The CIA has a long record of recruiting on college campuses, seeking to draw the so called “best and brightest” students for internships and full time employment. Stanford, Swarthmore, Harvard, MIT and the University of Massachusetts have been favorite sites in the past.
On April 5th, Saint Louis University will be the site of recruitment activity for this organization, whose name bears tidings of fear, dread and hatred the world over. According to an email sent to students, the CIA will be conducting a series of interviews with students at the BSC in the morning and afternoon, and holding an informational session in Morrissey 0600 beginning at 5:00 p.m. The CIA visits to the previously mentioned universities were marked with mass student protests and struggle, with many events being forced to end early or cancel completely in the face of actual or planned protest and disruptions of these events. Why is the CIA so hated?
The CIA was created by the National Security Act of 1947, signed by Missouri’s first and only president, Harry S. Truman (who also launched an imperialist war in Korea and dropped two atomic bombs on a crippled and defeated Japan in 1945). The CIA spent the 1950s enacting “democracy spreading actions,” such as inciting and fomenting the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadeq in Iran (1953) after it announced its intention to nationalize British held oil fields.
In 1954, it overthrew democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in Guatemala, who announced his intention to nationalize land owned by the Rockefeller controlled United Fruit Company, which treated workers with notorious brutality and sapped the wealth of the country and people for the benefit of Americans. This was imperialism in the very definition of the word – CIA Director Allen Dulles owned stock in this company. Arbenz was replaced by a series of dictators who would murder over 100,000 Guatemalans over the next few decades. In 1959, the CIA installs dictator Papa Doc Duvalier as leader of Haiti, who proceeded to establish a violent secret police force called the TonTon Macoutes and to massacre over 100,000 people during the reign of him and his son.
Domestically, the CIA was conducting Program MKULTRA, which sought to develop mind control techniques, giving drugs such as LSD and barbiturates to individuals against their will or without their knowledge. Several people were driven to commit suicide as a result of this torture.
The rest of the 20th century was marked with the same trend of the CIA, and those it supported, overthrowing and killing popular national democratic leaders, such as Patrice Lumumba (Congo, 1961), Salvador Allende (Chile, 1971), Joao Goulert (Brazil, 1964) and Soekarno (Indonesia, 1965).
There were also larger in scale imperialist projects run in conjunction with the United States military, like those conducted in Vietnam (1954-1975), the Dominican Republic (1965), Cuba (1961), Afghanistan (1979-1989, where it gave arms and other material support to anti-Soviet guerillas who would later go on to become al Qaeda and similar groups), and Nicaragua (1980s, the notorious Iran-Contra affair).
Today, the CIA runs several dozen sites around the world where people are routinely extrajudicially taken and physically and psychologically tortured through such techniques as sleep deprivation, forcing people with broken legs and feet to stand, and waterboarding.
This is just a very brief sample of the crimes that have been committed by the organization that is coming to our campus on April 5th. Knowledge of the history of this organization and its role in these acts is why other campuses have risen up to rebel against it. We at SLU, who pride ourselves on our commitment to opposing oppression in all forms, should do the same.
If you support torture, destruction of countries and people, and oppression, by all means, work for the CIA. The blood will be on your hands.
If you oppose imperialism, torture and destruction of efforts to use land and resources to the benefit of the people of the world, instead of a handful of parasitic capitalists and corporations, stand up and be counted in the ranks of those who resolutely and vocally oppose the presence of the CIA at our university and elsewhere.