1964 to 1966 The Johnson Years and the CIA part one
Copyrighted 18 Jan 2010
Retired CIA officer Nelson Brickham, the man most responsible for the creation of the Phoenix Program, Brickham volunteered for duty in Vietnam in 1965. In the spring of 1966 he became chief of Field Operations in the Saigon station's Foreign Intelligence "liaison" branch. He had an office in the U.S. Embassy Annex but also spent time with his senior Vietnamese
Police Special Branch counterparts in their office at the National Interrogation Center.
Brickham managed the veteran CIA liaison officers who were working with Police Special Branch officers in South Vietnam's 44 provinces. These Vietnamese Special Branch officers functioned like detectives in the intelligence branch of a big-city police department. They also managed the CIA's gulag archipelago of secret interrogation centers. The Special Branch mounted both positive intelligence and counterintelligence operations.
Upon assuming the job as Chief of Field operations, Brickham inherited and sharpened three existing programs:
1. The Hamlet Informant Program (HIP), in which principal agents working for the CIA and Special Branch recruited informants in the hamlets.
2. The Province Interrogation (PIC) Program. The CIA began building a secret torture chamber in each of South Vietnam's 44 provinces in 1964. Information from defectors and captured documents was put into the PIC Program reporting system, to which the CIA had total access.
3. Penetrations into the Viet Cong Infrastructure (usually by blackmailing or terrorizing a member of a targeted individual's family) were the most sought-after means of gathering information.
Many Covert Action officers were refugees from the Bay of Pigs fiasco. They ran the CIA's Armed Propaganda Teams, Census Grievance Program, Montagnard program, and most importantly, the Counter-Terror (CT) Teams. According to Brickham, the purpose of the CT Teams was to do to the terrorists what they were doing to us. In Vietnam, that meant leaving severed heads on fence posts.
Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) (South Vietnamese) // death squads// irregulars were trained equally "for employment as guerrillas or counter-guerrillas," After 1964 the Special Forces were charged to employ their CIDG forces in offensive operations.
Standing orders issued to Special Forces in stated the Special Forces were ordered to conduct (among other things), "conduct operations to dislodge VC-controlled officials, to include assassination. "The same Letter of Instructions ordered terrorist actions to interdict "interior infiltration routes": CIDG will conduct clear and hold, patrol and ambush type operations to seal off, interdict and pacify areas . . . .Concurrently with the above, small and highly trained units, utilizing counterinsurgency techniques will be operating out of the camps . . . ambushing, raiding, sabotaging and committing acts of terrorism against known VC personnel .
The permissible targets of U.S.-run terror squads were ambiguously defined; in any case, distinguishing Vietcong "supporters" and members of the guerrilla infrastructure called for skills for which assassins are not particularly well known. The army's official history of Special Forces in Vietnam notes the pride Special Forces personnel took in their unconventional operations, and that "in fact most of the troops were originally attracted to the Special Forces by the nature of these operations.
The French, like the Americans, Vietnamese, Guatemalans, Indonesians, and others to come, refused to accept the fact that by adopting the tactics of the enemy, they were essentially no different.
Critics of U. S. doctrine also examined the tendency of policymakers to evade responsibility for terror and ignore its consequences. An essay coauthored by the French Indochina expert Bernard Fall, a bitter critic of National Liberation Front terror, and Marcus Raskin eloquently rebutted claims that American terror was somehow accidental (so-called collateral terror), indirect (executed at once remove, by its allies), or in any manner excusable.
Now that American units are actively engaged in combat in Vietnam, it is specious and immoral to argue that this is not "their" war and that they arc not responsible for the indiscriminate killing or maiming of civilians.... This applies equally to the use of torture and other forceful means of interrogation, and the deliberate killing of captured combatants.
Although the United States announced in 1965 that the norms of the Geneva Conventions would be adhered to in Vietnam, Fall and Raskin note that in fact they were not. Furthermore, they found the detachment with which American managers ran the war ominous: "There is another point to the sadism and torture. Bureaucracies may involve themselves in such matters almost antiseptically. That is a dangerous trend in government.
Sources: Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and Counterterrorism, 1940-1990 Pantheon Books, 1992. http://www.statecraft.org/about.html
FBI history, the formal COINTELPRO's of 19561971
Dubbed COINTELPRO (counterintelligence program) by J. Edgar Hoover, this program began in 1956 and continued until 1971 aimed to stifle dissent among US domestic radical groups.
COINTELPRO operations, giving clear pictures since five of them of the crude but apparently effective techniques used against the American Communist Party, the Socialist Workers' Party, white hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, radical African American organizations like the Black Panther Party, and the New Left movement, comprised primarily of antiwar activists. The FBI was still committing abuses in the 1980's, particularly against groups opposed to US policy in Central America. (Spying on Americans: The FBI's Domestic Counterintelligence Program by James Kirkpatrick Davis.)
In 1950s and '60s, the FBI, the CIA, and Ronald Reagan, "spent years unlawfully trying to quash the voices and careers of students and faculty deemed subversive at the University of California. [The FBI plotted against UC President Clark Kerr while aiding Reagan's political career]. Reagan intended to mount a 'psychological warfare campaign' against subversives, file tax evasion and other charges against them, and do anything else it could to restore moral order. [The FBI protected Reagan from being implicated for lying about his own past by altering his security clearance]. Files show he repeatedly gave the FBI names of people he suspected of being communist over the years. [The CIA & FBI directors conspired to 'harass and eliminate' liberal faculty members. When Lyndon Johnson picked Kerr to be Secretary of HEW], the FBI background check included damaging information the agency knew to be false, and Johnson withdrew the nomination."
Starting in 1961, William C. Sullivan head of the FBI's domestic intelligence division Sullivan was instrumental in the arranging for the mailing of a tape recording in 1964 to Coretta Scott King, that contained secretly taped recordings of her husband Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking with other women. In a memo, Sullivan called King "a fraud, demagogue and scoundrel". Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered the tapping of King's telephone. The telephonic surveillance led to information concerning King's licentious and abusive behavior with women. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_C._Sullivan
The CIA's covert operation inside the U.S. directed against the anti-Vietnam war movement, was code named, MH-CHAOS. Operation COINTELPRO was the code name for the FBI's covert operation directed against anti-Vietnam war movement.
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.
A counter-intelligence special operations unit, Chaos, formed by James Angleton in August 1967 specifically to spy on the New Left and other radical political groups in the anti-war and civil rights movements. From its earliest beginnings, Chaos was distinguished from other CIA operations by its secure communications system, its super inaccessibility and "compartmentalization," its inter-connected domestic and international mandate, and its essentially political nature.
Veteran CIA officer Richard Ober was in charge of the CIA's Counter- Intelligence, Special Operations Group (CI/SOG), //CIA's paramilitary Special forces/Seals on the CIA payroll vs. military payroll// codenamed MH CHAOS and known as Chaos, which was created in August 1967, concurrent with the Phoenix Program (and for a similar purpose), and existed until March 1974.
In July 1967, Ober was tasked to lead a new section, called the Special Operations Group. It was a sub-section of the CIA's Counterintelligence Division. James Angleton was the chief of this Division. His boss was Deputy Director of Operations, Thomas H. Karamessines. Karamessines was one of the four CIA deputy directors under the Director of CIA, Richard Helms.
Karamessines was in charge of all espionage (human intelligence /spying/ on foreign governments or threats), counterespionage (aka counterintelligence - making sure CIA employees were loyal and were not spying for a foreign intelligence service, and covert actions (overthrowing incumbent "anti-capitalist" foreign governments, drug trafficking to fund anti-communist guerrillas and possibly to fund a shadow CIA /a non U.S.-governmental entity).
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.
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.
The FBI's Library Awareness Program was a program that ran for about 25 years, in which FBI agents tried to enlist the assistance of librarians in monitoring the reading habits of "suspicious" individuals. FBI agents clandestinely visited libraries to track the reading habits of people from communist countries, people with foreign-sounding names, and people with foreign accents. As part of its Library Awareness Program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted numerous counterintelligence activities in libraries, including requesting confidential information on library users based solely on their nationality.
The Cold Warera counterintelligence program arose out of suspicions that Soviet agents were searching the stacks for valuable technical data, and targeted scientific and technical libraries, including some public and university libraries. As part of the program, agents asked library staff members to report the use of unclassified scientific reading materials by people from "hostile foreign nations." Often, FBI agents who didn't have subpoenas or search warrants approached lower-level workers for information, which they used intimidation tactics to obtain. One FBI document reveals an extended investigation of librarians who criticized this Bureau's program. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) became heavily politicized and acquiesced to the spying. (Surveillance in the Stacks: The FBI's Library Awareness Program by Herbert N. Foerstel, Greenwood Press 1991)
From 1973 until the late 1980s, the FBI conducted a secret surveillance program within America's unclassified scientific libraries, including both public and university libraries. That program, known as the Library Awareness Program, had two goals:
- To restrict access by foreign nationals, particularly Soviet and East Europeans, to unclassified scientific information;
- To recruit librarians to report on any "foreigners" using America's unclassified scientific libraries.
To accomplish these goals, FBI agents would approach clerical staff at public and university libraries, flash a badge and appeal to their patriotism in preventing the spread of "sensitive but unclassified" information to potential enemies. There was a great deal of disinformation passed to librarians from these agents as well. For one thing we were told that a presidential executive order prohibited any Soviet citizen or any East European citizen from reading any NTIS (National Technical Information Service) reports. My library had about a million and a half of those reports, all unclassified.
It turned out that the executive order story was completely bogus, but it may have led some librarians to deny scientific information to foreign nationals. Even more disturbing than the attempt to prevent access to materials was the attempt to get librarians to reveal the names and reading habits of foreigners using the libraries, what books they checked out, what database searches they requested, even their questions to reference librarians. At my university, the agents told librarians that they should report to the FBI anyone with a "foreign sounding name or foreign sounding accent." http://www.aaas.org/spp/secrecy/Presents/foerstel.htm
During the 1950s and 1960s, a illegal (CIA) program*, code name HT/LINGUAL , to intercept letters from the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites and keep records on the people who received such letters. The CIA intercepted a letter to Marina Oswald from a KGB official who had served in Europe. Angleton's subordinates notified the FBI of this letter to Marina. (The Secret History of the CIA, p. 258)
Only the FBI is authorized to intercept and conduct a search of mail (covertly open and read) of letters sent to the U.S. and from the U.S. and then only on issuance of a warrant based on probable cause. The mail-opening program was run from Angleton's office, but he had nothing to do with it. In December 1974, William Colby leaked the CIA's mail opening campaign to the New York Times and forcing Angleton out of the CIA into retirement, putting the blame for the secret program on Angleton. (The Secret History of the CIA, p. 410)
Vietnam ---- In March 1965, Operation Rolling Thunder (B-52 bombing) began. Shining Brass operations placed covert SOG recon teams to identify targets for air strikes. Recon teams conducted bomb damage assessments following air strikes by B-52s in Laos. They photographed the damage and counted the enemy bodies. (The Secret War Against Hanoi, Kennedy's and Johnson's use of spies, saboteurs, and covert warriors in North Vietnam by Richard H. Shultz, Jr).
On April 28, 1965, John A McCone, Director of the CIA told Pres Johnson in a personal memorandum that unless the US was willing to bomb the North "with a minimum restraint" to break Hanoi's will, it was unwise to commit ground troops to battle. "In effect, we will find ourselves mired down in combat in the jungle in a military effort that we cannot win and from which we will have extreme difficulty extracting ourselves. " Under Secretary of State George W. Ball, stated in a memorandum circulated on June 28, 1965, that he believed that neither bombing the North nor fighting the guerrillas in the South nor any combination of the two offered a solution. He proposed that the US "cut its losses" and withdraw from South Vietnam. (The Pentagon Papers), p. 387)
John McCone stepped down as DCI in 1965 and Pres. Johnson appointed Admiral William Raborn to succeed him. A few months later, Johnson decided to replace Raborn with Richard Helms. James Angleton's power at this time was enormous. This strength within CIA leadership came from his connections to Mossad. Angleton was operating his own intelligence service through the Israelis. At times these Mossad sources of intelligence were taken more seriously than the CIA's own field reports. (The Secret History of the CIA, p. 309)
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 --
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 --- In 1964, Pres. Johnson had ordered the Defense Department and the CIA to secretly back a military coup in Brazil against the democratically elected President Joao Goularat. The U.S. Navy was dispatched to let the Brazilian military know that the U.S. backed the coup. (The Secret History of the CIA, page 362-365)
For the next two decades were the most bloodthirsty in the country's 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.
The US backed military junta had a plan not merely to reverse the pro-poor people economic programs, but to crack Brazil wide open to foreign investment. At first the generals tired to impose their agenda relatively peacefully, no mass arrests. Some anti-junta Brazilians had been brutally tortured during this period. Their numbers were selective and small enough that the word of their treatment barely escaped the jails. By 1968, the streets in Brazil were overrun with anti-junta marches. As a result all civil liberties were crushed and torture became systematic and "killings by the state became routine." (The Shock Doctrine, p. 66)
Bolivia -- During the 1950s in Bolivia's reformist government under Victor Paz Estenssoro initiated programs to improve conditions for the Indian majority and nationalized the oppressive tin mines. Bolivia had been very brutal toward its Indians. The indigenous people were considered by Bolivia's wealthy elite as subhuman. Estenssoro was overthrown by a military junta in 1964. Coups and countercoups plague the nation into the 1970s. (The Secret History of the American Empire, by John Perkins, pgs. 94 and 95.
The War Against Developmentism -- the Milton Friedman school of unabashed laissez-faire capitalism, economic theft from South American working folks.
Guatemala --- In the mid-1960s, for instance, the Guatemalan security forces suffered from disorganization, internal divisions and possible infiltration by leftist operatives. So, the administration of President Lyndon Johnson dispatched U.S. public safety adviser John Longon from his base in Venezuela.
Arriving in late 1965, Longon sized up the problem and began restructuring the Guatemalan security forces into a more efficient - and ultimately, more lethal - organization. In a Jan. 4, 1966, report on his activities, Longon said he recommended both overt and covert components to the military's battle against "terrorism."
One of Longon's strategies was to seal off sections of Guatemala City and begin house-to-house searches. "The idea behind this was to force some of the wanted communists out of hiding and into police hands, as well as to convince the Guatemalan public that the authorities were doing something to control the situation," the report said.
On the covert side, Longon pressed for "a safe house to be immediately set up" for coordination of security intelligence. "A room was immediately prepared in the Presidential Palace for this purpose and Guatemalans were immediately designated to put this operation into effect," the report said.
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. The United States sent more troops as fears grew that the revolutionary forces were coming increasingly under Communist control.
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.
Indonesia "Ellsworth Bunker was sent to Indonesia to investigate troubling conditions there. He informed Washington that `the avowed Indonesia objective is "stand on their own feet" in developing their economy free from foreign, especially Western, influence.' A National Intelligence Estimate in September 1965 warned that if the efforts of the mass-based Indonesia Communist Party (PKI) "to energize and unite the Indonesian nation... succeeded, Indonesia would provide a powerful example for the underdeveloped world and hence a credit to communism and a setback for Western prestige." (p. 93)
"In Indonesia, Sukarno was one of the leaders of the despised nonaligned movement (called `radical nationalism' by Eisenhower and his Secretary of State, Dulles) and he was also allowing too much democracy: a popular-based party of poor peasants was gaining influence. " "Excessive democracy" as Norm Chomsky termed this.
(Hegemony or Survival, America's Quest for Global Dominance by Norm Chomsky, p. 163)
The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Kusno Sukarno - Soekarno (from 1945 to 1967) with a military coup. He enraged the rich countries by protecting Indonesia's economy, redistributing wealth, and throwing out the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Sukarno was a nationalist, not a communist.
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. In 1965, General Haji Mohammed Suharto, as head of the Indonesian army crushed a communist instigated coup and subsequently a bloodbath claimed the lives of 300,000 to 500,000 people. Another estimated one million people were thrown into jails and prison camps accused of being "communist." In 1968, Suharto took over as president.
The US and British government were determined to end Sukarno's rule. Declassified documents show that the CIA had received high-level orders to "liquidate President Sukarno..." The CIA had been quietly compiling a list of the country's leading leftist and this list fell into the hands of the coup leaders. There were 4,000 to 5,000 "leftists" on these black list or "shooting lists" as the CIA referred to them and the U.S. embassy received regular reports on the soldiers at hunting down the anti-junta Indonesians. The Pentagon supplied General Sukarto's soldiers-brown-shirts weapons and field radios. In just over a month, possibly as many as one million people were killed. (The Shock Doctrine, pgs. 66-67)
The Sukarto government passed laws allowing foreign companies to own 100 percent of Indonesia's mineral and oil wealth, handed out "tax holidays", and within two years, copper, nickel, hardwood, rubber, and oil - was being divided up among the largest mining and energy companies in the world. (p. 69, The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Kline)
After the bloodbath, in swarmed the US corporations, throwing thousands of natives off their ancient lands and trashing the environment to drill for oil and dig for gold. Henry Kissinger helped Mobil forge a deal with Suharto in the mid-60s, then set up the Freeport McMoran gold mine for which he is now majority shareholder as well as anti-environmental legal counsel.
The Indonesian Army's campaign against the Indonesia Communist Party (PKI) brought to power the dictator Suharto in 1965-66. U.S. Embassy reporting documents report that on November 13, 1965 information from the Indonesian police that "from 50 to 100 PKI members were being killed every night in East and Central Java
Ambassador Marshall Green's August 10, 1966 airgram to Washington reporting that an Embassy-prepared list of top Communist leaders - "is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities ." On December 2, 1965, Green endorsed a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the Kap-Gestapu movement leading the repression.
Pres. George W Bush Jr. tried to censor a State Department history by recalling every single truthful State Dept. history book from hundreds of libraries. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-68, Volume 26, covers Indonesia, Malaysia-Singapore, and the Philippines.
(Did Government Direct Book Recall? Reported by Susan DiMattia & Norman Oder http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA152783.html September 1, 2001)
CIA made the decision to take back from libraries a history book revealing the involvement of the United States in the massive killing of Indonesian communists in the 1960s. They decided to recall Volume 26, one in a series of history books called "Foreign Relations of the United States." The volume in question covers Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and was recently published by the Government Printing Office. The book exposes the U.S. involvement in a 1965 Indonesian Army's anti-Communist campaign that led to the killing of an estimated 1 million people. According to Peter Dale Scott, the CIA's decision is directly linked to the Bush administration's new policy toward Indonesia.
"Very soon we're going to see the Bush administration resume aid to the Indonesian Army and to a group called Kopassus," said Scott in a telephone interview. Kopassus, he said is the Indonesian Army's Special Force and the main architect of the 1965 massacres. "What worries them is that it's a volume that details that aid to Kopassus in 1965."