The CIA’s Cult of Death

Review of Douglas Valentine’s The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World

Do you desire intellectually stimulating, need-to-be-aware-of information as a stocking stuffer in the time crunch just before Christmas? Look no further. Douglas Valentine’s The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World fits the bill splendidly.

valentinecover-400x600Taking on the CIA as a subject is a monumental task, as its tentacles delve into myriad facets of empire and society. The CIA operates as a mafioso on a grand scale, an imperial scale. Valentine’s depth of knowledge on the subject is very apparent. The CIA is known as a surveillance and information gathering apparatus of the USA that engages in various international intrigues. That view of the CIA is superficial. The CIA as Organized Crime presents the CIA as much more and in decidedly more sinister shades. Among these shades, the CIA is a war criminal, torturer, assassin, arms smuggler, drug smuggling kingpin, media network, business empire, and more. The CIA is steeped in capitalism, girded in racism, masterminds and carries out “regime change,” has hands on the control of information and its communication, is creepily immersed in law enforcement and justice, and has a deeply corruptive influence on foreign governments, the DEA, NSA, military, and Justice Department, as well as on US members of Congress.

Interspersed throughout the book, Valentine interjects essential encapsulations. In this way, his honest, tell-us-like-it-is tone conveys a moral and persuasive power.


Valentine likens the CIA to the Mafia, seeing the CIA as an organized crime branch of government.

“If we were allowed to understand the CIA, we’d realize it’s a criminal organization that is corrupting governments and societies around the world. It’s murdering civilians who haven’t done anything wrong. The military does the same thing in a more violent way. Cops too.” (p 39)

Classism is at the core of the criminality: “… the law-making branch of our government is in the hands of professional criminals. Everything they do is in the service of crime, of holding down or stealing from the poor or giving to the rich.” (p 36)

The classism is structural. “The strategic goal is to widen the gap between the elites and the citizenry, while expunging anyone who cannot be ideologically assimilated.” (p 299)

Controlling Illicit Drugs

Running mega-black ops is expensive, so the CIA requires money. That is where wars come in, and it is where drug smuggling comes in. The CIA as Organized Crime notes that the illicit drug trade is valued at $300 billion, and that is lucre the CIA seeks to control.

This control runs through the American Establishment. This “… giving dealers a free pass to deal drugs is the foundation stone upon which federal drug law enforcement is based.” (p 222)


Valentine calls the War on Terror the largest covert operation ever. Much of the structural and operational tactics originated in Viet Nam with the Phoenix Program — the title of one of Valentine’s books.

In Viet Nam, the CIA sought to recruit informers and turncoats from among the native population. “The CIA relied heavily on false accusations to terrorize the Vietnamese.” (p 62)

“The idea that the Americans running the War on Terror are trying to reduce civilian deaths is pure propaganda…” (p 92)

The Phoenix Program has come home to America: “the surveillance state … [is] creating terrorism to subvert the justice system and assure them political control of Americans.” (p 231) A salient instance of this is the CIA currently pegging Russia, without presenting an iota of evidence, as the source of leaks around the Democrats during the past election period. ((The CIA has been called out by former intelligence officials for lying.))

War Crimes

Valentine is crystal clear about the CIA’s raison d’être: “… the CIA exists solely to start wars…” (p 383)

“Engaging in war crimes, it seems, is as American as apple pie and compulsory Nuremberg-style celebrations of militant nationalism at football games.” (p 105)

Valentine backs up what he writes. As an example of war criminality and media complicity he tells of when:

US forces held a[n Iraqi] general’s three sons as hostages to persuade him to defect. But instead of releasing his sons as promised, they staged an elaborate mock execution of his youngest son, before torturing the general himself to death.

All of it was covered up. Not one victim appeared on TV. All you ever see is ISIS beheading people. (p 150)

Valentine emphasizes that “… war crimes are not a mistake; they are a ‘repugnant’ and thoroughly intentional form of modern American warfare.” (p 149)


What comes through in The CIA as Organized Crime is that while the CIA, and its infamous Phoenix Program, attempt to throw a blanket of control over crucial facets of society, the blanket has holes: “… the resistance has infiltrated every entity the CIA has created in Afghanistan…” (p 106) The infiltration was made possible because of the egos of CIA officers.

“Corrupting the leadership of a country in order to keep it in your pocket is integral to maintaining an empire. It is a well-established colonial policy. The two main facets of Phoenix – controlling the ‘upper tier’ people in a foreign government by corrupting them, and terrorizing the lower tier into submission …” (p 213)

Ally of Corporations

It is unsurprising that a psychopathic entity such as the CIA would be a bedfellow of another psychopathic entity — the corporation.

“US corporations need the CIA to put these parallel governments in place.” (p 135)

The CIA engages in bribery, even asking people to commit treason against their own country “… that is what the CIA is doing in the Ukraine and around the world on a massive scale.” (p 135)


Major General Smedley Butler figured out too late that War Is A Racket. Although Butler was slow on the draw, he did illuminate what war was about:

… profit — fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends.

And Butler cast light on his role in warring:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. ((Smedley D. Butler (November 1935). “America’s Armed Forces. 2. ‘In Time of Peace’: The Army.” Common Sense, 4(11): 8-12. Available as pdf.))

What Valentine wrote about the CIA’s anti-leftism and pro-capitalism caused me to hearken back to Smedley Butler. There is a historical linkage between what Butler and Valentine write.

Valentine also says the CIA works with the bankers: “… the first thing they want is property, and the best way to drive down prices is to start a war.” (p 137)

It is a class war: “… the things most hated by the CIA – land reform and redistribution of wealth from oligarchs to workers.” (p 146)


“The media’s job is to bury stories about corruption, whether it’s in Congress, law enforcement or the CIA. It sticks to the fictionalized script and spreads disinformation about how things are organized and how they operate.” (p 53)

Valentine calls for media consumers to be skeptical; and where he finds journalism to be suspect, he is unafraid to name names. He calls into question the progressivist bona fides and journalistic credibility of several prominent supposed progressives, including Chris Hedges, Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Amy Goodman, Daniel Ellsberg, and Seymour Hersch. It seems that a segment of independent journalism is not what it purports to be.

Today, the elitists and their media increasingly portray dissent as terrorism. “It’s a win-win for the capitalists, in so far as a police state delivers a wide range of economic benefits to those who invest in its requirements.” (p 294)

CIA Officials

Who are these CIA officials, and why are they so corrupted by the Company? Or were they corrupted to begin with? Naturally, there is screening of recruits. To obtain CIA employment, writes Valentine, one must not be a leftist or humanist. (p 155)

Once hired recruits need not worry about what their job entails. CIA workers are untouchable since they are protected by plausible deniability and anonymity.

The Common People

Valentine writes that the inevitable outcome of Phoenix was not just the suppression of foreign peoples, but it morphed to be the ultimate weapon: social engineering.

CIA officials are beyond reach of the law. “The laws only apply to the little people and the defenseless.” (p 125)

Valentine warns that the rest of us are all at risk. “The moral of the story is that you don’t have to commit a crime to go to prison. The law enforcement agencies can frame you and send you to prison for thinking bad thoughts.” (p 219) Whistleblowers know this all too well.

Thus the question arises: what can we, the common people, do?

Justice is corrupted, and the media is co-opted. How should a person overcome media disinformation and distortions?

Valentine places an onus on the person to become informed: “… you need a broad historical view. If you focus just on what’s happening now, you’re shocked every day by what you see. We need to develop a collective historical consciousness to understand the predicament and to be able to do something about it, to stop being manipulated by the press in a daily basis.” (p 217)

But society also needs to be restructured, or, perhaps, unstructured. In addition to a war-crimes tribunal, Valentine calls for nationalizing the air waves and the pharmaceutical industry and removing profit from health care and law enforcement. (p 232)

Launching such a revolution would trigger extreme resistance from entrenched interests, as the rich obviously view themselves as supreme. These elitists are not about to willingly ease their oppression of the masses.

Writes Valentine, “The rich could easily share their wealth and power, and relieve the suffering of the poor, but they don’t, because instilling power in the poor keeps them politically repressed.” (p 410)

This review quotes heavily from the text of Valentine’s book. But then nobody puts it better in words than the author.

But don’t let a fast approaching Xmas or a Xmas passing by deter you. Get The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World; you won’t be sorry.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.