On May 6th, it was reported that CIA director Porter Goss was forced to resign. On the following Monday, Bush gave Air Force General Michael Hayden the formal nomination for the post of CIA boss. In the Senate, on Friday May 26th (Friday of course being the day of choice to push through controversial decisions), in a 78-to-15 vote, Gen. Hayden was confirmed to head up the CIA. The fact that Hayden was part of the largest domestic spying operations in history did not seem much of an issue, as the US Senate found it more important to “restore morale and confidence” in the CIA than to concern itself with such things as democratic freedoms and civil liberties.
General Hayden has been serving as deputy to John Negroponte, who as we have reported before (see: John Negroponte, William Brownfield and Death Squads Inc.  published in SA#17), was a key player in the State Department’s murderous and reactionary role during the revolutionary wave of the 1970s and 1980s. From Vietnam to Nicaragua, acting under the direction of various US agencies, including the CIA, Negroponte was involved in everything from executing civilians to setting up secret detention and torture centers, something still being employed by the US in Guantanamo Bay and in parts of Europe, as has been recently revealed.
Bush and co. are clearly grooming their pack despite low numbers in polls. Hayden, Negroponte, Bolton, Alito, Brownfield, etc. are all being installed like so many new armor plates, canons, and realigned sights. The US capitalist state is being tuned up before being thrust into battle again – both at home and abroad. In response to the developing upswing of the class struggle, this war machine is being tooled to confront the working class, oppressed, and poor of the world.
CIA, what role?
A brief look at the history of the CIA and the role it has played historically helps shed some light on what is actually going on. Since its birth, the CIA has been used to put down mass revolutionary movements: that is, the mobilization of the masses to change this system of exploitation. The CIA has carried out numerous coups against the majority of society. Starting with Greece in 1947 and throughout the 1950s, the CIA carried out several military coups. In 1957, the CIA began a series of coups in Laos that stretched until 1973, which was topped off by dropping more bombs than all the bombs dropped in WW2 on a mainly rural and peasant based nation.
In Latin America, the economic and political conditions imposed by US imperialism – the looting of raw materials, petrocarbons, land, waterways, and the extreme subjugation and brutalizing of the labor market – gave rise to mass movements to end this oppression. The CIA played a fundamental role in the putting down of these movements.
In 1961, the CIA organized an armed attack on Cuba, in the notorious Bay of Pigs invasion. What sparked the attack on Cuba was the imperialists’ fear of the Cuban Revolution spreading. Then in 1973, the CIA was behind the coup in Chile, in which the democratically-elected president Allende was deposed and a reactionary, military dictatorship was set up, under which tens of thousands of trade unionists, socialists, and leftists of all shadings were put down in blood. The Chilean working class had not yet come to power; capitalism was reaching an impasse, but unlike in Cuba, hadn’t yet broken the power of the capitalists. The CIA acted in Chile to stave off a revolutionary movement, to abort it before birth. This is the same factor that led to the 2002 attempted coup in Venezuela: the capitalists moving to stop the growing revolutionary movement of the workers. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the CIA’s anti-working class activities around the world.
Again, as we have published before (see: War, Occupation, Torture, Apologies  published in SA#19), the CIA, since its inception in 1943 up through the 1980s, is believed to have been responsible for the murder of some 6 million people around the globe.
The CIA is one of the weapons the imperialists wield against the world working class. The entire history of this organization is covered with the blood of workers and oppressed people. It is not a case of one or two “mistakes,” but rather the explicit role of such an agency as the CIA: to defend the interests of US imperialism and save the capitalist system wherever it starts to break. The recent re-tooling is being carried out precisely for this purpose: to meet the rising wave of class struggle and to smash it. That is, to snuff out those who refuse to live in servility to Wall St. and the Pentagon.
NSA domestic spying, civil liberties
On May 12, USA Today reported that the secret NSA wire taps, or “information gathering” which Hayden directed, was not limited to “suspected” individuals, but rather were as broad-reaching as to potentially encompass every person in the US. AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, the providers of the vast bulk of telecommunication services in the country, secretly allowed the NSA to collect information on more than 200 million customers. One hand certainly scratches the other when it comes to the relationship between big business and the government! This sort of spying can only be stopped once all the modes of mass communication are owned and controlled democratically by the working class!
Despite the “flare up” in Congress over this incredible information, it appears that members of both big business parties, the Democrats and Republicans, had prior knowledge of the massive spying campaign. According to deputy press secretary Dana Perino, "all appropriate members of Congress have been briefed on the intelligence efforts of the United States." When asked during Senate confirmation hearings by Senator Feinstein why the NSA did not seek the approval of a FISA court which was set up to approve such measures (created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978), Hayden replied, “the standard of reasonableness” is the norm at the NSA. Clearly Hayden sees the fourth amendment only as a “suggestion” and perhaps the rest of the Bill of Rights merely as “advice” not worth paying much attention to.
One must be aware that the NSA was formed during the Korean War, during the manufactured “red scare”, which served as both a political tool to shift US politics even further to the right and to derail the trade union movement. At that time, the NSA and its very existence was denied. In 1978, it was revealed that the NSA was “intercepting, without warrants, international communications for more than 20 years at the behest of the CIA and other agencies.”
In general, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Federal government has taken measures to curtail civil liberties in a broad and sweeping manner. The clearest example is the PATRIOT Act, a measure that got bi-partisan support and deepened the powers of the Federal government against individuals’ civil rights. These new laws were also coupled with the setting up of the Department of Homeland Security, which, far from fighting terrorism, is clearly aimed at further attacking domestic political and social movements. Under the guise of preventing terrorism on US soil, there has been the transfer of billions of dollars of Federal money to state and local police departments to purchase new surveillance equipment, as well as to buy things like riot gear and so-called “non-lethal weapons”. These things are primarily used in “crowd control”, i.e. demonstrations and protests.
Already, one of the most oppressed layers of the US working class has been targeted. Days before the mass May 1st immigration rights rallies being held all over the country, some 1,200 undocumented workers from 26 different states were rounded up and detained. This was clearly aimed at frightening other immigrants from participating in the struggle for their rights and harkens back to the days of the Palmer Raids of 1918-21, during which immigrants were rounded up and made the political scapegoats for the capitalist system. It is no coincidence either that the Department of Immigration is now overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.
In the context of a growing crisis of the system, the working class will begin to move to protect whatever gains are left from the past and to recapture lost ground. The capitalist system is preemptively preparing for battle. It is in effect sharpening its weapons, and refocusing its sights. This is the whole, of which Hayden is part.
Terrorism and Imperialism
Although the US government has made unending statements about its commitment to “fighting terror”, in reality the policies carried out in the last few decades show this to be far from the truth. Not only has it pursued a policy of state terrorism in relation to countries that refuse to bow to its demands, but it has encouraged and supported countless acts of individual terrorism as well. Dozens of terrorist attacks in the Western Hemisphere have actually been either directly carried out by US agencies or have received their support, both in terms of planning, training, and material aid. These attacks have been carried out over the course of decades, many of which have targeted the blockaded nation of Cuba.
Ever since the oppressed masses of Cuba kicked out the US corporations, US imperialism has attempted to throw them back into the shackles of capitalism. On March 17, 1960, Eisenhower established a covert action program against Cuba. Soon thereafter, the links between the CIA and pro-capitalist elements of the Cuban-American population were strengthened. Several key players responsible for the terrorist attacks on Cuba have direct connections with the CIA and other US governmental bodies. One noted CIA operative, Orlando Bosch, along with Luis Posada Carriles, hired two mercenaries on October 6, 1976 to plant explosives on a Cubana Airlines plane. This resulted in the deaths of all 73 passengers.
In 1990, Orlando Bosch received a presidential pardon from George H.W. Bush and was released from a US prison. He remains free in the US despite continuous extradition requests from the Cuban government, which seeks to put him on trial for his role in an attack that killed civilians, many of whom were minors. Luis Posada Carriles, who up until quite recently was living freely in the US, only found himself in “custody” after the government of Venezuela stepped up its requests for his extradition for trial. These requests have been refused on the spurious grounds that he fears being tortured if he was sent back to Venezuela for trial.
Another major figure in US-funded terrorism is Jorge Mas Canosa, who has received some $200 million from the US Federal government in order to carry out actions aimed at overthrowing the Cuban government. In 1982, Canosa led the lobbying campaign for the bill that created the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED is the same body that funds “opposition” political groups in Venezuela and around the world – all in the interests of “democracy”. The true nature of the NED was explained by Alan Weinstein, one of its co-founders: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
In a statement made to the New York Times in 1997, which shows the close relationship between US government institutions and terrorism, Posada Carriles openly admitted that he organized a series of bombings that targeted hotels, restaurants, and clubs across Cuba. He went on to reveal that he received $200,000 to organize these attacks from Jorge Mas Canosa, the very man who has been given millions of dollars from the US government.
The extreme hostility towards those fighting against US-supported terrorism can be seen in the case of the imprisonment of the “Cuban Five”, a group of Cubans who in 1998 were arrested by the FBI and held in solitary confinement. These five men came to the US to help stop the terrorism that has been carried out against Cuba and has resulted in nearly 3,500 deaths. The arrests and convictions of these men is clearly political, aimed at silencing the fact that US imperialism is organically incapable of fighting terrorism because it creates it, and only 90 miles away from its coasts! (For more information see: The Cuban "Miami Five": Jailed in the US for fighting terrorism )
The Current “Changes”
The swap of Goss for Hayden is not simply a matter of job qualifications, although with certainty Hayden’s extensive career in the State Department certainly qualifies him to run the capitalist bulldog that is the CIA. Goss, in many ways, is acting as the fall guy for the Bush administration, a political tactic they are quite fond of. The so-called “intelligence failure” surrounding the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq can be blamed on him as he is given the boot, at a time when Bush’s approval ratings sink to new lows.
However, to view the change strictly as a face-saving move for GW is to miss the point, which is after all, the preparation of the various government agencies for a sharpening of the class war. Hayden is someone who has passed through many agencies vertically and horizontally. He has many connections and knows the ropes of each, so as to be able to maneuver these into position for attack when the need arises. Since the break up of the USSR, the CIA has been freed from the drudgery of “intelligence gathering” against a rival super-power. Hayden’s military past and his role as a chief domestic spy give us a hint of how the CIA will be used during the next period: more sword, less shield!
The restructuring of the CIA is being sold in the papers as orientating towards “fighting a war on terrorism”. This is hollow propaganda as the words “Bin Laden” have all but disappeared in Washington. Also, when reports surface that US Marines have butchered an entire neighborhood in Iraq, the whole notion of fighting terrorism falls flat to reveal the truth it hides: imperialism is thrashing for its life, putting the whole world into great peril. If we understand the role of the CIA as the protector of US imperialist interests at home and abroad, then the current changes in the administration of the agency clearly reflect this role. The change is really no change at all, simply a tune up of the weapon that is the CIA in the service of the capitalist mode of production. The CIA is the US agency that has protected and employed former Nazi officers – high-ranking Nazis, who were well informed and cannot claim to simply have been “following orders”. This is the nature of this organization: to ruthlessly kill for its master, however, whenever, whomever!
The US ruling class, and its representative parties, the Democrats and Republicans, do not actually permit genuine democracy, rather, they fear it. The real decisions are made far from the ballot booth by those who truly call the shots: the capitalists, stockowners, boards of directors, CEOs, and bankers. When “the people” get out of hand, that is, struggling for lives worth living, then these masters call in their hired thugs. The badges and acronyms of whatever agency they are from may differ, however the task is the same: protect the masters and keep the slaves in their place.
Let the public know: declassify the files of the FBI, CIA, NSA!
Abolish all un-elected and unaccountable government agencies!
No to attacks on civil liberties!