LANGLY, Virginia. October 7th, 2021. In a statement, CIA Director William Burns announced the CIA would form a China Mission Center (CMC) “to address the global challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China that cuts across all of the agency’s mission areas”.
Plans for the mission center include holding briefings on the level of the Director once per week regarding activity of the People’s Republic of China, specifically “issues critical to U.S. competitiveness” such as “emerging technologies, economic security, climate change and health challenges”.
“Throughout our history, CIA has stepped up to meet whatever challenges come our way,” Burns said in a statement on Thursday. “And now facing our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry, CIA will be at the forefront of this effort.”
The statement comes the day after the Supreme Court decided to hear a case by famous CIA torture victim Abu Zubaydah, who among other torments was waterboarded 83 times, locked in a coffin full of cockroaches for 11 days, and had his eye surgically removed without his consent.
Zubaydah is appealing for information on the CIA contract psychologists that devised his torture, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, an appeal which he won in a lower court. The CIA are appealing against the case by claiming that national security will be threatened.
CIA Station Chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, John Kiriakou, was both the man responsible for the capture of Zubaydah, and the only member of the Agency to go to prison over the torture program after he blew the whistle on it.
“Next March 22nd will mark 20 years since Abu Zubaydah was taken into CIA custody,” writes Kiriakou. “He has yet to be charged with a crime—any crime. He hasn’t even been able to question the people who tortured him”.
At the forefront
It bears consideration why the CIA should be at “the forefront of this effort” in China, when history demonstrates it operates under extreme illegality against the knowledge of the American people, whenever it operates at the forefront of any effort.
Relationships between China and the U.S. have been particularly strained in the early years of the Biden presidency, who is winding down America’s involvement in the Greater Middle-East in order to focus on what is now generally referred to as “Great Power Competition”.
Of late, there have been Chinese planes allegedly flying through restricted Taiwan airspace, the UK stationing its brand new carrier group in the Indo-Pacific, the “AUKUS” security partnership and the sale of nuclear-powered submarines to Australia, and news that U.S. special forces will go to Taiwan to train their military.
The CIA for their part have claimed to be working on many cases of China recruiting U.S. citizens to pass corporate proprietary knowledge onto Chinese entities; in line with their focus on economic strength, or so-called “soft power”.
With such heightened tensions between the nuclear-armed nations, it’s only natural the CIA would get involved, though perhaps not for the benefit of anyone.
It bears repeating to list events such as the Gulf of Tonkin, which helped launch the failure in Vietnam which killed millions, the Bay of Pigs, which almost led to nuclear war, or the torture program which violated every international law and provided no actionable intelligence that led to any advancement in the War on Terror, as it was then defined.
In the Western Hemisphere, the CIA has been behind dozens of destabilizing acts against governments in Latin America through operations such as funding and arming the 1954 coup d’état in Guatemala, gun-running for the dictatorship that overthrew Joao Goulart in Brazil 1964, funding strikes and political opposition in Chile to oust Salvador Allende around the same time, and the Iran-Contra Affair, which sold weapons to the Shah of Iran, who was under arms embargo, to cover the cost of supporting the Contra rebels in Nicaragua during the 1980s in a civil war that killed tens of thousands.
Now the agency is setting its sights on China, and it’s reasonable to expect the new CMC will provide more of the same.