Op-Ed on “The CIA’s Release of Documents”
Washington, DC—The following Op-Ed appeared in the National Herald, 7-7-07, p. 9 and the Greek News, 7-9-07, p. 40.
The CIA’s Release of Documents
July 3, 2007
By Gene Rossides
The CIA’s release on Tuesday June 26, 2007 of documents from the 1960’s through 1973 are revealing as to the temper of the times during the Cold War and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. The CIA refers to the documents as the “family jewels.” They number 702 pages.
The documents deal with the CIA’s illegal domestic wiretapping operations, failed assassination plots, mind-control experiments and spying on journalists.
Unfortunately the documents are heavily censored, and overseas operations that had been reported upon by journalists, congressional committees investigators and a presidential commission, are not basically discussed in these documents.
Nevertheless the release of these censored documents is important for what they do reveal and for the articles and stories that have followed their publication and which will continue.
Kissinger linked to 1970’s coups
One such story titled “New documents link Kissinger to two 1970’s coups” was written by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane on June 26, 2007, the day the documents were released. That story charges that former “Secretary of State Henry Kissinger pushed for the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus and allowed arms to be moved to Ankara for an attack on that island in reaction to a coup sponsored by the Greek junta, according to documents and intelligence officers with close knowledge of the event.” The other coup was against Chilean President Salvatore Allende.
James R. Schlesinger was appointed Director of Intelligence, i.e. head of the CIA, on February 2, 1973 by President Nixon. The New York Times (June 27, 2007) reported that Schlesinger “had been appalled to learn that operatives had carried out domestic break-ins on behalf of the Nixon While House and ordered an investigation into past operations ‘outside the CIA’s charter.’”
On May 9, 1973 Schlesinger wrote to all CIA senior operating officials: “I have ordered all senior operating officials of this agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or that have gone on in the past, which might be construed to be outside the legislative charter of this agency. I hereby direct every person presently employed by CIA to report to me on any such activities of which he has knowledge. I invite all ex-employees to do the same.” This order created the “family jewels.”
Throughout this article Kissinger is pictured as energetically trying to stop publication by the CIA of these documents. In August 1974, Seymour Hersh, investigative reporter, had learned of accounts of illegal domestic and foreign activities by the CIA and started a serious investigation. On December 20, 1974 he received confirmation of his research from then CIA Director William Colby.
On December 22, 1974 Hersh went public with the story in a New York Times front page article titled “Huge CIA Operation Reported in U.S. Against Antiwar Forces, Other Dissidents in Nixon Years.” The Alexandrovna/Kane article states:
“An extensive investigation by the New York Times has established that intelligence files on at least 10,000 American citizens were maintained by a special unit of the C.I.A. that was reporting directly to Richard Helms, then the Director of Central Intelligence and now the Ambassador to Iran. Then-CIA director William Colby's initial impulse was to reveal everything in order to give the CIA a clean slate, but President Ford and Kissinger disagreed. By January 3, 1975 when Colby was summoned to the White House for a briefing, they [Ford and Kissinger] had decided to keep the lid on by forming a blue ribbon commission under Vice President Nelson Rockefeller.
“The ‘memorandum of conversation document released by the National Security Archive, dated January 4, 1975, transcribes portions of a follow-up meeting between Ford and Kissinger the next day. Kissinger complains to President Ford about Colby's urge to come clean, saying, ‘You will end up with a CIA that does only reporting, and not operations... He has turned over to the FBI the whole of his operation.’
“Former CIA Director Helms ‘said all these stories are just the tip of the iceberg,’ Kissinger continues, adding ‘If they come out, blood will flow.’ After offering a few examples, Kissinger concludes by remarking mysteriously, ‘The Chilean thing—that is not in any report. That is sort of blackmail on me.’ The meaning of this remark is far from clear, suggesting as it does that the 702 pages of the Family Jewels were only ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and that among what was left out was a ‘Chilean thing’ that Kissinger perceived as having the potential for blackmail on himself.
“It has been known since the revelations of the 70's that prior to Chile's 1970 presidential elections, President Richard Nixon, Kissinger and Helms actively pursued ways to head off the victory of leftist Salvador Allende, including sponsoring an abortive military coup. ‘I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people,’ Kissinger famously said at the time. After Allende was democratically elected and became president, the US put economic pressure on Chile and encouraged further military plots—a two-pronged strategy similar to that currently being employed against Iran—while Kissinger a continued to press for stronger action.
“The CIA's Directorate of Operations was particularly active in Chile in 1972-73, the period leading up to Allende's violent overthrow in September 1973 in a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. Following the coup, Kissinger strongly supported the new authoritarian government.”
The article points out that Helms left the CIA in 1973 to become Ambassador to Iran. It then states that “in Prelude to Terror, historian Joseph Trento writes regarding a criminal investigation of Helms for perjury in connection with remarks about Chile and Allende, “Tom Braden remembered Helms saying ‘If I am going to be charged then I will reveal Kissinger’s role in these operations.’”
Kissinger and Cyprus
Regarding Kissinger and Cyprus, one does not need classified documents to indict Kissinger for his role in encouraging the coup against Makarios and the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey.
The public record is clear enough. Tom Boyatt, the Cyprus desk officer in 1974 has stated publicly that he sent memoranda in the first half of 1974 to his superiors warning of the Greek junta’s potential action against Makarios. His efforts were stymied by the front office until it was too late.
After the coup of July 15, 1974 Kissinger’s actions prove his complicity in the coup and invasion. First, he refused to denounce the coup while all others, Britain and most of the world’s democracies denounced the Greek junta’s coup. If Kissinger had denounced the coup, the Greek junta would have fallen and the crisis ended. But Kissinger wanted to oust Makarios!
Second, Kissinger directed the U.S. ambassador to the UN to postpone the Monday night July 15, 1974 emergency UN Security Council session on Cyprus, to Friday, July 19, 1974, which gave Turkey time to prepare to invade Cyprus.
Kissinger bears the prime responsibility for the 1974 tragedy of Cyprus including all the deaths, rapes, destruction and looting involved. The U.S. has a moral responsibility to redress the situation. The U.S. should also redress the situation because a unified Cyprus with a constitution based on majority rule, the rule of law and protection of minority rights, as called for by President George W. H. Bush in 1988, is in the strategic interests of the U.S.
Gene Rossides is President of the American Hellenic Institute and former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
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Op-Ed on “The CIA’s Release of Documents”