To give our readers a flavor of some of the CIA's activities, the following short articles have been reprinted from the CIA's Greatest Hits by Mark Zepezauer. CIA + Chile In 1973, the CIA destroyed the oldest functioning democracy in South America. Twenty years later, the Agency is still trying to deny its involvement. The CIA successfully intervened in Chile's 1958 and 1964 elections. In 1970, its fears were realized-the socialist candidate, a physician named Salvador Allende, was elected president. Horrified, President Nixon ordered the CIA to prevent Allende's inauguration. The Agency did its best to promote a military coup, but the Chilean military's long history of respect for the democratic process made this virtually impossible. One of the main impediments was the Chilean army's chief of staff, General Rene Schneider, so that the CIA plotted with fanatics in the military to assassinate him. The killing backfired, solidifying support for Allende, who took office as scheduled. That approach having failed, the CIA was ordered to create a "coup climate"-"Make the economy scream," President Nixon told CIA director Helms. CIA-backed acts of sabotage and terror multiplied. The agency trained members of the fascist organization Patria y Libertad (PyL) in guerrilla warfare and bombing, and they were soon waging a campaign of arson. The CIA also sponsored demonstrations and strikes, funded by ITT and other US corporations with Chilean holdings. CIA-linked media, including the country's largest newspaper, fanned the flames of crisis. The military patriotism was gradually eroded by endless stories about Marxist "atrocities", like castration and cannibalism, and rumors that the military would be purged or "destroyed" and Soviet bases set up. When the coup finally came, in September 1973, it was led by the most extreme fascist members of the military, and it was unrelenting in its ferocity. Allende was assassinated, although some CIA apologists maintain he committed suicide-by shooting himself with a machine gun! Several cabinet ministers were also assassinated, the universities were put under military control, opposition parties were banned and thousands of Chileans were tortured and killed, many fingered as "radicals" by lists provided by the CIA. Under the military junta headed by General Pinochet, torture of dissidents became routine, particularly at a gruesome prison called Colonia Dignidad. It drew expatriate Nazis from all over South America, one of whom told a victim that the work of the Nazi death camps was being continued there. No wonder the CIA tries to deny its involvement with the Chilean coup. It turned a democratic, peace-loving nation into a slaughterhouse. References Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973, a Staff report of The Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (US Senate), 18 December 1975. William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, s1995). CIA + Panama For most of his life, Manuel Noriega got along very well with the CIA. As far back as 1959, he was reporting on Panamanian leftists to the Americans. By 1966, he was on the CIA payroll. Despite-or maybe because of-Noriega's "perverse" treatment of prisoners, he was deemed worthy to be trained at the notorious School of the Americas (also known as the "School of Dictators" or the "School of Assassins"), run by the US Army in Panama City; it has since moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. As early as 1972, reports of Noriega drug trafficking irked the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), and the State Department complained of his dealings with other intelligence services, notably those of Israel and Cuba. Don't worry, said the CIA-he's our boy. In 1976, Noriega paid a visit to CIA Director George Bush in Washington. Bush's successor was less comfortable with Noriega and took him off the CIA payroll, but when Bush became Vice President in 1980, Noriega went back on, with a six-figure annual salary. In 1981, Panama's popular head of state, Omar Torrijos, was killed in a plane crash; by 1983 Noriega had consolidated his control. In 1987, a close Noriega aide corroborated what many suspected-Noriega had sabotaged Torrijos' plane. (The CIA had also been linked to the assassination, in 1955, of Panama's president, allegedly with the approval of then vice-president Nixon). Nothing Noriega did seemed to upset the CIA. If he smuggled cocaine on Contra supply planes...well, he wasn't the only one. If he beheaded a political opponent who accused him of drug running...well, he was just being firm. If he used violence and fraud to steal the 1984 Panamanian elections...well, we couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome. By 1989, however, the love affair was over. Noriega had angered his handlers by waffling on his opposition to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and he was showing other disquieting signs of disobedience. In December 1989, US troops invaded Panama to "arrest" Noriega, slaughtering 2,000-4,000 innocent civilians in the process. What changed after the invasion? Violence, fraud and drug trafficking continued unabated. But, unlike Noriega, Panama's new rulers knew how to follow orders, and agreed to reconsider the Torrijos treaties, under which all US military bases in Panama would be shut down by the year 2000. References Independent Commission of Inquiry on the US Invasion of Panama, The US Invasion of Panama: The Truth behind Operation 'Just Cause,' South End Press, 1991. CIA + Iran The history of the CIA in Iran shows that it isn't the failures of the agency we need to worry about, numerous as they are. Its successes-Iran is one of the biggest-are far more dangerous. The CIA did exactly what was asked of it in Iran, deposing a mildly nationalist regime that was a minor irritant to US policy makers. As a direct result, a fiercely nationalist regime came to power 26 years later, and it has proved to be a major irritant to the US Government ever since. In 1951, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, "the most popular politician in the country," was elected prime minister of Iran. His major election plank was the nationalization of the only oil company operating in Iran at that time-British Petroleum. The nationalization bill was passed unanimously by the Iranian parliament. Though Mossadegh offered BP considerable compensation, his days were numbered from that point on. The British coordinated an international economic embargo of Iran, throwing its economy into chaos. And the CIA, at the request of the British, began spending millions of dollars on ways to get rid of Mossadegh. The CIA's plans hinged on the young Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, a timid and inexperienced figurehead. (He was a mere shadow of his father, who had led a pro-Nazi regime during World War II.) In 1953, with CIA backing, the Shah ordered Mossadegh out of office and appointed a Nazi collaborator as his successor. Demonstrators filled the streets in Support of Mossadegh, and the Shah fled to Rome. Undaunted, the CIA paid for pro-Shah street demonstrators, who seized a radio station and announced that the Shah was on his way back and that Mossadegh had been deposed. In reality, it took a nine hour tank battle in the streets of Tehran, killing hundreds, to remove Mossadegh. Compared to the bloodshed to follow, however, that was just a drop in the bucket. In 1976, Amnesty International concluded that the Shah's CIA trained security force, SAVAK, had the worst human rights records in the planet, and that the number and variety of techniques the CIA had taught SAVAK were "beyond belief." Inevitably, in 1979, the Iranian people overthrew the bloodstained Shah, with great bitterness and hatred toward the US for installing him and backing him all those years. The radical fundamentalist regime that rules Iran today could never have found popular support without the CIA's 1953 coup and the repression that followed. References Kermit Roosevelt, Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran (New York, 1979). Bahman Nirumand, Iran: The New Imperialism in Action (New York, 1969). William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe: Maine, Common Courage Press, 1995).