The network of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America is understood by former insiders, independent researchers, analysts and world leaders as one of the planet’s foremost terrorist organizations. (1)(2)(3)(4) CIA activities span a broad spectrum, including planning, directing, sponsoring and carrying out acts of terrorism, and most recently have been justified through the ironic rhetoric and ideology of a US-led “War on Terror.”
Terrorism is widely described as the use of violence or open intimidation against a civilian population to coerce for social or political ends. Terrorism is not an ideology or cultural pathology. Rather, it is tactic of politics and a broadly construed one at that.
This is an important point that cannot be understated. The question is not which side supports, employs or relies on “terrorism,” simply because nearly every relevant side does, has or will. Rather, the question becomes how do various sides practice it, in what scope, for what motivations and with what consequences.
It is not hyperbole to describe the CIA network, which includes the interests it serves and those through which it operates, as the world’s most wide-spread, sophisticated and well-funded terrorist network today. Particularly, the CIA promotes violence and other tactics internationally as part of efforts to sway opinion in ways that enshrine policies favorable to the commercial interests of the United States and its allies. The CIA could be described as a US-centered terrorist group in service to capital. (5) Using assassination, sabotage and inciting violence, what the CIA and Amerikan policy makers have described as “low intensity conflict,” the CIA network has been among the dominant active agents maintaining the vast majority of humanity in a state of disparity and conflict. (6) (7)
The terrorism of the CIA network is that to preserve the extant social relations which define contemporary global economy. The CIA has been a primary actor in maintaining the US as a hegemonic power into the first decade of the 21st century. The CIA network is vast and includes the United States government (which controls and funds the CIA) and many nominal third parties such as foreign officials and governments, dictators and military officials, prominent civil society members and organizations, trained ‘dissidents’ and armed militants.
Status-quo terrorism such as the CIA’s and its overall goals have been extensively researched, including by notable researcher and commentator, Edward S Herman:
“The really massive and significant growth of terrorism since World War II has been that carried out by states. And among states, the emergence and spread of the National Security State (NSS) has been the most important development contributing to state terrorism and thus to the growth of overall world terrorism, using the word in its basic sense- intimidation by violence or the threat of violence. Contrary to…foolish remark[s] about the ‘colossal’ armaments of retail terrorists, state military resources are vastly larger, and the power of even small states to intimidate is much greater than that of non-state terrorists. Only states use torture extensively as a means of intimidation, and if we use as our measure of the scale of terrorist violence either political murders or incarceration accompanied by torture, retail terrorism pales into relative insignificance. State terrorism is also much more important than non-state violence because it is rooted in relatively permanent structure that allows terror to become institutionalized. …Retail terrorists are frequently transitory, and they are often produced by the very abuses that state terror is designed to protect.
“If state terrorism is designed to protect systems of injustice, to allow them to persist and perhaps even to be extended in scope, this suggests a further aspects of wholesale terror that greatly enhances its potential for evil. …[T]he NSS is an instrument of class warfare, organized and designed to permit an elite, local and multinational, to operate without any constraint from democratic processes. This allows the bulk of the population to be treated as a mere cost of production.” (8)
It should be noted that Herman is describing specific forms of states that are prevalent in the Third World: those that utilize terror and are often directly tied into the CIA at some level. The US government and CIA often fund NSSs with military and other aid, as well as provide training for their militaries and police. As well, the CIA network even reaches into Amerikan universities and police departments. (9) (10) All of this is done to defend capitalist social relations and the US’ prominent and profitable niche within them.
1. Agee, Philip. “Terrorism and Civil Society as Instruments of US Policy in Cuba.” Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names. 8 Aug. 2003. Web. 18 Oct. 2011. <http://www.counterpunch.org/2003/08/08/terrorism-and-civil-society-as-instruments-of-us-policy-in-cuba/>.
Agee, Philip. Inside the Company: CIA diary. American ed. New York: Stonehill, 1975. Print.
Woodward, Bob. Veil: the secret wars of the CIA, 1981-1987. New York: Pocket Books, 1988. Print.
Stockwell, John. The Praetorian Guard, The US Role in the New World Order. Boston: South End Press. 1991. Print.
2. Blum, William. Rogue state: a guide to the world’s only superpower. Monroe: Common Courage Press, 2000. Print.
Chomsky, Noam. The Culture of Terrorism. South End Press. p. 269. 1998. Print
3. “Iran’s parliament votes to label CIA, U.S. Army ‘terrorist’ groups .” CNN. N.p., 27 Sept. 2007. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://articles.cnn.com/2007-09-29/world/iran.parliament_1_nuclear-program-nuclear-weapon-parliament?_s=PM:WORLD>.
4. Ziabari, Kourosh. “Isn’t US sponsor of terrorism?.” Press TV. N.p., 5 Nov. 2011. Web. 8 Nov. 2011. <http://presstv.com/detail/208533.html>.
5. This essay in great part draws from a Marxian critique of imperialism. Rather than go into a full explanation within the essay, I offer the following working definitions:
Capital: n: the physical (money, commodities, machines, land, mines, roads, buildings, all the products of past or ‘dead’ labor) or social embodiment (the classes which of have monopoly of control over such) of the means of production directed in such as way to produce surplus value or profit. For example, a given landowner may use start-up money to purchase tools and machines, hire workers and produce food, yet this relationship (the landowner towards those s/he’s hired) and its physical aspects (the land, money, machines, buildings, food produced) do not represent Capital unless such is directed (usually through trade on the market) in a way to acquire more land, machines, workers, etc and expand the dimensions of the relationship embodied in Capital itself.
Capitalism: n: A mode of production in which the means of production and distribution are increasingly concentrated into the hands of the few, Capitalists, leaving the vast majority of people no means of survival beyond selling their labor-power for wages. Typically under capitalism, workers received a wage to provide for their day to day subsistence, whereas to remainder of the value created through their work is expropriated by the Capitalist classes as surplus value, or profit, which is then utilized to expand this relationship. Modern capitalism has its origins in 17th century England, though features of it existed elsewhere at the same time, and expanded in great part through colonialism and imperialism. Because capitalism is necessarily expansive, it is as well inclined to taking on characteristics of imperialism. Today in practical day-to-day terms it is appropriate to speak of capitalism indelibly stamped with Western-led imperialism. However, Capitalism as a fundamental description of a mode of production, that which functions towards the end of producing surplus value or profit, has further reaching consequences as demonstrated by the history and failures of Socialism in the Soviet Union and People’s Republic of China among elsewhere.
Imperialism: n: the social system in which the bourgeoisie of one or a handful of nations oppresses and exploits the proletariat of various nations; the social system in which the bourgeoisie of social/territorial ‘centers’ of Capital draw profit through the exploitation of labor in the broader ‘periphery.’ The concept of imperialism implies that wealth in one portion of the world is due to apparent poverty in others.
6. In international usage the word ‘America’ or ‘American’ could imply a reference to the entirety or any part of the American continents. Hence, ‘Amerikan’ is used in as a distinguishing reference to those politically, culturally and socially part of the United States. ‘Amerikan’ is roughly translatable to the Spanish word, ‘norteamericano.’
7. “FM 100-20 Chapter 1 Fundamentals Of Low Intensity Conflict.” GlobalSecurity.org – . N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/100-20/10020ch1.htm>.
8. Herman, Edward S. The real terror network terrorism in fact and propaganda. 1 ed. Boston: South End Press, 1983. p. 83-84. Print.
9. Mills, Ami Chen. CIA Off Campus. 2 ed. Boston: South End Press, 1991. Print.
10. Sullivan, Justin, and Getty Images. “CIA investigates whether laws broken helping NYPD.” USATODAY.com. N.p., 13 Sept. 2011. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2011-09-13/cia-nypd-investigation/50384884/1>.