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Vietnam. It was the hope of the United States to force the Chinese to divert troops and
military resources away from these areas. The infant People's Republic of China was
undergoing a terrible test.
In between raids on China, the "Chinats" (as distinguished from the "Chicoms")
found time to clash frequently with Burmese troops, indulge in banditry, and become
the opium barons of The Golden Triangle, that slice of land encompassing parts of
Burma, Laos and Thailand which was the world's largest source of opium and heroin.
CIA pilots flew the stuff all over, to secure the cooperation of those in Thailand who
were important to the military operation, as a favor to their Nationalist clients, perhaps
even for the money, and, ironically, to serve as cover for their more illicit activities.
The Chinats in Burma kept up their harassment of the Chicoms until 1961 and the
CIA continued to supply them militarily, but at some point the Agency began to phase
itself out of a more direct involvement. When the CIA, in response to repeated protests
by the Burmese Government to the United States and the United Nations, put pressure
on the Chinats to leave Burma, Chiang responded by threatening to expose the Agency's
covert support of his troops there. At an earlier stage, the CIA had entertained the hope
that the Chinese would be provoked into attacking Burma, thereby forcing the strictly
neutral Burmese to seek salvation in the Western camp.22 In January 1961, the Chinese
did just that, but as part of a combined force with the Burmese to overwhelm the
Nationalists' main base and mark finis to their Burmese adventure. Burma subsequently
renounced American aid and moved closer to Peking.23 For many of the Chinats,
unemployment was short-lived. They soon signed up with the CIA again; this time to
fight with the Agency's grand army in Laos.
Burma was not the only jumping-off site for CIA-organized raids into China.
Several islands within about five miles of the Chinese coast, particularly Quemoy and
Matsu, were used as bases for hit-and-run attacks, often in battalion strength, for
occasional bombing forays, and to blockade mainland ports. Chiang was "brutally
pressured" by the US to build up his troops on the islands beginning around 1953 as a
demonstration of Washington's new policy of "unleashing" him.24


23
The Chinese retaliated several times with heavy artillery attacks on Quemoy, on
one occasion killing two American military officers. The prospect of an escalated war
led the US later to have second thoughts and to ask Chiang to abandon the islands, but
he then refused. The suggestion has often been put forward that Chiang's design was to
embroil the United States in just such a war as his one means of returning to the
mainland.25
Many incursions into China were made by smaller, commando-type teams air-
dropped in for intelligence and sabotage purposes. In November 1952, two CIA
officers, John Downey and Richard Fecteau, who had been engaged in flying these
teams in and dropping supplies to them, were shot down and captured by the
communists. Two years passed before Peking announced the capture and sentencing of
the two men. The State Department broke its own two-year silence with indignation,
claiming that the two men had been civilian employees of the US Department of the
Army in Japan who were presumed lost on a flight from Korea to Japan. "How they
came into the hands of the Chinese Communists is unknown to the United States ... the
continued wrongful detention of these American citizens furnishes further proof of the
Chinese Communist regime's disregard for accepted practices of international
conduct."26
Fecteau was released in December 1971, shortly before President Nixon's trip to
China; Downey was not freed until March 1973, soon after Nixon publicly
acknowledged him to be a CIA officer.
The Peking announcement in 1954 also revealed that eleven American airmen
had been shot down over China in January 1953 while on a mission which had as its
purpose the "air-drop of special agents into China and the Soviet Union". These men
were luckier, being freed after only 2 1/2 years. All told, said the Chinese, they had
killed 106 American and Taiwanese agents who had parachuted into China between
1951 and 1954 and had captured 124 others. Although the CIA had little, if anything, to
show for its commando actions, it reportedly maintained the program until at least
1960.27
There were many other CIA flights over China for purely espionage purposes,
carried out by high-altitude U-2 planes, pilot-less "drones", and other aircraft. These
over-flights began around the late 1950s and were not discontinued until 1971, to
coincide with Henry Kissinger's first visit to Peking. The operation was not without
incident. Several U-2 planes were shot down and even more of the drones, 19 of the
latter by Chinese count between 1964 and 1969. China registered hundreds of "serious
warnings" about violations of its air space, and on at least one occasion American
aircraft crossed the Chinese border and shot down a Mig-17.28
It would seem that no degree of failure or paucity of result was enough to deter
the CIA from seeking new ways to torment the Chinese in the decade following their
revolution. Tibet was another case in point. The Peking government claimed Tibet as
part of China, as had previous Chinese governments for more than two centuries,
although many Tibetans still regarded themselves as autonomous or independent. The
United States made its position clear during the war:

The Government of the United States has borne in mind the fact that the Chinese
Government has long claimed suzerainty over Tibet and that the Chinese
constitution lists Tibet among areas constituting the territory of the Republic of
China. This Government has at no time raised a question regarding either of
these claims.29




24
After the communist revolution, Washington officials tended to be more
equivocal about the matter. But US actions against Tibet had nothing to do with the
niceties of international law.
In the mid-1950s, the CIA began to recruit Tibetan refugees and exiles in
neighboring countries such as India and Nepal. Amongst their number were members of
the Dalai Lama's guard, often referred to picturesquely as "the fearsome Khamba
horsemen", and others who had already engaged in some guerrilla activity against
Peking rule and/or the profound social changes being instituted by the revolution.
(Serfdom and slavery were, liter-ally, still prevalent in Tibet.] Those selected were
flown to the United States, to an unused military base high in the Colorado mountains,
an altitude approximating that of their mountainous homeland. There, hidden away as
much as possible from the locals, they were trained in the fine points of paramilitary
warfare.
After completing training, each group of Tibetans was flown to Taiwan or another
friendly Asian country, thence to be infiltrated back into Tibet, or elsewhere in China,
where they occupied themselves in activities such as sabotage, mining roads, cutting
communication lines, and ambushing small communist forces. Their actions were
supported by CIA aircraft and on occasion led by Agency contract mercenaries.
Extensive support facilities were constructed in northeast India.
The operation in Colorado was maintained until some time in the 1960s. How
many hundreds of Tibetans passed through the course of instruction will probably never
be known. Even after the formal training program came to an end, the CIA continued to
finance and supply their exotic clients and nurture their hopeless dream of reconquering
their homeland.
In 1961, when the New York Times got wind of the Colorado operation, it acceded
to a Pentagon request to probe no further.30 The matter was particularly sensitive
because the CIA's 1947 charter and Congress's interpretation of it had traditionally
limited the Agency's domestic operations to information collection.
Above and beyond the bedevilment of China on its own merits, there was the
spillover from the Korean war into Chinese territory”numerous bombings and strafings
by American planes which, the Chinese frequently reported, took civilian lives and
destroyed homes. And there was the matter of germ warfare.
The Chinese devoted a great deal of effort to publicizing their claim that the
United States, particularly during January to March 1952, had dropped quantities of
bacteria and bacteria-laden insects over Korea and northeast China. It presented
testimony of about 38 captured American airmen who had purportedly flown the planes
with the deadly cargo. Many of the men went into voluminous detail about the entire
operation: the kinds of bombs and other containers dropped, the types of insects, the
diseases they carried, etc. At the same time, photographs of the alleged germ bombs and
insects were published. Then, in August, an "International Scientific Committee" was
appointed, composed of scientists from Sweden, France, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil and
the Soviet Union. After an investigation in China of more than two months, the
committee produced a report of some 600 pages, many photos, and the conclusion that:

The peoples of Korea and China have indeed been the objectives of
bacteriological weapons. These have been employed by units of the U.S.A.
armed forces, using a great variety of different methods for the purpose, some of
which seem to be developments of those applied by the Japanese during the
second world war.31




25
The last reference has to do with the bacteriological warfare experiments the
Japanese had carried out against China between 1940 and 1942. The Japanese scientists
responsible for this program were captured by the United States in 1945 and given
immunity from prosecution in return for providing technical information about the
experiments to American scientists from the Army biological research center at Fort
Detrick, Maryland. The Chinese were aware of this at the time of the International
Scientific Committee's investigation.32

It should be noted that some of the American airmen's statements contained so
much technical biological information and were so full of communist rhetoric”
"imperialist, capitalist Wall Street war monger" and the like”that their personal
authorship of the statements must be seriously questioned. Moreover, it was later
learned that most of the airmen had confessed only after being subjected to physical
abuse.33
But in view of what we have since learned about American involvement with
chemical and biological weapons, the Chinese claims cannot be dismissed out of hand.
In 1970, for example, the New York Times reported that during the Korean War, when
US forces were overwhelmed by "human waves' of Chinese, "the Army dug into
captured Nazi chemical warfare documents describing Sarin, a nerve gas so lethal that a
few pounds could kill thousands of people in minutes. ... By the mid-nineteen-fifties,
the Army was manufacturing thousands of gallons of Sarin."34
And during the 1950s and 1960s, the Army and the CIA conducted numerous
experiments with biological agents within the United States. To cite just two examples:
In 1955, there is compelling evidence that the CIA released whooping-cough bacteria
into the open air in Florida, followed by an extremely sharp increase in the incidence of
the disease in the state that year.35 The following year, another toxic substance was
disseminated in the streets and tunnels of New York City.36
We will also see in the chapter on Cuba how the CIA conducted chemical and
biological warfare against Fidel Castro's rule.

In March 1966, Secretary of State Dean Rusk spoke before a congressional
committee about American policy toward China. Mr. Rusk, it seems, was perplexed that
"At times the Communist Chinese leaders seem to be obsessed with the notion that they
are being threatened and encircled." He spoke of China's "imaginary, almost
pathological, notion that the United States and other countries around its borders are
seeking an opportunity to invade mainland China and destroy the Peiping [Peking]
regime". The Secretary then added:

How much Peiping's "fear" of the United States is genuine and how much it is artificially induced
for domestic political purposes only the Chinese Communist leaders themselves know. I am convinced,
however, that their desire to expel our influence and activity from the western Pacific and Southeast Asia
is not motivated by fears that we are threatening them.37




26
2. Italy 1947-1948
Free elections, Hollywood style
"Those who do not believe in the ideology of the United States, shall not be
allowed to stay in the United States," declared the American Attorney General, Tom
Clark, in January 1948.1
In March, the Justice Department, over which Clark presided, determined that
Italians who did not believe in the ideology of the United States would not be allowed to
emigrate to, or even enter, the United States.
This was but one tactic in a remarkable American campaign to ensure that
Italians who did not believe in the ideology of the United States would not be allowed to
form a government of a differing ideology in Italy in their election of 1948.
Two years earlier, the Italian Communist Party (PCI), one of the largest in the
world,] and the Socialist Party (PSI) had together garnered more votes and more seats in
the Constituent Assembly election than the Christian Democrats. But the two parties of
the left had run separate candidates and thus had to be content with some ministerial
posts in a coalition cabinet under a Christian Democrat premier. The results,
nonetheless, spoke plainly enough to put the fear of Marx into the Truman
administration.
For the 1948 election, scheduled for 18 April, the PCI and PSI united to form
the Popular Democratic Front (FDP) and in February won municipal elections in
Pescara with a 10 percent increase in their vote over 1946. The Christian Democrats ran
a poor second. The prospect of the left winning control of the Italian government
loomed larger than ever before. It was at this point that the US began to train its big
economic and political guns upon the Italian people. All the good ol' Yankee know-
how, all the Madison Avenue savvy in the art of swaying public opinion, all the
Hollywood razzmatazz would be brought to bear on the "target market".
Pressing domestic needs in Italy, such as agricultural and economic reform, the
absence of which produced abysmal extremes of wealth and poverty, were not to be the
issues of the 1 day. The lines of battle would be drawn around the question of
"democracy" vs. "communism" (the idea of "capitalism" remaining discreetly to one
side). The fact that the Communists had been the single most active anti-fascist group in
Italy during the war, undergoing ruthless persecution, while the Christian Democrat
government of 1948 and other electoral opponents on the right were riddled through
with collaborators, monarchists and plain unreconstructed fascists ... this too would be
ignored; indeed, turned around. It was now a matter of Communist "dictatorship" vs.
their adversaries' love of "freedom"; this was presumed a priori. As one example, a
group of American congressmen visited Italy in summer 1947 and casually and
arbitrarily concluded that "The country is under great pressure from within and without
to veer to the left and adopt a totalitarian-collective national organization."2
To make any of this at all credible, the whole picture had to be pushed and
squeezed into the frame of The American Way of Life vs. The Soviet Way of Life, a
specious proposition which must have come as somewhat of a shock to leftists who
regarded themselves as Italian and neither Russian nor American.
In February 1948, after non-Communist ministers in Czechoslovakia had
boycotted cabinet meetings over a dispute concerning police hiring practices, the
Communist government dissolved the coalition cabinet and took sole power. The Voice
of America pointed to this event repeatedly, as a warning to the Italian people of the fate


27
awaiting them if Italy "went Communist" (and used as well by anti-communists for
decades afterward as a prime example of communist duplicity). Yet, by all appearances,
the Italian Christian Democrat government and the American government had conspired
the previous year in an even more blatant usurpation of power.
In January 1947, when Italian Premier Alcide de Gasperi visited Washington at
the United States' invitation, his overriding concern was to plead for crucial financial
assistance for his war-torn, impoverished country. American officials may have had a
different priority. Three days after returning to Italy, de Gasperi unexpectedly dissolved
his cabinet, which included several Communists and Socialists. The press reported that
many people in Italy believed that de Gasperi's action was related to his visit to the
United States and was aimed at decreasing leftist, principally Communist, influence in
the government. After two weeks of tortuous delay, the formation of a center or center-
right government sought by de Gasperi proved infeasible; the new cabinet still included
Communists and Socialists although the left had lost key positions, notably the
ministries of foreign affairs and finance.
From this point until May, when de Gasperi's deputy, Ivan Lombardo, led a
mission to Washington to renew the request for aid, promised loans were "frozen" by
the United States for reasons not very clear. On several occasions during this period the
Italian left asserted their belief that the aid was being held up pending the ouster of
leftists from the cabinet. The New York Times was moved to note that, "Some observers
here feel that a further Leftward swing in Italy would retard aid." As matters turned out,
the day Lombardo arrived in Washington, de Gasperi again dissolved his entire cabinet
and suggested that the new cabinet would manage without the benefit of leftist
members. This was indeed what occurred, and over the ensuing few months,
exceedingly generous American financial aid flowed into Italy, in addition to the
cancellation of the nation's $1 billion debt to the United States.3
At the very same time, France, which was also heavily dependent upon
American financial aid, ousted all its Communist ministers as well. In this case there
was an immediate rationale: the refusal of the Communist ministers to support Premier
Ramadier in a vote of confidence over a wage freeze. Despite this, the ouster was
regarded as a "surprise" and considered "bold" in France, and opinion was widespread
that American loans were being used, or would be used, to force France to align with
the US. Said Ramadier: "A little of our independence is departing from us with each

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