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The Central Intelligence Agency

Excerpts from Janette Rainwater's book-in-progress,
From
the New Deal to the Raw Deal:
An Annotated Chronology of the Events that Have Changed the United States

printer-friendly version 2 3 4 5 6 7 8                                           p.1

May 16, 1948

The body of reporter George Polk is discovered in the Bay of Salonika with his hands and feet bound and shot through the head. [Following pressure from the US State Department and the investigating committee's counsel, General William Donovan, the wartime head of OSS, the predecessor of the CIA, the Greek government found a suspect and tortured him until he "confessed" that the crime had been committed by Greek Communists acting on orders from Moscow. Polk had been a highly respected journalist whose dispatches had questioned the honesty and competence of the American-backed rightist Greek government. From journalist I. F. Stone: "George Polk is the first casualty of the Cold War."]1

August 19, 1953

A CIA coup in Iran overthrows the government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and re-installs Reza Pahlavi as Shah of Iran. Over 300 people are killed and many hundreds are wounded in the nine hours of fighting. [Plans had been brewing to oust the nationalist Mossadegh ever since he and his party had passed a bill in 1951 to nationalize the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The coup, however, was increasingly proclaimed in the years following as essential to prevent "the obvious threat of Russian takeover".2 In actuality, the Soviet government made no effort to come to the aid of the Iranian communist party (Tudeh) which was frequently opposed to the policies of Mossadegh, a very wealthy landowner. A July, 1951 Tudeh demonstration had been put down by the Mossadegh government at the cost of 100 deaths and 500 injuries. Ironically, the Truman administration had cautioned the British that toppling the Mossadegh government could lead to a communist takeover. The new Eisenhower-Dulles administration felt differently and, mindful of the strategic border with the Soviet Union and the importance of oil, bought the British- Kermit Roosevelt plan. The final coup was totally an American CIA operation and cost possibly as much as $19 million. It would be used as a model for future stage-managed coups, such as that in Guatemala in 1954.

The future cost to the people of Iran was incalculable. Thousands were executed during the next twenty-five years of the Shah's reign, and the people became more impoverished. SAVAK, the secret police created and trained by the CIA, was described by Amnesty International in 1976 as having a "history of torture which is beyond belief. No country in the world has a worse record in human rights than Iran."3

The United States got many military installations in Iran, bases for surveillance flights over Russia, and radar and electronic listening posts that completed the encirclement of the USSR. American oil firms gained a 40% interest in the new international consortium for Iranian oil. The US would spend over a billion dollars to support the Shah's regime and the military in Iran. (The CIA distributed about $400 million a year to the ayatollahs and the mullahs from 1953 until President Carter ordered a stop in 1977, a move that undoubtedly contributed to the 1978 revolution.)]4

November 19, 1953

As just another in the CIA Project M-K Ultra's experiments with mind-altering drugs, Dr. Sydney Gottlieb spikes the cointreau of his colleague, Dr. Frank Olson,5 with LSD on the final evening of a three-day scientific retreat. [Olson became disoriented, hallucinatory, and psychotic. A few weeks later, while his Agency escort slept, Olson jumped to his death from the window of their tenth story New York City hotel room. The suicide was hushed up and Gottlieb was not reprimanded, but CIA Director Allen Dulles called a halt to the widespread LSD in-house testing. In 1976 after some of the Project M-K Ultra story became known to the public, Congress passed a bill giving Olson's widow a compensation of $750,000.]6

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© Janette Rainwater 1997-2002

All rights reserved. Unauthorized use of any of the material contained herein is strictly prohibited.