Just Say Know! The CIA's War on Democracy
By Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)


    For many, the recent U.S. elections raised serious doubts about the American system of democracy.  However, millions of others around the world long ago abandoned any notion that the U.S. is a bastion of democracy, either at home or abroad. 
    The U.S. government has, in fact, been a major opponent for millions of people around the world who have struggled to create and maintain democratic systems of governance. Since WWII, the Central Intelligence
    Agency (CIA) has played a pivotal role in this history of subverting political systems.  It has been active in virtually every country of the world and has conducted thousands of secret operations.  As a tool of the U.S. president, the CIA has been used to manipulate, undermine and blatantly overthrow countless governments including dozens of functioning democracies.
    This issue of Press for Conversion! contains only a glimpse into the CIA's largely overlooked history. It is a shameful history which has plumbed the depths of depravity, greed, deception, hypocrisy and ultraviolence. 
    The CIA's history is filled with rigged elections, fraud, bribery, sabotage and economic warfare. CIA officials have masterminded psychological warfare, extensive propaganda and the spreading of lies and misinformation through the media.  Hatred has been instilled towards those who threaten corporate power, while public support has been engineered for countless wars fought to maintain unjust economic systems that benefit America's ruling business elite.   
    The CIA has planned, armed and financed many military coups that installed regimes to allow the pillaging of resources by U.S. business. In time, some of these dictatorships also become liabilities and must be replaced with new, more pliable client states.
    The CIA emerged from the U.S. Office of Strategic Services which, before the end of WWII, began close collaborations with the German "intelligence community" on the unfinished war against communism.
    Since then, literally millions of people have been massacred in a U.S. holocaust that has gone unnoticed and is commonly denied. The first to be assassinated, in these CIA-fostered campaigns of terror and mass murder, have usually been progressive politicians, labour leaders, human rights activists, priests, nuns and other 'subversives.'
    There are three compelling reasons why the CIA's horrific history should be of interest to Canadians. 

Canadian Complicity
    Canada continues to aid and abet ongoing U.S. wars against democracy, peace and human rights by allowing U.S. military and intelligence gathering stations in Canada, and the testing of U.S. weapons systems.  And, our government is increasingly sending troops and equipment to help the U.S. in its invasions and interventions.
    More than half of Canada's arms exports are sold to the U.S.  Our government puts such blind trust in the U.S. that no restrictions are placed on these exports.  Canadian arms producers must obtain government permits for military sales to every country in the world, except the U.S. 
    Our government also funds numerous programs to subsidise these lucrative contracts. 
    But Canadian profitmaking doesn't end with arms sales to the U.S.  That's just the beginning.  After the CIA uses its dirty tricks to install investor-friendly puppet regimes in faraway lands, the Canadian government encourages military exports to those governments. This is, of course, invaluable help in their struggle to wield power.  They, in turn, ensure that Canadian investors are given access to profitable ventures in mining, defor-estry and manufacturing.  Canadian companies clamour to join the feeding frenzy that bleeds these countries dry of their wealth and resources.

CIA Fingerprints in Canada
    Canadians should also be on the look out  for the telltale signs of CIA activities in Canada. Being right next door, we are certainly not beyond their grasp.  Besides the CIA-backed brainwashing experiments conducted on unwilling Canadian prisoners and psychiatric patients, CIA fingerprints have also appeared on our political landscape.  In 1963, top-ranking U.S. diplomats in Ottawa, along with officials from the Pentagon, the State Department - several with close ties to the CIA - were involved in a successful campaign to oust John Diefenbaker from office.  Among other things, Dief would not allow U.S. nuclear weapons to be deployed in Canada.  U.S. officials colluded with the high-ranking Canadian military officers, journalists and politicians to install a Liberal government that agreed to station U.S. nuclear warheads in Canada (see pages 23-25). 
    It is safe to assume that any relatively progressive government that somehow manages to get elected in Canada, will likely fall prey to covert U.S. activities.  After all, the CIA has created, controlled and disposed of governments all over the world.  Why would we think that they'd hesitate to extend their tentacles of power here?

Challenging the Cheerleaders

    For too long, the CIA has operated under a cloak of secrecy without even the knowledge or consent of elected U.S. officials, let alone the U.S. public or the billions of people around the world who have suffered from CIA activities.  Anything that we can do to shed light on this dark history will be an invaluable gift to future generations. 
    In this era of a 'free media' eager to cover controversies, the CIA's history and its countless scandals have largely been ignored.  An awareness of this history is invaluable in understanding the contexts of so many wars that are now raging.  Hopefully, it will only be a matter of time before the CIA's real legacy becomes part of our society's common knowledge.
    The next time the U.S. wants Canadian support or participation in a "humanitarian war," let's hope we have the wherewithal to just say no! Knowing the CIA's history will equip us with the knowledge to challenge anyone who is na´ve enough to want Canada to join in as a cheerleader or fellow warmonger.  As the marble inscription in the main lobby at CIA headquarters reads: "And ye shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free."