COMMENTARY: Stop the presses! The CIA lied

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Oh my God! Stop the presses! Call out the fire brigade! Send in the Marines! Batten down the hatches! Boil some water! They have discovered that the CIA has lied to Congress!

It concealed from congressional leaders the nature and extent of some surveillance programs put into place after 9-11. Oh, say it ain’t so!

Oh, come on now.

The C.I.A. was invented to spread lies, and to do a lot of other, worse things. It came into being after the end of the Second World War, when U.S. foreign policy was revamped to fight the Cold War, started out lying and has never stopped.

In country after country, C.I.A. agents were involved, not just in intelligence gathering, but in sabotage, murder and the overthrow of popular, democratically elected governments. In 1953 a CIA team headed by Kermit Roosevelt (son of Theodore) organized the overthrow of democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who was seen as a threat to British oil interests in his country. The tactics used by the swashbuckling Kermit included bribing street thugs and criminals to pretend to be Mossadegh supporters, and then unleashing them to wreak violence in the streets.

The coup brought the Shah, Mohamed Reza, to a position of absolute power and was a direct cause of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and the coming to power of the people who still run Iran today.

The very next year, also under the Eisenhower administration, C.I.A. director Allen Dulles organized the overthrow of the legal, democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, by that country’s military. Dulles had big personal stakes in the United Fruit Company, which was upset about Arbenz's land reform program. The C.I.A. spooks carried out their usual false propaganda operation in preparation for the coup against the moderately left wing president, and then lied to everybody under the sun to cover up their participation and other details of the coup, including the fact that they had given lists of “communists” to be murdered to the Guatemalan Army.

In Iraq, after the monarchy was overthrown by a coup in 1959, the C.I.A. recruited various agents including a thug named Saddam Hussein, who was used by the CIA to wipe out members of the Iraqi Communist Party, based on lists of names which the agency willingly provided. All of this was hidden from the American and world public by an intricate network of cover-ups and lies. The relationship between the C.I.A. and Saddam continued for a long time. Similar bloodshed by C.I.A. operatives was unleashed against Cuba after the 1959 Revolution. This entailed people like Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles (to name just two of many) who carried out acts of terrorism on behalf of “The Agency”. The C.I.A. completely denied all of these relationships, even though millions of taxpayer dollars were being expended on them.

In the workup to the Iraq War, the C.I.A. was heavily involved in the creation of false evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” that were used by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld to provide the justification of the war. . I could go on, but the history of C.I.A. lies to Congress, to the U.S. public and to the world would fill a whole library. And a great many of those lies were to cover up or justify bloody acts by the U.S. and allies, things that are much worse than mere fibs. A really surprising headline would be “C.I.A. told the truth!”.