Friday, November 21, 2008

The CIA's Rogue Red Barons

It made headlines in 2001 when a Peruvian air force jet, guided by a CIA observer plane, opened fire on a light aircraft, killing an American missionary, Veronica Bowers, and her infant daughter, Charity. The pilot of the light plane managed to crash land, saving the lives of Bowers' husband and their 6-year old son.

The incident sparked the inevitable Congressional inquiry at which the CIA assured legislators that it was all a terrible mistake, a sheer fluke.

They lied.

It's now coming out that the CIA directed at least 10-shoot downs without properly identifying the suspect aircraft of giving them an opportunity to land. From the Washington Post:

"...according to the inspector general's report, agency officials sought from the outset to conceal the program's serious problems, while portraying the 2001 shooting as an aberration.

"Within hours, CIA officers began to characterize the shoot-down as a one-time mistake in an otherwise well-run program," the report stated. "In fact, this was not the case."
Instead, in nearly every instance, CIA and Peruvian participants ignored guidelines intended to prevent innocent pilots from being shot from the sky, it said. Often, suspect planes were shot down "within two to three minutes of being sighted . . . without being properly identified, without being given adequate warnings to land," it said.

Hoekstra, citing the still-classified portions of the report, said the CIA's program was "actually operating and being implemented outside the law." The investigators found that CIA managers "knew of, and condoned" the violations and failed to properly oversee the program, he said.

Lying to Congress is one thing but wilfully killing people on a bare suspicion they might be transporting illicit drugs without even giving them a chance to surrender is - it's murder.

No comments: