CIA's operating procedure
Excerpted from the article:
The Indonesian Massacres and the CIA
by Ralph McGehee
Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1990
...it is essential to provide background on the scope and nature
of its worldwide operations. Between 1961 and 1975 the Agency
conducted 900 major or sensitive operations, and thousands of
lesser covert actions. The majority of its operations were propaganda,
election or paramilitary. Countries of major concern, such as
Indonesia in the early 1960s, were usually subjected to the CIA's
most concerted attention.
Critics of the CIA have aptly described the mainstays of such
attention: "discrediting political groups... by forged documents
that may be attributed to them. . . ," faking "communist
weapon shipments,'' capturing communist documents and then inserting
forgeries prepared by the Agency's Technical Services Division.
The CIA's "Mighty Wurlitzer" then emblazoned and disseminated
the details of such "discoveries."
The Mighty Wurlitzer was a worldwide propaganda mechanism consisting
of hundreds or even thousands of media representatives and officials
including, over a period of years, approximately 400 members of
the American media. The CIA has used the Wurlitzer and its successors
to plant stories and to suppress expository or critical reporting
in order to manipulate domestic and international perceptions.
From the early 1980s, many media operations formerly the responsibility
of the CIA have been funded somewhat overtly by the National Endowment
for Democracy (NED).
From the earliest days, the Agency's International Organizations
Division (IOD) implemented and coordinated its extensive covert
operations. The division's activities created or assisted international
organizations for youth, students, teachers, workers, veterans,
journalists, and jurists. The CIA used, and continues to use,
the various labor, student, and other suborned organizations not
only for intelligence and propaganda purposes, but also to participate
in elections and paramilitary operations and to assist in overthrowing
governments. At the same time, the CIA manipulates their organizational
publications for covert propaganda goals.
The labor unions the CIA creates and subsidizes, in their more
virulent stages, provide strong-arm goon squads who burn buildings,
threaten and beat up opponents, pose as groups of the opposition
to discredit them, terrorize and control labor meetings, and participate
Use of "Subversive Control Watch Lists"
As a matter of course, the Agency develops close relationships
with security services in friendly nations and exploits these
in many ways-by recruiting unilateral sources to spy on the home
government, by implementing pro-U.S. policies, and by gathering
and exchanging intelligence. As one aspect of those liaisons,
the CIA universally compiles local "Subversive Control Watch
Lists" of leftists for attention by the local government.
Frequently that attention is the charter of government death squads.
After the CIA's overthrow of Arbenz's government in Guatemala
in 1954, the U.S. gave the new government lists of opponents to
be eliminated. In Chile from 1971 through 1973, the CIA fomented
a military coup through forgery and propaganda operations and
compiled arrest lists of thousands,
many of whom were later arrested and assassinated. In Bolivia
in 1975, the CIA provided lists of progressive priests and nuns
to the government which planned to harass, arrest and expel them.
To curry the favor of Khomeini, in 1983 the CIA gave his government
a list of KGB agents and collaborators operating in Iran. Khomeini
then executed 200 suspects and closed down the communist Tudeh
party. In Thailand, I provided the names of hundreds of leftists
to Thai security services. The Phoenix program in Vietnam was
a massive U.S.-backed program to compile arrest and assassination
lists of the Viet Cong for action by CIA-created Provisional Reconnaissance
Unit death squads....
...Providing "Watch Lists" based on technical and human
penetration of targeted groups is a continuing program of CIA
covert operators. Today, U.S.-advised security services in El
Salvador, using the techniques of the Phoenix program, operate
throughout El Salvador and have taken a heavy toll on peasants,
activists and labor leaders in that country. In the late 1980s,
the CIA began assisting the Philippine government in the conduct
of "low-intensity" operations by, among other things,
computerizing security service records of leftists and assisting
in the development of a national identity card program. Wherever
the CIA cooperates with other national security services it is
safe to assume that it also compiles and passes "Subversive
Control Watch Lists."
Ralph McGehee worked for the CIA from 1952 until 1977 and now
writes about intelligence matters, notably the book Deadly Deceits
-- My 25 years in the CIA (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1983).
He has compiled a computer data base on CIA activities. Persons
interested may write to him at: 422 Arkansas Ave., Herndon, VA
and Third World