Date: Sun, 2 Feb 97 11:01:32 CST
From: Workers World <>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: CIA Ran Tibet Contras
Article: 4971

Chicago Tribune admits: CIA ran Tibet contras since 1959

By Gary Wilson, Worker's World, 6 Febuary 1997

While the CIA's contra death squads in Central America are generally well known in the United States, its operations in the Tibetan region of China are virtually unknown.

According to a Jan. 25 report in the Chicago Tribune, Little about the CIA's skullduggery in the Himalayas is a real secret anymore except maybe to the U.S. taxpayers who bankrolled it.

The Tribune report is titled The CIA's secret war in Tibet. It is the first major report on this contra operation in a corporate-owned newspaper in the United States, although this news has been reported many times in the pages of Workers World newspaper.

Tibet has become a chic topic. It is a favorite of the rich conglomerates that control Hollywood, including Disney and TriStar, which are making movies about it.

Actors like Richard Gere have become vocal champions of Tibet's overthrown supreme ruler, the Dalai Lama.

While they like to quote extensively from the Dalai Lama's rarefied speeches about his noble intentions and his pacific nature, none will honestly confront the real history. It matters less what the Dalai Lama says than what he does.

Up until the time when his rule was overthrown, the Tibetan region of China was dominated by a feudal oligarchy. While most of the population lived in extreme poverty, the Dalai Lama lived richly in the 1,000-room, 14-story Potala Palace.

In 1950, the Chinese People's Liberation Army entered Tibet. They secured the borders and controlled foreign affairs. The Dalai Lama continued to live in his palace. But in 1959, the Dalai Lama led a bloody uprising against the Chinese government.

After the uprising failed, the Tribune reports, the Dalai Lama went into exile in India where the CIA set up and trained the Tibetan contra army.

The Tribune writes that Air Force pilots working with the CIA asked potential recruits one question: Do you want to kill Chinese?

These recruits were trained at U.S. military bases in Okinawa, Guam and Colorado. They were then dropped into the Tibetan region of China by American pilots who would later carry out [secret] operations in Laos and Cambodia during the Vietnam War, the Tribune reports.

By the mid-1960s, the CIA had switched its strategy from parachuting commandos into Tibet to setting up the Chusi Gangdruk, a grizzled army of 2,000 ethnic Khamba fighters, at secret bases across the border in pro-U.S. Nepal, the Tribune reports.

The Tribune report adds: `For years, the only way Tibetans could get a hearing in the world's capitals was to emphasize our spirituality and helplessness,' said Jamyang Norbu, a leading Tibetan intellectual who joined the guerrillas briefly as a teenager. `Tibetans who pick up rifles don't fit that romantic image we've built up in Westerners' heads.'

The Dalai Lama has always refused to answer any questions about his ties to the CIA, the Tribune writes, even though much of the contra operation in India was coordinated by his elder brother, a businessman named Gyalo Thondup.

The Tribune report claims that U.S. government support for the Dalai Lama's contra operations ended in the 1970s. But those familiar with U.S. covert operations around the world don't buy it.

Ex-CIA employee Ralph McGehee, who authored many expos,s of the CIA, says that the CIA is a prime mover behind the new 1990s campaign promoting the cause of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence. And a key player in the new operation is none other than the Dalai Lama's eldest brother.

Already, three bombs are known to have been detonated in Tibet this year. The most recent was on Dec. 25 outside a Chinese government office in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

Ever since the victory of the socialist revolution in Russia in 1917, the capitalist powers have glorified tyrants thrown over by workers. To the Western press, the Russian czar, a brutal and cruel dictator, became a near poet-king.

The prevalence of anti-communism as a near religion in the United States has made it easy to sell slave masters as humanitarians. The Dalai Lama is not much different from the former slave owners of the Confederate South.

He was an owner of slaves until 1959. He ruled over a harsh feudal serfdom.

And while the Dalai Lama says he will no longer own slaves and he will no longer claim his royal rights over the serfs of Tibet, it's only because the Tibetan workers and peasants have won their freedom and won't let the oppressive conditions return.

China had a successful socialist revolution. Every day since that victory, the former exploiters have been overtly and covertly trying to foment a counter-revolutionary overturn.

While the socialist state was crushed in the Soviet Union, it hasn't been in China, even though the socialized character of the economy has been diluted by widespread capitalist investment.

None know this better than the U.S. ruling class.

It's the reason that Clinton's new secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, declared a hard line against two countries in her first news conference Jan. 24: China and Cuba.