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The CIA and Covert Operations CHST 540 May 24, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "The CIA and Covert Operations CHST 540 May 24, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 The CIA and Covert Operations CHST 540 May 24, 2005

2 What is covert action? activity designed to influence foreign political, economic, or military conditions government’s role in this activity is not apparent or acknowledged publicly it is not considered traditional counterintelligence, diplomacy, or military action

3 Forms of covert action Propaganda Political action Paramilitary operations

4 Covert Action in Europe Italian elections, 1948 French trade unions Poland: WiN

5 Allen Dulles Director of Central Intelligence during the ‘Golden Age’ of CIA covert operations During WWII had served as OSS station chief in Berne, Switzerland

6 Iran, 1953 Mohammed Mossadegh appointed Prime Minister April 1951 nationalization of oil effective May 1, 1951 Anglo-Iranian Oil Company 50% owned by British

7 Operation Ajax (Operation Boot) 1952 British approach CIA to remove Mossadegh from power 1953 Kermit Roosevelt sent to Iran August 14/15 decree by Shah; demonstrations instigated by CIA posing as Tudeh August 19 Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi assumes power

8 The Aftermath US used Iran as base to spy on Soviets Shah in power until 1979 Amnesty International 1976: Iran has the ‘highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran.’

9 Guatemala, 1954 Col. Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán elected President of Guatemala 1953 r uling coalition included some communists as minor partners February 1953 expropriated United Fruit Company

10 Monroe Doctrine (1823) established American special interest in western hemisphere warned that US wouldn’t tolerate spread of other empires Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (1933): US and 19 other nations pledged not to use military force to intervene in inter- American affairs

11 Operation PB Success Planning authorized by Eisenhower in 1953 CIA provided Col. Carlos Castillo Armas with money, mercenaries, and base in Honduras radio (Voice of Liberation) and apparent air power

12 Effects of ‘Liberation’ opposition newspapers closed down subversive books banned (Les Misérables; works by Dostoyevsky, Miguel Angel Asturias, etc.) ‘communists’ could be arrested for up to 6 months, couldn’t own radio or hold public office

13 Doolittle Report Report of the Special Study Group on Covert Activities (September 1954): ‘It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply.’

14 Bay of Pigs Brigade 2506 April 15-19, Brigade members killed, 1189 taken prisoner

15 The Aftermath Taylor Commission: failure due to bad planning and lack of professional military advice Allen Dulles, Richard Bissell and others forced to resign John McCone appointed Director of Central Intelligence

16 Food for thought… ‘The majority of peacetime covert operations… have probably been either crimes or mistakes or both.’ (Christopher Andrew, Missing Dimension, p.6)

17 Covert action in war: Vietnam Phoenix Program: CIA worked with South Vietnamese intelligence to identify and neutralize Viet Cong members Provincial Interrogation Centers (PICs) and Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) Caught few high-level operatives Criticized as an ‘assassination campaign’

18 Further reading on covert action Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (New York: HarperCollins, 1995) David P. Forsythe, ‘Democracy, War, and Covert Action’ Journal of Peace Research 29:4 (1992) John Prados, Presidents’ Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations from World War II through the Persian Gulf (2 nd edition Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996)


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