A long-forgotten Rolling Stone interview about Syria

(WMR)—Buried in the recesses of the CIA’s archives is a long-forgotten interview by Rolling Stone of Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and CIA veteran Miles Copeland. Copeland, who was once in charge of the CIA’s “dirty tricks” department as the chief of the agency’s Political Action Staff, came to the attention of Rolling Stone because his three sons were active in rock music: Miles Copeland III, was manager of the Police, Ian Copeland founded the music booking agency called FBI, and Stewart Copeland was drummer for Curved Air and later for the Police.

In his interview with Robert Eringer, which was published in the January 16, 1986 edition of Rolling Stone, Copeland admitted that he once worked for the notorious Frank Wisner, Sr., originator of the CIA’s “Mighty Wurlitzer” media propaganda and infiltration operations.

Rolling Stone is now more well-known for publishing the Michael Hastings interview with NATO’s Afghanistan commander General Stanley McCrystal, an interview which cost McCrystal his job and, possibly, Hastings his life.

Copeland was the CIA’s first station chief in post-World War II Syria. He said he “put Syria on the path to democracy by starting a military dictatorship.” In many ways, it was the CIA’s imposition of military regimes in Syria, all dominated by the minority Alawite community, that led the way to the government of present Syrian President Bashar al Assad who succeeded his father, Hafez al Assad, upon his death in 2000.

Copeland “officially” left the CIA in 1957 and founded his own private intelligence company that was active in the Middle East and Africa. Copeland died in 1991.

Copeland’s actions in Syria and the Middle East in the 1950s have directly influenced the problems of Syria today. Not only did Copeland usher into power a series of Syrian dictatorships but he helped establish the first liaison between the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood in 1955 to defeat Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and like-minded pan-Arab socialists in Syria, Lebanon, and other countries of the Middle East. Barack Obama has almost carried out the CIA’s plans to eliminate the last vestiges of pan-Arab socialism with the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the overthrow and assassinations of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi and members of his family, and the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen.

Copeland’s recollections about Syria are stark in that democracy was never a real goal of the United States in Syria just as it was never an American goal in Iran in 1953 when the CIA helped oust democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq from office:

“Let me tell you about democracy. First place, I remember Syria. We decided we were going to bring democracy to Syria. So we got a translator in Arabic, and we got signs. the signs say, GET OUT AND VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATE OF YOUR CHOICE. We had people coming in the embassy and saying, “Look, those signs are no good—they don’t tell us who the candidate of our choice is.”

The CIA quickly rectified that problem when it decided the “candidates of choice” in Syria were the Syrian military elite, mostly all educated and trained by the French.

Regime change was as desirable an option for the CIA in the Middle East of the 1950s as it is today. Copeland recalled a dry run for a CIA assassination of Nasser in his office in Cairo:

“My old boss, Frank Wisner, passed on to me orders that I was to ‘explore the possibility’ of assassinating Gamal Nasser. Poor Wiz didn’t like doing even that. But the order came straight from the White House. Anthony Eden, who was Britain’s foreign minister at the time, believed the world would be a happier place without Nasser in it, and the belief grew to enormous proportions after the Suez fiasco. The head of British intelligence, who has a somewhat wry sense of humor, used to say that if either his boys or ours didn’t assassinate Nasser ‘professionally,’ Eden was likely to do it himself ‘amateurishly,’ and the results would be ‘messy.’ Eden’s attitude was ‘at least we should look into it.’ He said as much to his opposite number in Washington, John Foster Dulles, and Dulles discussed it with President Eisenhower, who said, in effect, “Anything to keep Tony quiet.” The order was passed down, from the president to the secretary of state to the director of the CIA—Foster’s brother, Allen—to Frank Wisner to Kermit Roosevelt to me. I was to visit Nasser, have coffee with him, say, ‘That’s an interesting vase you have over there in the corner,” and when he turned his head to look, make the motion of slipping a cyanide pill into his cup just to see if he would catch me at it.”

Instead of Copeland having to coax Nasser to look the other way, Nasser “kept looking the other way out of sheer boredom at what I had to say.” The plan could have been a success. Nasser, 52, died from a sudden heart attack on September 28, 1970 after hosting an Arab League summit. Previous references to Nasser having succumbed to a “medical assassination” have been removed from Nasser’s Wikipedia entry. Wikipedia has become a font for the most outrageous propaganda, historical revisionism, and disinformation and is at the top of the list of the world’s most infamous and totally discredited reference sources. Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasir Arafat wept openly at Nasser’s funeral and Qaddafi fainted twice from the emotional distress at the passing of his mentor. Both would later succumb to U.S./Israeli assassination operations.

Copeland also related a story about how Indonesian President Sukarno’s after shave lotion was doctored by the CIA.

Copeland: “One of Sukarno’s best, most electrifying speeches, I understand, was made after one of his assistants, a CIA agent, doctored his shaving lotion. The agent simply forgot that Sukarno’s wildest ramblings were made when he was cold sober and that a hallucinogen could only make for an improvement!”

Sukarno was overthrown in a 1965 CIA-initiated coup led by General Suharto. President Obama’s stepfather, Lolo Soetoro, took part in the army putsch against the Indonesian leader. As with Nasser’s biography, Sukarno’s Wikipedia entry has been edited to eliminate any mention of foul play involved with Sukarno’s death at the age of 69 while he was under house arrest by the Suharto regime.

Copeland’s interview also delves into the perfidy of Israel and the United States in maintaining a strategy of tension and violence in the Middle East.

Copeland: “The Israelis went into Lebanon and killed tens of thousands of people. They say, ‘That’s exaggerating, we didn’t kill but 5,000 people.’ Okay, let’s say they only killed 2000 people, which is a very modest estimate. But they destroyed Lebanon. They then set up groups against each other, made chaos ten times worse than it already was. Instead of helping the Shiites—the Shiites welcomed the Israelis in—we, the United Stares, gave a billion dollars to the Israelis. One billion we gave because it costs a lot of money to destroy someone else’s country. We gave peanuts—Red Cross supplies—to the Shiites. What we should have done is gone in there and said to the Shiites: ‘Look, a lot of injustice has been done. We’re going to put your orange groves and put you back commercially.’”

Copeland’s interview and his words have been long forgotten. Latin Americans continue to believe, with a strong degree of past examples, that the CIA was involved in the cancer death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and the heart attack that felled Argentina’s Nestor Kirchner. The CIA and its Mossad friends are still trying to stir up tensions in Syria and Lebanon, with the victims being Shiites, Alawites. Christians, Kurds, and Druze.

Just as it did in 1957 and 1986, America’s Middle East foreign policy today drips with the blood of innocents from a dagger of Israeli design.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2013 WayneMadenReport.com

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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One Response to A long-forgotten Rolling Stone interview about Syria

  1. Dear Sir,
    I read with great interest your report . All are real events and facts . It is a pity that a great country like USA is under the boots of Israel and as you mention that America’s Middle East foreign policy today ( and before ) drips with the blood of innocents from a dagger of Israeli design since 1948 . A region will never have peace because Israel will never trust Arabs and live with them in peace . Reasons are well known . The drama in Syria has not ended yet and the plans of CIA are going on . Since their agents are Arab head of states allied with Israel in the Gulf region with their Petro-Dollars they will never stop destroying others . The fight in Syria is an example. People of these countries are weak and have no power and national leaders . When the cat is absent the rats will play freely .