Magazine article Monthly Review

Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away with Murder

Magazine article Monthly Review

Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away with Murder

Article excerpt

Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder Michael Rattier and Michael Steven Smith, Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder (New York OR Books, 2011), 195 pages, $16.00, paperback.

Rattier and Smith have done it again! Who Killed Che? How the CIA Got Away With Murder is their second bombshell book dealing with Che Guevara and the U.S. government's frequent use of illegal and criminal political assassinations and routine whopper lies in its foreign policy, all in the name of "defending freedom" (their first bombshell was Che Guevara and the FBI). In their new Che book these two prominent civil liberties lawyers present forty-four previously classified documents released under the Freedom of Information Act to show - quite meticulously and colorfully, as if in a courtroom drama - how the CIA, in concert with the White House, masterminded the murder of Che and then tried to cover it up.

For some readers tbis may seem like an old story, since the U.S. government now openly proclaims the legitimacy of assassinating foreign leaders and even U.S. citizens during its hypocritical "war on terrorism." In today's climate of Presidential and CIA boasts about the political assassinations they have ordered - such as that of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki in tbe faU of 2011, and tben two weeks later his sixteen-year-old son - the murder of Che in captivity, a major war crime, may seem a bit dated. But as Che himself once said in words tbat Libya's murdered leader Muammar Qaddafi might have done well to heed, "You cannot trust imperialism, not even a little bit, not in anything." And there, indeed, is the rub.

The kind of duplicity around Che's murder so brilliantly revealed in this book helps us understand how we are being lied to today - and losing even our own rights, as U.S. citizens, not to be jailed forever merely on "suspicion" without due process or even - yes - the right not to be assassinated. Actually, the frequent cover-up of the truth for reasons of "national security" practiced in the days of Che and tbe Vietnam War still characterizes the inner circles of the world's biggest practitioner of terrorism. "National security" was the U.S. government's excuse for not providing any details about the murders of al-Awlaki and his son.

That is why the research presented here by Ratner and Smith is so important and explosive. The authors cite CIA and U.S. government documents to blow the cover off the daily lies emanating from Washington. They explain that:

* Claims of a split between Fidel and Che were unfounded.

* The CIA had tried to follow Che ever since 1954, and in 1962, with the help of Chicago mobster Johnny Rosselli, it tried to poison Che in Cuba (more than 600 botched CIA attempts on Fidel Castro's life also took place in those years and afterwards).

* The CIA, with the U.S. military, vowed to track down Che and to "eliminate the guerrillas" operating under Che's command in Bolivia in 1966-67 in an operation supervised by sixteen Green Berets (U.S. Special Forces) charged with training the 2nd Ranger Battahon-Bohvian Army, the unit that captured Che.

* Twenty of the top twenty-three Bolivian military men heading Bohvia's dictatorship at the time were trained at the U.S. School of the Americas, as were 1,200 other officers and men in the Bolivian Armed Forces and countless military dictators of Latin America.

* The CIA country chief in Bolivia, by his own admission, had an understanding with Bolivia's president, General René Barrientos, that Che must be killed if captured, and Barrientos gave his word that Che would indeed be executed.

* The head of the Bolivian Interior Ministry was on the CIA's payroll, and the U.S. "military attaché" in La Paz was a CIA agent.

* Two CIA operatives, both ultra-rightist Cuban Americans, disguised themselves as Bolivian soldiers, and one of them, Felix Rodriguez, would later claim to be the highest-ranking military officer at the scene of Che's murder. …

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