The CIA was the mastermind behind uncountable assignments that fell governments, assassinated heads of states, ran drug-smuggling cartels, caused the governments of small countries to collapse, derailed polio vaccination programs by using them as cover for covert operations, killed so many people observers estimate the total death toll of the US funded wars to be larger than the Nazis’ death toll combined, and in general caused mayhem and murder through 50 years of the last century, and a decade of this one.
The time has come to end this institution.
The reason is simple. The world has changed in the last 60 years. These sorts of tactics that worked in an era where secrecy was possible, are now actively visible, and dangerous, to the state utilizing these methods of covert warfare. These methods are dangerous because everyone can view them, and be cognizant of them, within the span of an hour, in this connected world. Countries all over the world have access to quick information through the web, and the notion of democracy has spread. The idea of a secret agency operating contrary to the covenant of human rights that all states have signed on to is simply not good foreign policy.
The Americans are still thinking they can keep this boat afloat a bit longer—but to do so would be a great foreign policy mistake. And this is why. Already there’s been a shift in economic power, as China comes into its own. This was nowhere as evident as this past year, when it was instrumental not just in setting up an infrastructure bank for the BRICS, but also in supporting large and small countries with economic support. This economic clout would have been unheard of even a decade ago, where Western countries were the exclusive agents to hand out monetary handouts. With the loss of America’s moral standing, the world looks for new leadership. Almost without appearing to, China has filled this void.
With China’s rise has come a corresponding understanding amongst nations in Asia and Africa that we need to work together to beat the common enemies—poverty, unemployment, and environmental disaster. Until and unless countries in Asia and Africa reach a certain standard of living, their rising demographics and uneducated population will be a threat to the environment of an increasingly crowded planet. Only with a certain degree of economic security do people slow the reproductive growth—and that means Asia and Africa have to focus now on infrastructure, employment, industrial and technological growth, and to establish academic and cultural institutions the West takes for granted.
China’s economy is now the number one economy—this is inevitable, and natural, because it also has the largest population on the planet. Despite shrill accusations from human rights organizations, China has refrained from torture, mayhem and murder in other countries, activities to which the USA openly allocates more than half of its government’s budget. With its restraint has come cautious approval from traditional opponents, who now view it favorably. It has earned its moral leadership.
China has changed since the Fifties. The USA hasn’t.
The US continues to make covert and overt war, in line with foreign policy thinking of the Fifties. It also continues to secretly persecute critics and domestic opponents, and sometimes simply bystanders who were there at the wrong place at the wrong time, with new biological, genetic and nano-technologies; harass and kill people in far off countries with drones; and in general keep upgrading technologies to continue what used to be great strategy and warfare sixty years ago. This is simply not such a good idea at present, however, because a) persecution and secret torture will be discovered eventually b) somebody will have to be accountable for it and c) the world is recoiling in moral horror and pulling back from a state which they can see doesn’t operate within any known barriers of international law.
There are two roads now open to the USA. One is take the road of business as usual. Which is the road lawmakers are taking at the moment, in the aftermath of the Torture Report. They have revealed their “stain on history.” They have confessed. In the act of this confession, the crime is expiated. This is enough for the USA, but it is not enough for the world, which wants to know why the USA doesn’t have to follow the norms of international law, in which torturers who operate outside of the boundaries of legality have to face the apparatus of justice. Nor does this explain how 50 countries in the world allowed the USA to illegally run secret prisons within their sovereign borders—investigations will have to follow, along with culpable individuals and institutions required to appear before their legal systems.
The second road open to the USA is to completely take the lid off the 600 billion dollar military-industrial complex that is running parallel to the government. Who are these 100,000 people with security clearances working on a Global War on Terror? What are they doing that is so important there are more of them than Federal employees of the US Government? Why does 56 billion have to be ‘black budget’, and what are these black budgets hiding? What kind of torture programs have they designed with their mosquito drones, and their killer robots? What kind of biological warfare and chemical warfare have they already put in motion? What kind of brain-mapping activities are they doing, and for what purpose? What are the new brain-to-computer technologies being developed, and in what way are they being mobilized on people without their consent? How many people are they keeping awake at night with sleep deprivation technology? What kinds of white noise are they laser-beaming into the auditory channels of their own urban populations to keep them terrified?
Knowing the operational strategies of the military-industrial complex, and knowing that they have had no regards for the boundaries of sovereign nations, it must be obvious to US lawmakers and Congress that their parallel “Dark State” is working on a range of technologies that they will have no compunction on using on people. There cannot be any excuse for “not knowing.” Ethics, of course, is a word that is so foreign to this cancerous parallel state that has attached itself to the government of the United States that it is almost useless to bring it up here—but we will bring up international law, to which the USA is still bound. Much of what is happening in these secret agencies, of which 17 are known, and of which the rest are not known, will one day be revealed, in much the same manner as the torture.
The USA’s covert warfare may be more repulsive than the actions of the fascist governments of the 20th century. We don’t yet have the words to describe all the new technological warfare in operation. They may not yet be viewed as “torture.” But one day they will be explained through the lens of humanity’s capacity to understand ethics and morality, sooner or later.
Once those activities surface to the public, the USA will become a pariah state, a status it has taken such stern pleasure in imposing on states like Cuba and North Korea. Already the world has recoiled in moral horror. And with it has come a contraction of economic ties, business relationships, and goodwill. Countries have disentangled their currencies from the USA’s. This is going to continue, not lessen, in the coming years. The USA should listen to this advice, and pull back from what has been a heedless course towards its own destruction. The Superpower era has ended. As the USA slides down in all indicators of a developed nation, including education, childhood poverty, health, it is pretty clear that the parallel state has destroyed the USA from within.
Holding on to this parallel state, and giving it legitimacy to operate in the dark with black budgets, will further erode the USA’s last remaining shred of standing in the international stage. Shutting down the CIA can be the first step towards the US’s commitment to restore trust in the global community.