Killing Hope

Title:                      Killing Hope

Author:                  William Blum

Blum, William (1995, 2008). Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II–Updated Through 2003. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press

LCCN:    95011786

JK468.I6 B59 1995

Date Updated:      December 13, 2016

Killing Hope is a history book on covert CIA operations and U.S. military interventions during the second half of the 20th century. It was written by former State Department employee William Blum. The book takes a strongly critical view of American foreign policy. First published in the mid-1980s, it has since been updated several times by the author.

The book covers various US foreign policy ventures from just after World War II onward. Its basic premise is that the Soviet Union occupied the Warsaw Pact states only to better defend its territory and the American Cold War-era activities abroad were done with imperialist motives. It is an updated and revised version of one of Blum’s previous works, The CIA—A Forgotten History.

Noam Chomsky called it “Far and away the best book on the topic.” Former CIA officer John Stockwell called it “The single most useful summary of CIA history.”

Book Contents

  1. China – 1945 to 1960s: Was Mao Zedong just paranoid?
  2. Italy – 1947-1948: Free elections, Hollywood style
  3. Greece – 1947 to early 1950s: From cradle of democracy to client state
  4. The Philippines – 1940s and 1950s: America’s oldest colony
  5. Korea – 1945-1953: Was it all that it appeared to be?
  6. Albania – 1949-1953: The proper English spy
  7. Eastern Europe – 1948-1956: Operation Splinter Factor
  8. Germany – 1950s: Everything from juvenile delinquency to terrorism
  9. Iran – 1953: Making it safe for the King of Kings
  10. Guatemala – 1953-1954: While the world watched
  11. Costa Rica – Mid-1950s: Trying to topple an ally – Part 1
  12. Syria – 1956-1957: Purchasing a new government
  13. Middle East – 1957-1958: The Eisenhower Doctrine claims another backyard for America
  14. Indonesia – 1957-1958: War and pornography
  15. Western Europe – 1950s and 1960s: Fronts within fronts within fronts
  16. British Guiana – 1953-1964: The CIA’s international labor mafia
  17. Soviet Union – Late 1940s to 1960s: From spy planes to book publishing
  18. Italy – 1950s to 1970s: Supporting the Cardinal’s orphans and techno-fascism
  19. Vietnam – 1950-1973: The Hearts and Minds Circus
  20. Cambodia – 1955-1973: Prince Sihanouk walks the high-wire of neutralism
  21. Laos – 1957-1973: L’Armée Clandestine
  22. Haiti – 1959-1963: The Marines land, again
  23. Guatemala – 1960: One good coup deserves another
  24. France/Algeria – 1960s: L’état, c’est la CIA
  25. Ecuador – 1960-1963: A text book of dirty tricks
  26. The Congo – 1960-1964: The assassination of Patrice Lumumba
  27. Brazil – 1961-1964: Introducing the marvelous new world of death squads
  28. Peru – 1960-1965: Fort Bragg moves to the jungle
  29. Dominican Republic – 1960-1966: Saving democracy from communism by getting rid of democracy
  30. Cuba – 1959 to 1980s: The unforgivable revolution
  31. Indonesia – 1965: Liquidating President Sukarno … and 500,000 others East Timor – 1975: And 200,000 more
  32. Ghana – 1966: Kwame Nkrumah steps out of line
  33. Uruguay – 1964-1970: Torture—as American as apple pie
  34. Chile – 1964-1973: A hammer and sickle stamped on your child’s forehead
  35. Greece – 1964-1974: “Fuck your Parliament and your Constitution,” said the President of the United States
  36. Bolivia – 1964-1975: Tracking down Che Guevara in the land of coup d’état
  37. Guatemala – 1962 to 1980s: A less publicized “final solution”
  38. Costa Rica – 1970-1971: Trying to topple an ally—Part 2
  39. Iraq – 1972-1975: Covert action should not be confused with missionary work
  40. Australia – 1973-1975: Another free election bites the dust
  41. Angola – 1975 to 1980s: The Great Powers Poker Game
  42. Zaire – 1975-1978: Mobutu and the CIA, a marriage made in heaven
  43. Jamaica – 1976-1980: Kissinger’s ultimatum
  44. Seychelles – 1979-1981: Yet another area of great strategic importance
  45. Grenada – 1979-1984: Lying—one of the few growth industries in Washington
  46. Morocco – 1983: A video nasty
  47. Suriname – 1982-1984: Once again, the Cuban bogeyman
  48. Libya – 1981-1989: Ronald Reagan meets his match
  49. Nicaragua – 1981-1990: Destabilization in slow motion
  50. Panama – 1969-1991: Double-crossing our drug supplier
  51. Bulgaria 1990/Albania 1991: Teaching communists what democracy is all about
  52. Iraq – 1990-1991: Desert holocaust
  53. Afghanistan – 1979-1992: America’s Jihad
  54. El Salvador – 1980-1994: Human rights, Washington style
  55. Haiti – 1986-1994: Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?
  56. The American Empire – 1992 to present

U.S. Government Assassination Plots

  • 1949 – Kim Koo, Korean opposition leader
  • 1950s – CIA/Neo-Nazi hit list of more than 200 political figures in West Germany to be “put out of the way” in the event of a Soviet invasion
  • 1950s – Chou En-lai, Prime minister of China, several attempts on his life
  • 1950s, 1962 – Sukarno, President of Indonesia
  • 1951 – Kim Il Sung, Premier of North Korea
  • 1953 – Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister of Iran
  • 1950s (mid) – Claro M. Recto, Philippines opposition leader
  • 1955 – Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India
  • 1957 – Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt
  • 1959, 1963, 1969 – Norodom Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia
  • 1960 – Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq
  • 1950s-70s – José Figueres, President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life
  • 1961 – Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, leader of Haiti
  • 1961 – Patrice Lumumba, Prime Minister of the Congo (Zaire)
  • 1961 – Gen. Rafael Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic
  • 1963 – Ngo Dinh Diem, President of South Vietnam
  • 1960s-70s – Fidel Castro, President of Cuba, many attempts on his life
  • 1960s – Raúl Castro, high official in government of Cuba
  • 1965 – Francisco Caamaño, Dominican Republic opposition leader
  • 1965-6 – Charles de Gaulle, President of France
  • 1967 – Che Guevara, Cuban leader
  • 1970 – Salvador Allende, President of Chile
  • 1970 – Gen. Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile
  • 1970s, 1981 – General Omar Torrijos, leader of Panama
  • 1972 – General Manuel Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence
  • 1975 – Mobutu Sese Seko, President of Zaire
  • 1976 – Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica
  • 1980-1986 – Muammar Gaddafi, leader of Libya, several plots and attempts upon his life
  • 1982 – Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran
  • 1983 – Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander
  • 1983 – Miguel d’Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
  • 1984 – The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate
  • 1985 – Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt)
  • 1991 – Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq
  • 1993 – Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader of Somalia
  • 1998, 2001-2 – Osama bin Laden, leading Islamic militant
  • 1999 – Slobodan Milosevic, President of Yugoslavia
  • 2002 – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Islamic leader and warlord
  • 2003 – Saddam Hussein and his two sons

Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1]

Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[2]

The first edition of this book, The CIA: A Forgotten History[3], was published in 1986. It contained 49 instances of CIA contributions to imperialism through interventions in other nations’ affairs. At least that is how freelance journalist, William Blum, saw it. The updated edition adds new examples that reflect Blum’s unchanged world-view. The West, he suggests, has never gotten over the Bolshevik “audacity of overthrowing the capitalist-feudal regime and proclaiming the first socialist state in history of the world… this was uppityness writ large. This was a crime the Allies had to punish.” (pp. 7-8)

The 56 operations Blum discusses in this revision are all well-known covert actions, viewed from the left, with the implication that the world would have been better off had they not occurred. A typical tone can be found in the chapter on provocative operations involving spy planes—the U-2 included—and book publishing; both, as he sees it, only made matters worse and accomplished nothing. While Blum’s judgment in each is open to debate, in the case of Operation Splinter Factor and the defection of Polish intelligence officer Jozef Swiatio, he is just wrong: there never was an Operation Splinter Factor.

Killing Hope is documented with sources that support Blum’s position, including several books by former CIA officers John Stockwell and Philip Agee. For those with an open mind it provides a viewpoint from one dedicated to avoiding that option.

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

[2] Peake, Hayden in The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (21, 3, Fall/Winter 2015, p. 121). Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence, Other reviews and articles may be found online at

[3] Blum, William (1986). The CIA: A Forgotten History. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books


This entry was posted in CIA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Killing Hope

  1. Pingback: Rogue State | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: The CIA | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s