CIA's operating procedure

Excerpted from the article:
The Indonesian Massacres and the CIA
by Ralph McGehee
Covert Action Quarterly, Fall 1990 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 in coups.
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 22070.


CIA and Third World