member of the J. Henry Schroeder Bank, with offices in Wall Street, London, Zurich and Hamburg. His financial interests across the world would become a conflict of interest when he became head of the CIA. Like Donavan, he would recruit exclusively from society’s elite.

By the 1950s, the CIA had riddled the nation’s businesses, media and universities with tens of thousands of part-time, on-call operatives. Their employment with the agency took a variety of forms, which included:

  • Leaving one's profession to work for the CIA in a formal, official capacity.
  • Staying in one's profession, using the job as cover for CIA activity. This undercover activity could be full-time, part-time, or on-call.
  • Staying in one's profession, occasionally passing along information useful to the CIA.
  • Passing through the revolving door that has always existed between the agency and the business world.

Historically, the CIA and society’s elite have been one and the same people. This means that their interests and goals are one and the same as well. Perhaps the most frequent description of the intelligence community is the "old boy network," where members socialize, talk shop, conduct business and tap each other for favors well outside the formal halls of government.

Many common traits made it inevitable that the CIA and Corporate America would become allies. Both share an intense dislike of democracy, and feel they should be liberated from democratic regulations and oversight. Both share a culture of secrecy, either hiding their actions from the American public or lying about them to present the best public image. And both are in a perfect position to help each other.

How? International businesses give CIA agents cover, secret funding, top-quality resources and important contacts in foreign lands. In return, the CIA gives corporations billion-dollar federal contracts (for spy planes, satellites and other hi-tech spycraft). Businessmen also enjoy the romantic thrill of participating in spy operations. The CIA also gives businesses a certain amount of protection and privacy from the media and government watchdogs, under the guise of "national security." Finally, the CIA helps American corporations remain dominant in foreign markets, by overthrowing governments hostile to unregulated capitalism and installing puppet regimes whose policies favor American corporations at the expense of their people.

The CIA’s alliance with the elite turned out to be an unholy one. Each enabled the other to rise above the law. Indeed, a review of the CIA’s history is one of such crime and atrocity that no one can reasonably defend it, even in the name of anticommunism. Before reviewing this alliance in detail, it is useful to know the CIA’s history of atrocity first.

The Crimes of the CIA

During World War II, the OSS actively engaged in propaganda, sabotage and countless other dirty tricks. After the war, and even after the CIA was created in 1947, the American intelligence community reverted to harmless information gathering and analysis, thinking that the danger to national security had passed. That changed in 1948 with the emergence of the Cold War. In that year, the CIA recreated its covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination. Its first director was Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities included

“propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world.”

By 1953, the dirty tricks department of the CIA had grown to 7,200 personnel and commanded 74 percent of the CIA’s total budget. The following quotes describe the culture of lawlessness that pervaded the CIA:

Stanley Lovell, a CIA recruiter for "Wild Bill" Donovan: "What I have to do is to stimulate the Peck's Bad Boy beneath the surface of every American scientist and say to him, 'Throw all your normal law-abiding concepts out the window. Here's a chance to raise merry hell. Come help me raise it.'" 1

George Hunter White, writing of his CIA escapades: "I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun... Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the all-highest?" 2

A retired CIA agency caseworker with twenty years experience: "I never gave a thought to legality or morality. Frankly, I did what worked."

Blessed with secrecy and lack of congressional oversight, CIA operations became corrupt almost immediately. Using propaganda stations like Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, the CIA felt justified in manipulating the public for its own good. The broadcasts were so patently false that for a time it was illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S. This was a classic case of a powerful organization deciding what was best for the people, and then abusing the powers it had helped itself to.

During the 40s and 50s, most of the public was unaware of what the CIA was doing. Those who knew thought they were fighting the good fight against communism, like James Bond. However, they could not keep their actions secret forever, and by the 60s and 70s, Americans began learning about the agency’s crimes and atrocities. 3 It turns out the CIA has:

  • Corrupted democratic elections in Greece, Italy and dozens of other nations;
  • Been involved to varying degrees in at least 35 assassination plots against foreign heads of state or prominent political leaders. Successful assassinations include democratically elected leaders like Salvador Allende (Chile) and Patrice Lumumba (Belgian Congo); also CIA-created dictators like Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic) and Ngo Dinh Diem (South Vietnam); and popular political leaders like Che Guevara. Unsuccessful attempts range from Fidel Castro to Charles De Gaulle.
  • Helped launch military coups that toppled democratic governments, replacing them with brutal dictatorships or juntas. The list of overthrown democratic leaders includes Mossadegh (Iran, 1953), Arbenz (Guatemala, 1954), Velasco and Arosemena (Ecuador, 1961, 1963), Bosch (Dominican Republic, 1963), Goulart (Brazil, 1964), Sukarno (Indonesia, 1965), Papandreou (Greece, 1965-67), Allende (Chile, 1973), and dozens of others.
  • Undermined the governments of Australia, Guyana, Cambodia, Jamaica and more;
  • Supported murderous dictators like General Pinochet (Chile), the Shah of Iran, Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier (Haiti), General Noriega (Panama), Mobutu Sese Seko (Ziare), the "reign of the colonels" (Greece), and more;
  • Created, trained and supported death squads and secret police forces that tortured and murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians, leftists and political opponents, in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Angola and others;
  • Helped run the "School of the Americas" at Fort Benning, Georgia, which trains Latin American military officers how to overthrow democratic governments. Subjects include the use of torture, interrogation and murder;
  • Used Michigan State "professors" to train Diem’s secret police in torture;
  • Conducted economic sabotage, including ruining crops, disrupting industry, sinking ships and creating food shortages;
  • Paved the way for the massacre of 200,000 in East Timor, 500,000 in Indonesia and one to two million in Cambodia;
  • Launched secret or illegal military actions or wars in Nicaragua, Angola, Cuba, Laos and Indochina;
  • Planted false stories in the local media;
  • Framed political opponents for crimes, atrocities, political statements and embarrassments that they did not commit;
  • Spied on thousands of American citizens, in defiance of Congressional law;
  • Smuggled Nazi war criminals and weapon scientists into the U.S., unpunished, for their use in the Cold War;
  • Created organizations like the World Anti-Communist League, which became filled with ex-Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, Italian terrorists, Japanese fascists, racist Afrikaners, Latin American death squad leaders, CIA agents and other extreme right-wing militants;
  • Conducted Operation MK-ULTRA, a mind-control experiment that gave LSD and other drugs to Americans against their will or without their knowledge, causing some to commit suicide;
  • Penetrated and disrupted student antiwar organizations;
  • Kept friendly and extensive working relations with the Mafia;
  • Actively traded in drugs around the world since the 1950s to fund its operations. The Contra/crack scandal is only the tip of the iceberg –- other notorious examples include Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle and Noriega’s Panama.
  • Had their fingerprints all over the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. Even if the CIA is not responsible for these killings, the sheer amount of CIA involvement in these cases demands answers;
  • And then routinely lied to Congress about all of the above.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. 4 Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."

We should note that the CIA gets away with this because it is not accountable to democratic government. Former CIA officer Philip Agee put it best: "The CIA is the President's secret army." Prior to 1975, the agency answered only to the President (creating all the usual problems of authoritarianism). And because the CIA’s activities were secret, the President rarely had to worry about public criticism and pressure. After the 1975 Church hearings, Congress tried to create congressional oversight of the CIA, but this has failed miserably. One reason is that the congressional oversight committee is a sham, filled with Cold Warriors, conservatives, businessmen, and even ex-CIA personnel.

The Business Origins of CIA Crimes

Although many people think that the CIA’s primary mission during the Cold War was to "deter communism," Noam Chomsky correctly points out that its real mission was "deterring democracy." From corrupting elections to overthrowing democratic governments, from assassinating elected leaders to installing murderous dictators, the CIA has virtually always replaced democracy with dictatorship. It didn’t help that the CIA was run by businessmen, whose hostility towards democracy is legendary. The reason they overthrew so many democracies is because the people usually voted for policies that multi-national corporations didn't like: land reform, strong labor unions, nationalization of their industries, and greater regulation protecting workers, consumers and the environment.

So the CIA’s greatest "successes" were usually more pro-corporate than anti-communist. Citing a communist threat, the CIA helped overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953. But there was no communist threat — the Soviets stood back and watched the coup from afar. What really happened was that Mossadegh threatened to nationalize British and American oil companies in Iran. Consequently, the CIA and MI6 toppled Mossadegh and replaced him with a puppet government, headed by the Shah of Iran and his murderous secret police, SAVAK. The reason why the Ayatollah Khomeini and his revolutionaries took 52 Americans hostage in Tehran in 1979 was because the CIA had helped SAVAK torture and murder their people.

Another "success" was the CIA’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Jacabo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954. Again, there was no communist threat. The real threat was to Guatemala’s United Fruit Company, a Rockefeller-owned firm whose stockholders included CIA Director Allen Dulles. Arbenz threatened to nationalize the company, albeit with generous compensation. In response, the CIA initiated a coup that overthrew Arbenz and installed the murderous dictator Castillo Armas. For four decades, CIA-backed dictators would torture and murder hundreds of thousands of leftists, union members and others who would fight for a more equitable distribution of the country’s resources.

Another "success" story was Chile. In 1973, the country’s democratically elected leader, Salvadore Allende, nationalized foreign-owned interests, like Chile’s lucrative copper mines and telephone system. International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT) offered the CIA $1 million to overthrow Allende — which the CIA allegedly refused — but paid $350,000 to his political opponents. The CIA responded with a coup that murdered Allende and replaced him with a brutal tyrant, General Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet tortured and murdered thousands of leftists, union members and political opponents as economists trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman installed a "free market" economy. Since then, income inequality has soared higher in Chile than anywhere else in Latin America.

Even when the communist threat was real, the CIA first and foremost took care of the elite. In testimony before Congress in the early 50s, it artificially inflated Soviet military capabilities. A notorious example was the "bomber gap" that later turned out to be grossly exaggerated. Another was "Team B," a group of hawkish CIA analysts who seriously distorted Soviet military data. These scare tactics worked. Congress awarded giant defense contracts to the U.S. military-industrial complex.

And not even the fall of the Soviet Union and the demise of American defense contracts have stopped the CIA from serving the elite. Journalist Robert Dreyfuss writes:

Since the end of the Cold War, Washington has been abuzz with talk about using the CIA for economic espionage. Stripped of euphemism, economic espionage simply means that American spies would target foreign companies, such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda, and then covertly pass stolen trade secrets and technology to U.S. corporate executives. 5

If this isn’t bad enough, a worse problem arises in that the CIA doesn’t hand over this technology to every American auto-related company, but only the Big Three: Ford, Chrysler and General Motors.

In a 1975 interview, Ex-CIA agent Philip Agee summed up his personal observations of the agency:

To the people who work for it, the CIA is known as The Company. The Big Business mentality pervades everything. Agents, for instance, are called assets. The man in charge of the United Kingdom desk is said to have the "U.K. account"…

American multinational corporations have built up colossal interests all over the world, and you can bet your ass that wherever you find U. S. business interests, you also find the CIA… The multinational corporations want a peaceful status quo in countries where they have investments, because that gives them undisturbed access to cheap raw materials, cheap labor and stable markets for their finished goods. The status quo suits bankers, because their money remains secure and multiplies. And, of course, the status quo suits the small ruling groups the CIA supports abroad, because all they want is to keep themselves on top of the socioeconomic pyramid and the majority of their people on the bottom. But do you realize what being on the bottom means in most parts of the world? Ignorance, poverty, often early death by starvation or disease…

Remember, the CIA is an instrument of the President; it only carries out policy. And, like everyone else, the President has to respond to forces in the society he's trying to lead, right? In America, the most powerful force is Big Business, and American Big Business has a vested interest in the Cold War. 6

Domestic Recruitment

The CIA had no trouble recruiting elites who sought a more exciting life. Between 1948 and 1959, more than 40,000 American individuals and companies acted as sources for the U.S. intelligence community. 7 Let’s look at each area of recruitment, and see how they enabled the CIA to conduct its crimes:

Big Business

The CIA co-opted big business right from the start, beginning with the most famous billionaire of the time: Howard Hughes. Hughes had inherited his father’s million-dollar tool and die company at age 19. Anxious to expand his fortune, he made a conscientious decision "to go where the money is" — namely, government. With a few well-placed bribes, Hughes secured defense contracts to build military planes. The result was the Hughes Aircraft company. By 1940, he had also acquired a controlling interest in Trans World Airlines. His government connections and international airline soon caught the attention of the CIA, and the two began a lifelong relationship. Hughes, whom the CIA dubbed "The Stockbroker," became the agency’s largest contractor. Not only did he let the CIA use his business firms as fronts, but he also funded countless CIA operations. Perhaps the most notorious was Operation Jennifer, an allegedly failed attempt to recover nuclear codes from a sunken Soviet submarine. Hughes’ right-hand security man, Robert Maheu, was a CIA agent who at one time represented the CIA in negotiations with the Mafia to assassinate Fidel Castro.

The CIA’s contacts with big business quickly spread. The agency showed a preference for international companies, public relations firms, media companies, law offices, banks, financiers and stockbrokers. The CIA didn’t limit its activities to recruiting businessmen; sometimes the CIA bought or created entire companies outright. One benefit of co-opting big business was that the CIA was able to create a secret source of funds other than from government. With stock portfolios multiplying their profits, it’s impossible now to say how flush the CIA really is. If Congress ever cut off funds for a mission, the business fraternity could easily replace them, either by donations or even setting up profitable businesses in the target country. In fact, this is precisely what happened during the Iran/Contra scandal.

By allying itself with the business community, the CIA received the funds and ability it needed to remove itself from democratic control.

The Media

Journalism is a perfect cover for CIA agents. People talk freely to journalists, and few think suspiciously of a journalist aggressively searching for information. Journalists also have power, influence and clout. Not surprisingly, the CIA began a mission in the late 1940s to recruit American journalists on a wide scale, a mission it dubbed Operation MOCKINGBIRD. The agency wanted these journalists not only to relay any sensitive information they discovered, but also to write anti-communist, pro-capitalist propaganda when needed.

The instigators of MOCKINGBIRD were Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham was the husband of Katherine Graham, today’s publisher of the Washington Post. In fact, it was the Post’s ties to the CIA that allowed it to grow so quickly after the war, both in readership and influence. 8

MOCKINGBIRD was extraordinarily successful. In no time, the agency had recruited at least 25 media organizations to disseminate CIA propaganda. At least 400 journalists would eventually join the CIA payroll, according to the CIA’s testimony before a stunned Church Committee in 1975. (The committee felt the true number was considerably higher.) The names of those recruited reads like a Who's Who of journalism:

  • Philip and Katharine Graham (Publishers, )
  • William Paley (President, CBS)
  • Henry Luce (Publisher, and magazine)
  • Arthur Hays Sulzberger (Publisher, )
  • Jerry O'Leary ()
  • Hal Hendrix (Pulitzer Prize winner, )
  • Barry Bingham Sr., ()
  • James Copley (Copley News Services)
  • Joseph Harrison (Editor, )
  • C.D. Jackson ()
  • Walter Pincus (Reporter, )
  • ABC
  • NBC
  • Associated Press
  • United Press International
  • Reuters
  • Hearst Newspapers
  • Scripps-Howard
  • magazine
  • Mutual Broadcasting System

Perhaps no newspaper is more important to the CIA than the Washington Post, one of the nation’s most right-wing dailies. Its location in the nation’s capitol enables the paper to maintain valuable personal contacts with leading intelligence, political and business figures. Unlike other newspapers, the Post operates its own bureaus around the world, rather than relying on AP wire services. Owner Philip Graham was a military intelligence officer in World War II, and later became close friends with CIA figures like Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, Desmond FitzGerald and Richard Helms. He inherited the Post by marrying Katherine Graham, whose father owned it.

After Philip’s suicide in 1963, Katharine Graham took over the Post. Seduced by her husband’s world of government and espionage, she expanded her newspaper’s relationship with the CIA. In a 1988 speech before CIA officials at Langley, Virginia, she stated:

“We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things that the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows.”

This quote has since become a classic among CIA critics for its belittlement of democracy and its admission that there is a political agenda behind the Post’s headlines.

Ben Bradlee was the Post’s managing editor during most of the Cold War. He worked in the U.S. Paris embassy from 1951 to 1953, where he followed orders by the CIA station chief to place propaganda in the European press. 9 Most Americans incorrectly believe that Bradlee personifies the liberal slant of the Post, given his role in publishing the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate investigations. But neither of these two incidents are what they seem. The Post merely published the Pentagon Papers after The New York Times already had, because it wanted to appear competitive. As for Watergate, we’ll examine the CIA’s reasons for wanting to bring down Nixon in a moment. Someone once asked Bradlee: "Does it irk you when The Washington Post is made out to be a bastion of slanted liberal thinkers instead of champion journalists just because of Watergate?" Bradlee responded: "Damn right it does!" 10

It would be impossible to elaborate in this short space even the most important examples of the CIA/media alliance. Sig Mickelson was a CIA asset the entire time he was president of CBS News from 1954 to 1961. Later he went on to become president of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, two major outlets of CIA propaganda.

The CIA also secretly bought or created its own media companies. It owned 40 percent of the Rome Daily American at a time when communists were threatening to win the Italian elections. Worse, the CIA has bought many domestic media companies. A prime example is Capital Cities, created in 1954 by CIA businessman William Casey (who would later become Reagan’s CIA director). Another founder was Lowell Thomas, a close friend and business contact with CIA Director Allen Dulles. Another founder was CIA businessman Thomas Dewey. By 1985, Capital Cities had grown so powerful that it was able to buy an entire TV network: ABC.

For those who believe in "separation of press and state," the very idea that the CIA has secret propaganda outlets throughout the media is appalling. The reason why America was so oblivious to CIA crimes in the 40s and 50s was because the media willingly complied with the agency. Even today, when the immorality of the CIA should be an open-and-shut case, "debate" about the issue rages in the media. Here is but one example:

In 1996, The San Jose Mercury News published an investigative report suggesting that the CIA had sold crack in Los Angeles to fund the Contra war in Central America. A month later, three of the CIA’s most important media allies — The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times — immediately leveled their guns at the Mercury report and blasted away in an attempt to discredit it. Who wrote the Post article? Walter Pincus, longtime CIA journalist. The dangers here are obvious.


By the early 50s, CIA Director Allen Dulles had staffed the CIA almost exclusively with Ivy League graduates, especially from Yale. (A disproportionate number of CIA figures, like George Bush, come from Yale’s "Skull and Crossbones" Society.) CIA recruiters also approached thousands of other professors to work in place at their universities on a part-time, contract basis. Not stopping at recruiting scholars, the agency would go on to create several departments at elite universities, including Harvard's Russian Research Center and the Center for International Studies at MIT.

Although most academics were supportive of the CIA in the 50s, most were unaware of its abuses. In the 60s, academia would become outraged to learn that anti-communist organizations like the National Student Association were actually creations of the CIA. The most audacious CIA front was the Congress for Cultural Freedom, an organization that attracted liberal, freethinking artists and intellectuals who nonetheless deplored communism.

By the late 60s and 70s, growing reports of CIA crimes and atrocities had deeply alienated academia. Scholars were further troubled to learn that the CIA had penetrated and disrupted student antiwar groups. Unlike business and the media, academia overwhelmingly denounced the CIA after the Vietnam era. This eventually forced the CIA to turn to new places to find their analysts and scholars. The most important source was the conservative think-tank movement, which it helped to create. More on this later.

The Roman Catholic Church

Although the CIA began as a mostly Protestant organization, Roman Catholics quickly came to dominate the new covert-action wing in 1948. All were staunchly conservative, fiercely anti-communist and socially elite. Just a few of the many Catholic operatives included future CIA directors William Colby, William Casey, and John McCone. Another well-known personality from this period was William F. Buckley, Jr., editor of the National Review and gadfly host of TV’s Firing Line. Buckley, it turns out, served as a CIA agent in Mexico City, and his experiences there served as fodder for his Blackford Oakes spy novels.

There were several reasons for this influx of Catholic elites. First, Wisner (himself a Wall Street lawyer) had an extensive and glamorous circle of friends to recruit from. Second, Italy was in constant crisis in the 1940s, both during World War II and after. Throughout this troubled period, the American intelligence community’s greatest ally in Italy was the Roman Catholic Church.

The Roman Catholic Church, of course, is one of the most anti-communist organizations in the world. The Marxist doctrine of atheism threatens Catholic theology, and its equality threatens the Church’s strict tradition of hierarchy and authoritarianism. When Hitler invaded Communist Russia, the Vatican openly approved. Jesuit Michael Serafian wrote: "It cannot be denied that [Pope] Pius XII's closest advisors for some time regarded Hitler's armoured divisions as the right hand of God." 11

But Hitler persecuted Catholics as well, and ultimately drove the Church to the Americans. In 1943, the Vatican reached a secret agreement with OSS Chief Donovan — himself a devout Catholic — to let the Holy See become the center of Allied spy operations in Italy. Donovan considered the Church to be one of his prize intelligence assets, given its global power, membership and contacts. He cultivated this alliance by sending America’s most prestigious Catholics to the Vatican to establish rapport and forge an alliance.

After the war, half of Europe lay under Communist control, and the Italian communist party threatened to win the 1948 elections. The prospect of communism ruling over the heart of Catholicism terrified the Vatican. Once again, American intelligence gathered their most prestigious Catholics to strengthen ties with the Vatican. Because this was the first mission of the new covert action division, the American Catholic agents acquired positions of power early on, and would dominate covert operations for the rest of the Cold War.

At a public level, the U.S. government sunk $350 million in social and military aid into Italy to sway the vote. On a secret level, Wisner spent $10 million in black budget funds to steal the elections. This included disseminating propaganda, beating up left-wing politicians, intimidating voters and disrupting leftist parties. The dirty tricks worked — the Communists lost, and the Catholic Americans’ success permanently secured their power within the CIA.

The Knights of Malta 12

The Roman Catholic Church did not forget the American agents who had saved them from both Nazism and Communism. It rewarded them by making them Knights of Malta, or members of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM).

SMOM is one of the oldest and most elite religious orders in the Catholic Church. Until recently, it limited its membership to Italians and foreign heads of state. In 1927, however, an exception was made for the United States, given its emerging status as a world power. SMOM opened an American branch, awarding knighthood or damehood to several American Catholic business tycoons. This group was so conservative that one, John Raskob, the Chairman of General Motors, actually became involved in an aborted military plot to remove Franklin Roosevelt from the White House. SMOM has also been embarrassed by knighting or giving awards to countless people who later turned out to be Nazi war criminals. This is the sort of culture that thrives within the leadership of SMOM.

Officially, the Knights of Malta are a global charity organization. But beginning in the 1940s, knighthood was granted to countless CIA agents, and the organization has become a front for intelligence operations. SMOM is ideal for this kind of activity, because it is recognized as the world’s only landless sovereignty, and members enjoy diplomatic immunity. This allows agents and supplies to pass through customs without interference from the host country. Such privileges enabled the Knights of Malta to become a major supplier of "humanitarian aid" to the Contras during their war in the 1980s.

A partial list of the Knights and Dames of Malta reads like a Who’s Who of American Catholicism:

William Casey

CIA Director.

John McCone

CIA Director.

William Colby

CIA Director.

William Donovan

OSS Director. Donovan was given an especially prestigious form of knighthood that has only been given to a hundred other men in history.

Frank Shakespeare

Director of such propaganda organizations as the U.S. Information Agency, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Also executive vice-president of CBS-TV and vice-chairman of RKO General Inc. He is currently chairman of the board of trustees at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank.

William Simon

Treasury Secretary under President Nixon. In the private sector, he has become one of America’s 400 richest individuals by working in international finance. Today he is the President of the John M. Olin Foundation, a major funder of right-wing think tanks.

William F. Buckley, Jr.

CIA agent, conservative pundit and mass media personality.

James Buckley

William’s brother, head of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Clare Boothe Luce

The grand dame of the Cold War was also a Dame of Malta. She was a popular playwright and the wife of the publishing tycoon Henry Luce, who cofounded Time magazine.

Francis X Stankard

CEO of the international division of Chase Manhattan Bank, a Rockefeller institution. (Nelson Rockefeller was also a major CIA figure.)

John Farrell

President, U.S. Steel

Lee Iacocca

Chairman, General Motors

William S. Schreyer

Chairman, Merrill Lynch.

Richard R. Shinn

Chairman, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

Joseph Kennedy

Founder of the Kennedy empire.

Baron Hilton

Owner, Hilton Hotel chain.

Patrick J. Frawley Jr.

Heir, Schick razor fortune. Frawley is a famous funder of right-wing Catholic causes, such as the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade.

Ralph Abplanalp

Aerosol magnate.

Martin F. Shea

Executive vice president of Morgan Guaranty Trust.

Joseph Brennan

Chairman of the executive committee of the Emigrant Savings Bank of New York.

J. Peter Grace

President, W.R. Grace Company. He was a key figure in Operation Paperclip, which brought Nazi scientists and spies to the U.S. Many were war criminals whose atrocities were excused in their service to the CIA.

Thomas Bolan

Of Saxe, Bacon and Bolan, the law firm of Senator McCarthy's deceased aide Roy Cohn.

Bowie Kuhn

Baseball Commissioner

Cardinal John O'Connor

Extreme right-wing leader among American Catholics, and fervent abortion opponent.

Cardinal Francis Spellman

The "American Pope" was at one time the most powerful Catholic in America, an arch-conservative and a rabid anti-communist.

Cardinal Bernard Law

One of the highest-ranking conservatives in the American church.

Alexander Haig

Secretary of State under President Reagan.

Admiral James D. Watkins

Hard-line chief of naval operations under President Reagan.

Jeremy Denton

Senator (R–Al).

Pete Domenici

Senator (R-New Mexico).

Walter J. Hickel

Governor of Alaska and secretary of the interior.

When this group gets together, obviously, the topics are spying, business and politics.

The CIA has also used other religious and charity organizations as fronts. For example, John F. Kennedy -- another anticommunist Roman Catholic who greatly expanded covert operations -- created the U.S. Peace Corps to serve as cover for CIA operatives. The CIA has also made extensive use of missionaries, with the blessings of many right-wing, anticommunist Christian denominations.

But the World Grows Wise…

It was only a matter of time before other nations caught on to these fronts. They learned that when the CIA comes to their countries to commit their crimes and atrocities, they come disguised as American journalists, businessmen, missionaries and charity volunteers. Unfortunately, foreigners are now targeting these professions as hostile. In Lebanon, terrorists held U.S. journalist Terry Anderson hostage for nearly seven years, on the not unreasonable assumption that he was a spy. Whether or not this was true is beside the point. The CIA has put all Americans abroad at risk, whether they are CIA agents or not. In hearings before the Senate in 1996, many organizations urged Congress to stop using their professions as CIA cover. Don Argue of the National Association of Evangelicals testified: "Such use of missionary agents for covert activities by the CIA would be unethical and immoral." 13

From the Cold War to the Class War

As noted above, academia was the first major institution to denounce the crimes of the CIA. Why? One reason is that scholars conduct their own extensive research into world affairs, so naturally they were the first to learn the truth. This is the main reason why protest against the Vietnam War and the CIA erupted first among students on the nation’s campuses. By the end of the Vietnam War, the CIA had suffered a "brain drain" as its academic allies became its most articulate, passionate and eloquent critics.

The social revolutions of the 60s terrified the CIA. James Jesus Angleton, chief of counter-intelligence and a truly paranoid man, was convinced the Soviets had masterminded the entire antiwar movement. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover shared his conviction. The CIA had always spied on student groups throughout the 60s, but in 1968 President Johnson dramatically stepped up the effort with Operation CHAOS. This initially called for 50 CIA agents to go undercover as student radicals, penetrate their antiwar organizations and root out the Russian spies who were causing the rebellion. Tellingly, they never found a single spy. The agents also began a campaign of wire-tapping, mail-opening, burglary, deception, intimidation and disruption against thousands of protesting American civilians.

By the time Operation CHAOS wound down in 1973, the CIA had spied on 7,000 Americans, 1,000 organizations and traded information on more than 300,000 persons with various law agencies. 14 When academia learned of this, its outrage grew.

The loss of academia was only the first blow for the CIA. Other disasters quickly followed; in the early 70s, the CIA was trying desperately to stave off a growing number of scandals. The first was Watergate.

The CIA’s fingerprints were all over Watergate. First, we should note the CIA had clear motives for helping oust Nixon. He was the ultimate "outsider," a poor California Quaker who grew up feeling bitter resentment towards the elite "Eastern establishment." Nixon, for all his arch-conservatism, was surprisingly liberal on economic issues, infuriating businessmen with statements like "We are all Keynesians now." He created a whole host of new agencies to regulate business, like the FDA, EPA and OSHA. He signed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, which forced businesses to clean up their toxic emissions. He imposed price controls to fight inflation, and took the nation fully off the gold standard. Nixon also strengthened affirmative action. Even his staffers were famously anti-elitist, like Kevin Philips, who would eventually write the bible on inequality during the 1980s, . Add to this Nixon’s withdrawal from Vietnam and Détente with China and the Soviet Union. Nixon and his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had not only tried to remove control of foreign policy from the CIA, but had also taken measures to bring the CIA itself under control. Not surprisingly, Nixon and his CIA Director, Richard Helms, couldn’t stand each other. (Nixon fired him for failing to cover up for Watergate.) Clearly, Nixon was fighting at cross-purposes with the CIA and the nation’s elite.

As it turns out, the CIA had inside knowledge of Nixon’s dirty work. Nixon had created his own covert action team, "The Committee to Reelect the President," more amusingly known by its acronym, CREEP. The team consisted of two CIA agents — E. Howard Hunt and James McCord — as well as former FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy. They also employed four Cubans with long CIA histories. In fact, a CIA front called the Mullen Company funded their activities, which ranged from disrupting Democratic campaigns to laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions.

The CIA not only had intimate knowledge of Nixon’s crimes, but it also acted as though it wanted the world to know them. When the FBI began investigating Watergate, Nixon tried using the CIA to cover up for him. At first the CIA half-heartedly complied, telling the FBI that the investigation would endanger CIA operations in Mexico. But a few weeks later it gave the FBI a green light again to proceed again with their investigation.

Furthermore, Watergate was exposed by the CIA’s main newspaper in America, The Washington Post. One of the two journalists who investigated the scandal, Robert Woodward, had only recently become a journalist. Previously Woodward had worked as a Naval intelligence liaison to the White House, privy to some of the nation’s highest secrets. He would later write a sympathetic portrait of CIA Director Bill Casey in a book entitled Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA. It was Woodward who personally knew and interviewed "Deep Throat," the unnamed source who revealed inside information on Nixon’s activities. Many Watergate researchers consider one of Woodward’s old intelligence contacts to be a prime candidate for Deep Throat. 15

Despite all the facts of CIA involvement, Woodward and Bernstein made virtually no mention of the CIA in their Watergate reporting. Even during Senate hearings on Watergate, the CIA somehow managed to stay out of the spotlight. In 1974, the House would clear the CIA of any involvement in Watergate.

The CIA was not as lucky in 1974, when the Senate held hearings on James Jesus Angleton’s illegal surveillance of American citizens. These disclosures resulted in his firing. But that was nothing compared to the 1975 Church Committee. This Senate investigation looked into virtually every type of CIA crime, from assassination to secret war to manipulating the domestic media. The "reforms" that resulted from these hearings were mostly cosmetic, but the details that emerged shattered the CIA’s reputation forever. Interestingly enough, the two Senators who held these hearings — Frank Church and Otis Pike — were both defeated for reelection, despite a 98 percent reelection rate for incumbents.

The CIA wasn’t the only conservative institution that found itself embattled in the early 70s. This was a bad time for conservatives everywhere. America had lost the war in Vietnam. U.S. corporations had to cope with the rise of OPEC. The anti-poverty programs of Roosevelt’s New Deal and Johnson’s Great Society were causing a major redistribution of wealth. And Nixon was making things worse with his own anti-poverty and regulatory programs. Between 1960 and 1973, these efforts cut poverty in half, from 22 to 11 percent. Meanwhile, between 1965 and 1976, the richest 1 percent had gone from owning 37 percent of America’s wealth to only 22 percent. 16

At a 1973 Conference Board meeting of top American business leaders, executives declared: "We are fighting for our lives," "We are fighting a delaying action," and "If we don’t take action now, we will see our own demise. We will evolve into another social democracy." 17

The CIA to the rescue

In the mid-1970s, at this historic low point in American conservatism, the CIA began a major campaign to turn corporate fortunes around.

They did this in several ways. First, they helped create numerous foundations to finance their domestic operations. Even before 1973, the CIA had co-opted the most famous ones, like the Ford, Rockefeller and Carnegie Foundations. But after 1973, they created more. One of their most notorious recruits was billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. During World War II, Scaife's father served in the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. By his mid-twenties, both of Scaife's parents had died, and he inherited a fortune under four foundations: the Carthage Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, the Scaife Family Foundations and the Allegheny Foundation. In the early 1970s, Scaife was encouraged by CIA agent Frank Barnett to begin investing his fortune to fight the "Soviet menace." 18 From 1973 to 1975, Scaife ran Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world. Shortly afterwards he began donating millions to fund the New Right.

Scaife's CIA roots are typical of those who head the new conservative foundations. By 1994 the most active were:

  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
  • Carthage Foundation
  • Earhart Foundation
  • Charles G. Koch
  • David H. Koch
  • Claude R. Lambe
  • Philip M. McKenna
  • J.M. Foundation
  • John M. Olin Foundation
  • Henry Salvatori Foundation
  • Sarah Scaife Foundation
  • Smith Richardson Foundation

Between 1992 and 1994, these foundations gave $210 million to conservative causes. Here is the breakdown of their donations:

  • $88.9 million for conservative scholarships;
  • $79.2 million to enhance a national infrastructure of think tanks and advocacy groups;
  • $16.3 million for alternative media outlets and watchdog groups;
  • $10.5 million for conservative pro-market law firms;
  • $9.3 million for regional and state think tanks and advocacy groups;
  • $5.4 million to "organizations working to transform the nations social views and giving practices of the nation's religious and philanthropic leaders." 19

The political machine they built is broad and comprehensive, covering every aspect of the political fight. It includes right-wing departments and chairs in the nation’s top universities, think tanks, public relations firms, media companies, fake grassroots organizations that pressure Congress (irreverently known as "Astroturf" movements), "Roll-out-the-vote" machines, pollsters, fax networks, lobbyist organizations, economic seminars for the nation’s judge

The Durant report of the Robertson Panel proceedings

Galactic COINTELPRO | Nov 30th -0001

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by Michael E. Salla, Ph.D.

January 2008

from ExopoliticsJournal Website

In the early 1950’s a select group of individuals began to publicly make claims of having had direct physical contact with ‘human looking’ representatives of different extraterrestrial civilizations. These ‘contactees’ claimed to have been given knowledge of the extraterrestrials’ advanced technologies, philosophical beliefs and their efforts to assist humanity in becoming part of a galactic society where open contact with off world civilizations would occur.

Contactees described the Extraterrestrials as benign, very respectful of human free will, and ancestrally linked to humanity (thus dubbed the “space brothers”.) Further revealed by the contactees was that extraterrestrials, who were in many cases indistinguishable from humans, had secretly integrated into human society.2

The apparent goals were to better acquaint themselves with different national cultures, and/or to participate in an educational uplift program to prepare humanity for galactic status. Contactees began to disseminate to the general public the nature of their experiences and knowledge gained through interaction with extraterrestrials.

Information revealed by contactees presented an unrivaled national security crisis for policy makers in the U.S. and other major nations. Two main elements comprised this crisis. First, the advanced space vehicles and technologies possessed by extraterrestrial civilizations were far more sophisticated than the most developed aircraft, weapons and communications systems possessed by national governments.

This presented an urgent technological problem that required vast national resources to bridge the technological gap with extraterrestrials. It led to a second Manhattan project whose existence and secret funding would be known only to those with a “need to know.” 3

Manhattan II, along with evidence of extraterrestrial visitors and technologies, would be kept secret from the general public, the media and most elected political representatives.

Second, extraterrestrial civilizations were contacting private individuals, and even having some of their representatives integrate into human society.4

This was encouraging growing numbers of individuals to participate in a covert extraterrestrial effort to prepare humanity for “galactic status” - where the existence of extraterrestrials would be officially acknowledged and open interaction would occur. Also included was the issue of nuclear disarmament.

Tens of thousands of individuals supported the contactees who distributed newsletters, spoke at conferences and traveled widely spreading their information for peacefully transforming the planet, and calling for an immediate end to the development of nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons threatened more than humanity’s future according to the extraterrestrials. Every detonation disrupted the fabric of space that could also seriously affect their own worlds in destructive ways.

Directly confronted were the policies of major nations that were actively building nuclear weapons. Enormous revolutionary potential for the entire planet was put forward. Thus, contactees presented an urgent national security need for an extensive counter-intelligence program. Preventing the contactee movement from becoming a catalyst for global changes through the teachings and experiences gained from extraterrestrials became top priority.

Consequently, a highly secret and ruthless counter-intelligence program was finally implemented that directly targeted contactees and their supporters.

A series of covert intelligence programs were implemented that aimed to neutralize the revolutionary potential of the contactee movement. These programs evolved in three stages that resulted in the final counter-intelligence program that was adopted to eliminate any threat posed by contactees.

  • Stage one was the initial surveillance of contactees by intelligence agencies that attempted to discern the scope and implications of human and extraterrestrial interaction.

  • Stage two was the more active phase of debunking and discrediting contactees and their supporters.

  • Finally, stage three was integrated into the FBI’s COINTELPRO which provided the necessary cover for comprehensively neutralizing any possible threat by contactees who might join other dissident groups for comprehensive policy changes.

All three stages of the covert programs employed against contactees were secretly run by the CIA, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and the NSA, whose field agents were directly aware of the reality of extraterrestrial life, and the contact and communications occurring with private citizens.

This paper concentrates on the covert counter intelligence program adopted by U.S. national security agencies that targeted contactees ever since the 1950’s in an effort to nullify, discredit and debunk evidence confirming private citizen contact with extraterrestrial civilizations, and the revolutionary potential this had to transform the planet.

Phase One:

Intelligence Agencies Monitor Contactees

There is extensive documentation to establish that the FBI closely monitored contactees, and were keenly interested in determining the scope of their activities resulting from communications and interactions with extraterrestrials.5

Declassified FBI documents establish that prominent contactees were subjected to close monitoring where their statements and activities were investigated, and field agents directly issued reports to the FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover. Field agent reports suggest that the FBI Director was seriously trying to apprise himself of the revolutionary potential posed by contactees and the threat to U.S. national security.

This is not surprising given documentation that suggests the FBI was largely left out of the intelligence loop concerning extraterrestrial technologies.6 Hoover was probably relying on surveillance of contactees to apprise himself of the true situation concerning extraterrestrials.

George Van Tassel [photo on left] claims that in August 1953, he had a physical meeting with human looking extraterrestrials from Venus. He subsequently established regular ‘telepathic’ communications with them where he was given information that he shared with his many supporters and public authorities.

Popularity grew rapidly for Van Tassel who had many thousands that read his newsletters and attended his public lectures. Thousands also attended Van Tassel’s annual Giant Rock Flying Saucer conventions in the Mojave Desert that began in 1954, and over a 23 year period became the key annual event for the contactee movement.

FBI interest in Van Tassel dates from November 1953, when he sent a letter to the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) at Wright Patterson Air Force base on behalf of ‘Commander Ashtar’ to deliver a “friendly warning” concerning the destructive weapons then under development.7

This led to a meeting between Major S. Avner of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) who met with a liaison for the FBI, and culminated in Van Tassel being interviewed by the two Special Agents on November 16, 1954. The agents sent an extensive memo to J. Edgar Hoover detailing Van Tassel’s claims to having been visited by extraterrestrials.8

Revealed by the memo is Hoover’s special interest in what the extraterrestrials had to say about the atomic weapons, an upcoming Third World War, and their ability to telepathically communicate with Van Tassel. Undisputedly, Van Tassel was closely monitored by the FBI as evidenced in a document dated April 12, 1965 which states:

“Van Tassel has been known to the Los Angeles FBI Office since 1954." 9

Another contactee who received much FBI attention was George Adamski. Adamski first became known in 1947 for his photos of flying saucers and motherships taken with an amateur telescope on Mount Palomar, California, that received wide coverage. He became the most well known of all contactees due to his internationally bestselling books describing his meetings with extraterrestrials.

The first book, Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953), was based on his November 20, 1952 Desert Center encounter with "Orthon” the Venusian occupant of an extraterrestrial scoutcraft. Orthon proceeded to tell Adamski about the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and the possibility that all life could be destroyed in an uncontrolled nuclear reaction.

Four months later, in February 1953, Adamski claimed to have had another encounter. He was picked up by two extraterrestrials at a Los Angeles hotel lobby, and driven to a secret location where he again met Orthon and was taken inside a Venusian mothercraft.10 Adamski’s UFO sightings and contacts with extraterrestrials were supported by an impressive collection of witnesses, photographs and films that a number of independent investigators concluded were not hoaxes.11

Interest in Adamski by the FBI began in September 1950 when a confidential source began relaying information to the FBI’s San Diego office. According to the source, Adamski explained that the social system used by the extraterrestrials most closely resembled communism.


“raised eyebrows within the FBI, and led to continued, deep monitoring.” 12

Also according to the FBI source, Adamski claimed,

“this country is a corrupt form of government and capitalists are enslaving the poor.” 13

Predictably, such comments led to Adamski being viewed as a “security matter.” 14

The source was never revealed by the FBI and so there was no way to evaluate the source’s objectivity in relaying such prejudicial information. Adamski’s claims that the extraterrestrials viewed the development of nuclear weapons as a threat of the future of humanity, was a cause of deep concern among officials. It was such views that led to the FBI considering him, along with George Van Tassel, as a subversive that required close monitoring according to a 1952 document.15

A lecture by Adamski at a California Lions Club on March 12, 1953, was covered by a local newspaper that reported that Adamski had official FBI and Air Force clearance to present his material to the public. According to Adamski this newspaper report was ‘incorrect’, but led to a visit by FBI and Air Force representatives who were apparently concerned by references to official clearance.16

The representatives demanded that Adamski sign a document that his material did not have official clearance. J. Edgar Hoover’s office received the FBI and Air Force representatives’ report, together with the signed document. Popularity and Adamski’s international travel led to the FBI and other intelligence agencies paying close attention to his statements and public reactions.

Adamski claimed to have been given private audiences with Pope John XXIII, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and other VIP’s.17

In February 1959 Adamski traveled to New Zealand, and spoke before packed audiences. A one page Foreign Service Dispatch with Adamski’s key talking points was circulated to the FBI, CIA, Air Force and Navy thus confirming continued monitoring of Adamski.

Other contactees who were monitored by the FBI according to declassified documents included Daniel Fry, George Hunt Williamson, and Truman Bethurum.18

Information relayed by contactees concerning the social and economic systems of the extraterrestrials, together with the extraterrestrials’ criticism of the nuclear weapons development occurring around the globe, led to them and their supporters being considered a security threat. Given U.S. national hysteria over communism during the McCarthy Era, this led to counter-intelligence programs being implemented against the contactees.

Debunking and discrediting contactee claims were the most significant activities that occurred.

Phase Two:

Debunking & Discrediting Contactees

An active role was played by the CIA in creating the necessary legal, political and social environment for the debunking of flying saucer reports and discrediting contactee claims. It did so by depicting flying saucer reports as a national security threat insofar as mass hysteria over them could be exploited by foreign enemies.

Solid justification for such a psychological program was built on the famous 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles. A renowned book on Wells’ broadcast by Dr Hadley Cantril focused on the psychology of panic, and was later widely cited by national security experts in relation to public interest over flying saucer reports.[19]

Consequently the CIA led covert psychological operations that would ‘educate’ the American public about the ‘correct facts’ concerning flying saucer reports and contactee claims.

One of the first actions taken by the CIA was to initiate the creation of an inter-agency government group called the Psychological Strategy Board that would deal with national security threats through covert psychological operations.

July 18, 1951.

Gordon Gray (right), being administered the oath as the first Director of the new Psychological Strategy Board by Frank K. Sanderson (left),

while President Harry S. Truman (center) witnesses the event.

Source: Truman Library Collection.

A Presidential Directive on April 4, 1951, created the Psychological Strategy Board,

"to authorize and provide for the more effective planning, coordination, and conduct within the framework of approved national policies, of psychological operations."[20]

Initially set up by Gordon Gray, a top advisor to President Truman at the time (and also later with President Eisenhower), the Psychological Strategy Board was an interagency organization that was initially located within the CIA, but reported to the National Security Council. Ostensibly the Psychological Strategy Board would lead covert psychological operations to deal with the Cold War threat.

The Cold War threat was a cover for its true function. In reality, the Psychological Strategy Board was created to deal with the national security threat posed by flying saucer reports and contactee claims that could undermine the authority of the U.S. government. Evidenced in leaked government documents, Gray is described as a founding member of the secret control group, allegedly titled Majestic-12 Special Studies Group (MJ-12), which took charge of the extraterrestrial issue.[21]

According to one of the leaked Majestic Documents, President Truman created the Psychological Strategy Board after recommendation by the head of MJ-12.[22] Gray’s leadership and the role of MJ-12 in its creation, helps confirm that the Psychological Strategy Board was created to run psychological operations to shape public opinion on the extraterrestrial issue.

Psychological Strategy Board success, together with its successor the Operations Coordinating Board, and all covert psychological operations concerning extraterrestrial life, was to only disclose the truth to those with a “need to know.”[23]

This required the creation of a suitable national security cover for psychological operations against the American public. Victory would be achieved by the formation of a panel of experts that could shape government policy and intelligence activities against those involved in extraterrestrial affairs. Consequently, the CIA secretly convened a public panel of ‘impartial’ experts to discuss the available physical evidence.

Named after its chairman, Dr Howard Robertson, the Robertson Panel reviewed cases of flying saucers over a four-day period for a total of 12 hours and found none of them to be credible. Conclusions by the Panel were released in a document called the Durant Report. It recommended ridiculing the ‘flying saucer phenomenon’ and the possibility of extraterrestrial life, for national security reasons.

The Report is key to understanding the institutionally sanctioned debunking and discrediting of evidence concerning extraterrestrial life. Confirmation of the leading role of the CIA in convening the panel and choosing experts appears in the Durant Report itself, despite efforts to suppress the CIA’s role in early releases of sanitized versions.

The CIA’s Intelligence Advisory Committee had agreed that the,

“Director of Central Intelligence will … [e]nlist the services of selected scientists to review and appraise the available evidence in the light of pertinent scientific theories…”[24]

Almost exclusively the Report focused on the national security threat posed by foreign powers exploiting the American public’s belief in the flying saucer phenomenon.

It declared:

“Subjectivity of public to mass hysteria and greater vulnerability to possible enemy psychological warfare … [and] if reporting channels are saturated with false and poorly documented reports, our capability of detecting hostile activity will be reduced.”[25]

Consequently, the Robertson panel recommended an ‘educational program’ to remove the threat posed by enemy nations exploiting the public’s belief in flying saucers:

The Panel’s concept of a broad educational program integrating efforts of all concerned agencies was that it should have two major aims: training and “debunking.” …The "debunking" aim would result in reduction in public interest in "flying saucers" which today evokes a strong psychological reaction.

This education could be accomplished by mass media such as television, motion pictures, and popular articles.… Such a program should tend to reduce the current gullibility of the public and consequently their susceptibility to clever hostile propaganda.[26]

In conclusion, a Panel convened by the CIA, with experts chosen by the CIA, reviewed a selection of flying saucer cases over a 12 hour period spread over four days, and concluded that the public’s psychological reaction to flying saucers was the basis of a possible security threat. The Cold War provided the necessary security environment for the CIA and interagency entities such as the Psychological Strategy Board, to claim that flying saucers could be exploited by the Soviet Union using psychological warfare techniques.

Consequently, psychological operations would have to be conducted through the mass media and official agencies to debunk flying saucer reports, and remove the possible threat. Irrespective of the truth of contactee’s claims of having met with extraterrestrials, this meant the public’s possible reaction to the reality of flying saucers and extraterrestrial life justified debunking all contactee reports.

Debunking techniques that could be used to discredit contactees as reliable witnesses and make their claims appear ridiculous included:

  • making fun of contactee claims

  • media exaggeration of reported events

  • dismissal of all physical evidence by critics

  • repeatedly citing prominent authority figures who stressed delusion and fraud

  • emphasizing the lack of scientific interest in contactee reports

The Durant Report created the necessary legal justification to debunk evidence provided by contactees regardless of the merits of their claims. This is evidenced by the way in which the FBI and other intelligence agencies privately interacted with contactees, and then made public statements or leaked information to the media in ways that questioned the integrity of contactees.

For example, Adamski had communicated with the FBI, AFOSI and the Pentagon over the content of material he would put in his books, or documents he would present to the public. This is not surprising given that many contactees, like Adamski, were former military servicemen that understood the importance of not doing anything to threaten national security.

Adamski was led to believe that he was cleared to distribute a particular document, and had made public statements to this effect. This led to the head of the FBI’s public relations department, Louis B. Nichols, instructing Special Agent Willis to meet with Adamski concerning the particular document in question.

A subsequent FBI report dated 16 December 1953, stated:

Willis was told to have the San Diego agents, accompanied by representatives of OSI if they care to go along, call on Adamski and read the riot act in no uncertain terms pointing out he has used this document in a fraudulent, improper manner, that this Bureau has not endorsed, approved, or cleared his speeches or book.[27]

The FBI made public its views about Adamski’s alleged behavior in a way that delivered a “huge blow to Adamski’s credibility.”[28] At the time when the general public believed unquestionably in the accuracy of statements made by public officials, such negative comments would be sufficient to end one’s career or credibility.

Certainly, many in the general public interested in the flying saucer phenomenon now believed Adamski to be a fraud. This was especially so for those advocating a scientific investigation of flying saucers. What the public did not realize was that intelligence agencies such as the FBI and AFOSI were intent on debunking contactees as a matter of policy due to the threat they posed to national security.

Thus contactees could be easily “set up” to believe something informally told to them by insiders, and then be publicly confronted by other officials claiming they had made fraudulent statements when they could not confirm what they had been told.

Another way in which contactee claims were debunked was to have tabloid newspapers such as the National Enquirer publish sensational reports that embellished on actual contactee testimonies or were entirely fabricated by staff reporters. Any subsequent investigations by researchers would demonstrate that such claims were exaggerated or unfounded, thereby tainting the contactees and UFO research more generally.

What was not generally known was that the National Enquirer was created and controlled by known CIA assets whose covert assignment was to ridicule the entire flying saucer phenomena. Gene Pope bought the New York Enquirer in 1952, and relaunched it as The National Enquirer in 1954. Pope was listed in his Who’s Who biography as being a former CIA intelligence officer and being involved in “psychological warfare.”[29]

Chief instrument of the covert psychological operations used to debunk contactee claims and flying saucer reports was The National Enquirer with its sensationalistic tabloid style. The National Enquirer along with other media sources covering contactee claims were part of the education program that required the debunking of flying saucer reports. Predictably, the result of the sensationalist tabloid approach to contactee claims was that serious reporters and researchers would avoid stories covered by The National Enquirer.

As one of the chief instruments of the covert psychological warfare being conducted by the CIA and other intelligence agencies against contactees, the National Enquirer was a great success. It succeeded so well that influential UFO researchers determined to establish the scientific merit in investigating UFO reports, became unwitting allies to the covert psychological program to dismiss contactee claims.

This is evidenced in remarks by leading UFO researchers such as Major Donald Keyhoe who emphasized the need to separate genuine UFO reports from “the mass of wild tales and usually ridiculous “contactee” claims”. [30]

Keyhoe along with other UFO researchers were greatly concerned about contactee claims that were being exaggerated by the press,

“the press unfortunately lump all “spacemen” reports together causing many people to reject all of the UFO evidence.”[31]

Essentially, Keyhoe viewed contactee reports as an embarrassment that needed to be separated from the more scientifically oriented UFO research. Other prominent UFO researchers followed Keyhoe’s approach thus creating a major schism among those convinced extraterrestrial life was visiting the earth.

Successful debunking of reports of flying saucers and extraterrestrial life made it possible for the CIA, FBI and military intelligence agencies, to move to the third stage of their covert psychological operations.

Next, full scale counter-intelligence warfare techniques to disrupt and neutralize the contactee movement.

Phase Three:


COINTELPRO was a counter intelligence program initiated in 1956 against political dissidents that reportedly ended in 1971. It was primarily run by the FBI; other intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA assisted in select covert activities. COINTELPRO assumed that political dissidents in the U.S. were being influenced by foreign powers in ways deemed a threat to U.S. national security.

It is worth reviewing the techniques used by COINTELPRO with regard to political dissidents to understand what occurred against contactees. In the case of both contactees and political dissidents, the influence of “foreign powers” was thought to justify military style counter-intelligence programs to disrupt and neutralize these groups. The “off world” nature of one of these ‘foreign powers’, extraterrestrials, did not appreciably change the nature of the counterintelligence methods used against both ‘contactees’ and political dissidents. In both cases, the activities of these groups were deemed to be threats to U.S. national security.

There were two significant differences in how COINTELPRO was respectively used against political dissidents and contactees.

  • First, while intelligence agents were fully briefed about the ‘foreign powers’ influencing political dissidents, it is unlikely they were fully briefed in the case contactees.

  • Second, while COINTELPRO against political dissidents was exposed and apparently ended in 1971, the COINTELPRO used against contactees was never exposed. It almost certainly continues to the present.

In 1975, a U.S. Senate committee chaired by Senator Frank Church investigated COINTELPRO’s methods and targets, and published a detailed report in 1976.[32]

The Church Committee described COINTELPRO as follows:

COINTELPRO is the FBI acronym for a series of covert action programs directed against domestic groups. In these programs, the Bureau went beyond the collection of intelligence to secret action defined to "disrupt" and "neutralize" target groups and individuals. The techniques were adopted wholesale from wartime counterintelligence… [33]

Counterintelligence, as defined by the Church Committee, constitutes,

“those actions by an intelligence agency intended to protect its own security and to undermine hostile intelligence operations.” [34]

The Committee described how,

“certain techniques the Bureau had used against hostile foreign agents were adopted for use against perceived domestic threats to the established political and social order.”[35]

The Committee described COINTELPRO as a series of covert actions taken against American citizens, and was part of a “rough, tough, dirty business” according to William Sullivan, assistant to the FBI Director.[36]

The Committee learned that:

“Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyle…”[37]

The Committee found that COINTELPRO had,

“been directed against proponents of racial causes and women's rights, outspoken apostles of nonviolence and racial harmony; establishment politicians; religious groups; and advocates of new life styles.”[38]

Between the years 1960-1974, over 500,000 investigations had been launched of potential subversives of the U.S. government, but no charges were ever laid under statutes concerning overthrow of the U.S. government.[39]

The Committee grouped the activities conducted by COINTELPRO under the following headings:

  1. General Efforts to Discredit

  2. Media Manipulation

  3. Distorting Data to Influence Government Policy and Public Perceptions

  4. "Chilling" First Amendment Rights

  5. Preventing the Free Exchange of Ideas [40]

The Committee found that:

“Officials of the intelligence agencies occasionally recognized that certain activities were illegal, … [and] that the law, and the Constitution were simply ignored.”[41]

More disturbingly, the Church Committee concluded that: “Unsavory and vicious tactics have been employed.”[42]

The Church Committee did not discuss COINTELPRO in regard to the UFO issue or contactee claims. Despite that omission, circumstantial evidence clearly points to COINTELPRO being used against contactees, and was the final stage of well orchestrated counter-intelligence program to "disrupt" and "neutralize" the contactee movement. As shown earlier in the cases of Van Tassel and Adamski, contactee claims dealing with a range of socio-economic and military policies from the perspective of extraterrestrial life, were viewed as subversive and a direct threat to U.S. national security.

The full nature of the threat posed by the reality of extraterrestrial life and technologies was vividly evidenced in the 1961 Brookings Institute Report commissioned by NASA on behalf of the U.S. Congress. Titled, “Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs,” the Brookings Report discussed the societal impact of extraterrestrial life or ‘artifacts’ being found on nearby planetary bodies.

The Report described the unpredictability of societal reactions to such a discovery:

Evidences of its [extraterrestrial] existence might also be found in artifacts left on the moon or other planets. The consequences for attitudes and values are unpredictable, but would vary profoundly in different cultures and between groups within complex societies; a crucial factor would be the nature of the communication between us and the other beings.[43]

Devastating societal effects, according to the Report, could result from contact with more technologically advanced off world societies:

Anthropological files contain many examples of societies, sure of their place in the universe, which have disintegrated when they had to associate with previously unfamiliar societies espousing different ideas and different life ways; others that survived such an experience usually did so by paying the price of changes in values and attitudes and behavior.[44]

The Brookings Report went on to raise the possibility of suppressing any announcement of extraterrestrial life or artifacts for national security reasons:

“How might such information, under what circumstances, be presented or withheld from the public?”[45]

Consequently, it is clear that official fear over societal responses to any official announcement of extraterrestrial life was a paramount national security concern. A powerful justification for the use of COINTELPRO against contactees had been found.

One of the most important tactics used by COINTELPRO was to disrupt dissident groups by creating divisions and suspicion among their supporters. In the ‘Galactic’ version of COINTELPRO, disruption occurred by dividing those who accepted evidence confirming the reality of UFO’s and extraterrestrial life. A division between exponents of a purely scientific approach to UFO data and those supporting the testimonies of contactees was cleverly exploited by COINTELPRO operatives.

Victory would be achieved by convincing more technically oriented supporters of a purely scientific approach that the contactee movement would discredit “serious” researchers. To help convince supporters of a scientific approach that their efforts would eventually bear fruit, an official Air Force investigation was launched in 1952.

Project Blue Book was little more than a public relations exercise by the U.S. Air Force to convince the general public and UFO researchers that it was taking UFO reports seriously. In reality, Project Blue Book provided minimal resources for a serious UFO investigation and primarily acted as a vehicle for defusing public interest in UFO reports.[46]

One of Project Blue Book’s primary functions was to carry out the first plank of the “education program” recommended by the Durant Report. It would “train” the general public how to correctly evaluate the UFO data in ways that would defuse public and media interest in such reports. In short, Project Blue Book was a key part of the covert psychological operations being conducted to convince the general public and media that UFO reports were not important, and not worth considering.

Nevertheless, the status of Project Blue Book as an official Air Force investigation encouraged UFO researchers that rigorous sufficient methods and research would eventually bear fruit. Such hopes were dashed in 1969 by the Condon Committee’s final report which publicly put an end to the Air Force investigation and Project Blue Book.

Another primary function of Project Blue Book was to neutralize the contactee movement by depicting personal testimonies of contact with extraterrestrials as unscientific. By providing a highly visible public investigation, Project Blue Book provided the necessary ‘training’ for scientific research that would systematically exclude contactee reports.

UFO researchers would be encouraged to attack contactee reports as unscientific, prone to delusion or fraud, and an insult to ‘serious’ UFO research. Statements by leading UFO researchers such as Dr Allen Hynek, a former consultant to Project Blue Book, provide evidence that such a process occurred.

In a book purporting to provide the scientific foundations of UFO research, Dr J. Allen Hynek dismissed testimonies of contactees who he regarded as “pseudoreligious fanatics” with “low credibility value:”

I must emphasize that contact reports are not classed as Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that reports such as these have brought down upon the entire UFO problem the opprobrium and ridicule of scientists and public alike, keeping alive the popular image of “little green men” and the fictional atmosphere surrounding that aspect of the subject.[47]

As Hynek’s statement makes clear, UFO researchers attacked contactee reports with great vigor to defuse what they considered to be a major challenge to serious public consideration of UFO reports. By encouraging UFO researchers that a purely scientific method would result in the truth about UFOs and extraterrestrial life eventually coming out, Galactic COINTELPRO succeeded in creating a major schism among those accepting the reality of UFOs and extraterrestrial life.

By the end of the 1960’s, the contactee movement had been so thoroughly debunked and discredited by UFO researchers, that COINTELPRO no longer needed to have Project Blue Book continue. UFO researchers had become an unwitting accomplice of intelligence agencies secretly conducting the various covert psychological programs that made up Galactic COINTELPRO.

Galactic COINTELPRO also had a more sinister side in terms of “unsavory and vicious tactics” that were employed contactees that reflected methods used against political dissidents.[48]

The mysterious Men In Black (MIB) phenomenon has been described by various researchers who discovered that individuals with extraterrestrial related experiences were often threatened and harassed by well dressed men in dark business suits who gave the appearance of being public officials. Evidence that elite intelligence groups were tasked to intimidate, harasses and even “neutralize” contactees or others with direct experience with extraterrestrials or their technology appears in a leaked document that a number of veteran UFO researchers consider to be legitimate.[49]

The Special Operations Manual (SOM1-01) states:

If at all possible, witnesses will be held incommunicado until the extent of their knowledge and involvement can be determined. Witnesses will be discouraged from talking about what they have seen, and intimidation may be necessary to ensure their cooperation.[50]

Investigations were also conducted by the US Air Force that was concerned by reports that MIB impersonated Air Force officials. A March 1, 1967 memo prepared by the Assistant Vice Chief of Staff described incidents where civilians had been contacted by individuals claiming to be members of NORAD and demanded evidence possessed by witnesses.[51]

The shadowy operations of the MIB and the SOM1-01 document suggests that they were part of an “enforcement” division of the counter-intelligence effort that comprised the FBI, the Air Force’s OSI, the Navy Office of Naval Intelligence and even the CIA. It’s very possible that MIB were associated with more secretive intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) where selected agents had higher security clearances for dealing with evidence of extraterrestrial life.[52]

Consequently, a pecking order existed among the intelligence agencies involved in Galactic COINTELPRO where each conducted specific functions. Agents drawn from the FBI, the Air Force OSI (and other military intelligence units including the Navy’s ONI) were primarily involved in intelligence gathering, and closely monitoring the activities of contactees as evidenced in FOIA documents.

The CIA was involved in coordinating debunking and discrediting efforts against contactees through a public education program outlined in the Durant Report. The NSA and NRO were involved in tracking communications and interactions with extraterrestrial life, and provided enforcement teams to withdraw evidence and intimidate contactees into silence.

Galactic COINTELPRO could therefore minimize the amount of extraterrestrial related information held by different sections in each intelligence agency where agents were instructed to perform specific functions. Most out of the loop concerning the reality of extraterrestrial life and the merit of contactee claims was the FBI.

On the other hand, the NSA and NRO appeared to be most in the loop due to their monitoring of extraterrestrial activities through electronic communication and satellite imagery. Military intelligence agencies appeared to fill intermediate functions where they supported Galactic COINTELPRO without being given access to all information concerning extraterrestrial life and projects.

This is evidenced in Vice Admiral Tom Wilson, the head of Intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (J-2) in 1998 who reportedly was out of the loop on extraterrestrial related projects. [53]


Galactic COINTELPRO against contactees aimed to minimize the threat posed by human looking extraterrestrials to the policies adopted by secretly appointed committees with regard to extraterrestrial life and technologies. Primarily the threat from the extraterrestrials was that they would succeed in having contactees convince large portions of the American and global public for comprehensive policy changes to prepare humanity for status as a galactic society.

Such policy changes were considered a direct security threat by policy makers in the U.S. and in other countries who were briefed about the reality of extraterrestrial life.

Galactic COINTELPRO involved three interrelated phases that culminated in a comprehensive counter-intelligence program to neutralize and disrupt the threat posed by the contactee movement.

  • First was a surveillance program orchestrated by the FBI which closely monitored the contactee’s public lectures, interactions and communications. Documents released through FOIA have confirmed that the FBI conducted extensive monitoring of prominent contactees, and worked with other intelligence agencies such as the Air Force OSI.

  • The second phase of Galactic COINTELPRO was a debunking and discrediting program secretly run by the CIA which convened the Robertson Panel which issued the Durant Report in 1953. Its most important finding for the counter-intelligence program was to justify an education program comprising ‘training’ the public and ‘debunking’ witness testimonies, including contactees, on the basis of the national security threat posed by the public’s belief in UFO’s being exploited by foreign enemies.

    Irrespective of the merit of contactee claims, this meant that evidence and statements would be debunked and discredited on national security grounds. Intelligence professionals in the unenviable position of debunking and discrediting people who they may have privately concluded were genuinely describing actual events that had occurred to them.

    FBI documents establish that FBI agents and sources played an active role in discrediting prominent contactees as part of the CIA’s psychological program against contactees.

  • Galactic COINTELPRO’s final stage was to create a schism between those accepting evidence of extraterrestrial life. A group of UFO researchers advocating a scientific methodology were encouraged to disassociate themselves from contactee claims that were regarded as unscientific, and unlikely to lead to public support by academics, bureaucrats and congressional representatives.

    Project Blue Book was created to encourage UFO researchers to hold on to the misguided belief that a strict scientific methodology would be sufficient to overturn government policy on covering up the reality of extraterrestrial life. UFO researchers therefore led the charge against contactee claims being seriously considered.

    Aided by the Project Blue Book investigation, the public was trained in what categories of UFO evidence ought to be considered legitimate. None of these categories included contactee claims.

Galactic COINTELPRO could not have succeeded without the unwitting assistance of veteran UFO researchers who were all too eager to dismiss contactee claims as unscientific and prone to delusion or fraud. Such researchers failed miserably to anticipate the Galactic COINTELPRO that had been implemented to disrupt and neutralize contactee testimonies, and readily accepted official statements questioning the integrity of contactee claims.

Indeed, the eagerness with which UFO researchers established themselves as the gatekeepers of serious scientific research into UFOs, and debunked contactee claims marks the most tragic aspect of six decades of research into UFOs and extraterrestrial life.

Another key factor in the success of Galactic COINTELPRO to the present has been the compartmentalization of extraterrestrial related information. This made it possible for intelligence agencies to perform specific functions within Galactic COINTELPRO without agents being informed of the truth of contactee claims.

The success of debunking and discrediting contactees would have to depend on intelligence agents believing contactees were a genuine security threat. Consequently, extraterrestrial related information was made available on a strict need to know basis ensuring that only a selected group of individuals within different intelligence agencies were briefed at all.

A summary table can be compiled for key intelligence agencies, their respective activities in Galactic COINTELPRO, and their level of access to extraterrestrial related information.

Table 1. U.S. Intelligence Agencies and Galactic COINTELPRO



Access to Extraterrestrial Related Information

Federal Bureau of Investigations


Intelligence gathering, withdrawing evidence, and discrediting contactees by local field agents.

None. FBI Director Hoover was denied access and did not have capacities for monitoring extraterrestrial activities.

Air Force Office of Special Investigations (with cooperation of other military intelligence units, e.g., Office of Naval Intelligence) - AFOSI

Intelligence gathering, withdrawing evidence, discrediting contactees, through Project Blue Book. Create schisms among UFO/ET researchers

Partial. Military Intelligence monitors extraterrestrial activities, possible contacts with civilians, and pass these on to other agencies.

Central Intelligence Agency


Leads a public education program through training the public and debunking contactee reports. Create schisms among UFO/ET researchers

Partial. Coordinates an interagency effort to ensure extraterrestrial related information is not made public.

National Security Agency (NSA) and National Reconnaissance Organization (NRO)

Provides enforcement teams to withdraw evidence and intimidate contactees into silence.

Full. Monitors extraterrestrial life and its interactions with private citizens and governments.

Psychological Strategy Board/ Operations Coordinating Board (successor agency coordinates with control group for ET affairs, MJ-12)

Coordinates interagency efforts in covert psychological programs to deceive public about extraterrestrial life.

Full. Has access to full range of information provided by intelligence agencies in order to develop a strategic response to extraterrestrial activities.

In conclusion, many pioneering men and women who may have accurately related their physical contact with extraterrestrials had their reputations and careers systematically undermined by public officials, the mass media and UFO researchers. It appears that such an outcome was intended as part of an official Galactic COINTELPRO that continues to the present day.

In contrast to the termination of the FBI’s COINTELPRO against political dissidents in 1971; it is very likely that individuals in public office, the mass media and among the UFO research community may be active agents of an ongoing COINTELPRO against contactees.

It is hoped that exposure of Galactic COINTELPRO will help dispel the reflexive dismissal of contactee testimonies that has up