from the book

The CIAs Greatest Hits

by Mark Zepezauer


Here's what the US public was told: President Reagan woke up one day to discover that a horrible Marxist coup had taken over the Caribbean island of Grenada. Because there were Cuban troops on the island, the president had to send the US military to rescue US citizens trapped there and held as virtual hostages.

There was no way to get a more accurate picture, since the US military kept reporters from setting foot on Grenada during the invasion; a boatload of US journalists was turned away at gun point and all flights in and out were canceled. Much later, long after everyone had stopped paying attention to Grenada, it became clear that the official story was built on a mountain of lies.

The CIA began destabilizing Grenada in 1979, when a man named Maurice Bishop ousted the eccentric thug who ruled the island. Bishop set to work developing a better life for Grenada's citizens and earned much popular support for doing so. He ran afoul of the US fairly quickly, though, when he failed to join in the quarantine of Cuba.

Bishop's mildly socialist program (private enterprise left unmolested, but free health care, school lunches, etc.) was the final straw. Before long, a CIA propaganda campaign was portraying Grenada as a terrorist state allied to the Soviet Union, its 100,000 inhabitants armed to the teeth and poised to attack the pitifully vulnerable US.

The US invasion was planned at least two years before it happened, and CIA acts of sabotage proliferated. Money was given to opposition politicians and neighboring armies. Finally, in late 1983, Bishop was overthrown by extremists in his own party and executed, and the US invasion began. CIA agents among the "hostages" helped coordinate the three-day war over shortwave radio.

As for the Cuban troops we invaded to protect our citizens from, there were 43 of them; the other Cubans on Grenada were mostly middle-aged construction workers. The Cubans let it be known that they would not interfere with the US "rescue," but the US troops fired on them and they defended themselves. That night, the US assured Cuba that its citizens in Grenada were "not a target"; the next day, we attacked them with helicopter gunships. When it was all over, 81 Cubans, 296 Grenadines and 131 Americans had been killed or wounded.

Today Grenada is back where it was before Bishop, mired in poverty and hopelessness. But, hey, it's no longer a threat to our very survival.

CIAs Greatest Hits

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