Thursday, March 19, 2009

Some Examples of CIA Misconduct Against Cuba, SDS, Black Power Movement, Journalists, etc.

Some examples of CIA misconduct

Originally printed June 27, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some examples of CIA misconduct described in 693 pages of documents released by agency Tuesday:

One plot against Fidel Castro:

CIA Office of Security Director Howard Osborn described a plot begun in August 1960 to kill the Cuban leader. Ex-FBI agent Robert Maheu, a top aide to Howard Hughes in Las Vegas, was recruited to approach mobster Johnny Roselli and pass himself off as the representative of international corporations who wanted Castro killed because he'd caused financial losses for their Cuban operations.

Roselli was to be told the U.S. government should never hear of the plot. Roselli introduced Maheu to "Sam Gold" and "Joe," who were actually 10-most wanted mobsters Salvatore Giancana, Al Capone's successor in Chicago, and Santos Trafficante. The mobsters turned down $150,000 and worked for free. CIA gave them six poison pills; they tried unsuccessfully for several months to have several people put them in the Cuban leader's food. This particular plot was dropped after the failed CIA-sponsored Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, but other plots continued against Castro although they are not detailed in these documents.

At one point, Giancana asked Maheu to bug the Las Vegas hotel room of entertainer Dan Rowan to see if Giancana's girlfriend, singer Phyllis McGuire, was sexually intimate with Rowan. The technician, however, was arrested planting the bug and Osborn's office eventually had to tell Attorney General Robert Kennedy how the episode came about in order to get the Justice Department to drop charges against Maheu and the technician.

Studies of U.S. radicals:

The documents reflect the CIA's interest in Students for a Democratic Society. The radical left-wing group had chapters on major college campuses around the country.

In a document entitled "SDS and other student activist groups," the CIA said that it produced a 30-page study of the organization "and its foreign ties."

The agency produced another paper entitled "Restless Youth," including a "most sensitive section" that "was a philosophical treatment of student unrest, its motivation, history and tactics.

"It drew heavily on overt literature and FBI reporting on SDS and affiliated groups," the document said. Another section of the report comprised "19 chapters on foreign student dissidence."

The agency "began following Caribbean black radicalism in earnest in 1968," the summary said.

The agency provided the CIA director a memo "with special attention to links between black radicalism in the Caribbean and advocates of black power in the U.S."

The agency "wrote typescript memos on Stokely Carmichael's travels abroad during a period when he had dropped from public view," the summary added. The prominent black activist popularized the rallying cry "Black Power" during the civil rights upheavals of the 1960s.

The CIA participated in an interagency group created in 1970 "to produce fully evaluated national domestic intelligence studies, including studies on demonstrations, subversion, extremism and terrorism.

"The White House has insisted that the existence of this committee be kept secret," said the document, entitled "Intelligence Evaluation Committee and Staff." "Awareness of its existence within this agency has been limited to" fewer than 10 people.

"At the request of the White House, a series of estimates was prepared" by the group on "Potential Disruptions at the 1972 Republican National Convention, Miami Beach".

The CIA "provided from February through August 1972 periodic contributions for these estimates concerning foreign support for activities planned to disrupt or harass" the GOP convention.

Similar studies were prepared by the group on the Democratic National Convention.

Mail opening:

Surveillance of mail from China was dubbed "Project WESTPOINTER" and began in the fall of 1969, lasting through October of 1971. A June 1973 memo says it was based in the San Francisco area and the "target was mail to the United States from Mainland China." The memo doesn't say how many letters were opened and reviewed.

Another document said that "since 1953, CIA has operated a mail intercept program of incoming and outgoing Russian mail and, at various times, other selected mail at Kennedy Airport in New York City. This program is now dormant pending decision on whether to continue or to abolish it."

Drug and behavior-alteration testing:

One CIA summary entitled "Drug Testing Program" said "the attached summary from" the Office of Research and Development "describes research into a behavioral drug. Conversations ... indicate that the reported drug was part of a larger program in which the agency had relations with commercial drug manufacturers, whereby they passed on drugs rejected because of unfavorable side effects. The drugs were screened ... and those selected for experimentation were tested ... using monkeys and mice. Materials having further interest, as demonstrated by this testing, were then tested at Edgewood, using volunteer members of the armed forces.

"Carl Duckett emphasizes that the program was considered as defensive, in the sense that we would be able to recognize certain behavior if similar materials were used against Americans."

There is no mention of the testing of the psychedelic drug LSD on unwitting U.S. citizens, one of whom committed suicide by jumping from a hotel room during the experience, which the congressional investigators learned of and described.

A May 22, 1973 memo entitled "The Family Jewels Exercise" noted that then-Director William Colby wanted more information about "an EA division project." Colby, said the summary, wanted to know, "What do these agents do in the states?"

The same memo said that Colby wanted "fuller information" on the cryogenic magnetometer "that is used on unwitting subjects."

Imprisonment of defector:

"The Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko was confined at a CIA facility from April 1964 to September 1967 while efforts were being made to establish whether he was a bona fide defector. Although his present attitude toward the agency is quite satisfactory, the possibility exists that the press could cause undesirable publicity if it were to uncover the story."

There is no mention of the later finding by congressional investigators that he was kept in a cell and subjected to grueling interrogators for that period.

Wiretapping U.S. journalists:

"Under pressure from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy" in 1962, CIA director John McCone "agreed to tap the telephones of columnists Robert S. Allen and Paul Scott in an effort to identify their sources for classified information which was appearing in their columns," says a memo a decade later to the agency's director.

Most of the information related to the Defense Department.

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