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Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center


Tasked with ensuring public safety and national security, the US military and intelligence sectors receive billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars each year. They present themselves as the good guys on a mission to make the world a better place and stop corrupt governments across the globe. Yet too often, many national security decisions aren't in the best interests of American society or global populations.

Over the last 20+ years, WantToKnow.info has summarized over a thousand news articles on deep corruption within our military and intelligence systems. Going deeper, we have gathered a comprehensive collection of verifiable resources, videos, books, and declassified government documents. In this information center, we’ll present a sobering investigation into the US war machine: what it is, who benefits, and who pays the price. The true impacts of US military-intelligence activities in countries all over the world are examined, from World War II to our present moment in time.

Conflict, war, and perceived national security threats provide a common focus for military and CIA partnership. Military activity is heavily informed by CIA intelligence, and public support for this activity is secured by pro-war narratives and voices flooding our media system. What is really going on behind closed doors and on the battlefields is rarely covered in the news, if only for a brief glimpse.

The mainstream press often downplays how ineffective, harmful, and wasteful our current national security strategy is. Over the past century, the CIA’s covert actions have led to countless deaths, human rights abuses, and the undemocratic toppling of numerous foreign governments. While entrenched bureaucracy may be responsible for some of these government agency failings, deeper covert actions within our government have led to chaos and suffering in America and all over the world. Major cover-ups and horrific crimes within the military-intelligence complex continue to remain largely hidden from public awareness.

What is presented in this information center will likely be challenging, sad, and shocking for those who want to know. Yet real information can be empowering. It helps us understand the root causes of human and environmental suffering: the money, players, and belief systems that drive the machine. It invites us to question authority in healthy ways, across political differences. Yet most importantly, challenging information can paradoxically remind us of the greater good. It is the courage of the people and the love for the common good that bring these injustices to light—fueling open dialogue and constructive action.


Unaccountable Military Spending

The military keeps a lot of little things secret. Most people know the phrase "follow the money." Unfortunately, following the money is impossible when it comes to keeping track of the flow of US taxpayer dollars at the Pentagon. The US military has consistently failed to keep track of the money it spends. As the defense budget speeds towards $1 trillion, the Pentagon failed an independent audit of its accounting systems for the sixth consecutive year in 2023. In 2022, the Pentagon couldn't properly account for 61% of its $3.5 trillion in assets. That figure increased in 2023, with the department insufficiently documenting 63% of its now $3.8 trillion in assets. We've covered the shocking extent of military waste and trillions missing from US DoD accounts since 2003, as documented here.

In 2021, President Joe Biden declared that the United States was “not at war” for the first time in 20 years. However, this is far from the case. Even members of Congress are uninformed about the presence of US military forces in countries all over the world. This is partly due to the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force enacted in 2001, which allows for secret operations primarily conducted by the CIA. Investigations have indicated that the United States has pumped millions into fighting more than a dozen "secret wars" over the last two decades. Since 2008, the US has supported at least nine coups in African countries, with a vast network of military bases scattered across the continent.

Going deeper, military black budgets are even more challenging to calculate. Military black budgets fund classified government programs, psychological operations, special forces operations, occult shoulder patches created for top secret programs, and other clandestine military activities. Former intelligence contractor and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a vast network of over a dozen spy agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community, funded by a $52.6 billion "black budget" for fiscal 2013. When the US Space Force was created in 2019, an investigation by Forbes revealed how much of the US Air Force budget was shrouded in secrecy, where “literally hundreds of line items in the proposed budget” were classified.

“People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy,” [journalist Andrew Cockburn] quotes a former Air Force colonel as saying. “They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy. It is: ‘Don’t interrupt the money flow.’” If you’re still not convinced, the proof of this unpalatable pudding is in the eating. Consider America’s just-concluded 20-year war in Afghanistan. As the Taliban took over the country in days, it seemed that the whole thing was a colossal failure. But if you check your portfolio of defense contractor stocks ... you’ll see that, in fact, it was an incredible success.

— Excerpt from The Intercept, “‘The Spoils of War:’ How Profits Rather than Empire Define Success for the Pentagon


Arms Industry Corruption

Once weapons were manufactured to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured to sell weapons.
— Arundhati Roy

The US dominates the global arms sales industry. Data released in 2023 indicates that the U.S. sold weapons to nearly 60 percent of the world’s authoritarian nations in 2022. Year after year, half of the Pentagon budget doesn’t go to those fighting on the battlegrounds. It goes to corporate weapons contractors who profit lavishly from war. As one defense executive flat-out told Reuters at Europe’s biggest arms fair, "war is good for business."

From the Middle East, Ukraine, China, Saudi Arabia, and to Nigeria, US arms sales have done little to promote stability and democracy in geopolitically impacted regions. Read an incredibly comprehensive report by The Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, which illustrates how US arms sales have only fueled unnecessary conflict and war.

Powerful banks like JP Morgan Chase and asset management firms like Blackrock and Vanguard have emerged as major players in the business of war. Some of the world’s biggest banks fund the deadly cluster bomb trade, even as more than 100 countries have banned the unethical use of cluster bombs.

These powerful financial entities are top shareholders of weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Together, the arms industry and the elite financial sector receive more federal money than most federal agencies. In 2022, Lockheed Martin received $106 from the average taxpayer, which is four times more than what taxpayers spent on primary and secondary education. Few Americans would support these war profiteers if they knew where their tax money was going.

Roughly two-thirds of current conflicts — 34 out of 46 — involve one or more parties armed by the United States. In some cases U.S. arms sales to combatants in these wars are modest, while in others they play a major role in fueling and sustaining the conflict. Of the U.S.-supplied nations at war, 15 received $50 million or more worth of U.S. arms between 2017 and 2021. This contradicts the longstanding argument that U.S. arms routinely promote stability and deter conflict. While some U.S. transfers are used for legitimate defensive purposes, others exacerbate conflicts, increase tensions, and fuel regional arms races. There is a pronounced lack of transparency about the role of U.S. arms in many of these wars, but the fact that U.S. weapons are going to so many conflict zones is a concern in its own right, and demands better tracking of the precise role of U.S.-supplied equipment.

Washington needs to take steps to ensure that the financial interests of a handful of weapons contractors do not drive critical U.S. arms export policy decisions. Of the $101 billion in major arms offers since the Biden administration took office, over 58 percent involved weapons systems produced by four companies: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, and General Dynamics. The concentrated lobbying power of these companies — including a “revolving door” from the Pentagon’s arms sales agency and the leveraging of weapons export-related jobs into political influence — has been brought to bear in efforts to expand U.S. weapons exports to as many foreign clients as possible, often by helping to exaggerate threats.

— Excerpt from Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, “Promoting Stability or Fueling Conflict? The Impact of U.S. Arms Sales on National and Global Security


Human Rights Abuses and The Murder of Innocent Civilians

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.
— Howard Zinn

4.5 million people have directly and indirectly been killed as a result of the US post-9/11 wars. For this and other reasons, many are questioning whether US interference in the affairs of other countries will lead to the democracy, freedom, and human rights protection it promises. In the recent past, counterproductive violent conflicts involving the US have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people with the lethal use of Signature Strikes authorized by the Obama administration and with CIA-backed Zero Units in Afghanistan, in which the US made virtually no effort to distinguish noncombatants.

In the tragic war between Israelis and Palestinians that escalated in the wake of the Hamas attack in 2023, the US was one of the few countries to vote down a humanitarian pause to the violence in Gaza, where it is estimated a Palestinian child is being killed every 15 minutes. Instead, the US has only fueled the violence in the Gaza strip by allowing Israel to have full access to US arms and ammunition.

I asked what the impacts would likely be if pictures of people killed by the U.S. military's bombing campaigns were on the front pages of American newspapers. "I am in favor, unreservedly, of making people aware what the human consequences are of what we're doing – where we are killing people, what the real interests appear to be involved, who is benefiting from this, what are the circumstances of the killing.

Daniel Ellsberg, heroic whistleblower and former US military analyst

The public receives censored and sanitized versions of war from the government and the media. Yet in reality, unethical violations of domestic and international human rights law are common and often kept hidden. Rape, torture, and sexual and psychological abuse are deeply embedded into the war machine. US defense contractors are especially notorious for being involved in sexual abuse crimes and scandals.

US troops have been the subject of secret experimentation including mind control experiments. The horrors of war have left countless veterans with military sexual trauma, deep shame, enormous PTSD, and tragic rates of suicide. According to a new report, four times as many US service members and veterans have died by suicide than have been killed in combat since 9/11.

Through government reports, it was discovered that US soldiers and marines were told to ignore the horrific sexual abuse of boys by US-funded and trained Afghan militias on American military bases, through a disturbing practice called bacha bazi. The American officers that wanted to intervene could not, and some of them were disciplined for speaking out. A declassified report by The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) indicated 6,000 accusations of child sexual abuse reported by American military personnel, with no actions taken in response.

Some of them will be okay. They will live with the secrets. They can dissociate from what happened in combat because it was part of the job. The silence is part of a code, and they honour that code above all else. But for others, the secrets they keep are like a poison, slowly releasing toxins of shame and remorse. Who can they tell anyway? The Abu Ghraib prison regime and the Haditha massacre of innocent Iraqis are not isolated incidents perpetrated by bad seeds as the military suggests, but evidence of an endemic problem. They will say they were tasked to do terrible things and point the finger up the chain of command.

— Excerpt from The Telegraph, “Patriot missiles: Iraq Veterans Against the War


Environmental Harms

War is hazardous to human health, animals, and Earth. From noise pollution impacting whales on a tragic scale to strategies for controlling weather patterns, military agendas show little concern for the environmental damages they manufacture. US Air Force (USAF) reports reveal astonishing plans to “control the weather,” as described in their 1996 report 44-page report, “Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025.” As the report disappeared from the USAF website in 2021, we downloaded a copy that is available here.

In 1977, the Senate's subcommittee on health discovered that the US Army secretly conducted major bio-weapons tests on American cities and public transportation in the 1940s through the 1960s. Captured by the fear that the Soviet Union was perfecting germ warfare, American scientists worked with the Army to develop their own version of this technology and released biological pathogens into public spaces 239 times. In 1966, military researchers in New York spread Bacillus subtilis variant Niger in the subway system by dropping lightbulbs filled with bacteria onto tracks in midtown Manhattan stations. Testing a bacteria that would mimic the dispersal of deadly biological agents like Anthrax, the Army also spread Bacillus globigii, or BG, which posed a risk to people with compromised immune systems. Hundreds of thousands of people in the larger San Francisco Bay Area were exposed to a bacterial cloud of serratia particles, which led to 11 people contracting a painful, hard-to-treat form of meningitis. A few months later, one man died. Stanford doctors even wrote these incidents up in a medical journal, as the outbreak was so unusual. There is compelling evidence that the Army’s biological warfare tests have permanently changed the microbial ecology of this region.

During the Vietnam War, the US sprayed about 12 million gallons of Agent Orange, a toxic herbicide, over areas of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. About 1 million people were disabled or suffered health problems as a result. Sadly, the chemical dioxin in Agent Orange still remains toxic in the soil, lakes, river sediments, and the food chain. The US also secretly seeded clouds over Vietnam and Laos to increase and control the rainfall for military purposes, adding a chemical that “produced a rain that had an acidic quality to it and it would foul up mechanical equipment.” HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) was a little-known, yet critically important U.S. military defense project which generated quite a bit of controversy over its alleged weather control capabilities.

The Department of Defense is dependent on thousands of weapons and products that contain perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS. They’re called forever chemicals as these substances don’t break down in the environment and can build up in the human body. PFAS are linked to serious health conditions: cancer, liver damage, hormonal disruption, reproductive issues, reduced sperm count, reduced immune response, and more. These chemicals have contaminated almost half of US tap water and significantly polluted farmland. As environmental advocates call for the banning of PFAS, Pentagon officials have recently objected to the elimination of these toxic chemicals, claiming that any ban would undermine national security.

Currently, thousands of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology satellites approved by the Federal Communications Commission are paving a path for the increasing militarization of space. In 2020, the DoD announced $600 million in awards to advance its 5G capabilities, claiming that 5G technology has the potential to transform the military, and give the Pentagon “instant situational awareness anywhere on Earth.” Safe Tech International is a nonprofit organization, who educates the public about emerging technologies that are incompatible with human health, environment, and life. Below is an excerpt from their comprehensive information center, which calls attention to the environmental concerns of this unprecedented and massive satellite rollout:

Dangers posed by satellites include space debris, collisions, depletion of the ozone layer; risk of devastating cyber attacks, pollution from rocket launches and from “dead” satellites burning up in the atmosphere; plutonium and uranium spills from nuclear-powered satellites, and space vehicles; increase in already harmful levels of electromagnetic radiation, compromise of the night sky, interference with both astronomical research and weather forecasting; effects on wildlife and including navigation, yet more tracking, surveillance and erosion of privacy; vastly more energy consumption and mining for minerals and metals on land, in the sky, and in the ocean, and the “promise” of increasing the lethality of war.

— Excerpt from Safe Tech International, “Microwaving Our Planet


Emerging Warfare Technology

The problem we face is not that machines may one day exercise power over humans. That is speculation unwarranted by current developments. It is rather that we already live in societies in which power is exercised by a few to the detriment of the majority, and that technology provides a means of consolidating that power.

— science and political journalist Kenan Malik

The DoD has ambitious plans for full spectrum dominance, seeking control over all potential battlespaces: land, ocean, air, outerspace, and cyberspace. Artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies are being used to further these agendas, reshaping the military and geopolitical landscape in unprecedented ways. While some fear a violent geopolitical future fueled by AI, it’s important to remember that these technologies are programmed by the governments, corporations and humans that employ them for political ends.

The lethal autonomous weapons that are currently in development are small, cheap to produce, and easy to assemble. As Stuart Russell, computer science professor at University of California Berkeley states, "I can simply launch a million [autonomous weapons] at once if I want to wipe out an entire city or an entire ethnic group.”

Three decades into the deadly US drone warfare program, it is estimated that American air strikes have killed at least 22,679 civilians and possibly up to 48,308 of them. In 2018, Google employees raised concern of the Silicon Valley and military alliance when they called for an end to Project Maven, a controversial DoD program that used Google artificial intelligence to analyze drone footage, which automatically classifies images of objects and people. Project Maven led to the first mass resignation at Google, along with thousands of employees voicing their opinions that Google shouldn’t be involved in military work at all. In response, Google did not extend its contract with the DoD the following year.

The detached nature of drone warfare has anonymized and dehumanized the enemy, greatly diminishing the necessary psychological barriers of killing.

— law expert Dr. Salah Sharief

The Pentagon has also spent billions of dollars on complicated weapons systems that don’t work, are unproven, or don’t have enough humans to power them. The Pentagon paid hundreds of millions for the MQ-9 Reaper drones, which don’t have enough pilots to operate them, are ridden with electrical failures, and have led to countless crashes. US taxpayers will pay $1.7 trillion for the F-35 jet program, which has been plagued with failures. Engine malfunction, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and confusing video displays and software glitches with its $400,000 helmet. Yet worst off, only a small percentage of F-35s are actually ready for combat and able to perform its stated capabilities.


Non-Lethal Weapons

Largely developed and used in top secret projects, non-lethal weapons are devices that beam various kinds of energy (millimeter waves, pulsed energy projectiles, and high power magnetic weapons) at human targets. Using the electromagnetic spectrum, these technologies can temporarily incapacitate people, or control or affect their behavior. The use of non-lethal weapons often violates the accepted standards of human rights worldwide.

These experimental weapons have already been used on people in a variety of circumstances, as evidenced in these news articles from the mainstream media. Hazel O’Leary, the Secretary of Energy under Clinton, warned that over a 40 year period, 500,000 had been unwitting test subjects for military research on non-lethal weapons.

It is well-documented that sound weapons developed for war are increasingly used against civilian populations and protestors.

These technologies have demonstrated the ability to knock demonstrators off their feet and induce nausea. Acoustic or sonic weapons can vibrate the insides of humans to stun them, nauseate them, or even "liquefy their bowels and reduce them to quivering diarrheic messes," according to a Pentagon briefing. These devices can also cause excruciating pain, with some able to heat up skin from a distance and others that can beam sound into the skull of a human. And then there is “Havana Syndrome.” When mysterious episodes were causing brain injuries and other health concerns in spies, diplomats, soldiers and other U.S. personnel, a 2020 report by the National Academy of Sciences stated that a microwave weapon probably caused the injuries.

Non-lethal weapons research came out of covert CIA programs, which were exposed in landmark investigations of the national security agencies by Congress in the 1970s. For a deeper dive, explore the disturbing history of government mind control programs dating back to the 1950s.


Mission Creep

We define mission creep as the progressive expansion of military-intelligence operations beyond its original mission and scope. Over 80% of four-star retirees are employed in the defense industry, which illustrates the blurred lines between public and private sectors, and the increasing overlap between corporate and military interests.

Mission creep reveals the deeper question of whether it benefits society for the military and intelligence communities to have such a large role in influencing US policy, Hollywood, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon Web Services, social media platforms, and other public spheres. The CIA even secretly spends millions of dollars staging scientific conferences around the world.

The Pentagon’s 1033 Program allows the DoD to give state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies lethal and non-lethal warfare weapons, many of which have been used on peaceful protesters. Under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, hundreds of letters from local law enforcement agencies written to DoD reveal the willingness to use military warfare vehicles and weapons for even the most basic routine tasks: making traffic stops; serving search warrants; responding to domestic violence; responding to people threatening suicide. The 1033 Program has shipped over $7.4 billion of DoD property to more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies.


Torture Programs Throughout US History

Landmark investigations of the national security agencies by Congress in the 1970s exposed disturbing accounts of torture by doctors and scientists working with the CIA under the auspices of the MKUltra program beginning in the 1950s. Skip down below to read more about the MKUltra program.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the CIA built a state-sanctioned torture program that set up a global network of secret torture prisions for terrorism “suspects” who were denied any form of due process. 6,700 pages long, the Torture Report was the longest investigative report ever conducted in the Senate Intelligence Committee history. Over the course of 5 years, the Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed over 6 million pages of CIA records, including but not limited to: operational cables, internal memos, emails, letters, briefing materials, classified testimony, and summaries of over 100 CIA inspector general interviews with CIA personnel. Most of the report remains classified.

The public was never meant to see any of these horrific war crimes, which caused profound damage to hundreds of people, many of them innocent. These crimes also prevented real justice for the individuals and families directly impacted by the 9/11 attacks. Due to the disturbing nature of these covert torture programs, the CIA made remarkable efforts to cover up their tracks, and relentlessly targeted whistleblowers who spoke out. Yet despite the brutality that was exposed and the fact that the US federal law makes torture a crime, no one has been charged in connection with the CIA torture program. Many of the architects and enablers of the program are now in powerful and esteemed positions in academia, high levels of government, the federal judiciary, and more.

Physicians for Human Rights have published a series of reports and papers that document the investigations carried out since 2001 about the U.S. government’s authorization and use of extreme and abusive interrogation methods on detainees. For further research, explore our archive of important news article summaries on America’s torture programs from reliable media sources.

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba was a product of the War on Terror, where terrorism suspects could be detained without process and interrogated without restraint. Since 2002, almost 800 men have been detained without any real charges or trials for due process. Now, about 30 prisoners remain at the prison, and it is estimated that detaining each prisoner costs $13 million. Most of them were subjected to torture and brutal treatment, and leaked files reveal US military analysts acknowledging that many Guantanamo Bay detainees were innocent.

In 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can shield former government contractors testifying about the torture of a post-9/11 detainee Abu Zubaydah, who was one of the first prisoners held by the CIA. To this day, the government has never brought any charges against him, presumably because he has committed no crime.

During one 20-day period, [Abu Zubaydah] was waterboarded 83 times, 24 hours a day. During that period, the suspected terrorist was also slammed against walls, put in a coffin-like box for hours at a time to simulate live burial, and subjected to something the government called "rectal rehydration." In the end, the two CIA contractors who supervised Zubaydah's interrogation concluded that they had the wrong man.

— excerpt from NPR, “Supreme Court rules against disclosure in torture case


War as a Tool for Hidden Agendas

Oil. Rare earth minerals. Semiconductor chips. The illegal drug trade, from the Korean War to the Afghanistan War. These considerations all motivate international power struggles, with the US attempting to maintain its dominance at every turn. Thus, wars are often started to further economic and foreign policy interests.

In some cases, wars are started under false pretenses, such as false flag attacks. Government documents released through the Freedom of Information Act show top Pentagon generals once approved plans to foment terrorism and kill innocent civilians in major US cities as a justification for war with Cuba. The operation was not carried out because the Kennedy administration refused to implement the Pentagon’s plans. We have also captured revealing evidence that indicates 9/11 had hallmarks of a false flag attack, with former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski testifying to the Senate that the war on terror is "a mythical historical narrative." Explore compelling evidence that the entire war on terror is a fraud.

General Smedley Butler was a celebrated U.S. general who exposed major war corruption he personally experienced in his book, War is a Racket.

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

— General Smedley Butler, War is a Racket


War Failures and Lies

Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.
— Jim Morrison

After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, a sophisticated public relations campaign was launched by Kuwait to secure support for US military intervention. This effort was spearheaded by PR firm Hill & Knowlton, which was paid $10.7 million to sway public opinion in favor of war. This firm swayed public opinion in part by telling and repeating a terrible lie. The American public was told that Iraqi soldiers had killed babies in incubators during the invasion of Kuwait. A congressional committee even heard testimony to that effect. Top tier newspapers like The Washington Post were fooled by the incubator baby hoax. Initially, everyone bought the lie, including politicians. Congress authorized military intervention in 1991. The war was over before anyone really understood that they'd been fooled.

George H.W. Bush and powerful US neoconservative allies had long been preparing carefully for this war. After supporting Iraq’s invasion of Iran, bleeding Iran’s energy, oil and military resources, the US turned its military machine against Iraq. Using Kuwait as a launchpad for invasion, the Bush administration relentlessly unleashed terrible weapons against Iraq such as cluster bombs, napalm, and white phosphorus. American weapons destroyed Iraq’s electrical, sewage, and water systems, leading to terrible and long term consequences for the Iraqi people. Economic sanctions strangled the devastated Iraqi economy. This was the Gulf War of 1990, in which the US would declare a victory.

Yet who were the winners? US oil companies, big banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank, military contractors, and neoconservative hardliners all profited immensely from the conflict. Through its bloody wars in the Middle East, the US effectively stymied technological advancement and economic growth throughout the region. Meanwhile, other places in the Middle East, like Israel, Egypt and Turkey, all bought billions of dollars worth of US arms and weapons.

The US war machine also has a well-documented history of backing extremist groups as part of its foreign policy agendas. In the 1980s, CIA director William Casey persuaded US Congress to provide radical Muslims like Osama Bin Laden and the militant Mujaheddin of Afghanistan with US warfare training and missiles to shoot down Soviet planes. Yet after defeating the Soviets over the course of a brutal decade, radical Islam would turn its attention to the US, seeking retaliation for their war crimes and bloodshed throughout the Middle East. This, in part, precipitated the horrific attacks on 9/11.

It’s also been proven that the CIA has supported the Contras in Nicaragua and Islamic extremist groups in war-torn Syria, with Pentagon-trained Kurdish militia group fighting with CIA-trained militia group Fursan al Haq (who fights alongside Al-Qaeda).

In light of the current Ukraine-Russia war, the agency’s latest covert action involves supporting Neo-Nazis in Ukraine since at least 2014, the year of the far-right coup that overthrew pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych and incorporated the Nazi group Azov Battalion into the country’s National Guard. Since then, declassified government documents show that Ukraine was systematically developed as a proxy for US war against Russia. A former CIA official reported that the US was training an insurgency of Ukrainians on how “to kill Russians” in a secret CIA training program that started in 2015 and operated for years. It also appears highly likely that the CIA has provided support to Azov Battalion. In 2016, Congress removed a ban on funding Ukrainian neo-fascist groups, effectively paving the way for American arms and weapons to fall in the hands of Ukraine’s Nazi organizations. A January 2018 report by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab confirmed that Azov Battalion was a recipient of American lethal weapons. This report appears to have disappeared from the internet.

In recent months, a wide spectrum of observers of the Ukrainian civil war have documented the transfer of heavy weapons made in the USA to the Azov Battalion, and right under the nose of the US State Department. As NATO’s de facto lobbyist in Washington, and one of the most fervent advocates in Washington for arming the Ukrainian military, the Atlantic Council was an extremely unlikely source for such a disclosure. While the think tank’s motives for exposing Azov’s use of American arms remains unclear, its researchers wound up highlighting a truly scandalous episode of semi-covert American support for neo-Nazis.

— Excerpt from Real News Network, “The US Is Arming And Assisting Neo-Nazis In Ukraine, While Congress Debates Prohibition

Meanwhile, the Russia-Ukraine war has led to half a million war casualties and the Pentagon is unable to account for the billions of US weaponry and financial aid flowing into Ukraine. One source briefed on US intelligence even reported that weapons and equipment to Ukraine “drop into a big black hole.” Recently, The Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General issued a scathing report on the US military-industrial complex, asserting that financial aid to foreign militaries has “failed to solve long-standing issues that result in extreme levels of taxpayer waste.”


Looking back at history, public support for war has always been built on media manipulation, misinformation and outright lies. Futhermore, wars rarely achieve productive and peaceful outcomes. Whistleblower documents have brought this to light time and time again.


The Pentagon Papers released by former US military analyst Daniel Ellsburg uncovered the long history of government lies about the Vietnam War. What the American public heard was that we were winning the war, yet classified reports from top military officials show that they knew that American victory wouldn’t be possible. A stalemate was found to be the most likely outcome–a stalemate that would lead to over 50,000 American deaths and millions of Vietnamese casualties. The impacts of this brutal war continue to reverberate, as illustrated by the US military use of 20 million gallons of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange on 4.5 million acres of Vietnam to destroy forest cover and food crops. Now, half a million Vietnamese children are born with serious birth defects and millions of Vietnamese continue to suffer from cancer and illnesses caused by Agent Orange. Inquiring deeper, the whole justification for war with Vietnam was based on a lie: the Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964. Support for war with Vietnam grew after the public was told that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against a U.S. destroyer in the Tonkin Gulf. The torpedo attack never happened, yet was reported as having taken place by the US government.

The Afghan War Papers revealed a series of confidential interviews with key military insiders regarding the Afghanistan war, in which high-ranking military officials knew the war was unwinnable while keeping that view hidden from the public. What was exposed were deliberate attempts to manipulate statistics so that the American public perceived military success in Afghanistan. “Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” said Bob Crowley, an army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to US military commanders in 2013 and 2014. Worst off, an interview with one official estimated that 40% of US aid to Afghanistan had been pocketed by officials, gangsters, warlords, drug lords and insurgents.

Although US efforts in Afghanistan did pave the way for successes in health, education, and women’s rights, billions of dollars haven’t improved safety or the economy in Afghanistan. In fact, Afghanistan costed the US more than the Marshall Plan. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was an independent effort created to provide oversight to the $147.23 billion used for reconstruction programs in Afghanistan. SIGAR’s reports uncovered staggering waste of taxpayer dollars: an $85 million hotel next to the US Embassy in Kabul that never opened. A $36 million Marines Headquarters in the Helmand desert that was never used or even wanted. A $549 million fleet of cargo planes that flew for only a year and were sold for scrap for $40,257 six years later. A $249 million road construction project that only completed 15% of the road. A third of the 510 projects for the construction of hospital facilities in Afghanistan did not exist in the locations that SIGAR was given coordinates to. One of the hospitals was even reported to be in the Mediterranean Sea.

“Did we actually consider sustainability?” Why build something if we know from the beginning that the Afghans will never be able to sustain or maintain it. That’s the cruelest joke we have played on these poor Afghan citizens in some of these communities. We give them a brand new hospital, school or clinic and there’s no doctors, no medicine or no electricity.

— John Sopko, Special Inspector General for SIGAR

Iraq’s Pentagon Papers published by Wikileaks indicated more lies and deliberate downplaying of countless civilian deaths and horrific instances of torture. The Wikileaks publication was a collection of 2,325,961 diplomatic cables and other US State Department records that disclosed shocking details about US forces misconduct, and the blatant denial of these abuses by the Pentagon. In the two years following 9/11, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that Bush and top officials “uttered at least 935 lies” about the threat that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein posed to the United States. The possible presence of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq dominated the airwaves to justify going to war with Iraq, which gave rise to these war atrocities. Yet now, we know that no WMD’s were ever found. Meanwhile, estimates reveal that U.S. taxpayers each spent more than $8,000 on the Iraq War, for a total of $2 trillion.

We’ve grown acclimated to the implicit assumptions wrapped in daily news, punditry, and pronouncements from government officials. What happens at the other end of American weaponry has remained almost entirely a mystery, with only occasional brief glimpses before the curtain falls back into its usual place. Meanwhile, the results at home fester in shadows. Overall, America has been conditioned to accept ongoing wars without ever really knowing what they’re doing to people we’ll never see.

— Longtime peace activist and media critic Norman Soloman

An excellent video (including a transcript) by geopolitical independent journalist James Corbett exposes a century of blatant dishonesty, starting from World War I. Harmful lies to justify war are exacerbated by the Pentagon’s close relationship with corporate media. Corporate platforms like ABC, NBC, CBS, and PBS all skewed their coverage of the 2003 invasion of Iraq to solidify public support for war:

A 2003 report by the media watchdog Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) found that in the two weeks leading up to the invasion, ABC World News, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and the PBS Newshour featured a total of 267 American experts, analysts, and commentators on camera to supposedly help make sense of the march to war. Of these 267 guests, an astounding 75% were current or former government or military officials, and a grand total of one expressed any skepticism. The bedrock democratic principle of an independent, adversarial press was simply tossed out the window.

— Excerpt from LA Progressive, “Who Controls How We Remember the Iraq War?


Wikileaks

WikiLeaks published a stunning collection of 2,325,961 diplomatic cables and other US State Department records that disclosed shocking details about US military misconduct, the blatant denial of these abuses by the Pentagon, and many other crimes. Wikileaks has published everything from CIA hacking tools, files revealing US military analysts acknowledging that many Guantanamo Bay detainees were innocent, US diplomats working directly for corrupt companies such as Monsanto, drafts of secret trade deals that big banks use to grow their power, and Google’s covert ties to Washington DC and US intelligence agencies.

Julian Assange, an Australian computer programmer and publisher of WikiLeaks, currently faces up to 175 years in prison on espionage charges for the crime of publishing classified information on shocking US government crimes. Human rights and legal groups have called for an end to the psychological torture and medical neglect that Assange is currently enduring. Yet perhaps what is most revealing are the CIA attempts to kidnap, poison, and kill Julian Assange. Former CIA director Mike Pompeo and his top officials felt threatened by WikiLeaks’ publication of “Vault 7”, which revealed the CIA's global covert hacking program. The war against free speech and the right to a fair trial should be the subject of investigation by Congress and the Justice Department.


Going Deeper: What is the Deep State?

When reading about these challenging topics on war corruption, it may be tempting to blame the US government as a whole for these crimes. However, most people in government, including the President and Congress, are largely unaware of these crimes against humanity that we document. In fact, most people in our government wouldn’t allow such atrocities to occur. Yet entrenched bureaucracy and sprawling private contractor networks provide cover for unaccountable national security and intelligence interests. Blackmail, secrecy oaths, and other methods are used to secure political support.

In rare instances, meaningful oversight emerges such as the 1970s Church Committee Senate hearings, which investigated national security agency corruption for the first time. The US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) enacted in 1966 was designed to give any person the right to request access to unreleased documents controlled by the US government or state. However, requests for government files through FOIA have increasingly been denied. More recently, we’ve seen the rise of courageous whistleblowers and publishers like WikiLeaks who have revealed classified information to the public about covert government crimes.

While democratically elected officials play a role in national security decisions, most operations are carried out by the Deep State, a vast, non-homogenous network that functions outside the legitimate institutions of government regardless of which president is in office. It primarily operates covertly within the national security and law enforcement agencies: the DoD, Department of State, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, and the Justice Department. This network consists of defense contractors, law enforcement contractors, private security contractors that hire spies and mercenaries, Wall Street, the elite banking establishment, asset management firms, oil companies, Washington think tanks, and other powerful corporate interests. What these factions have in common is immensely profiting from war and human suffering, like big banks raking in billions from the deadly cluster bomb trade. Meanwhile, Congress members tasked with shaping military policy often own and trade defense stocks.

When the uninitiated think of the “Deep State,” they tend to imagine a group of men getting together in a room, smoking cigars and plotting world domination. But the Deep State is not one coordinated network of people controlling the government from the shadows. Instead, it refers to individuals and groups that have the resources to shape the direction of the world to their benefit and don’t hesitate to make use of them. At times, the interests of different factions of the Deep State collide.

Excerpt from an essay by Peter Dale Scott, former Canadian diplomat, professor and co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at University of California, Berkeley

Since 9/11, private contractors have played an increasingly large role in the Deep State. Although payments to outside contractors are not made public, it was found back in 2007 that the DoD paid more than $1 billion to private contractors to collect and analyze intelligence for the entire military system. Private security contractors employ former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives to act as covert spies and carry out “kill lists.” During the Afghanistan War, a Defense Department census revealed that Afghanistan contractors outnumbered the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US spends hundreds of billions on these contractors, many of which are plagued with scandals: sexual abuse, massive waste and misconduct, bribery, fraud, the murder of innocent people, and profiting off of the illegal drug trade.

Although the Leahy Law prohibits the US military from providing training and equipment to foreign security forces that commit human rights abuses, intelligence agencies are exempt from this law. By using private contractors to carry out covert actions, military-intelligence agencies can avoid congressional oversight.

The private spy industry has succeeded where no foreign government has: It has penetrated the CIA and is running the show. Over the past five years (some say almost a decade), there has been a revolution in the intelligence community toward wide-scale outsourcing. Private companies now perform key intelligence-agency functions, to the tune ... of more than $42 billion a year. Intelligence professionals [say] that more than 50 percent of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) – the heart, brains and soul of the CIA – has been outsourced to private firms such as Abraxas, Booz Allen Hamilton, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. These firms recruit spies, create non-official cover identities and control the movements of CIA case officers. They also provide case officers and watch officers at crisis centers and regional desk officers who control clandestine operations worldwide. Intelligence insiders say that entire branches of the NCS have been outsourced to private industry.

— Excerpt from The Washington Post, “Who Runs the CIA? Outsiders for Hire


Operation Paperclip

During World War II, a handful of American companies collaborated with Germany’s Nazi regime. These companies included Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Coca-Cola, and IBM. Collaborations between covert elements within the US government and Nazi Germany would continue even after the end of World War II in 1945.

Operation Paperclip was a top-secret operation conducted by the United States government beginning in 1945. Facing a growing arms race with the Soviet Union, the US military sought to sponsor the immigration of “chosen, rare minds.” Top Nazi officers and scientists were America’s most wanted, yet not in a way that would lead to justice and accountability for the atrocious war crimes they committed. Instead, the US wanted their intellectual and technological resources.

Nazi technology was far more advanced than the technology that American officials were familiar with. When the US government recovered over 1,000 tons of secret Nazi documents, the trove included incredible technologies and inventions far ahead of the allied forces, all of them unethically tested on human subjects.

Gaining control of the best resources, minds, and technologies was of utmost importance to US national security interests. Through Operation Paperclip, the CIA, NASA, and many other branches of government provided aliases for top Nazi officers and scientists to enter and be employed by the U.S. More than 1,500 Nazis were secretly embedded in the US scientific community and intelligence establishment, and were given excellent jobs and healthy salaries. These included scientists who had worked on chemical and biological weapons for the Nazis.

Kurt Blome was the director of the Nazi Biological Warfare program and former SS officer, who oversaw nerve gas experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz. In 1951, he was hired by the US Army Chemical Corps to work on chemical warfare research. Krunoslav Draganovic was a Franciscan priest who played a role in the Nazi regime in Croatia, which was responsible for 350,000 tragic deaths. Draganovic was hired as a spy for US Army intelligence. Perhaps the most disturbing US-Nazi alliance was the employment of Reinhard Gehlen, a close confidant of Adolf Hitler and head of the German Army Intelligence on the Eastern Front. Given Gehlen’s knowledge of the Soviets during WWII, US intelligence officials allowed Gehlen to maintain his vast intelligence network. This gave rise to the Gehlen Organization, which functioned as a “semi-autonomous intelligence unit for the United States and West Berlin, and employed over 100 former Gestapo and SS officers.

Declassified CIA documents reveal the lack of internal security of the Gehlen organization, where a former Army Counter-Intelligence Corps officer reported how recruiting methods were so loose that the Gehlen organization quickly became filled with radical Nazis and fascist elements. Victor Marchetti, former chief CIA analyst of Soviet strategic war plans and capabilities, reflected on the massive mistake it was to trust Gehlen’s intel about the Soviet Union:

The Gehlen Organization was the one group that did have networks inside Eastern Europe, and that is why we hired them... Hiring Gehlen was the biggest mistake the US ever made. Our allies said, 'You are putting Nazis at the senior levels of your intelligence', and they were right. The Gehlen organization was the primary source of intelligence that claimed that, 'The Soviets were about to attack West Germany' …that was the biggest bunch of baloney then and it is still a bunch of baloney today. Gehlen had to make his money by creating a threat that we were afraid of, so we would give him more money to tell us about it.

In my opinion, the Gehlen Organization provided nothing worthwhile for understanding or estimating Soviet military or political capabilities in Eastern Europe or anywhere else. The Gehlen organization had been penetrated by Soviet intelligence and many of the US Nazi assets were now double agents, taking CIA wages and turning around and selling information to the enemy.

— Excerpt from Blowback: America's recruitment of Nazis, and its disastrous effect on our domestic and foreign policy, written by award-winning author Christopher Simpson

Information about the program slowly leaked out over many years. However, the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act provided a glimpse into the disturbing relationship between the CIA and Nazis. Investigative journalist and author Annie Jacobsen uncovered dark secrets in her book available online for free, Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America. The book reveals unsettling truths of American history, using primary sources consisting of general’s desk diaries, postwar interrogation reports, army intelligence security dossiers, Nazi Party paperwork, personal papers and unpublished writings of Nazi scientists given to Jacobsen by their children and grandchildren, and much more.

Operation Paperclip would flip the moral script in astounding ways. Nazi physicians and chemists worked with the CIA, the army, and the navy to test and develop various nerve agents, interrogation techniques, and extensive mind control programs under the code names of Bluebird, Artichoke, MKUltra, and more. Nazi chemist Richard Kuhn, who developed the deadly soman nerve agent, would be part of these secret projects, which mirrored the testing done on concentration camp victims and violated codes enacted after the Nuremburg trials.

Full access to hundreds of thousands of government documents remains hidden from the public. It’s also estimated that the cleanup of the weapons developed during Operation Paperclip costed $30 billion as of 2013:

Nixon reinstated the “retaliation-only” policy, which meant no new chemical weapons would be developed and produced. Over the next few years, Congress worked with the military to determine the best way to destroy this entire group of weapons. The original plan was to dispose of some twenty-seven thousand tons of chemical-filled weapons in the deep sea. But upon investigation, it turned out that many of the sarinand VX-filled bombs stored at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal were already leaking nerve agent. These munitions needed to be encased in steel-and-concrete “coffins” before they could be dumped in the ocean. The Pentagon also had thirteen thousand tons of nerve agent and mustard gas stored in secret on its military base in Okinawa, Japan, which now needed to be disposed of. In 1971, these munitions were brought to an American-owned atoll in the South Pacific called Johnston Island in an operation called Red Hat. The plan was to store the sarin-and VX-filled bombs in bunkers on the atoll until scientists figured out how best to destroy them. But as it turned out, the sarin and VX bombs were not made to ever be dismantled. So the army had a massive new scientific endeavor on its hands, for which it created the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System, the world’s first “full-scale chemical weapons disposal facility.” It took another thirty-four years for America’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be destroyed. “The numbers speak volumes,” says the army. “More than 412,000 obsolete chemical weapons—bombs, land mines, rockets and projectiles—all destroyed.”

— Excerpt from Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America, free online version here


Rise of the CIA

This is the house the Cold War built – the CIA. The core of the new secret government. Its chief legitimate duty was to gather foreign intelligence for America's new role as a world power. Soon it was taking on covert operations, abroad and at home.

— Bill Moyers, journalist and former White House Press Secretary (Excerpt from PBS documentary, The Secret Government)

World War II left the US in a position of political, economic, and military superiority. Leo Welch, former board chairman of the Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) couldn’t have said it any better when illustrating American economic interests moving forward: We must set the pace and assume the responsibility of the majority stockholder in this corporation known as the world … Nor is this for a given term of office. This is a permanent responsibility.This capitalist mindset paved the way for the US to eagerly claim its role in controlling the economic policies of the world.

The biggest threat standing in the way of capitalism? Communism. Communism was viewed as a massive enemy to US economic interests, as it promoted state takeover of corporate enterprise. The communist party of the Soviet Union was perceived as a material and ideological threat to the new American hegemony.

The National Security Act of 1947 dramatically changed the direction of the US, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented expansion of the national security state. Under the guise of fighting communism, the first few covert operations under the CIA would involve meddling in other countries’ affairs and installing dictatorial regimes that would lead to countless deaths and human rights abuses.

[The CIA] creates the myths that we believe. If we were allowed to understand the CIA, we’d realize it’s a criminal organization that’s corrupting governments and societies around the world. Nowadays, the only way you can discern what’s going on is by studying and understanding the historical arc of these bureaucracies. Where did the CIA come from? If you look at it historically, you can see beyond the spin and it becomes demystified.

— Douglas Valentine, journalist and author of The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World

In 1953, the CIA, along with the British Secret Intelligence Service conspired to destroy democracy and install a western-controlled regime in Iran when the democratically-elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mosaddeq decided that the Iranian state, not British companies, should own and control the oil in Iran. The CIA paid Iranian police and soldiers to drive Mosaddeq out of office. The oppressive dictatorship led by the Shah of Iran was reinstated, and American oil companies took over almost half of Iran’s production. Meanwhile, SAVAK, the Shah’s Secret Police, began torturing and murdering thousands of Iranians who stood up to the dictatorship, using CIA-funded weapons and training.

The Iranian coup also prompted the CIA into a series of further actions in other countries, including Operation Success in Guatemala. United Fruit Company was a giant American firm that owned most of the land in Guatemala, which supplied Europe and the US with tropical fruits. United Fruit also had close ties with influential government officials and the Dulles brothers, who did legal work for the firm. When the democratically elected president of Guatemala embarked on a massive land reform program to return 1.5 million acres of Guatemalan land back to peasants and farmers, the Dulles brothers claimed that Arbenz was playing the Communist game. US clandestine operations in 1954 drove Arbenz out of office, installed a military dictator, and returned the land back to United Fruit. What resulted was a succession of repressive military dictatorships, armed with CIA-funded weapons, which sparked a bloody 40-year civil war that killed approximately 245,000 people.

Arbenz and Mosaddeq weren’t real threats. They were threats manufactured to support American economic interests. And the CIA was willing to do anything to protect these interests. For example, the CIA’s willingness to assassinate foreign leaders with the help of the Mafia, as illustrated by the eight documented (and preposterous) attempts to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The CIA and Pentagon’s long support of dictator Augusto Pinochet in Chile, who was responsible for countless human rights abuses, including gruesome acts of torture and sexual abuse of tens of thousands of people.

Domestic experiments funded by the CIA were taking place. Mind control and drug experimentation, torture, political assassination, and massive surveillance of US citizens and foreign allies became widely used tools in the organization. These operations very seldom ended well.

It took about 30 years for the government to attempt meaningful oversight of the CIA. The Church Committee was the first congressional oversight into the abuses of US intelligence agencies. Once revealed, the scope of these programs far exceeded anything the public had imagined. The hearings revealed a string of lethal activities mentioned above–assassination attempts, mafia connections, drug experiments, the overthrowing of democratic governments, and the use of electric pistols and poison pellets. Disturbingly enough, mind control techniques developed by psychiatrists working for the CIA were so effective that they used these barbaric tools in prisoner-interrogation sessions and trained Latin American security forces who targeted political activists challenging the CIA-backed violent coups through South and Central America.

The powers claimed by presidents and national security have become the controlling wheel of government, driving everything else. Secrecy then makes it possible for the president to pose as the sole competent judge of what will best protect our security. Secrecy permits the White House to control what others know, and that's power.

— Bill Moyers, journalist and former White House Press Secretary (Excerpt from PBS documentary, The Secret Government)

Secrets of the CIA is a revealing 45-minute Turner Home Entertainment documentary available for free viewing here. In this riveting exposé, five former CIA agents describe how their initial pride and enthusiasm at serving their nation turned to anguish and remorse, as they realized that they were actually subverting democracy and killing innocent civilians all in the name of "national security" and promoting foreign policy agendas.


MKULTRA Program

Project MK-ULTRA was a top secret CIA program beginning in the 1950s with the mission to develop a variety of methods to control the human mind and behavior. US mind control programs resulted in extensive political abuse of psychiatry. According to the US Department of Energy, these programs were largely motivated by alleged Soviet, Chinese, and North Korean uses of mind-control and brainwashing techniques. The US would then embark on a “mind control arms race” to close the gap, engaging in experiments that involved drugs, hypnosis, electroshock, lobotomy, and more. The CIA would use the basic science of mind control perfected by Nazi scientists through disturbing WWII experiments in concentration camps.

From the end of World War II well into the 1970s, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Defense Department, the military services, the CIA and other agencies used prisoners, drug addicts, mental patients, college students, soldiers, even bar patrons, in a vast range of government-run experiments to test the effects of everything from radiation, LSD and nerve gas to intense electric shocks and prolonged "sensory deprivation." Some of the human guinea pigs knew what they were getting into; many others did not.

— Excerpt from U.S. News & World Report, “The Cold War Experiments

Declassified documents prove that young women were hypnotized and trained to plant bombs and kill people. Ordinary people became super spies programmed to carry out assassination, terrorist acts, sexual favors, and more without conscious knowledge of what they were doing. Aerosol tests of LSD were sprayed inside the New York City subway system. More than 80 colleges, prisons, pharma companies and hospitals participated in MKUltra, including renowned psychiatrist Donald Ewen Cameron, who served as president of the American Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association.

Before the rollout of the MKUltra program, covert programs like Operation Artichoke (formerly known as Operation Bluebird) were already focused on the use of hypnosis, forced morphine addiction and withdrawal, and other techniques. The main focus of the program was summarized in a January 1952 CIA memo, "Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?" Most MKUltra records were destroyed in 1973 by CIA director Richard Helms, so much remains unknown about the 150+ subprograms sponsored by MUKUltra. However, a wealth of information can be easily verified in declassified government documents available online and through FOIA requests.


For your exploration, check out the informational resources below:

WantToKnow.info Mind Control Information Center
Brief History of Humans Used as Guinea Pigs by U.S. Government and Military
CIA's Operation Midnight Climax: Deadly LSD & Sex Escapades
Manchurian Candidate: The Secret Government Project to Manipulate Global Politics
PSYOPS: The Military's Blatant Deception of the Public Using Psychological Operations


Who's Behind the War on Drugs?

In the wake of President Richard Nixon’s announcement on the War on Drugs in 1971, many were led to believe that drugs were an enemy that could be fought and defeated. Yet this didn’t reflect the shocking reality that the CIA was covertly protecting drug traffickers while profiting enormously from the drug trade.

Consider this statement from 25-year veteran of the DEA Michael Levine:

When Nixon first declared war on drugs in 1971, there were fewer than 500,000 hard-core addicts in the nation, most of whom were addicted to heroin. Three decades later, despite the expenditure of $1 trillion in tax dollars, the number of hard-core addicts is shortly expected to exceed five million.

The CIA and the Department of State were protecting more and more politically powerful drug traffickers around the world: the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan, the Bolivian cocaine cartels, the top levels of Mexican government, Nicaraguan Contras, Colombian drug dealers and politicians, and others. Media's duties, as I experienced firsthand, were twofold: first, to keep quiet about the gush of drugs that was allowed to flow unimpeded into the US; second, to divert the public's attention by shilling them into believing the drug war was legitimate by falsely presenting the few trickles we were permitted to indict as though they were major "victories," when in fact we were doing nothing more than getting rid of the inefficient competitors of CIA assets.

— Michael Levine

When the CIA was experimenting drugs on people in its MKULTRA program, it enlisted a former federal narcotics agent named George White to run Operation Midnight Climax. In a letter to his former employer reflecting on his career, White is quoted as saying, "It was fun, fun, fun. Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill and cheat, steal, deceive, rape and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the all highest."

Statements by cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar's son suggest that the kingpin was working for the CIA all along. And way back in 1972 it came out that the military had been smuggling heroin into the US using the corpses of fallen soldiers. But the public didn't get a glimpse into the full scope of government drug trafficking until 1996, when award-winning investigative reporter Gary Webb’s Dark Alliance series was published by the San Jose Mercury News.

Webb's reporting drew a straight line from the crack cocaine epidemic in California to a Latin American guerilla army outfitted by the CIA. Using recently declassified documents, FBI reports, and DEA undercover tapes, he uncovered how covert elements within our government wreaked havoc on American society, especially African-American communities, in the form of rampant drug addiction that the War on Drugs has failed to address. In fact, the War on Drugs has been considered to be a “trillion dollar failure” that has led to mass incarceration and thousands of murders and human rights abuses.

Behind closed doors, the CIA saw Webb’s landmark reporting as a "nightmare." But they didn't have to do much damage control directly, as the mainstream press ferociously went after Webb's reporting.

Thanks in part to what author Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA Directorate of Intelligence staffer at the time of publication, describes as "a ground base of already productive relations with journalists," the CIA’s Public Affairs officers watched with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter.

— Excerpt from The Intercept, “How the CIA Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb"

Once his reputation was destroyed, Gary Webb died. His death was reported as a suicide, which many people found dubious, because he'd been shot twice in the head. Whether he took his own life or not, the powers that be were clearly allied against him.

Using 9/11 as a pretext for invasion, the US government transformed Afghanistan from a place where heroin production was banned by the Taliban into a total narco state that became the world’s biggest source of heroin. The US spent $1.5 million a day on counter-narcotics programs, yet the efforts to curb poppy production did not produce any meaningful results. By the end of the war, poppy production, exports, drug addiction, and the flow of drug money to the government were at an all time high.

Afghanistan’s transformation into a preeminent narco-state owes a significant debt to Washington’s actions. Poppy cultivation in the 1970s was relatively limited. However, the tide changed in 1979 with the inception of Operation Cyclone, a massive infusion of funds to Afghan Mujahideen factions aimed at exhausting the Soviet military. The U.S. directed billions toward the insurgents, yet their financial needs persisted. Consequently, the Mujahideen delved into the illicit drug trade. By the culmination of Operation Cyclone, Afghanistan’s opium production had soared twentyfold.

— Excerpt from MintPress News, “Taliban’s Massively Successful Opium Eradication Raises Questions About What US Was Doing All Along

The War on Drugs is a racket designed in part to increase the price of drugs so intelligence agencies can fund black budget projects. The illicit drug trade fueled by the US government will likely create serious blowback in the coming years as the deadly drug addiction epidemic marches on, impacting millions of lives across the country.


The CIA's Mighty Wurlitzer

The CIA constructed an array of front organizations that Frank Wisner, the Agency’s first chief of political warfare, liked to compare to a ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ organ, capable of playing any propaganda tune he desired.

— – Historian Hugh Wilford, author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America

During the Cold War, the CIA was intent on proving the cultural and political superiority of Western civilization. The Mighty Wurlitzer was a metaphor coined by one of the founding officers of the CIA, Frank Wisner. The phrase described the CIA’s substantial power in engineering public opinion in support of the US Cold War and anti-communist ideologies. Just as the Wurlitzer organ was used as the background soundtrack of silent films to illustrate what was going on in a movie, the Wurlitzer metaphor was the CIA’s self-proclaimed propaganda machine to shape what was going on in the world.

We look back and are like: ‘Of course the Berlin Wall was going to fall, of course the Soviet Union was going to collapse. But people in the CIA at the time didn’t take that for granted at all. There was a sense that the Soviet Union was going to last forever, and the CIA needed to do everything they could to undermine that.

— Orwell prize-winning US journalist Patrick Radden Keefe

A worldwide propaganda network was established to covertly influence and define cultural values for the American working class and the rest of the world. The CIA infiltrated groups who were challenging the status quo and were predisposed in a socialistic direction, which threatened the American ruling elite. The CIA had officers working within labor unions, universities, youth and student organizations, journalists, women’s groups, and more. They exerted control over these organizations by funneling large sums of cash into the groups’ operations and grooming the leaders with chosen individuals who were subjected to secrecy oaths about daily operations and the true source of the organization's funds.

Meanwhile, through covert means, the CIA inserted itself into global endeavors that were wasteful, tragic, and unconstitutional. The public remained unaware of the CIA’s dirty coups, assassinations, torture programs, unethical mind control experiments, secret proxy wars, and sponsorship of dictatorial regimes.

What the public did see was the veneer of progressiveness, freedom, and American cultural superiority presented by the CIA’s propaganda. The agency even went so far as to use American modern art as a weapon. The CIA paid a vast network of intellectuals, writers, historians, poets, and artists to denounce Russian art and promote American abstract art for subtle Cold War propaganda purposes. Although American Abstract Expressionist art was relatively unpopular at the time, a former CIA case officer confirmed that promoting this style of American art would be an effective means of discrediting Socialist Realism art, which was rigid and confined in its style. Congress for Cultural Freedom, a CIA Propaganda Assets Inventory Division campaign born in the 1950s, influenced hundreds of museums, newspapers and magazines all over the world. CIA official Tom Braden would say that this was the most important division of the CIA and played an enormous role in the Cold War.

The founding editor of The Paris Review literary magazine, which was viewed as the “biggest ‘little’ magazine in history” by the Times magazine, was on the CIA’s payroll as a spy. The CIA also engaged covertly in the international promotion of top rock, jazz and blues artists.

The New York Times wrote, “America’s secret weapon is a blue note in a minor key. Right now its most effective ambassador is Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong.” But Armstrong was a reluctant ambassador, uncomfortable with doing propaganda for Jim Crow America. He went along on State Department tours but continued to speak out against racism.

In the case of Nina Simone, the CIA had to use trickery. As Wilford uncovered, Simone was sent on a tour to Nigeria in 1961 by the American Society of African Culture, a CIA front organization. As [Orwell prize-winning US journalist Patrick Radden] Keefe notes, “It’s one thing for the government to pressure Louis Armstrong to go to Africa on a propaganda mission and have him grudgingly but knowingly go along. It’s a very different thing to covertly send an artist on false pretenses. And Nina Simone was no patriot. She ended up renouncing the United States and living abroad. She called it, ‘the United Snakes of America.’”

— Excerpt from The Nation, “How the CIA Learned to Rock


Operation Mockingbird and Media Manipulation

The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.
— William Colby, former director of CIA

The history of military-intelligence involvement with the news and media landscape is extensive. Investigative reporter Yasha Levine traces the origins of the internet to a Pentagon counterinsurgency surveillance project, Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPANET). In America’s fight against the perceived global spread of communism, military interests didn’t see the Internet as the new frontier of freedom and liberating technology. They saw the Internet as a tool for surveillance–collecting and sharing intelligence, and analyzing people and political movements. Here is an excerpt from Levine’s book, Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet:

In the course of my investigation, I was genuinely shocked to discover that as early as 1969, the first year that the ARPANET came online, a group of students at MIT and Harvard attempted to shut down research taking place at their universities under the ARPANET umbrella. They saw this computer network as the start of a hybrid private-public system of surveillance and control-"computerized people-manipulation" they called it and warned that it would be used to spy on Americans and wage war on progressive political movements. They understood this technology better than we do today. More importantly, they were right. In 1972, almost as soon as the ARPANET was rolled out on a national level, the network was used to help the CIA, the NSA, and the US Army spy on tens of thousands of antiwar and civil rights activists. It was a big scandal at the time, and the ARPANET's role in it was discussed at length on American television, including NBC Evening News.

This episode, which took place forty-five years ago, is a vital part of the historical record, important to anyone who wants to understand the network that mediates so much of our lives today. Yet you won't find it mentioned in any recent book or documentary on the origins of the Internet.

Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet

During the Cold War in the 1950s, the CIA launched Operation Mockingbird, a program aimed to manufacture public opinion by manipulating news media, writing scripts for Hollywood movies, and infiltrating America’s most prestigious journalistic institutions. Senate hearings in the 1970s and the award-winning investigative journalism work of Carl Bernstein unveiled the existence of this massive program.

What was uncovered was deep CIA influence on over 400 journalists all over the world and major news outlets in order to shape American views of the Soviet Union. Some of the best-known, award-winning journalists secretly carried out tasks for the CIA, including recruiting foreigners as agents and planting false information with officials of foreign governments. Canadian Broadcasting Company, Newsweek, Associated Press, The Miami Herald, Reuters, and ABC News were just some of the media outlets that conspired with the CIA.

The term “brainwashing” was first introduced to the American public by Edward Hunter, a propaganda expert, journalist and CIA operative. In a 1950 article for Miami News, he warned the world that China was a huge threat, converting and forcing people into believing communist ideology. The “brainwashing scare” was the impetus for the CIA to get more involved in mind control research. CIA director Allen Dulles announced a “brain warfare” front against America’s enemies, which paved the way for the unethical activities of the CIA’s MKUltra program.

The New York Times was the CIA’s greatest asset, as it maintained the largest foreign news operation in American journalism. What also came to light in Bernstein’s investigation was that the publisher of The Times, Arthur Hays Sulzberger, had cozy ties to CIA Director Allen Dulles. Sydney Gruson, a renowned New York Times correspondent, did extensive coverage of Guatemala in the early 1950s. This was around the time that the CIA, under the leadership of the Dulles brothers, was secretly executing a violent coup in Guatemala to bring down democratically-elected president Jacobo Arbenz for nationalizing Guatemalan land owned by United Fruit Company, a giant American firm. Gruson would write of Washington’s hypocrisy of supporting oppressive dictatorships in Latin America while boasting of its democratic values. The CIA had been spying on Gruson and his journalistic work, building a case that he was sympathetic to communism and therefore had to go. The Times publisher Sulzberger would agree with Dulles to keep Gruson out of Guatemala. With little public awareness about US meddling in Latin American affairs, the coup was successful. The coup began a bloody period of military dictatorship, civil war, and genocide that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Many suspect that there were many more deaths not accounted for.

Given the program’s obvious abuses of power, Operation Mockingbird was so covert that full knowledge of the program would be restricted to Allen Dulles and a few of his chosen deputies. The investigative committee of Frank Church, officially titled “Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities”, uncovered a lot of evidence concerning Operation Mockingbird and came to the conclusion that:

The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.

In examining the CIA’s past and present use of the U.S. media, the Committee finds two reasons for concern. The first is the potential, inherent in covert media operations, for manipulating or incidentally misleading the American public. The second is the damage to the credibility and independence of a free press which may be caused by covert relationships with the U.S. journalists and media organizations.

— Senator Frank Church

The CIA's claims that it shut the program down in 1976 are undoubtedly a further deception. There is plenty of evidence that the techniques developed and used under Operation Mockingbird continue to be common practice. Military and intelligence interests continue to shape society, from influencing the entertainment industry, Amazon Web Services, Google, Wikipedia, social media platforms, and other public spheres. The CIA even secretly spends millions of dollars staging scientific conferences around the world.

Military and intelligence involvement in social media censorship in the last decade is now coming to light. Think tanks like Atlantic Council and Center for Countering Digital Hate, which claim to address online misinformation, function as an extension of the military and intelligence communities.

Whistleblower documents reveal the origins of a group called the Cyber Threat Intelligence League, or CTIL. What began as a volunteer project of data scientists and military-intelligence veterans has turned into an alliance between government agencies, The US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA), defense contractors, Big Tech, and NGOs to promote censorship of dissenting views on social media–even if those views are factually true or worthy of consideration. The documents also show CTIL’s attempts to “promote counter-messaging, co-opt hashtags, dilute disfavored messaging, create sock puppet accounts, and infiltrate private invite-only groups.”

Information warfare is alive and well in the military sphere. In 2017, the Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States was published, which outlines the fundamental principles and guidance for the US military. “Information” was added as the seventh joint function of the military, which recognizes the power of information to affect behavior:

Tasks aligned under this activity apply the [Joint Force Commander’s] understanding of the impact information has on perceptions, attitudes, and decision-making processes to affect the behaviors of relevant actors in ways favorable to joint force objectives. The joint force attacks and exploits information, information networks, and systems to affect the ability of relevant actors to leverage information in support of their own objectives. This includes the manipulation, modification, or destruction of information or disruption of the flow of information for the purpose of gaining a position of military advantage.

— excerpt from the Doctrine for the Armed Forces of the United States

The open flow of information is crucial to a democratic society. Silencing alternative voices and views through media manipulation and censorship makes it easy for the powerful to hide exploitation and injustice. The suppression of dissent creates the "illusion of consensus,” leading to a society that unquestioningly trusts official narratives which have historically been dishonest and manipulative.

In a democratic society, there is always a struggle between the machinery of national security and press freedom, and the public’s right to know is usually the loser. When our national security czars become, in effect, our media gatekeepers, we lose one of the essential cornerstones of a true democracy—an informed citizenry. Distracted by the manufactured flow of information produced by a news media that has fallen under the spell of its own official sources, and beguiled by militaristic and patriotic Hollywood myth-making, the American public is largely benighted when it comes to understanding the wars and covert violence carried out in our name.

— Nicholas Schou, author of Spooked: How the CIA Manipulates the Media


News Articles Archive

WantToKnow.info has summarized over a thousand news articles on deep corruption within our military and intelligence systems. 

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