“Democratic Imperialism”: Tibet, China, and the National End

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Re: “Democratic Imperialism”: Tibet, China, and the National

Postby admin » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:59 am

Tibet, the ‘great game’ and the CIA
by Richard M. Bennett
Global Research
Asia Times
March 25, 2008
Copyright © Richard M Bennett, Asia Times, 2008

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Given the historical context of the unrest in Tibet, there is reason to believe Beijing was caught on the hop with the recent demonstrations for the simple reason that their planning took place outside of Tibet and that the direction of the protesters is similarly in the hands of anti-Chinese organizers safely out of reach in Nepal and northern India.

Similarly, the funding and overall control of the unrest has also been linked to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and by inference to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) because of his close cooperation with US intelligence for over 50 years.

Indeed, with the CIA’s deep involvement with the Free Tibet Movement and its funding of the suspiciously well-informed Radio Free Asia, it would seem somewhat unlikely that any revolt could have been planned or occurred without the prior knowledge, and even perhaps the agreement, of the National Clandestine Service (formerly known as the Directorate of Operations) at CIA headquarters in Langley.

Respected columnist and former senior Indian Intelligence officer, B Raman, commented on March 21 that “on the basis of available evidence, it was possible to assess with a reasonable measure of conviction” that the initial uprising in Lhasa on March 14 “had been pre-planned and well orchestrated”.

Could there be a factual basis to the suggestion that the main beneficiaries to the death and destruction sweeping Tibet are in Washington? History would suggest that this is a distinct possibility.

The CIA conducted a large scale covert action campaign against the communist Chinese in Tibet starting in 1956. This led to a disastrous bloody uprising in 1959, leaving tens of thousands of Tibetans dead, while the Dalai Lama and about 100,000 followers were forced to flee across the treacherous Himalayan passes to India and Nepal.

The CIA established a secret military training camp for the Dalai Lama’s resistance fighters at Camp Hale near Leadville, Colorado, in the US. The Tibetan guerrillas were trained and equipped by the CIA for guerrilla warfare and sabotage operations against the communist Chinese.

The US-trained guerrillas regularly carried out raids into Tibet, on occasions led by CIA-contract mercenaries and supported by CIA planes. The initial training program ended in December 1961, though the camp in Colorado appears to have remained open until at least 1966.

The CIA Tibetan Task Force created by Roger E McCarthy, alongside the Tibetan guerrilla army, continued the operation codenamed “ST CIRCUS” to harass the Chinese occupation forces for another 15 years until 1974, when officially sanctioned involvement ceased.

McCarthy, who also served as head of the Tibet Task Force at the height of its activities from 1959 until 1961, later went on to run similar operations in Vietnam and Laos.

By the mid-1960s, the CIA had switched its strategy from parachuting guerrilla fighters and intelligence agents into Tibet to establishing the Chusi Gangdruk, a guerrilla army of some 2,000 ethnic Khamba fighters at bases such as Mustang in Nepal.

This base was only closed down in 1974 by the Nepalese government after being put under tremendous pressure by Beijing.

After the Indo-China War of 1962, the CIA developed a close relationship with the Indian intelligence services in both training and supplying agents in Tibet.

Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison in their book The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet disclose that the CIA and the Indian intelligence services cooperated in the training and equipping of Tibetan agents and special forces troops and in forming joint aerial and intelligence units such as the Aviation Research Center and Special Center.

This collaboration continued well into the 1970s and some of the programs that it sponsored, especially the special forces unit of Tibetan refugees which would become an important part of the Indian Special Frontier Force, continue into the present.

Only the deterioration in relations with India which coincided with improvements in those with Beijing brought most of the joint CIA-Indian operations to an end.

Though Washington had been scaling back support for the Tibetan guerrillas since 1968, it is thought that the end of official US backing for the resistance only came during meetings between president Richard Nixon and the Chinese communist leadership in Beijing in February 1972.

Victor Marchetti, a former CIA officer has described the outrage many field agents felt when Washington finally pulled the plug, adding that a number even “[turned] for solace to the Tibetan prayers which they had learned during their years with the Dalai Lama”.

The former CIA Tibetan Task Force chief from 1958 to 1965, John Kenneth Knaus, has been quoted as saying, “This was not some CIA black-bag operation.” He added, “The initiative was coming from … the entire US government.”

In his book Orphans of the Cold War, Knaus writes of the obligation Americans feel toward the cause of Tibetan independence from China. Significantly, he adds that its realization “would validate the more worthy motives of we who tried to help them achieve this goal over 40 years ago. It would also alleviate the guilt some of us feel over our participation in these efforts, which cost others their lives, but which were the prime adventure of our own.”

Despite the lack of official support it is still widely rumored that the CIA were involved, if only by proxy, in another failed revolt in October 1987, the unrest that followed and the consequent Chinese repression continuing till May 1993.

The timing for another serious attempt to destabilize Chinese rule in Tibet would appear to be right for the CIA and Langley will undoubtedly keep all its options open.

China is faced with significant problems, with the Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province; the activities of the Falun Gong among many other dissident groups and of course growing concern over the security of the Summer Olympic Games in August.

China is viewed by Washington as a major threat, both economic and military, not just in Asia, but in Africa and Latin America as well.

The CIA also views China as being “unhelpful” in the “war on terror”, with little or no cooperation being offered and nothing positive being done to stop the flow of arms and men from Muslim areas of western China to support Islamic extremist movements in Afghanistan and Central Asian states.

To many in Washington, this may seem the ideal opportunity to knock the Beijing government off balance as Tibet is still seen as China’s potential weak spot.

The CIA will undoubtedly ensure that its fingerprints are not discovered all over this growing revolt. Cut-outs and proxies will be used among the Tibetan exiles in Nepal and India’s northern border areas.

Indeed, the CIA can expect a significant level of support from a number of security organizations in both India and Nepal and will have no trouble in providing the resistance movement with advice, money and above all, publicity.

However, not until the unrest shows any genuine signs of becoming an open revolt by the great mass of ethnic Tibetans against the Han Chinese and Hui Muslims will any weapons be allowed to appear.

Large quantities of former Eastern bloc small arms and explosives have been reportedly smuggled into Tibet over the past 30 years, but these are likely to remain safely hidden until the right opportunity presents itself.

The weapons have been acquired on the world markets or from stocks captured by US or Israeli forces. They have been sanitized and are deniable, untraceable back to the CIA.

Weapons of this nature also have the advantage of being interchangeable with those used by the Chinese armed forces and of course use the same ammunition, easing the problem of resupply during any future conflict.

Though official support for the Tibetan resistance ended 30 years ago, the CIA has kept open its lines of communications and still funds much of the Tibetan Freedom movement.

So is the CIA once again playing the “great game” in Tibet?

It certainly has the capability, with a significant intelligence and paramilitary presence in the region. Major bases exist in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and several Central Asian states.

It cannot be doubted that it has an interest in undermining China, as well as the more obvious target of Iran.

So the probable answer is yes, and indeed it would be rather surprising if the CIA was not taking more than just a passing interest in Tibet. That is after all what it is paid to do.

Since September 11, 2001, there has been a sea-change in US Intelligence attitudes, requirements and capabilities. Old operational plans have been dusted off and updated. Previous assets re-activated. Tibet and the perceived weakness of China’s position there will probably have been fully reassessed.

For Washington and the CIA, this may seem a heaven-sent opportunity to create a significant lever against Beijing, with little risk to American interests; simply a win-win situation.

The Chinese government would be on the receiving end of worldwide condemnation for its continuing repression and violation of human rights and it will be young Tibetans dying on the streets of Lhasa rather than yet more uniformed American kids.

The consequences of any open revolt against Beijing, however, are that once again the fear of arrest, torture and even execution will pervade every corner of both Tibet and those neighboring provinces where large Tibetan populations exist, such as Gansu, Qinghai and Sichuan.

And the Tibetan Freedom movement still has little likelihood of achieving any significant improvement in central Chinese policy in the long run and no chance whatever of removing its control of Lhasa and their homeland.

Once again it would appear that the Tibetan people will find themselves trapped between an oppressive Beijing and a manipulative Washington.

Beijing sends in the heavies The fear that the United States, Britain and other Western states may try to portray Tibet as another Kosovo may be part of the reason why the Chinese authorities reacted as if faced with a genuine mass revolt rather than their official portrayal of a short-lived outbreak of unrest by malcontents supporting the Dalai Lama.

Indeed, so seriously did Beijing view the situation that a special security coordination unit, the 110 Command Center, has been established in Lhasa with the primary objective of suppressing the disturbances and restoring full central government control.

The center appears to be under the direct control of Zhang Qingli, first secretary of the Tibet Party and a President Hu Jintao loyalist. Zhang is also the former Xinjiang deputy party secretary with considerable experience in counter-terrorism operations in that region.

Others holding important positions in Lhasa are Zhang Xinfeng, vice minister of the Central Public Security Ministry and Zhen Yi, deputy commander of the People’s Armed Police Headquarters in Beijing.

The seriousness with which Beijing is treating the present unrest is further illustrated by the deployment of a large number of important army units from the Chengdu Military Region, including brigades from the 149th Mechanized Infantry Division, which acts as the region’s rapid reaction force.

According to a United Press International report, elite ground force units of the People’s Liberation Army were involved in Lhasa, and the new T-90 armored personnel carrier and T-92 wheeled armored vehicles were deployed. According to the report, China has denied the participation of the army in the crackdown, saying it was carried out by units of the armed police. “Such equipment as mentioned above has never been deployed by China’s armed police, however.”

Air support is provided by the 2nd Army Aviation Regiment, based at Fenghuangshan, Chengdu, in Sichuan province. It operates a mix of helicopters and STOL transports from a frontline base near Lhasa. Combat air support could be quickly made available from fighter ground attack squadrons based within the Chengdu region.

The Xizang Military District forms the Tibet garrison, which has two mountain infantry units; the 52nd Brigade based at Linzhi and the 53rd Brigade at Yaoxian Shannxi. These are supported by the 8th Motorized Infantry Division and an artillery brigade at Shawan, Xinjiang.

Tibet is also no longer quite as remote or difficult to resupply for the Chinese army. The construction of the first railway between 2001 and 2007 has significantly eased the problems of the movement of large numbers of troops and equipment from Qinghai onto the rugged Tibetan plateau.

Other precautions against a resumption of the long-term Tibetan revolts of previous years has led to a considerable degree of self-sufficiency in logistics and vehicle repair by the Tibetan garrison and an increasing number of small airfields have been built to allow rapid-reaction units to gain access to even the most remote areas.

The Chinese Security Ministry and intelligence services had been thought to have a suffocating presence in the province and indeed the ability to detect any serious protest movement and suppress resistance.

Richard M Bennett is an intelligence and security consultant, AFI Research.

The original source of this article is Asia Times
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Re: “Democratic Imperialism”: Tibet, China, and the National

Postby admin » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:21 am

Reporters Without Borders Unmasked
by Diana Barahona
Counterpunch
May 17, 2005

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When Robert Menard founded Reporters Without Borders twenty years ago, he gave his group a name which evokes another French organization respected worldwide for its humanitarian work and which maintains a strict neutrality in political conflicts ­ Doctors Without Borders. But RSF (French acronym) has been anything but nonpartisan and objective in its approach to Latin America and to Cuba in particular.

From the beginning, RSF has made Cuba its No. 1 target. Allegedly founded to advocate freedom of the press around the world and to help journalists under attack, the organization has called Cuba “the world’s biggest prison for journalists.” It even gives the country a lower ranking on its press freedom index than countries where journalists routinely have been killed, such as Colombia, Peru and Mexico. RSF has waged campaigns aimed at discouraging Europeans from vacationing in Cuba and the European Union from doing business there ­ its only campaigns worldwide intended to damage a country’s economy.

The above is not a matter of chance because it turns out that RSF is on the payroll of the U.S. State Department and has close ties to Helms-Burton-funded Cuban exile groups.

As a majority of members of Congress work toward normalizing trade and travel with Cuba, the extremist anti-Castro groups that have dictated U.S. Cuba policy for 40 years continue working tirelessly to maintain an economic stranglehold on the island. Their support for RSF is part of this overall strategy.

Havana-based journalist Jean-Guy Allard wrote a book about RSF’s leader (El expediente Robert Ménard: Por qué Reporteros sin Fronteras se ensaña con Cuba, Quebec: Lanctôt, 2005) which lays out the pieces of the puzzle regarding Menard’s activities, associations and sources of funding in an attempt to explain what he calls Menard’s “obsession” with Cuba. On April 27 this year the pieces began to come together: Thierry Meyssan, president of the Paris daily, Red Voltaire, published an article in which he claimed Menard had negotiated a contract with Otto Reich and the Center for a Free Cuba (CFC) in 2001. Reich was a trustee of the center, which receives the bulk of its funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The contract, according to Meyssan, was signed in 2002 around the time Reich was appointed Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere for the Secretary of State. The initial payment for RSF’s services was approximately 24,970 euros in 2002 ($25,000), which went up to 59,201 euros in 2003 ($50,000).

Lucie Morillon, RSF’s Washington representative, confirmed in an interview on April 29 that they are indeed receiving payments from the Center for a Free Cuba, and that the contract with Reich requires them to inform Europeans about the repression against journalists in Cuba and to support the families of journalists in prison. Morillon also said they received $50,000 from the CFC in 2004 and that this amount was consistent from year to year. But she denied that the anti-Cuba declarations on radio and television, full-page ads in Parisian dailies, posters, leafletting at airports and an April 2003 occupation of the Cuban tourism office in Paris were aimed at discouraging tourism to the island.

RSF’s emphasis on tourism is the key to understanding it’s role. After the 1989 fall of the Soviet Union, Eastern bloc support for Cuba’s economy soon came to a halt and what Cubans call the “special period” began. Almost all of Cuba’s sugar harvest had been sold to the communist bloc throughout the Cold War era and in return the island imported two-thirds of its food supply, nearly all its oil and 80 percent of its machinery and spare parts from the same sources. Suddenly 85 percent of Cuba’s foreign trade vanished. Deprived of petroleum, Cuban industries and transportation ground to a halt. For the first time in many years malnutrition on the island began to appear as rations were reduced to little more than rice and beans.

Washington saw the withdrawal of Soviet subsidies in 1989 and subsequent natural disasters that destroyed crops on the island as a chance to deal a deathblow to the Castro regime. The Miami extreme right, led by the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), began to draw up plans to work with sympathetic government agencies toward that end. “Nothing nor no one will make us falter. We do not wish it, but if blood has to flow, it will flow,” wrote CANF chair Jorge Mas Canosa (Hernando Calvo Ospina, Bacardi: The Hidden War, London: Pluto Press, 2002).

But Cuba disappointed the plotters by surviving. A centerpiece of the island’s economic recovery was the government’s decision in 1992 to develop the tourism industry, which has gone a long way to replace the desperately needed foreign exchange the country had lost. Consequently, it came as no surprise that those wishing to see Cuba starve would want to damage its tourism-based economy through every conceivable form of sabotage. On the extreme end, Miami terrorists began to infiltrate the island to attack hotels and other tourist targets. Terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who recently sought asylum in the U.S., organized a string of bombings of hotels in 1997 in which an Italian tourist died. Not only did Posada admit this to the New York Times in 1998, but he acknowledged that the leaders of CANF had bankrolled his operations and that Mas Canosa was personally in charge of overseeing the flow of funds and logistical support to carry out the operations. Terrorist Orlando Bosch is also suspected of playing a major role in these attacks.

Another project for bringing about the downfall of Cuba’s revolution was the 1996 Helms-Burton Act. Title IV allows the U.S. to impose sanctions against foreign investors in Cuba whose investments allegedly involve properties expropriated from people who are now U.S. nationals. This law, which was intended to force foreign companies and countries to refrain from doing business with Cuba, was written by leaders of the CANF, Bacardi lawyers and Otto Reich. Helms-Burton also provided additional funding to support Cuban dissidents with the intent of destabilizing the government ­ an aspect of great interest to exile groups. Organizations outside Cuba would be in charge of these funds, and this has developed into a lucrative business for them. USAID alone has distributed more than $34 million in funds related to Cuba since 1996, including its support of Otto Reich’s CFC.

In an interview with Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina (Calvo and Declercq, The Cuban Exile Movement, Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2000), Menard said his group had been supporting dissidents in Cuba since September 1995 and has always considered Cuba “the priority in Latin America.” Coincidentally or not, the Helms-Burton Act was already making its way through Congress in January 1995. After Clinton signed the bill into law in 1996, he sent a special ambassador to Europe to meet with NGOs whose work involved Cuba to propose they support the dissident movement. RSF attended one such meeting in Paris in late 1996. RSF was also represented at a meeting called by Pax Christi Netherlands at the Hague to create a pressure group against the Cuban government and support the dissident movement, according to Calvo.

In September 1998 Menard traveled to Havana to recruit people to write stories for RSF to publish. He later told Calvo in his interview, “we give $50 a month each to around twenty journalists so they can survive and stay in the country.” But Menard’s first representative in Cuba, veteran journalist Nestor Baguer, disputed that description of the relationship in interviews he gave to Granma after he revealed that he had been working for state security while posing as a dissident. Baguer maintained that RSF would only pay for articles turned in, and that they had to attack the Cuban government. He did not consider most of the so-called independent journalists to be either independent or journalists; few had received any formal training and he was forced to severely edit their copy ­ something he called a “terrible penance.”

Baguer recalled the first conversation he had with the RSF head in the back of a rental car: “What he wanted was for it to come straight from here. It seems before he was getting fed from Miami. But he wanted to have his Cuban source so it would be more credible.” Noting the small amounts Cubans were paid for their articles, Baguer speculated Menard was doing a “great business” (Allard).

In May 2004 the State Department issued a report to the president by the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba. The report recommends $41 million in funding to promote Cuban “civil society” and specifically targets Cuban tourism. In Chapter I, “Hastening Cuba’s Transition,” part V, headed, “Deny Revenues to the Castro Regime,” there is a subheading, “Undermine Regime-sustaining Tourism,” which says, “Support efforts by NGOs in selected third countries to highlight human rights abuses in Cuba, as part of a broader effort to discourage tourist travel. This could be modeled after past initiatives, especially those by European NGOs, to boycott tourism to countries where there were broad human rights concerns.”

It does not take much to figure out which “European NGOs” have been boycotting tourism to Cuba. RSF is mentioned by name in the report in reference to its support for a jailed journalist whose writings it had published.

RSF’s patron at the CFC, Otto Reich, has a long history as a U.S. hit-man in Latin America. This includes helping to spring Orlando Bosch from prison in Venezuela while Reich was U.S. ambassador to that country under President Bush Sr. Bosch was in prison for blowing up a Cuban civilian passenger airplane, killing 73. His accomplice, Luis Posada Carriles, had already bribed his way out in 1985 and was working for the CIA in El Salvador, supplying the Contras from the Ilopango air base. Otto Reich was a major figure in the Iran-Contra scandal. Under the current Bush administration, Reich helped coordinate repeated attempts to oust Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He was transferred to the NSC in November 2002, and while there he oversaw the February 2004 coup against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide ­ an event in which RSF enthusiastically participated with a smear campaign against the Haitian leader.

Although Reporters without Borders’ attacks on Castro, Chavez and Aristide are perfectly aligned with the State Department’s policies, and though she admitted RSF was receiving money from Reich, Morillon denied that the government funding the group receives in any way affects its activities. She pointed out that RSF’s $50,000 payments from the CFC and a January grant of $40,000 from the National Endowment for Democracy only constitute a fraction of the organization’s budget. This is true, but Menard has other rich rightist friends in Europe and the U.S., including CFC director Manuel Cutillas, head of Bacardi. CFC’s executive director is Frank Calzon, another former director of CANF.

According to a January 20, 2004 article in El Nuevo Herald (“Reporters Without Borders Announces Campaign to Democratize Cuba”), Menard visited Miami that week and received a hero’s welcome. He was lionized in the press and honored by exile leaders at a dinner at Casa Bacardi. He met with the Cuban Liberty Council (a split-off from the CANF), the editors of The Miami Herald and Mayor Manny Diaz. Menard was also a guest on a Radio Mambí program hosted by government-funded exile leader Nancy Pérez Crespo, director of Nueva Prensa, a website which posts articles phoned in by Cuban dissidents. In the media he announced that RSF would be holding a meeting on March 18 with European political leaders in Brussels, headquarters of the European Union, to promote democratization in Cuba.

“In Brussels we want to propose elementary measures which can be applied to Cuba as a country that violates human rights,” Menard said. “Weren’t the European bank accounts of terrorists frozen? Why can’t that be done in the case of Cuba?” Menard was on a roll. He said the Brussels event would be just the beginning of new campaigns carried out by RSF in the European media to denounce repression in Cuba. Allard alleges Frank Calzon was also present at the meeting in Brussels, but the executive director refused to comment when he was reached by phone at the CFC.

So loyal is Robert Menard to his patrons at the State Department that he wrote an open letter to the European Commissioner for Development, Louis Michel, on the eve of the diplomat’s visit to Cuba this March (http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=12411). The European Union had decided to adopt a more constructive position with respect to Cuba, suspending economic sanctions that were imposed in June 2003 at the urging of Bush ally, former Spanish President Jose Maria Asnar. The State Department’s Richard Boucher condemned the decision to suspend sanctions on Cuba, as long as “objectives haven’t been reached,” and in his letter to Michel, Menard likewise urged the European Union to keep the pressure on Cuba.

In addition to its other sources of funding, RSF receives free publicity from Saatchi and Saatchi, the third pillar of the world’s fourth-largest marketing and public relations conglomerate, Publicis Groupe. Publicis enjoys a near-monopoly on French advertising and as a result, slick RSF propaganda is featured at no cost to the organization in Parisian dailies and supermarkets. It also enjoys free printing of the books it sells by Vivendi Universal Publishing. All of these services have to be factored into RSF’s budget. Although the reason for Publicis Groupe’s astounding generosity is not known, it is worth noting that a major Publicis client is Bacardi, whose 2001 advertising budget was just under $50 million.

DIANA BARAHONA is a freelance journalists and a member of the Northern California Media Guild. She has been an election observer in Venezuela and El Salvador and written other articles on RSF for the Guild Reporter (http://www.newsguild.org). She can be reached at dlbarahona@cs.com.
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