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How to grow an economic empire.

What follows is an extended book review of Killing Hope by William Blum. It predates the Wikileaks leaks by some 6 years, and not surprisingly, Wikileaks provides nothing but additional support for the generalizations on this page--if any is needed. Wikileaks shows explicitly that America is not alone in covert actions. America, however, has special problem: It is losing control of information via an invention of its very own.

Killing-Hope is a very readable book, and is a must if one wants to understand America's true place in the world after WWII. Thanks to Adolph Hitler and Joe Stalin, America learned that the world is full of evil people who get away with evilness through propaganda and disinformation. And perhaps worse, the American public is adept, even eager to dehumanize any and all who do not believe as they do. Hermann Goering, during his Nuremberg trial period, explained how easy it is sway the masses. And Migram added the feature that that ease is a general trait of all humanity, not just the German people as his mentor Adorno, had it.

    Goering's Quote: "...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." -- Hermann Goering, Nazi Commander, Luftwaffe.

The technique was hardly a German invention; but the Nazis were perhaps the first to develop propaganda into a fine art to be used to control their own people. Today we, and others, use the same basic technique in many different guises. Disinformation, planted news releases, incomplete or false testimony, indoctrination (aka brain washing), and front organizations that do not do what their charters demand, are now nerely tools of the trade. And our society fosters this mind set, right out in the open; for example: "Onward Christian Soldiers," the "Star Spangled Banner," and movies that glorify the otherwise notorious criminal and the violence it entails. From earliest times it has been "Manifest Destiny," "Remember the Maine," "54-40 or fight", "America First" and the like. The litany of "American Interest" has become so pervasive that our allies have picked up on it in supporting our propaganda.

Retreading history seems to be a primary goal of the powerful and we, the dutiful sheep, go along. Counter-examples do exist--witness De Klerk and Mandela. They had their society in mind when, poles apart in philosophy, they reached an accord that stuck beyond the dreams of either. It can happen. It nearly did in Palestine, and would have except that a Jewish extremist murdered Rabin to reverse The Process.

The most troubling aspect is that American foreign policy as practiced by the CIA has become bigger than life--a life of its own. Things are to the point where the CIA is almost a country within a country, and largely covert, out of sight. But information has a habit of leaking out, only if by little bits. The Freedom of Information Act contributed significant confirmation to put "frosting on the cake" for Blum's book. Earlier conjectures more often than not proved to be true--too true. He does a good job selecting and rendering them historically.

What Blum found is that American foreign policy was/is firmly anchored as a fight against "International Communism--led by Moscow," and/or to serve "American Interests," economically. Never mind that Communists each have/had their own minds, that the "International" part of it never really existed. The CIA needed a foil to ensure tax payer support. A second theme was American economic interests, which suffered blows from the understandable desire of countries to at least retain a portion of their mineral wealth. Too often, nationalism was taken to be Communism. President Johnson invoked the idea that any who opposed us were therefore against us, whether or not they opposed Moscow as well. This policy often led the US to support toadies who were usually little Hitlers who allowed American corporations to reap untold profits, which they often shared, from those exploited. In many, if not most cases, the CIA also infiltrated these governments to high levels, with the more cooperative people on the CIA payroll--under the table of course. Supporting successful coups became a CIA trademark. Protecting democracy was always the excuse--the highest kind of irony. Viewed from afar, it is obvious that the US government was merely projecting its own motives on others. We justify classing this view of American Foreign policy as a Defense Mechanism because most of those in the US Government are either unaware or actively submerging the unseemly below the conscious level. On the conscious level, each day's work in the CIA was all about meddling in other nations' politics and global propaganda. We confess to swallowing the propaganda for some decades early on. It went forward effectively regardless of the political party in power. 911 changed all that. This web site provides a record of our research in consequence. Very little is new. How it all fits so neatly together is.

Supporting examples follow from Blum's book, with its heavy 57 pages of documentation (over 2000 references), largely from government files accessible by the public under the Freedom of Information Act and retirees from government service (State Department and the CIA importantly}. It is much too authoritative to dismiss as just another rag. The messages are just too numerous, to consistent, and too important to ignore. And what they mean is too important to ignore--which, if we do, would entail considerable risk. One end result of that could be a financial melt down worldwide, which some pundits are now predicting as inevitable. Our government has just gone beyond the ability of any progressive president to reverse. Unfortunately, both political parties played their parts in bringing this situation about.

THE BOGEY-MEN: Chiang and Mao.

A bogey-man pattern (propaganda that dehumanizes another or others), to be repeated again and again, began during Truman times. The US backed the wrong horse in China. This was not a blind action: Communism had become the new bogey; it replaced Nazism. Is a knee-jerk anti-Communism developing now as a national hang-up? It would seem so. We quote from p 21:

    "President Truman was up front about what he described as 'using the Japanese to hold off the Communists'":

      "It was perfectly clear to us that if we told the Japanese to lay down their arms immediately and march to the seaboard, the entire country [China] would be taken over by the Communists. We therefore had to take the unusual step of using the enemy as a garrison until we could airlift Chinese National (Chiang's) troops to South China and send Marines to guard seaports."

Blum cited Winston Churchill's History of WWII, vol IV, p428 for the above. WWII was hardly over before a new bogey man was presented to the American public. One can admire both Truman and Churchill for many proud accomplishments, but they and others (e.g. Joe McCathy) were still very effective in continuing war on a new framework. This likely came about because they were parties to an idea held among the power elite that" 'the conviction that World War II was the wrong war against the wrong enemy. 'Communism, they knew, was the only genuine adversary on America's historical agenda." The power elite had hoped that Hitler would turn east and solve the problem. It was not to be--they did not fathom the depth of Hitler's psychopathology (or megalomania as Blum put it).

In any event, the Communists, the new adversaries, were dehumanized for decades. The movement was made more fearsome by being made out to be international in character. As it happened, of course, pure Communism failed from its own internal contradictions in managing the economic aspect of modern economic competition and by having no checks and balances on the power of the individual. Today, even Cuba is following the leads of Russia, China, and Vietnam in moving toward market-based economies in a more-relaxed atmosphere.

There is much more to the China story, but one more feature deserves mention. After WWII, Americans were held in such esteem that even after their villages were bombed Chinese citizens not only saved the lives of American airmen shot down, but treated any wounds and returned survivors to the American side. Amazingly, none went missing according to those counting noses. There is a deep history lesson here, but Truman and Churchill, as well as historians, failed to heed or even read it. The US Government continued to squander its immense good will while being blind to the more-serious and ever-greater threat of atomic-weapon proliferation. The latter was inevitable--unless immediate world-wide preventive policies and enforcement were implemented. We missed the best opportunity we will ever have to ensure the very survival of humanity. That window soon closed.


After the Bogey-Man, Projecting Attitudes is perhaps the next important hang-up in American (and other nations too) practice of diplomacy. Projection, by definition means that each of us can only experience the world through our own eyes. As with all other societies, we are too limited by our own history as a nation, to understand how, for example, peasants view their world. It is simply not possible to predict how they will behave in a given situation unless we ourselves have lived their experiences. This feature infects both Democrat and Republican alike. Just as Truman missed the boat in China and in his handling of weapons of mass destruction, so Kennedy and his CIA (now fully formed and functioning almost as a state within a state) missed the boat in Cuba. From Blum, p 186, citing a report about the post-invasion inquiry ordered by president Kennedy, we provide a quote from that inquiry:

    "It was never intended, the planners testified, that the invasion itself would topple Castro. The hope was that an initial success would spur an uprising by thousands of anti-Castro Cubans. Ships in the invasion fleet carried 15,000 weapons to be distributed to the expected volunteers."

As Blum explained:

    "As it was, the leadership and ranks of the exile forces were riddled with former supporters and henchmen of Hulgencio Batista, the dictator overthrown by Castro, and would not have been welcomed back by the Cuban people under any circumstances."

In retrospect, wishful thinking. (Projection) was at the root of this vast mistake. It is part of the American foreign policy pattern. Since projection has its good, even necessary features, and is moreover unconscious, the movers and shakers that do not guard against it are doomed to repeating The Bay of Pigs and worse. This is not an uniquely American problem. All peoples, all societies, suffer from the blindness of inexperience or simple lack of knowledge. Until we know ourselves as individuals, as societies, and as a species, violence will be with us. It is a dramatic case where the blind mislead the blind.


Following the examples set by Monroe and Truman, Eisenhower prepared a resolution that Congress approved. It became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine. Its key provision was that the United States "is prepared to assist" any Middle Est country "requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism." The same resolution declared that: "the United States regards as vital to the national interest and world peace the preservation of the independence and integrity of the nations of the Middle East." In other words the US would feel free to meddle in Middle Eastern affairs--all that was needed was a suitable pretext. The Doctrine said nothing about dangers to peace from other quarters.

Wilbur Crane Eveland read the draft before it went to Congress. It "stated the 'many, if not all,' of the Middle East states 'are aware of the danger of the danger that stems from international communism.'" Later in his book, The Ropes of Sand, he wrote of his impressions:

    "I was shocked. Who, I wondered, had reached this determination of what the Arabs considered a danger? Israel's army had just invaded Egypt and still occupied all of the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. And, had it not been for Russian preparations to intervene [more on that below] on behalf of of all Egyptians, the British, French, and Israelis forces might now be sitting in Cairo, celebrating Nasser's ignominious fall from power."

Kennett Love, in his book "Suez: The Twice-fought war" provided some clarification. "...that the CIA had manufactured several reports of Russian military activity which were without basis in fact, to induce France and Great Britain to call a cease fire." So effective and secretive was the CIA at creating and disseminating disinformation, that its own operatives were sometimes left in the dark. Did Eisenhower specifically approve of such shenanigans? We may never know, but elsewhere on this site we laud him for cooling the British and French toward this issue.

The CIA is not all bad to be sure. But it flows with a momentum that has too little oversight from the long view. It can and has taken low-level decisions that affected history adversely from the view of world peace and harmony. Instead of corralling the resources of others, we should be helping them realize the good life for their peoples.

We stand to profit more in the long run by such a foreign policy.

What stands in our way?
Could it be denial that anything is wrong out there?
Could it be that we dare not look in the mirror?

Nevertheless, these three examples of behavior, along with a host of others, have become modus operandi (standard procedure) at the CIA. Blum's book actually comes close to over-kill--except for its being the most complete history of this feature known to us. Histories are never complete enough. But Blum comes close.

Three anecdotes are hardly enough. There is not room for us to comment on all 56 chapters, but we do provide a list of interventions where the public record shows extensive meddling on the part of America, not just with enemies and neutrals, but with friends too. These follow:

1 China 1945-1960
2 Italy 1947-1948
3 Greece 1947 early 1950s
4 The Philippines 1940s early 1950s
5 Korea 1945-1953
6 Albania 1949 1953
7 Eastern Europe 1948 1956
8 Germany 1950s
9 Iran 1953
10 Guatemala 1952 1954
11 Costa Rica 1950s
12 Syria 1956 1957
13 The Middle East 1957 1958
14 Indonesia 1957 1958
15 Western Europe 1950s & 1960s
16 British Guiana 1953 1964
17 Soviet Union 1940s 1960s
18 Italy 1950s 1970s
19 Vietnam 1950 1973
20 Cambodia 1955 1973
21 Laos 1957 1973
22 Haiti 1959 1963
23 Guatemala 1960
24 France / Algeria 1960s
25 Ecuador 1960 - 1961
26 The Congo 1960 1964
27 Brazil 1961 1964
28 Peru 1960 1963
29 Dominican Republic 1960 1966
30 Cuba 1950 1980s
31 Indonesia 1965; East Timor 1975
32 Ghana 1966
33 Uruguay 1964 1970
34 Chile 1964 1975
35 Greece 1964 1974
36 Bolivia 1964 1975
37 Guatemala 1962 1980s
38 Costa Rica 1970 1971
39 Iraq 1972 1975
40 Australia 1973 1975
41 Angola 1975 1980s
42 Zaire 1975 1978
43 Jamaica 1975 1978
44 Seychelles 1979 1981
45 Grenada 1979 1984
46 Morocco 1983
47 Suriname 1982 1989
48 Libya 1981 1989
49 Nicaragua 1978 1990
50 Panama 1969 1991
51 Bulgaria 1990 / Albania 1991
52 Iraq 1990 1991
53 Afghanistan 1979 1992
54 El Salvador 1980 1994
55 Haiti 1986 1994

There are those who empjatically disbelieve Blum's reporting. Our response? Please find actual historical data in counterpoint. It will be easy to find evidence in the media. In those cases, don't be surprised if you find that most were plants by the CIA. Then dialogue can begin.

Questions that would then arise is Why? For what purpose? Blum offers economics in a market economy as number one.

In the process of empire building, America pays little heed to democratization. More often than not we backed only those who toed the American line. Nationalism was uniformly branded: International Communism." In fact in many cases, our sanctions alone drove those on the receiving end to seek aid from the Communist world--which of course merely loaded the guns with evidence for International Communism. Like political and religious movements, communists splinter and squabble among themselves. They even go to war, just as we do to further national aspirations. Communism is hardly monolithic.

As an economic system communism has failed. As a political system, it is still evolving. To what we cannot know. But dialogue on that point should begin. One thing we can predict with confidence is that as long as there are charismatic psycho-sociopaths out there to lead the AP masses (Authoritarian Personalities), peace will not be served.


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