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The CIA



     James Whelan has sent me a long message taking issue with some of our comments about the CIA, which he defends vigorously. He knew many top CIA people, and was a "trusted advisor" of President Bush, who headed the CIA. I admire Mr. Whelan´s loyalty to his friends. I will summarize his remarks and add my comments. The full text of Mr,Whelan´s long piece may be found in the documents section of the WAIS home page.
     1. I have great admiration for the CIA, which is mostly a research organization which recruited some of my best students. Mr. Whelan rightly objects to the Hollywood representation of it as a clique of spies which the American public should mistrust. However, in fact it instigates policy as when it planned the Bay of Pigs, which President Kennedy adopted without the knowledge of his cabinet members, including Adlai Stevenson, who in the U.N. denied the existence of the plan and was furious when he discovered the truth.
     2. Mr.Whelan said the Bay of Pigs was a failure of will, not intelligence. In fact, the CIA failed to heed my warnings against its belief that Castro was not aware of the plan and that the Cuban people would rise against him. When Mr. Whelan speaks of a failure of will, he means that Kennedy failed to provide air support. This would have been like Serbia today and would have created an uproar throughout Latin America and indeed the world. Mr Whelan cannot say at the same time that the U.S. has no right to bomb Serbia without U.N. permission.
     3. Mr. Whelan is an expert of Chile, and his remarks should be read carefully. I have stated clearly by belief that Allende was a disaster as president, but I do not accept the story that the U.S. was not involved in the coup against him. It is quite possible that Kissinger did not know, just as Stevenson did not know. That Kissinger had never heard of Pinochet may be due to the fact that he did not lead the coup. It seems probable that U.S. official protests of ignorance were a response to the wave of anger which followed Allende´s overthrow.
     4. Mr. Whelan gives an account of U.S. aid to the contras which is at variance with the one accepted by most Central American specialists. Again, my advice is read Mr. Whelan´s statement and make up your own mind.
     5. Mr.Whelan says that it is better to have Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban rather than as a Soviet puppet state. This is true if the Soviet defeat triggered the collapse of the USSR. That is of course not certain.
     6. Regarding the failure of the U.S. to get U.N. permission to bomb Serbia, see (2) above.
     Again, please read the complete text of Mr. Whelan´s statement.

Ronald Hilton - 05/08/99


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