My CIA Connection
SEPTEMBER 22 – THIS DAY IN HISTORY – MY QUEST FOR FREEDOM TRAPS ME IN SLAVERY
On September 22, 1971, I was Taken on Strength (TOS) of Establishment No. 22, Special Frontier Force, a military organization created in response to ‘The Cold War in Asia.’
On September 22, 2018, I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan to welcome the first day of Fall Season. Today, I claim that my quest for Freedom in Occupied Tibet traps me in Slavery in a nation which abolished Slavery with a presidential proclamation on September 22.
On September 22, 1971, I had the freedom to reject my posting to Establishment No. 22. I was given the choice to choose or decline rendering service in support of Freedom in Occupied Tibet. The choice to serve in Establishment No. 22 comes with risks for the Service Mission differs from the military mission of Indian Army which I joined on a voluntary basis.
It may appear that I am making my own choices in accepting calculated risks to my life. On September 22, 2018, I am still struggling to reconcile with the choices I made for I must reconcile with the reality of my Slavery while living in a country which sponsored my quest for Freedom in Occupied Tibet.
On September 22, 1971, I did not arrive at the final destination of my life. Chakrata represents the struggle ahead, a struggle waiting for me before I can arrive at the final destination of my life.
SEPTEMBER 22, THIS DAY IN HISTORY – WHAT HAPPENED TODAY
Clipped from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history
On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million black slaves in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery.
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure.
In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union. His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free.
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The proclamation also called for the recruitment and establishment of black military units among the Union forces. An estimated 180,000 African-Americans went on to serve in the army, while another 18,000 served in the navy.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, backing the Confederacy was seen as favoring slavery. It became impossible for anti-slavery nations such as Great Britain and France, who had been friendly to the Confederacy, to get involved on behalf of the South. The proclamation also unified and strengthened Lincoln’s party, the Republicans, helping them stay in power for the next two decades.
The proclamation was a presidential order and not a law passed by Congress, so Lincoln then pushed for an antislavery amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ensure its permanence. With the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery was eliminated throughout America (although blacks would face another century of struggle before they truly began to gain equal rights).
Lincoln’s handwritten draft of the final Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, the original official version of the document is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Also on this day
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is announced
Motivated by his growing concern for the inhumanity of slavery as well as practical political concerns, President Abraham Lincoln changes the course of the war and American history by issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Announced a week after the nominal Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
President Kennedy signs Peace Corps legislation
In an important victory for his Cold War foreign policy, President John F. Kennedy signs legislation establishing the Peace Corps as a permanent government agency. Kennedy believed that the Peace Corps could provide a new and unique weapon in the war against communism.
President Ford survives a second assassination attempt
On this day in 1975, Sarah Jane Moore aims a gun at President Gerald Ford as he leaves the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco, California. The attempt on the president’s life came only 17 days after another woman had tried to assassinate Ford.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2018. MY PASSION FOR FREEDOM IN TIBET WHICH BEGAN AT CHAKRATA DOES NOT RECONCILE WITH MY SLAVERY OF TODAY. THE SCENIC BEAUTY OF CHAKRATA PLAYED NO ROLE IN THE CHOICE I MADE ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1971.
Chakrata is not the final destination of my life. It is just the beginning of a struggle that remains ahead, both in terms of time and location.
THE CLINTON CURSE – AMERICA’S FINANCIAL BONDAGE
“Think what you do when you run in debt,” said Benjamin Franklin, “You give another power over your liberty.” No man is truly free who is in financial bondage. To the same extent, no nation is truly free when it is in financial bondage.
President Clinton approved Public Law 143 – 193 to address the mounting problem of National Debt. To ‘Balance the Budget’, President Clinton imposed Slavery, Bondage, Servitude, Serfdom, and Forced Labor on aliens working in the United States paying Federal, State, Social Security, Medicare, and Local Taxes. His action is of no help. The US External Debt keeps growing compromising the freedom of Americans for the Debt gives power to other nations over American Liberty.
THE WORLD FACTBOOK – CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
NATIONAL SECURITY BILL FOR TIBET – GOD HAS A PLAN FOR TIBET
On August 10, 1949, the US President Harry Truman signed The National Security Bill creating The Department of Defense to prepare the United States for Cold War as containment of Communist Expansionism requires a complex strategy.
Tibet declared full independence on February 13, 1913, taking advantage of the downfall of the Qing Dynasty or Ch’ing, or Manchu Chinese Empire during 1911-1912.
Tibet never had a National Security Plan or Security Strategy to defend its existence. During 1948-49, Tibet experienced the first major threat to existence with the spread of Communism to mainland China during World War II. It is no surprise to find Tibetans unprepared. In the absence of National Security Plan or Strategy, Tibet has become dependent upon The US National Security Bill and its execution by different US Administrations.
Tibetans are very fearful of Chinese people as Chinese ruled over Tibet with the utmost brutality, unlike the Mongols who had earlier ruled over Tibet for a long time. Tibetans are not concerned about the political ideology of Chinese people. Tibetans are simply afraid of the Chinese race known for their arrogance and unjustified use of power to subjugate innocent, undefended Tibetan people.
Living Tibetan Spirits trace their American Support from the period of Hump Airlift Operations from April 1942 to November 1945 in China Burma India Theater (CBI) of World War II. While the British fought against the Japanese invasion of Burma, the US worked to extend support to Nationalist forces engaged in bitter Civil War to oppose the Communist takeover of mainland China. Apart from the use of Tibetan airspace, some Hump Airlift Operations delivered weapons and ammunition to Tibet.
For both Tibet and India have no Security Plan or Strategy to defend Tibet from military conquest, they used the opportunity provided by the US President Harry Truman who signed The National Security Bill with plans to fight against Communist Expansionism.
Tibet, India, and the United States agreed to work together in support of the US Plan to contain the spread of Communism. But, as we have seen, it is not good enough. In fact, Communist China consolidated her tight grip over Tibet.
For countries of the World have no Security Plan for Tibet, I asked God for His Security Plan for Tibet. God referred me to the story of David and Goliath described in The Old Testament Book, 1 SAMUEL, Chapter 17. God assures me that it takes only a single ‘Sling Shot’ to utterly defeat Tibet’s Enemy. Beijing’s Downfall is just a ‘Stone’s Throw Away’. I call God’s Plan as ‘The Sling Shot’ Option for Tibet’s Security.
TRUMAN SIGNS NATIONAL SECURITY BILL – AUGUST 10, 1949
President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Bill, which establishes the Department of Defense. As the Cold War heated up, the Department of Defense became the cornerstone of America’s military effort to contain the expansion of communism.
In 1947, the National Security Act established the Cabinet-level position of secretary of defense, which oversaw a rather unwieldy umbrella military-defense agency known as the National Military Establishment. The secretary of defense, however, was just one of a number of military-related cabinet positions, including the pre-existing secretaries for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The growing complexity of the Cold War, a war in which the mishandled application of military force could lead to a world war of cataclysmic proportions, convinced U.S. officials that the 1947 act needed to be revised.
In 1949, the National Security Bill streamlined the defense agencies of the U.S. government. The 1949 bill replaced the National Military Establishment with the Department of Defense. The bill also removed the cabinet-level status of the secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, who would henceforth be subordinate to the Secretary of Defense. The first person to hold this position was Louis Johnson. Finally, the bill provided for the office of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in an effort to bring to end to the inter-service bickering that had characterized the Joint Chiefs in recent years. World War II hero General Omar Bradley was appointed the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The National Security Bill of 1949 was the result of the realization that more coordination and efficiency were needed for America’s military-defense bureaucracy, which had experienced tremendous growth during and after World War II. The Cold War was a new and dangerous kind of war for America, and the 1949 reorganization was recognition of the need for a different approach to U.S. defense.
AUGUST 09, 2018 – THIS DAY IN MY LIFE – JOURNEY FROM FREEDOM STRUGGLE TO ANTISLAVERY CAMPAIGN
August 09 is the unique day of my life. On August 09, 1974 I was in Doom Dooma, Tinsukia District, Assam, India involved in Struggle for Freedom, Peace, and Justice in Occupied Tibet. In American History, Ford becomes President due to unusual succession on 9th Day of August 1974. On that day, I never expected or anticipated that I live this day of my life in City called Ann Arbor. To the same extent, I never expected or anticipated that I will be promoting Antislavery Campaign while living on the US soil. My Struggle for Freedom in Occupied Tibet seems unreal and unusual just like the Ford Presidency.
UNUSUAL SUCCESSION MAKES FORD PRESIDENT ON AUGUST 09, 1974
In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office.
Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration’s wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.
Ford is inaugurated
On this day in 1974, one day after the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford is sworn in as president, making him the first man to assume the presidency upon his predecessor’s resignation. He was also the first non-elected vice president and non-elected president, which made his presidency unique.
Nixon leaves office
Having announced his resignation the day before, Richard M. Nixon steps down from the presidency of the United States and is succeeded by Vice President Gerald R. Ford. Nixon had resigned rather than face almost certain impeachment because of the Watergate Scandal.
World War II
Atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki
On this day in 1945, a second atom bomb is dropped on Japan by the United States, at Nagasaki, resulting finally in Japan’s unconditional surrender. The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender.
Foreign Relations of the United States.
Status on Tibetan Operations.
On behalf of Living Tibetan Spirits, I can review the status on Tibetan Operations because of my lifetime affiliation with the military organization called Special Frontier Force. In my review of foreign relations of the United States, I conclude making amendments to the US policy which essentially aims to contain the threat of the spread of Communism to mainland China. 1. In the present times of ‘The Information Era’, there is no need for The Cold War Era of secret diplomacy and covert operations. Information is the most important tool to decide the outcome of the battle between Democracy and Communism. 2. The United States must seek Direct Dialogue with Tibet and Tibetan Institutions of Government and, 3. The United States must recognize Tibet as the third largest nation of Asia. This country because of its size and location is vital to the US interests to maintain The Balance of Power.
Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968,
Volume XXX, China. Office of The Historian
342. Memorandum for the 303 Committee1
Washington, January 26, 1968.
- Status Report on Tibetan Operations
1. Summary—The CIA Tibetan program, parts of which were initiated in 1956 with the cognizance of the Committee, is based on U.S. Government commitments made to the Dalai Lama in 1951 and 1956. The program consists of political action, propaganda, paramilitary and intelligence operations, appropriately coordinated with and supported by [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. This program was last reviewed and endorsed by the Committee on 20 February 1964. Current activities have been coordinated with and have the approval of [1 line of source text not declassified], Mr. William Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Mr. Lucius Battle, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs. 2. Program Objectives—In the political action and propaganda field, Tibetan program objectives are aimed toward lessening the influence and capabilities of the Chinese regime through support, among Tibetans and among foreign nations, of the concept of an autonomous Tibet under the leadership of the Dalai Lama; toward the creation of a capability for resistance against possible political developments inside Tibet; and the containment of Chinese Communist expansion—in pursuance of U.S. policy objectives stated initially in NSC 5913/1.2 [6 lines of source text not declassified] 3.
Appraisal of Current Programs—The cultural revolution in China expanded into Tibet bringing with it tremendous disturbances including the disruption of internal transportation, communication, travel and, to a significant extent, peace and order. Unfortunately, there are no apparent signs that the Tibetan people are capitalizing upon this internal chaos to seek further autonomy. Chinese security has shown no signs of deterioration [Page 740]and their control over Tibet, both political and military remains as pervasive as ever. Tibetan leadership has been purged, leaving the Chinese in direct control of the local administration, and a large number of underground assets have been uncovered and neutralized.
The Tibetan program has a potential for operational success based on a reservoir of trained agent material, the location in a safe-haven of the Dalai Lama together with the nucleus of new young leaders, widespread sympathy for the Tibetan cause, indications of a more positive Indian attitude toward the political aspirations of the Tibetan government, and evidence of considerable disarray among the Chinese stationed in Tibet.
a. At present, there are no radio teams remaining inside Tibet. Radio teams continue to function [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] although much of their information comes from the debriefing of traders and refugees. Singleton resident agent operations in Tibet, regarded as being the long-range replacement of the black radio teams, have not progressed as planned due to continued tightening of Chinese security in the border areas. Intelligence reporting from all sources deals primarily with military, political and construction activities along the Tibetan border. b. The Tibetan paramilitary unit, a remnant of the 1959 resistance force, is dispersed in 15 camps [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. The Tibetan leadership views the force as the paramilitary arm of its “government-in-exile” [2 lines of source text not declassified]. Because of the diplomatic sensitivity occasioned by the presence of the Tibetan force [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], it has been enjoined from offensive action which might invite Chinese [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] retaliation. Joint efforts to disperse the force to other uninhabited areas [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] have not been successful because of Chinese [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reaction or of difficulties in resupply. c. [1 line of source text not declassified] responsible for radio contact with and operational direction of the radio teams, the paramilitary resistance force, and the support mechanism [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] continue to serve their intended purpose with a minimum of problems. d. Bi-lateral CIA-Tibetan intelligence collection operations into Tibet, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] have increased significantly, both in number and in value during the past few years. e. Activities designed to develop a dynamic political program [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to weld the refugee communities into a cohesive whole under the leadership of the Dalai Lama and his brother, Gyalo Thondup, continue. These include: (1) The Geneva, New York and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] “Tibet houses” continue in operation. The Geneva office serves as [Page 741]the coordinating point for the resettlement of some 500 Tibetan refugees in Switzerland and other European countries and maintains contact with the international agencies concerned with Tibetan relief. Although time has dimmed some of the effectiveness of its pleas, the New York office continues to lobby among the U.N. delegations for legal and moral support for the Tibetan cause, guided in their efforts by a sitting former U.S. delegate to the U.N. who is also a well-known international lawyer. [2 lines of source text not declassified] (2) The covert training program conducted in the U.S. under which some 250 Tibetans were trained, ended in November 1964. (3) Twenty selected Tibetan junior officers studied at Cornell University, over a three year period. Due to the Katzenbach strictures, this program was concluded in July 1967; CIA is considering a continuation of the program, on a limited scale, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. (4) The Tibetan organizational party, the Cho Kha Sum, (i.e. the Defense of Religion by the Three Regions: Kham, Amdo, and U-Tsang), which was established in India in April 1964 by Gyalo Thondup, now has an active press and publications arm. While the future potential of the party is still in question, the Tibetans are making an effort to mold it into an effective organization, aimed at halting a drift towards disunity among the refugees, developing a political consciousness and a political program with which to challenge the Communist efforts inside Tibet.
Significant Previous 303 Committee Approvals—
a. September 1958—initial endorsement of CIA covert support to Tibetan resistance; b. 20 May 1959—initial approval of covert support to the Dalai Lama; c. 14 February 1961—endorsed continuation of the covert program; d. 13 December 1962—approved training of Tibetan guerrilla force; e. 20 February 1964—reviewed and endorsed continuation of covert program; f. 9 April 1965—approved relocation of Tibetan paramilitary force; g. 8 July and 25 November 1966—endorsed the covert paramilitary program [1 line of source text not declassified].
These landmark reviews were interspersed with status reports and briefings of the Committee, in one period at monthly intervals. The basic decisions listed above in several instances were reviewed with Higher Authority.
5. Coordination— a. Department of State—Since the project’s inception, appropriate officials of the Department have approved various elements of the program. [Page 742]Department officers who have been briefed on aspects of this project include Elmer Falk and Clement J. Sobotka, Director and Deputy Director, respectively, of the Office of Refugee and Migration Affairs; Harald Jacobson, Director, Office of Asian Communist Affairs; William Gleysteen, Deputy Director, Office of U.N. Political Affairs; William Bundy, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs; and Lucius Battle, Assistant Secretary of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs. b. Ambassadors—The past and present Ambassadors to Nepal and India have approved the Tibetan program, [1 line of source text not declassified]. c. [2–1/2 lines of source text not declassified] 6. Projected and Planned Programs— a. On the political front during 1967, the Dalai Lama began what is hoped will be a long-range program of projecting himself and Tibetan affairs on an international basis. He is contemplating visits to Ceylon, Burma, and Cambodia, having visited Japan and Thailand in late 1967. Invitations have also been extended from several European countries having active Tibetan refugee programs or interests. b. Gyalo Thondup, acting for the Tibetan partnership in our liaison with the Indians, has proposed the establishment of a Tibetan Operations Center to represent Tibetan interests [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]. This Tibetan center would conceivably provide greater efficiency in the Tibetan handling of existing operations and in the relegation of operational tasks to Tibetan assets. [1 line of source text not declassified] c. Some elements of the basic covert program remain to be implemented. They include the deployment of landline wiretap teams to selected priority targets within Tibet; the activation of special refugee debriefing teams; a census of some 70,000 Tibetan refugees spread throughout India and its neighboring countries which may locate additional operational assets; and the resupply of arms and ammunition to the Mustang force. 7. Costs—At the time of the February 1964 review by the Committee, the projected annual cost for all Tibetan operations was $1,735,000. With the discontinuation of the training programs in the U.S., [1 line of source text not declassified] a reduction of $570,000 in this estimate for FY68 has been achieved. The remainder of $1,165,000 has been programmed in the CIA budget for FY68 for the activities described in this paper. Of this amount, $650,000 was approved by the 303 Committee on 25 November 1966 in its review of the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified].
- Source: Department of State, INR Historical Files, Tibet, 1967–1968. Secret; Eyes Only. The source text bears no drafting information. A March 4 memorandum from Battle to Bohlen describes it as a CIA memorandum. (Ibid.) It was discussed at a March 19 meeting of the 303 Committee. According to Peter Jessup’s memorandum for the record of the meeting, CIA representative James Critchfield stated that “achievements inside Tibet were minimal—outside more substantial.” He observed that “the Tibetans by nature did not appear to be congenitally inclined toward conspiratorial proficiency.” Jessup records no action by the 303 Committee at the meeting. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Intelligence File, 303 Committee)↩
The text of NSC 5913/1, approved September 25, 1959, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1958–1960, vol. XVI, pp. 133– 144. Also, see the record of the NSC discussion of NSC 5913 on September 17, 1959, ibid., pp. 116–127.↩
THE COLD WAR IN ASIA – LESSONS OF COVERT ACTION
The Cold War in Asia represents the security threat posed by the spread of Communism to mainland China. Because of my lifetime affiliation with the military organization called Special Frontier Force, I can review covert action in Tibet to draw some lessons.
In my analysis, the US, India, and Tibet lack intelligence capabilities to conduct a successful covert action in Tibet. In 1959, Tibet National Uprising failed for the CIA underestimated the enemy’s capabilities both in terms of intelligence and the use of military power to crush civilian uprising or rebellion. In 1962, the CIA again failed to know the enemy’s war preparation and the attack across the Himalayan Frontier came as a rude surprise.
I directly ask the CIA to improve its intelligence capabilities to respond to the security challenge posed by the spread of Communism to mainland China. The United States fought wars in Korea and Vietnam without testing the enemy’s military capabilities. To fight against the enemy, the United States must recognize the face of the enemy. No covert action will succeed without knowing your enemy.
LESSONS OF COVERT ACTION IN TIBET (1950-1972) –
SMALL WARS JOURNAL
Lessons of Covert Action in Tibet (1950-1972)
Between 1950 and 1972, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in close cooperation with the Departments of State (DoS) and Defense (DoD), conducted a comprehensive covert action campaign in support of Tibetan resistance movements fighting against Communist Chinese occupation of their homeland. The campaign consisted of “political action, propaganda, paramilitary, and intelligence operations” intended to internally weaken and undermine the expansionist ambitions of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).[i] Following the October 1950 invasion of Tibet by the PRC, the CIA’s Special Activities Division (SAD) inserted teams into Tibet to train, advise, and assist Tibetans who were already fighting the Communists.[ii]
A number of Tibetan resistance fighters were specially selected and exfiltrated to the Pacific island of Saipan and Camp Hale in Colorado to undergo training in demolitions, clandestine communication, and other critical skills.[iii] Operating out of neighboring Nepal and India, SAD-directed teams of Tibetan rebels waged a ceaseless campaign against the Chinese that tied down significant PRC troop strength, strengthened international opposition to Chinese atrocities against Tibetans, and prevented the PRC from effectively pursuing its regional ambitions in South Asia to further spread its communist ideology.[iv] The CIA continued to support the Tibetan resistance until 1972 when U.S. President Richard Nixon changed course and decided to normalize relations with the PRC.[v]
Though the CIA’s Tibetan covert action campaign never successfully ousted the Chinese Communists, the campaign was quite successful in accomplishing the U.S.’s limited objectives. Through its covert action campaign, the U.S. sought to internally weaken the PRC through sustained attrition and distraction in order to prevent the Chinese from spreading their brand of communism across South Asia – specifically India.[vi] The CIA’s covert action campaign succeeded in three ways: it depleted the PRC’s already limited resources, which further weakened the state; it undermined the PRC’s international standing and limited its regional influence, and it prevented the expansion of the PRC’s borders.[vii]
Specifically, the CIA’s covert action campaign forced the PRC to commit vast numbers of troops and resources to pacify Tibet, which delayed a number of other critical initiatives that the young communist state sought to pursue. In 1959, the CIA estimated that the PRC had over 60,000 soldiers deployed just to subjugate Tibet, a force that required 256 tons of supplies daily to sustain. [viii] The PRC, which had just successfully ended its own civil war in 1949, saw its military stretched incredibly thin by its Tibetan occupation. This strain likely undermined the ability of the Chinese government in Beijing to effectively consolidate full control over the expansive country, further encumbering efforts to pursue its strategic ambitions.
Adding to the PRC’s frustrations was the widespread international condemnation resulting from the increasingly brutal pacification campaign that China felt compelled to undertake to try and quell the Tibetan rebellion.[ix] Much of this international focus was (and still is) cultivated by Tenzin Gyatso, the 14thDalai Lama and the spiritual leader of the majority of Tibet’s Buddhists. During a particularly violent 1959 revolt, The Dalai Lama fled from Tibet with over 100,000 of his followers, escaping with the help of the CIA to India where he established a Tibetan “government in exile”.[x] This government has been a constant thorn in the PRC’s side, with the Dalai Lama and his disciples incessantly lobbying the international community for Tibetan rights and autonomy from China.[xi] The sustained focus on Chinese atrocities against the Tibetans significantly undermined the PRC’s regional standing and efforts to strengthen ties with neighbors.
Finally, the CIA’s covert action campaign was successful in its primary objective of preventing the spread of communism across South Asia. Mao Tsetung, the chairman of the PRC’s Communist Party, was convinced during an extended stay in the Soviet Union between 1949 and 1950 to undertake the leadership role in “liberating” Asia for the cause of global communism.[xii] However, the PRC’s inability to fully control Tibet, largely due to the CIA’s covert action campaign that sustained indigenous resistance, denied China the use of key terrain that might have enabled military action against India or even the Middle East.[xiii] The covert action campaign thus protected the U.S. or its allies from the need to fight a major land conflict in South Asia against the military forces of the PRC.
The CIA achieved a significant victory for the U.S. with a minimal commitment of American resources: total expenditures per year amounted to roughly $1.7 million dollars.[xiv] However, it is important to note that the CIA’s covert action campaign cost tens of thousands of Tibetans their lives, and the supported resistance encouraged violent oppression from the Chinese occupiers. Further, when relations between the U.S. and China normalized under President Nixon, many Tibetans and even a few CIA SAD officers saw the abrupt decision in 1972 to cease support of the Tibetan resistance as tantamount to betrayal.[xv] The Dalai Lama described this sentiment with some bitterness in a 1998 interview, saying that the CIA had aided his cause, “not because they cared about Tibetan independence, but as part of their worldwide efforts to destabilize all Communist governments.”[xvi] Despite such accusations of duplicity, the CIA achieved its stated objectives through this covert action campaign.
The CIA’s efforts in Tibet were successful because the objectives of the covert action campaign were reasonably limited and achievable with the resources available. While the Tibetans themselves may have nursed illusions of eventually driving all Chinese occupiers from their homeland, it is clear from the available records that the CIA and the political leadership in Washington were content to simply destabilize China and frustrate the Communists’ designs to spread their ideology throughout Asia.[xvii] Once the political winds changed and relations started to improve between the U.S. and China, the continuation of support to the Tibetan resistance was no longer in the best interests of the U.S. The U.S. successfully achieved its objectives through this covert action campaign because those objectives were achievable without escalating into a wider conflict.
Other successful covert actions, such as the SAD-spearheaded coups that toppled the governments of Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran in 1953[xviii] and Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954[xix] are thought by historians to have given the CIA and subsequent U.S presidents an overly optimistic opinion of the potential for covert action to achieve outsized objectives. This overconfidence likely led to the 1961 “Bay of Pigs” invasion in Cuba, which was a tremendous failure because its objectives were overly ambitious and unachievable given the limited resources that the U.S. committed.[xx] Rather than be greeted as liberators and reinforced by masses of Cubans dissidents flocking to their cause, the US-backed Cuban rebel forces were quickly overwhelmed. The most important lesson that covert action practitioners and policymakers who consider the use of covert action should take from the highly effective campaign in Tibet is that such campaigns must be reasonably limited in their objectives to maximize the chances of success.
[i] “Memorandum for the 303 Committee,” U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, January 28, 1968, accessed October 10, 2017, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v30/d342.
[ii] Kenneth Conboy and James Morrison, The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet, The University Press of Kansas, 2002.
[iii] John Roberts and Elizabeth Roberts, Freeing Tibet: 50 Years of Struggle, Resilience, and Hope, (New York, AMACOM Books, 2009), 43-46.
[iv] Joe Bageant, “CIA’s Secret War in Tibet,” History.net, June 12, 2006, accessed October 10, 2017, http://www.historynet.com/cias-secret-war-in-tibet.htm.
[v] Jonathan Mirsky, “Tibet: The CIA’s Cancelled War,” The New York Review of Books, April 9, 2013, accessed October 10, 2017, http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2013/04/09/cias-cancelled-war-tibet/.
[vi] “Chinese Communist Motives in Invasion of Tibet,” Central Intelligence Agency, November 16, 1950, accessed October 10, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP82-00457R006300270010-6.pdf.
[vii] “Memorandum for the 303 Committee,” U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, January 28, 1968.
[viii] “Logistical Problems of the Tibetan Campaign,” Central Intelligence Agency, April 17, 1959, accessed October 10, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP79T01049A001900130001-6.pdf.
[ix] “Tibet and China Background Paper,” Central Intelligence Agency, April 27, 1959, accessed October 10, 2017, 35-38, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP82R00025R000100060022-5.pdf.
[xi] Michael Backman, “Behind Dalai Lama’s Holy Cloak,” The Age, May 23, 2007, accessed October 10, 2017, http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/behind-dalai-lamas-holy-cloak/2007/05/22/1179601410290.html.
[xii] “Chinese Communist Motives in Invasion of Tibet,” Central Intelligence Agency, November 16, 1950, accessed October 10, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP82-00457R006300270010-6.pdf.
[xiii] “Resistance in Tibet,” Central Intelligence Agency, July 21, 1958, accessed October 11, 2017, https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP79-01006A000100090001-7.pdf.
[xiv] “Memorandum for the Special Group,” U.S. Department of State Office of the Historian, January 9, 1964, accessed October 10, 2017, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v30/d337.
[xv] Joe Bageant, “CIA’s Secret War in Tibet,” History.net, June 12, 2006, accessed October 10, 2017, http://www.historynet.com/cias-secret-war-in-tibet.htm.
[xvi] Jim Mann, “CIA Gave Aid to Tibetan Exiles in ’60s, Files Show,” Los Angeles Times, September 15, 1998, accessed October 10, 2017, http://articles.latimes.com/1998/sep/15/news/mn-22993.
[xvii] “Memorandum for the Special Group,” Department of State Office of the Historian, January 9, 1964.
[xviii] James Risen, “SECRETS OF HISTORY: The C.I.A. in Iran — A special report. How a Plot Convulsed Iran in ’53 (and in ’79),” The New York Times, April 16, 2000, accessed October 10, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/2000/04/16/world/secrets-history-cia-iran-special-report-plot-convulsed-iran-53-79.html?pagewanted=all.
[xix] Nick Cullather, Secret History: The CIA’s Classified Account of Its Operations in Guatemala, 1952–1954, (Stanford University Press: 1999).
[xx] Grayston Lynch, Decision for Disaster: Betrayal at the Bay of Pigs, (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2000).
TIBETAN RESISTANCE MOVEMENT
FAILED BECAUSE OF COVERT ACTIONS
In my analysis, American actions in support of the Tibetan Resistance Movement failed because of the choice of covert operations to accomplish their mission. On behalf of Living Tibetan Spirits, I demand direct dialogue between the US and Tibet after due recognition of Tibetan Government-in-Exile as the sole representative of Tibetan people.
LESSONS OF COVERT ACTION IN
TIBET (1950-1972) –
Small Wars Journal