The CIA is not the only US intelligence agency that exists purely to benefit American corporations. In fact, the United States has sixteen total intelligence agencies all led by the Director of National Intelligence who arguably has more real powers than the President because the director’s powers are unchecked. These agencies include the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Defense (DoD), which is the larger employer in the world. The DoD employed 3.2 million people in 2012.1 It consists of the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Geo-Spatial Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Agency, Army Intelligence Activity, and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Most of the activities of the DoD are compartmentalized in an attempt to sanitize them. They are split among many different people who may not even know the end goal of what they are doing. Most members just get a simple task like code breaking or surveillance, but the people who give these orders at the very top know exactly what is going on. These activities collectively serve the economic interests of American corporations and they perpetuate the “security dilemma” simply to enrich American arms manufacturers and to gain socioeconomic control. They hype threats, make them up, arm them, and even start civil wars with disinformation campaigns and black propaganda. The DoD has the greatest military capabilities of any other state department on Earth, the largest military budget in the world, and more active military members than any other country aside from China and India.
The CIA and most other US and foreign “intelligence” agencies exist to dominate the oil industry and to exploit every other valuable resource they can get their hands on. They are the most extreme instruments of government, but their biggest crimes do not usually become public knowledge because they operate in secrecy and they use the phony pretense of “national security,” which makes most look the other way. The CIA has a long history of involvement in the Middle East mainly because this region has most of the world’s oil. The people of the Middle East are also primarily Islamic, which gives many bigoted, Islamophobic state officials added incentive to oppress them and sow chaos in the region to bring about regime change that favors US corporate interests.
Since the CIA’s inception, it has sought to replace leaders who intended to nationalize large oil companies to benefit common people. I mentioned the CIA’s coup of Iran under Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in the previous section, but this is just one example out of many. General Abd al-Karim Qasim, the popular leader of Iraq, was also targeted for the same reason. Qasim and leaders from four other major oil-exporting nations, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, met at a conference in Baghdad held on September 10 to the 14th 1960 to discuss ways to reduce the hegemony of Western multinational oil corporations, which wielded massive geopolitical influence over these oil exporting nations. They decided to create OPEC to meet these ends to the dismay of the CIA and Western oil corporations. A year later Qasim proposed the nationalization of just a portion of the Iraq Petroleum Company, which had been sucking Iraq’s oil reserves dry and selling it to Western nations while giving nothing back to the people of Iraq for decades. The oil company rejected the proposal and in response Qasim passed Public Law 80 on December 11 1960, which seized 99.5% of company’s concession area for drilling and transferred it to a newly established Iraqi National oil company, an unthinkable act for greedy plutocrats and Western intelligence agencies.
Qasim was also targeted because he withdrew Iraq from the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact, he decriminalized the Iraqi Communist Party, and he released communist political prisoners from prison.2 Qasim had several communists in his administration as well, (though fearing blowback, he later expelled most of them, cracked down on unions and peasant organizations, and shut down the communist press) and he threatened to invade Kuwait, which was a major supplier of US oil. While some unfamiliar with the history may see Qasim’s proposed invasion as proof of imperial ambitions, Kuwait was actually previously a part of Iraq under the Ottoman Empire until WWI when the Ottoman Empire was defeated and the British established Kuwait as a British colony. According to David Klein of California State University,“The Iraq Petroleum Company was created in 1920 with 95% of the shares going to Britain, France, and the U.S. In order to weaken Arab nationalism, Britain blocked Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf by severing the territorial entity, “Kuwait” from the rest of Iraq in 1921 and 1922. This new British colony, Kuwait, was given artificial boundaries with no basis in history or geography.”3 Kuwaitis vehemently opposed British colonization of their country, and the Kuwaiti youth especially, some of whom formed the “Free Kuwaiti Movement,” favored reunification with Iraq but their efforts to reunify were squashed by the British military. Qasim took power in a revolution that triggered an uprising of the poor masses who attacked the British embassy, and Qasim declared Kuwait independent and free in 1961, to which Britain responded by mobilizing troops in Kuwait and the gulf.
In April 1959 Qasim’s leftism prompted Allen Dulles, then director of the CIA, to call the situation in Iraq “the most dangerous in the world” and by this he meant dangerous to American hegemony. The CIA first sent a poisoned handkerchief to Qasim in 1960, but when that failed to kill him, they encouraged and funded radical elements of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party to revolt against Qasim. (Saddam was on the payroll of the CIA at the time and was actually contracted by the CIA to kill Qasim, which he attempted on October 7th 1959. His bullets killed Qasim’s driver but only wounded Qasim, after which Saddam was escorted by CIA agents to Tikrit.4) The CIA had numerous contacts in the Ba’ath party who relayed information about the coup before it took place and after a brief trial, Qasim was executed in 1963. When the Ba’ath party subsequently took power, the CIA provided the new regime with the names of thousands of communists, trade unionists, and other leftist activists they wanted killed. Saddam himself had a hand in these killings. Among the victims were doctors, lawyers, teachers, and political figures.
The new leader of the Ba’ath party, Abdul Salam Arif, died in 1966 after only three years in office, and his brother, Abdul Rahman Arif, took his place. He was not a member of the Ba’ath party, and he decided to give concessions to France and the USSR for the development of new oil fields. The American government and their oil companies were opposed to this, because it favored French and Soviet corporate interests over American corporate interests. Robert Anderson, former Secretary of the Treasury under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, met with the Ba’ath Party in 1968 to discuss bringing them to power once again in exchange for the oil concessions that the USSR and France had been promised. The CIA backed the coup and Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of the Ba’ath Party became the new President and Saddam Hussein became the new vice President. The Iraqi Ba’ath Party officers in charge of the coups were on the payroll of Theodore Roosevelt’s grandson, Archibald Roosevelt who was the deputy of the Middle East.
To the dismay of the CIA, in 1972 Hassan al-Bakr unexpectedly nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company. Had the CIA known this was his intention, they never would have put him in power. Predictably, the CIA then conspired with the Shah of Iran (who was a supporter of U.S. corporate interests in the region) to arm Kurdish rebels who could overthrow al-Bakr. But when Iran and Iraq signed a peace treaty in 1975, the CIA cut off their support to the Kurds. In 1976 Saddam became the General of the Iraqi Armed Forces and as the elderly al-Bakr became unable to function well enough to command, Saddam became the de facto leader.
In 1979 al-Bakr signed treaties with Syria that gave Syrian President Hafez al-Assad the position of deputy leader in a union and Saddam was essentially demoted. In response Saddam forced al-Bakr to resign and Saddam officially became President later that year in July. In order to maintain his power, Saddam ordered the execution of hundreds of members of his Ba’ath party who he believed were disloyal. He permitted the CIA to open an office in Baghdad and as he was opposed to Soviet expansion, he was still considered an ally of the USG. However, Saddam also had some socialist policies that improved the Iraqi economy and increased the availability of education. When Saddam gained power, he immediately sought to regain lost territory. Al-Bakr had made major concessions as President that gave land to Iran to end the fighting between the two states, and Saddam never liked the agreement that settled the disputes over the borders and access to water. Iranian leaders were displeased about the agreements as well. Both countries did not honor the terms of the agreement or the peace treaty, and in 1979 Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser suggested Saddam invade Iran and annex the Iranian province of Khuzestan to gain access to the Gulf. Due to subsequent border skirmishes, Saddam launched a war against Iran on September 22, 1980.
The USG supported Saddam’s war because they wanted to depose Ruhollah Khomeini, the highly religious, violent leader of Iran. President Carter initially green lit the war, and Zbigniew Brzezinski told Saddam he would have the support of the United States 5 as he saw Saddam’s interests as similar to the interests of the USG.
As the war began, the US government’s position changed as the flow of oil from Iran began to dry up, so they decided to contain the war. Eventually, they supported and armed both sides likely to result in as much mutual destruction as possible. The oil was mostly safe underground and this is what they were after. Ed Juchniewicz, CIA Associate Deputy Director at the time explained bluntly, “We didn’t want either side to have the advantage. We just wanted them to kick the shit out of each other.”6 The US and Israel About 500,000 Iranians and Iraqis died in this war.
In the Spring of 1982 Iraq’s defeat in the war seemed imminent, and so Ronald Reagan offered support. US government officials believed Iran was becoming too powerful and that it was a threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which was concerning as both states supplied much of their oil (more than Iran did) to the US. Howard Teicher, a Reagan National Security Council staffer, claimed in an affidavit that, “President Reagan decided that the United States… would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran,” despite the state’s terrorism under Saddam. On December 20 of 1983, Donald Rumsfeld (who much later called Gitmo “one of the world’s finest prisons”) met with Saddam Hussein (see featured image) to reassure him that the US would support him in any way that he needed. This was after Saddam expelled a Palestinian militant group called Abu Nidal from Iraq.
From 1985 to 1989, Reagan approved the sale of biological weapons to Iraq, such as botulism, anthrax, West Nile fever germs, and brucella melitensis.7 These weapons were sent to Iraqi universities, the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission, and directly to military complexes, and they were claimed to be for “medical research purposes only.”8 Many of the weapons Iraq bought from the USG were used to slaughter the Kurdish people in 1988. The CIA also gave Iraq privileged information about Iran and provided the state with cluster bombs through a manufacturer in Chile. (Firms from the UK also sold weapons to Iraq to protect their oil interests.) Only later would Saddam ironically become the most wanted enemy of the USG (and an excuse to invade Iraq) when he started slaughtering thousands of Kurdish refugees who were assets to the CIA.
During the “Iran-Contra affair,” Reagan also heavily armed and funded Iran, and he used the proceeds from these arms sales to fund another terrorist group: the Nicaraguan contras. The Nicaraguan contras were an insurgent group that was trying to destroy the communist Nicaraguan government, the Sandinista National Liberation Front. The contras often conducted warfare with absolutely no regard for rules. They killed children, raped women, and tortured civilians. The contras were also heavily involved in the cocaine trade, and Reagan supported them through it by instructing the CIA to buy their cocaine and introduce it to US markets. This may sound hard to believe, but it is well-documented by Gary Webb in his book Dark Alliance: The CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion and in many others. (Webb was under constant surveillance by the CIA and he was found dead on December 10th 2004 with multiple gunshot wounds to his head. His death was ruled a “suicide.” Most harmed by the Iran-Contra affair, which will be discussed in the next section, were poor minorities.
Government control reached new heights after 1980. No president since Reagan has deviated from America’s rapacious, zero-sum foreign policy. War has always been America’s biggest racket, and it does not matter if there is a democrat or a republican in the White House. As long as the will for war exists among those financially vested in it, America and the rest of the world will always be at war. But this does not have to be the case as there are no wars without soldiers and we can refuse to fight their wars, fight our rulers instead, and reclaim our autonomy.
1 Alenander, Ruth: “Which is the world’s biggest employer?” BBC News. March 19 2012. Magazine.
2 Cockburn, Andrew and Patrick: “Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein.” October 2002. Print.
4 RICHARD SALE: Saddam key in early CIA plot. April 10, 2003. https://www.upi.com/Exclusive-Saddam-key-in-early-CIA-plot/65571050017416/
5 Timmerman, Kenneth R.: The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq. New York, Houghton Mifflin Company. 1991. Print.
6 World Heritage Encyclopedia: CIA activities in Iraq. worldheritage.org/article/WHEBN0017161659/CIA%20activities%20in%20Iraq
7 Mackay, Neil and Arbuthnot, Felicity: “How Did Iraq Get Its Weapons? We Sold Them.” Sunday Herald. September 8 2002. Newspaper.
8 Morgan, David: Ex-U.S Official Says CIA Aided Baathists, CIA Offers No Comment on Coup Allegations. Reuters, April 20th 2003. Newspaper.