Author Topic: The World & the CIA  (Read 2004 times)


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The World & the CIA
« on: February 12, 2017, 12:20:03 pm »

                                              *[ The World & the CIA ]*

       FD: Let's turn to world affairs for a moment.  One of the events
           of recent years that has always puzzled me is United States
           support for the Vanaaka Party in what was once the New
           Hebrides Islands.

        In the late '70s, before the New Hebrides achieved independence,
        there were basically two factions fighting between themselves to
        see who would maintain control when the colonial powers left.

        The British and the French had governed the New Hebrides under
        a concept  known  as the condominium, and before independence,
        the British  and  the  labor movement  in Australia  threw their
        support behind the ubiquitous socialist faction, in this case,
        the Vanaaka Party.  The French offered some behind-the-scenes
        support to the second faction, which was basically pro-free
        market and pro-West. The U.S.  under Jimmy Carter went along
        with the British.

           Do you have any idea why this might have been done?

     Offhand, I don't.  The CIA has learned over the years that you
     sometimes cannot support the people you would prefer to support,
     because they just do not have the popular power to gain control
     or maintain control without a revolution and things of that sort.

     The classic example is West Berlin.  Back in the '50s we were
     contesting with the Russians for influence in Berlin.

     This was at a time when the Russians and East Germans were putting
     tremendous pressure on to have West Berlin go almost voluntarily
     into the Soviet bloc.  The United States was struggling mightily
     to keep West Berlin free.

     At that point in time the strong power in West Germany were the
     Christian Democrats under Konrad Adenauer, and these were the
     people that we were supporting.

     The Christian Democrats, however, just did not have the wherewithal
     to save West Berlin.  The situation was such that the Social
     Democrats were the ones who could save West Berlin.

     Not getting into all of the whys and wherefores and policy positions,
     the Social Democrats also had a very charismatic person named Willy
     Brandt.  So by backing Willy Brandt and the Social Democrats, instead
     of putting all of our eggs in the Christian Democratic Party basket,
     Brandt and the Social Democrats were able to maintain a free West
     Berlin and we were able to achieve our goal.

     There were some people in the CIA who thought this was terrible, we
     were not being ideologically pure, and one of them happens to be E.
     Howard Hunt, who actually considered Willy Brandt a KGB spy.

     So there are times when you have to, I guess you would call it,
     choose the lesser of two evils.

     It might have been a miscalculated gamble.

     I don't have all of the facts, but maybe the thinking was that
     if we left the  pro-West faction  in power  we may end up with
     a goddamned civil war.

       FD: In retrospect, the Carter administration's decision seems
           even more tragic and mistaken.

       Since coming to power, the Vanaaka Party has consolidated power
       in the new country, now known as Vanuatu, and established
       diplomatic relations with governments like Cuba and Vietnam.

       Socialist Vanuatu has now come to serve as a beacon of sorts for
       other independence movements in that part of the world, such as the
       Kanaks in New Caledonia, who have subsequently adopted socialism as
       their ideology.

       When I asked Jimmy Carter about this during an interview recently
       he said he was sorry, but he did not remember the episode.

       Is it possible that this may have been an incompetent blunder
       on the part of the U.S. government?   That somebody didn't do
       their homework, and  as a result  those responsible  for the
       decision didn't have all of the facts?

     Absolutely.  Absolutely.  Yes.  Its not the kind of an issue that
     draws the most attention in Washington.  As you just pointed out,
     Jimmy Carter doesn't even remember it.  I'm sure that decision was
     made pretty far down the line.

     If Carter ever had to make a decision he probably doesn't even
     remember it because it was probably staffed down because it was
     considered so inconsequential at the time by Carter and everyone
     involved.  They considered it so inconsequential that they don't
     even remember it.  It's something they signed off on.  My guess
     from what you have told me is that it was a mistake.