US State Department accused on spying on interfaith group

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR) is a faith-based organization, established in 1919, with offices in over 50 countries. Current or past members of IFOR include several Nobel Laureates, among them Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel. In a statement released on December 17, IFOR has accused the US State Department of routinely intercepting “for two full years” the electronic communications of the organization’s US branch. Specifically targeted were communications concerning FOR’s Latin America program, generated both in the US and Colombia, the statement said. It also alleged that the spying on FOR appears to be part of a wider operation targeting “more than 150 e-mail accounts of human rights organizations, journalists, academics, and labor organizations”. Read more of this post

Reporter who helped expose CIA drugs scandal remembered

In August 1996, Garry Webb, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The San Jose Mercury News, published a trilogy of articles under the title “Dark Alliance”. In it, he openly alleged that the Reagan Administration, along with the active support of the CIA’s leadership, had allowed the Nicaraguan Contras to fund some of their operations against the Sandinistas by illegally trafficking cocaine into the United States. What followed Webb’s allegations was a barrage of demonization by virtually the entire US media industry, which discredited his professionalism and effectively ended his career. Read more of this post

CIA agents lied about killing missionaries, report reveals

In 1994, then US President Bill Clinton authorized a covert CIA operation to assist the Peruvian Air Force in preventing planes carrying narcotics from flying over that country’s territory. Among the results of this operation was the shooting down of a Cessna 185 floatplane on April 20, 2001, which the CIA suspected of transporting drugs from Colombia to Peru. The only problem was that there were no drugs on the plane. It was actually carrying an American Christian missionary family, including two children, who were on their way to Lima, Peru. The attack on the plane resulted in the death of the mother and one of the children. A still-classified report by the Office of the US Inspector General has now revealed what many CIA critics suspected, namely that the murder of the two Americans resulted from routine violation of intercept procedures by CIA operatives. What is more, not only did the CIA refuse to acknowledge its mistake, but CIA employees actually “misled and even lied to Congress about what happened and did not supply accurate information to the Department of Justice or the Bush administration”. Furthermore, the Agency “obstructed inquiries into its role in the shooting down” of the aircraft by “cover[ing] up evidence of its failings”. Reportedly, the CIA has yet to discipline anyone about these murders. Meanwhile, the mother and grandmother of the murdered victims, Gloria Luttig, has expressed her disgust about the fact that “some of the members of the CIA [involved in the incident] have been promoted” since the murders. [IA]