Agents for Dollars

September 25, 2007

The creation of centralized foreign intelligence organizations is traditionally a product of a nation's drive for empire. All colonial powers have formed information gathering and clandestine operations to further penetration, manipulation and control of alien societies.

To ward off this threat smaller nations have erected equivalent operations, especially during the 20th century, and as a result international intrigue has reduced diplomacy to mere formality. Only the United Nations remains without an elaborate intelligence system, and the consequences of this deficiency were most apparent in the Congo affair.

Within capitalist nations, intelligence bureaus were first created by the private commercial corporations that financed expansion and became dependent on its maintenance. Long before the federal government got involved, large U.S. banks, investment houses, law firms and export-import corporations created their own worldwide intelligence network. The strategic information provided gave the corporations the opportunity to stay ahead of events affecting the marketplace.

Within the military structure, intelligence sections emerged to aid in the task of securing, protecting and administering new territories and trade routes. But U.S. intelligence really came into its own after the outbreak of World War II, when the commercial elite rushed to centralize and rationalize its operations within the federal government. New civilian agencies, such as the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (headed by Nelson Rockefeller), the Board of Economic Warfare and the Office of War Information, were founded to encourage and/or coerce nonbelligerent nations to support the Allies and pave the way for postwar expansion.

OSS was model The most important wartime model for postwar intelligence operations, including the CIA, was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Known widely as "Oh So Social," it was organized and run by upper-class men directly involved in international commercial transactions (e.g., William J. Donovan, New York international lawyer; David K. E. Bruce, ambassador to European nations and. a Mellon heir through marriage; John Justin McDonough, an official of Chicago's Harris Trust and Savings Bank; Allen Dulles, partner in the inter- national New York law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell). While these individuals had extensive contacts with the European upper class and commercial elite, they realized that winning the war and maintaining the "peace" (i.e., extending U.S. power) would require mobilizing support among indigenous populations. They further recognized that only after detailed and accurate information is available can short-term and long-term objectives be clarified and priorities set for effective decision-making. Thus, among the first units created was the Research and Analysis Branch that enlisted some of the best brains in the academic world (including such left-leaning intellectuals as Herbert Marcuse, Paul Baran and Carl Marzani).

To better utilize the knowledge and contacts of U.S. immigrants, the OSS set up a Foreign Nationalities Branch that encouraged stronger bonds between ethnic groups in the U.S. and abroad. Within the sphere of more direct action, such as clandestine information gathering (espionage) and guerrilla resistance in enemy-occupied territories, they drew upon exiles and experienced revolutionaries.

At the close of World War II, the U.S. international elite almost lost their centralized intelligence operation to more parochial elements in the military and State Department. But the passage of the 1947 National Security Act ensured their success by creating the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). (The same Act established the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the U.S. Air Force.) In formalizing the nation's transition from a republic to an empire, the act sanctioned government-by-fiat and secrecy, and swept aside what was left of the democratic process. In short, the international commercial elite clearly realized that the demands of empire could no longer be subject to cumbersome democratic procedures, public scrutiny or provincial bureaucracies.

The thousands of individuals who have passed through the CIA and its sister organizations constitute by now an internal intelligence community. Well-placed within leading public and private organizations, this network of intelligence personnel, directed by their "former" employers, can harness an enormous amount of power for promoting programs favored by the international commercial elite. A careful survey of any major organization will inevitably reveal at least one individual with an intelligence background. Those from the upper class usually occupy high administrative positions while those with lower-class origins capitalize on their grooming and intelligence contact to achieve mobility. With their access to privileged information they usually demonstrate outstanding skills.

Those who served A brief list-and it could be much longer-would include such persons as Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (OSS and Kennedy adviser), Arthur Goldberg (OSS and ambassador to the UN), Douglas Cater (OSS, journalist and Johnson adviser), Morris Abrams (Air Force Intelligence and newly appointed president of Brandeis University), Walt W. Rostow (OSS and Kennedy- Johnson adviser), William Sloan Coffin, Jr. (CIA), Edwin M. Martin (OSS and ambassador to Argentina), W. Willard Wirtz (Board of Economic Warfare and secretary of labor), Robert Heilbroner (OSS and economist), Richard M. Bissell, Jr. (CIA, Ford Foundation, Institute for Defense Analysis and United Aircraft Corp.), Stewart Alsop (OSS and journalist) and John K. Galbraith (World War II Strategic Bombing Survey, ambassador to India and Harvard University faculty).

Tags: intelligence network, OSS

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