by Lisa Haar
MIT's ex-Provost and Professor John Deutch was recently appointed as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Shouldn't we be proud that a member of the MIT community has reached such a high position in government? Before declaring it a victory for MIT we should look a little closer at John Deutch and the CIA. Morale within the CIA has been low lately, particularly since last year's revelation that CIA official Aldrich Ames had been a double agent for years. Professor Deutch has been hired to put this scandal-ridden agency back in order. He said that he "had never seen people so disheartened," but that "there are a lot of very good people there" with whom to rebuild morale. The ex-Provost also declared that he was determined to restore the CIA's credibility with the public, and claimed that "the performance of the agency will speak for itself." The mainstream media has always led the American public to believe that the CIA's mission is intelligence gathering to inform US foreign policy. For example, the media coverage of Deutch's appointment focused on the political plays behind it, on the problems that caused the previous nominee to withdraw, and on the management changes needed inside the CIA. But no word was given to the CIA's violent history. For example: ¥A couple of months ago Rep. Robert Torricelli revealed that Guatemalan Colonel Julio Alberto Alp’rez had been on the CIA payroll for years. Alp’rez was implicated in several cases of torture and murder, including that of American citizen Michael Devine. More importantly, the CIA supported and participated with the Guatemalan military in murdering more than 110,000 people. This fact was conveniently omitted from most coverage by the mainstream press. ¥We also recently learned that the CIA had paid for electoral campaigns for Japan's Liberal Democratic Party in the 1950s to prevent popular politicians from coming into power. ¥A year ago it was revealed that in 1980 CIA officers attended the meeting of the Salvadoran government in which they decided to kill Oscar Romero, the Archbishop of San Salvador. Romero denounced the human rights abuses of the extreme right-wing US-supported Salvadoran government, which murdered 63,000 people between 1979 and 1992, according to the Truth Commission of the United Nations. Incidents like these are not normally big news, usually relegated to a couple of paragraphs buried inside the newspaper. Big scandals, like Iran-Contra, occur when internal rules are violated. The fact that the US was supplying Iran and the Nicaraguan Contras with weapons was not a big deal in the reports; the media focused instead on how the decisions to do so had been taken illegally. The CIA is just an agency of the Federal Government. One of its main responsibilities is to do the things that the Government wants to do abroad but does not want people to know about: political assassinations, help to coups d'Žtat, economic warfare, rigged elections, mercenary wars, organizing death squads-as it has done in Greece, Zaire, Indonesia, Iran, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Brazil, Panama and Haiti, to mention just the most prominent and better documented of its crimes. Three of the CIA's "greatest hits"-Iran, Chile and Panama-appear in the center spread. These types of actions have not ended with the Cold War, and show no sign of ending. When the CIA's efforts are not enough to achieve the US Government objectives, then the military is used, as in Panama, Grenada or Vietnam. But covert operations lend a freer hand, and they are preferred most of the time. The complicity of the media with the US government prevents most reports of the CIA's crimes from returning to the US. Most of the time you need to read the foreign and US alternative press to find out about that. "Covert operations" are only covert to the US public. As the CIA's new Director, Professor John Deutch testified that he would change the Agency so it "will not take part in immoral or illegal intelligence activities." Is he to be Professor Deutch is not a newcomer to the Defense-Intelligence Establishment who is unaware of what the CIA does. He has been an insider since the 1960's (see "who is John Deutch?"). He has been a long time advocate of nuclear weapons build-up, and of the "beneficial" effects of combining chemical and biological weapons. A sign of the changes that Professor Deutch plans to make was given in his discussion of the recent revelations about the CIA involvement in the Guatemalan massacres. Deutch complained that the media unfairly attacked the CIA division in charge of operations in Guatemala. He had no words, however, for the more than 110,000 Guatemalans murdered with the CIA's help. Deutch also declared recently that "terrorism has not received the attention it should." A reasonable person could agree with that-the problem is that Deutch is not including the CIA in his indictment of terrorism, even though they have been responsible for much of it. Incredibly, the MIT administration has said nothing about the fact that one of its professors is now heading the CIA. What is the nature of MIT? Is it a "neutral" educational institution, or is it just another piece of the Pentagon-CIA-Weapons Manufacturers establishment, that has had-and continues to have-a negative impact on most of the world? And if that is the case, shouldn't we fight to remove MIT from that role? Shouldn't we utilize its incredible intellectual potential to solve the problems of human and social well-being? Anyone for whom democracy is more than just a word should learn more about the CIA, and help abolish it. The following are two great resources, and contain many references of more detailed accounts and related declassified documents: 1) The CIA's Greatest Hits, by Mark Zepezauer, 1994. Odonian Press, Tucson, AZ. This thin (90 pages) and inexpensive ($6) book explains 42 CIA interventions, and includes many references. You can order it by calling 1-800-REAL-STORY. 2) Killing Hope: US. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, by William Blum, 1995. Common Courage Press, Monroe, ME. In what Noam Chomsky calls "far and away the best book on the subject," Blum deals with 55 such interventions, from China in 1945 to Haiti in 1994. You can order this book (500 Pages, $18) by calling 1-800-497-3207, or you can check out the 1986 edition from the MIT libraries (JK468.I6.B58 in Dewey Library).