In an interview for an article about the machinations of the Central Intelligence Agency one of the Washington Post’s sources described it as “one helluva killing machine.” Then, according to the reporter, he ‘blanched’ at his words and altered them to “one hell of an operational tool.”
I think we’ll stick with the ‘killing machine’ depiction. The CIA’s drone attacks in Pakistan have killed a lot more innocent people than it does in more mundane day-to-day butchery, but the plain fact is that it has always been in the business of killing, and always will be. The double murder in January in the Pakistani city of Lahore by the CIA employee Raymond Davis was bizarre and outrageous but only a minor indication of its embrace of criminality.
Its loony tunes schemes to assassinate Fidel Castro were so preposterous as to be comical, in a sick sort of way (exploding cigars and lethal fungus in a diving suit), but they were perfectly serious at the time. In 2007 the US declassified some documents, including “a memo that reveals that CIA director, Allen Dulles, personally approved a plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro.” Many people knew about this, but we should remember that “In addition to Castro, proposed targets included Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican dictator.”
Of course these assassination plots are old stuff, and it’s too much to hope that even Wikileaks might provide information about later schemes. President Chavez of Venezuela, an energetic nationalist detested by American business interests, has probably been a target, but it is unlikely we’ll ever know for certain – unless there is another trove of papers like the one discovered recently in offices in Libya.
The Libya documents (discussion of which has vanished from the mainstream media) make it clear that senior representatives of the CIA and its British counterpart, MI6, enjoyed the comradeship of Gaddafi’s brutish spooks and cooperated with them in what is quaintly called “rendition” of suspects for interrogation by torture. Brits and Americans are not averse to torture, you understand, but they want it to be done by someone else, if possible, so that they can look starry-eyed at the world and declare they would be shocked—shocked!—that anyone could imagine they would be involved. They wring their bloodstained hands in mock dismay – but this time they’ve been caught with their hands in the kill.
Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron says “Gaddafi was a monster. He was responsible for appalling crimes, and the world will be much better off without him,” which words may come back to haunt him in future revelations of “appalling crimes” committed by other tyrants whom he favors. President Obama was better briefed and avoided personal comment, merely referring to Gaddafi as indulging in “repression to remain in power” — just like Washington’s dictator buddy who runs torture-supporting Bahrain, the home of the US Naval Fleet which is menacing Iran.
But both Cameron and Obama will try to justify the actions of their intelligence agencies by maintaining that their cooperation with Gaddafi took place during the time of their terrible predecessors and they would never dream of doing anything so dreadful. In fact Britain’s foreign minister, an egregious little prat called Hague, stated he had “no knowledge of what was happening behind the scenes at that time.”
We are asked to believe that the British foreign minister has never had a briefing about Britain’s long-time intelligence cooperation with the Gaddafi dictatorship. He was never told that his intelligence service had provided information to Libya about anti-Gaddafi exiles in the UK, who could then be targeted. He hadn’t the vaguest idea that the British intelligence service was officially grateful to its vicious Libyan counterpart for “the remarkable relationship we have built over recent years,” as stated in a letter from a “senior UK intelligence official” to his Libyan buddy. He was never told that UK intelligence operatives helped plan the CIA’s ‘rendition’ of suspects — and their families (“his pregnant (four months) wife”, for example; excuse me while I puke) — for discussions with kindly Libyan interrogators. And Hague was never told, poor duck, anything at all about the intelligence background that shaped the decision of his government to bomb the hell out of its former warm ally. No, of course not. And the moon is made of green cheese.
And as for the CIA, in the context of cooperation with the murderous thug Gaddafi its spokeswoman pronounced that “It can’t come as a surprise that the Central Intelligence Agency works with foreign governments to help protect our country from terrorism and other deadly threats.” She is justifying the fact that the US “sent terrorism suspects at least eight times for questioning in Libya despite that country’s reputation for torture.”
How many people were killed or maimed by the Libyan partner of the ‘helluva killing machine’?
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, which found the documents, said it is appalling that the CIA “cooperated with these very abusive intelligence services.” But we know only the tiniest, the most miniscule fraction of what has been going on, because all the other documents were swiftly gathered up and secured unless the world might realize just how totally dishonorable are the governments in London and Washington. The only certainty is that these British and American intelligence operatives are, the whole bunch of them, amoral, evil and barbaric. The person who arranged ‘rendition’ for a “pregnant (four months) wife” to Libyan interrogators is a poisonous gobbet of perambulating filth. I hope he (or she, of course: that’s far from improbable) rots in hell for an eternity of waterboarding.
And there are other ways of enjoying maiming, torturing or killing people while standing well away from scenes of evil butchery.
CIA video-gamers have killed about 400 civilians in drone missile attacks on Pakistan, so we shouldn’t be surprised that their colleagues collaborated so vigorously with Libyan criminals. Mind you, we have been assured by President Obama’s adviser on counter-terrorism, John O Brennan, that in all the years of the CIA bombarding Pakistan with missiles “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.”
Brennan and the White House are telling us to believe that in over 300 missile attacks in Pakistan by CIA-controlled drones targeting vehicles, villages, hamlets and houses, there has not been one single civilian death. Not one. Not even when one particularly stupid attack in March this year killed some twenty civilians, prompting no less a person than Pakistan’s army chief, an equable and civilized man, to state with remarkable restraint that “It is highly regrettable that a jirga [meeting] of peaceful citizens including elders of the area was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life.”
Brennan is either a psychotic fantasist or a moronic liar.
But then we might suspect something of that nature, because he had 25 years in the CIA.
Certainly there are hideous fanatics in Pakistan who kill lots of people. Indeed, as I write this, the news comes in that “Islamist gunmen opened fire on a school bus in north-western Pakistan on Tuesday morning, killing a teacher, three children and the driver.” And who could possibly claim for an instant that any such wicked slaughter is justified? The photograph of one of the injured children is truly tear-jerking. Just as are the photographs of the bodies of some of the scores of Pakistani kids killed by the CIA’s drone missiles.
The killing machine is having a helluva time, and will continue to do so. And there is nothing – nothing – that anyone else in the world can do about it. How wonderful for the CIA Controllers, the wizards and demigods of modern war, to feel, in their celestial video nests, that they are above all laws, be these of man, of the gods, of nature. They select the objects for slaughter. They kill them. They go home to supper.
Come suppertime they then have to live with their consciences – or would, if they had any. It is almost impossible to believe that any human being, having seen, even from thousands of miles away, the blood-spattered shattered corpse of a tiny child whom they had just killed (and they can see this : mark my words) could ever, had they a conscience, come back to their Olympian video parlor and do the same again.
But they do. And we must pity them. For they are damned souls. Like all members of the helluva killing machine.
Brian Cloughley’s website is www.beecluff.com