John Stockwell left the CIA when he decided that what they were doing was endangering national security not protecting it.
John R. Stockwell (born 1937) is a former CIA officer who became a critic of United States government policies after serving seven tours of duty over thirteen years. Having managed American involvement in the Angolan Civil War as Chief of the Angola Task Force during its 1975 covert operations, he resigned and wrote In Search of Enemies.
As a Marine, Stockwell was a CIA paramilitary intelligence case officer in three wars: the Congo Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the Angolan War of Independence. His military rank is Major. Beginning his career in 1964, Stockwell spent six years in Africa, Chief of Base in the Katanga during the Bob Denard invasion in 1968, then Chief of Station in Bujumbura, Burundi in 1970, before being transferred to Vietnam to oversee intelligence operations in the Tay Ninh province and was awarded the CIA Intelligence Medal of Merit for keeping his post open until the last days of the fall of Saigon in 1975.
In December 1976, he resigned from the CIA, citing deep concerns for the methods and results of CIA paramilitary operations in Third World countries and testified before Congressional committees. Two years later, he wrote the exposé In Search of Enemies, about that experience and its broader implications. He claimed that the CIA was counterproductive to national security, and that its "secret wars" provided no benefit for the United States. The CIA, he stated, had singled out the MPLA to be an enemy in Angola despite the fact that the MPLA wanted relations with the United States and had not committed a single act of aggression against the United States.
John Stockwell: “Another thing is to disseminate propaganda to influence people’s minds. And this is a major function of the CIA. […] 400 journalists cooperating with the CIA including some of the biggest names in the business, to consciously introduce stories into the press. [...] Well, for example, in my war, the Angola War, that I helped to manage, one-third of my staff was propaganda [...] I had propagandists all over the world, principally in London, Kinshasa, and Zambia. We would take stories which we would write and put them in the Zambia Times and then pull them out and send them to a journalist on our payroll in Europe, but his cover story, you see, would be that he’d gotten them from his stringer in Lusaka who’d gotten them from the Zambia Times. We had the complicity of the government of Zambia […] to put these false stories into his newspapers. But after that point, the journalists, Reuters and AFP, the management was not witting of it. Now our contact man in Europe was and we pumped just dozens of stories about Cuban atrocities, Cuban rapists… In one case we had the Cuban rapists caught and tried by the Ovimbundu maidens who had been their victims. And then we ran photographs that made almost every newspaper in the country of the Cubans being executed by the Ovimbundu women who supposedly had been their victims.”
Investigator: “These were fake photos?”
John Stockwell: “Oh, absolutely. We didn’t know one single atrocity committed by the Cubans. It was pure, raw, false propaganda to create an illusion of communists, you know, eating babies for breakfast. And that’s a totally false propaganda.”
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