Blaming The Messenger
By Mumia Abu-Jamal
The recent release of the 560-page Senate Intelligence Committee report, is a smack at the Central Intelligence Agency; but it is a Valentines Day kiss to the Bush Administration. For the report, by aiming at the CIA, astutely draws fire from the White House, and continues the lie that the White House, and, by implication, the rest of the country, suffered from flawed intelligence.
This is but the latest bi-partisan attempt to save face for the Administration; the same bipartisanship that led the nation into a foolish and needless war. With the exception of the Senator from Michigan, Carl Levin, few solons are willing to train their fire at the nations chief executive, President George W. Bush.
Sen. Levin, a high-ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, argues that the Bush Administration exaggerated prewar intelligence reports to support a claim of links between the al-Qaeda organization and the Baath government in Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Among the critiques of the CIA, the Committee found the CIAs claim that aluminum tubes were to be used for uranium centrifuges to make nuclear weapons were wrong; that actual human intelligence was scanty; and that the agency drew conclusions that were not based upon reliable data.
That this report comes out the same week as CIA Director George Tenet walks the proverbial plank, also serves to support its helpful nature to the Administration. The CIA provided flawed intelligence. Tenets gone. Whats the problem? The report conveniently hides the clear and historical truth that the CIA is, and has ever been, a political agency and instrument of the U.S. presidency. It is only as good, or as depraved, as the president that wields it.
Over 40 years ago, U.S. President Eisenhower ordered the CIA to activate Operation Pluto, a government plot to destroy the Cuban Revolution and overthrow Cuban President Fidel Castro. As Colombian scholar and diplomat, Clara Nieto has written: Immediately CIA agents began to infiltrate, and terrorist actions and sabotage in commercial and public centers ensued. Pirate aircraft took off from Florida to drop napalm on Cuban sugar refineries and important economic targets. And the CIA provided arms, money, and equipment to a counter-revolutionary group that was forming in the mountains of Escambray in central Cuba. (From Nieto, Masters of War: Latin America and U.S. Aggression, (New York, 7 Stories Press, p. 54, 2003).
Some three years later, the CIA set in motion Operation Mongoose which, in the words of former CIA Director, William Colby, would get rid of President Castro. And then theres the Bay of Pigs operation, when the CIA sent U.S.-trained troops into Cuba, to spark a promised popular revolt. It, of course, never happened; but that may simply have been because of flawed intelligence? The CIA has repeated those takeover attempts all over the world, but they are always at the direction of the president. To blame them for following the orders of the Bush Regime is, to say the least, dishonest. Its like blaming the Praetorian Guards for their actions, and absolving their commander, the Emperor.
Intelligence is only as good as the policy-makers who utilize the data. That the son of a former CIA Director (of course, I speak of George Herbert Walker Bush) could be blindsided by the CIA is incredible. The Bush Regime came into power, over the broken backs of the electorate, with the tainted votes of the Supreme Court, with one, primary objective in mind: the removal of Saddam Hussein. They achieved that objective. By their lights, the CIA actually did a pretty good job; it provided the pretext for the war. The rest, as they say, is history.
Copyright Mumia Abu-Jamal, July 10, 2004
Read Mr. Jamals latest work, We Want Freedom: A Life in the Black Panther Party, from South End Press