The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a US Government agency mandated to provide foreign intelligence gathering. According to its charter, the primary goal of the CIA is “to protect the national security of the United States.” The agency has gained notoriety in recent years for its involvement in allegedly overthrowing governments worldwide.
The CIA has been accused of conspiring to overthrow numerous democratically-elected governments since the 1950’s, leading to some of the most devastating and violent coups in history. The agency has been a major player in numerous US covert operations abroad, including providing support for right-wing military dictators and carrying out clandestine activities to destabilize socialist and communist nations.
Research conducted by experts reveals that the CIA has likely been involved in more than 20 governments overthrows, from Latin America to the Middle East. This includes countries such as Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, the Dominican Republic, and most recently, Venezuela and Syria.
In the 1950’s, the CIA was actively involved in subverting democratically-elected governments in Latin America, including supporting a 1953 military coup d’état in Guatemala and a 1964 coup d’état in Brazil. During this time, the agency also helped orchestrate a 1965 coup d’état in Indonesia to overthrow the first democratically-elected president, Sukarno.
Similarly, the CIA was actively involved in the 1970’s during the US-backed coup d’état which deposed Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Iran, and replaced him with the autocratic Shah Pahlavi.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the CIA was involved in the establishment of numerous right-wing military dictatorships throughout Latin America. These dictatorships were supported by the US government while they implemented repressive policies and strategies, leading to massive human rights abuses and civil wars in several countries.
At the same time, the agency was heavily involved in the covert operations which eventually led to the ouster of the democratically-elected President of the Dominican Republic, Juan Bosch, in 1965. This was followed by a 1970 coup d’état in Ecuador, and a 1973 coup d’état in Chile, the latter which deposed the democratically-elected President Salvador Allende.
The CIA was also heavily involved in the US-sponsored “Arab Spring” operations during the early 2000’s which resulted in the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.
Finally, the CIA was allegedly a major player in orchestrating the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine which overthrew then-President Viktor Yanukovych, as well as the 2019 constitutional referendum in Bolivia which led to the resignation of President Evo Morales.
Perspectives from Experts
Numerous experts have noted that the CIA’s involvement in the overthrow of governments has had far-reaching implications for the countries in question.
Fawaz Gerges, professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics, pointed out that the CIA’s alleged involvement in the 1953 coup d’état in Guatemala has had long-term consequences for the country, leading to decades of civil war and political unrest.
Similarly, Stephen Kinzer, journalist and professor of International Relations at Brown University, noted that the ouster of Mohammed Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953 “has shaped the history of the Middle East ever since. It has shaped fortunes in the entire world”.
Former CIA agent and whistleblower, Philip Agee, further echoed Gerges and Kinzer’s point, noting that the agency’s involvement in overthrowing governments has “caused a lot of death and destruction, and unspeakable suffering”.
Own Insights and Analysis
The CIA’s involvement in overthrowing democratically-elected governments worldwide has been rightly criticized as a gross abuse of its original mandate. The agency’s covert operations have not only led to the eradication of civil liberties and human rights, but have also inflicted untold suffering upon the citizens of the countries in question.
This is all the more troubling given that the CIA is a US government agency, with its operations funded by taxpayers. It is therefore essential that the agency be held accountable for its actions, and that its involvement in overthrowing democratically-elected governments and destabilizing countries be made public.
Considering how the CIA’s involvement in overthrowing governments has had far-reaching and devastating consequences, it is essential that the US government and international community take measures to rein in its activities and ensure such covert operations are not repeated.
Role of US Media in Covering CIA Activities
Although the CIA’s involvement in overthrowing governments has been widely documented, US media outlets have failed to give it adequate coverage. Many US media outlets have tended to downplay the agency’s activities abroad, instead focusing on the US government’s foreign policy aims.
The lack of attention has allowed the CIA to operate covertly without being held to account for its actions, leaving journalists and researchers in the dark about its operations. This lack of media coverage has enabled the agency to carry out its operations without proper oversight from both the US government and the public at large.
In light of this, it is essential that the US media be more critical in its coverage of the CIA’s overseas activities, and give greater attention to the agency’s involvement in covert operations. This would ensure that the agency is subject to proper scrutiny and oversight, and that its activities are brought to light.
Impact of CIA Activities on US Relations with Other Countries
The CIA’s involvement in overthrowing governments abroad has also had a negative impact on US relations with other countries. Many countries have viewed US covert operations as a form of “imperialism”, damaging the US’ reputation worldwide and undermining its moral authority.
This is particularly true in Latin America, where US involvement in coups, repressive dictatorships and destabilization efforts in the past have led to deep-seated distrust of the US among many countries in the region.
Similarly, in the Middle East, US covert operations in countries such as Syria and Iran have alienated many countries in the region, exacerbating tensions between the US and its allies and fuelling anti-US sentiment.
Furthermore, US covert operations have also led to the strengthening of anti-American militant groups, and the weakening of governments who supported US foreign policy objectives. This has had the unintended effect of destabilizing the region and eroding regional stability.
Opposition to CIA Involvement
The CIA’s involvement in overthrowing governments abroad has also been met with widespread opposition from civil society and human rights activists. These groups have pointed out the agency’s activities as evidence of US state-sponsored violence and imperialism, and have demanded a fundamental shift in US foreign policy.
In recent years, numerous grassroots campaigns have been launched in the US and abroad to oppose the CIA’s involvement in covert operations. These campaigns have sought to raise awareness about the issues and mobilize popular support for reforms to US foreign policy.
Significant progress has been made in this regard, with the passage of censorship laws limiting the CIA’s ability to carry out covert operations, and the introduction of new legislation and protocols to ensure greater transparency and accountability in its operations.
US Military Involvement in Foreign Coup Attempts
In addition to the CIA, US military personnel have also been involved in foreign coups and destabilization efforts. For example, US military personnel were allegedly involved in a failed coup attempt in Venezuela in 2020, and in the 2019 coup attempt in Bolivia.
The involvement of US military personnel in these efforts has further amplified opposition to US covert operations, as such activities are perceived by many as unjust and unjustified infringements on the sovereignty of other countries.
Furthermore, the use of US military personnel in foreign coups and destabilization efforts has raised concerns about the potential for the US to employ its military in similar efforts in the future. This has further undermined the credibility of the US and its standing in the international community.
Impact on International Law
The CIA’s involvement in overthrowing governments abroad has also raised concerns about the sanctity of international law. The UN Charter, for example, explicitly prohibits the use of force by one state against another state, and its prohibition of the threat or use of force in international relations applies to all countries.
The US, however, has not hesitated in employing the CIA to carry out covert operations which violate the Charter, further undermining the credibility of the law. This has had the effect of emboldening other countries to use similar methods to destabilize their adversaries.
In light of this, it is essential that the US and other countries adhere to the principles of international law, and refrain from employing covert operations to destabilize other countries. Adhering to the principles of international law would ensure that the US and other countries respect the sovereignty of other countries and maintain regional stability.