Thus does journalist Pascual Serrano welcome a new book written by his Le Monde Diplomatique colleague Hernando Calvo Ospina. “The CIA Shock Team” (El Equipo de Choque de la CIA), published recently in Spain by El Viejo Topo, tells of a “string of crimes, coups, conspiracies, invasions, and occupations organized by the CIA.”  

The U.S. government does take Calvo Ospina seriously. On April 18, 2009, the pilot of an Air France plane en route from Paris to Mexico City advised his passengers – among them Calvo Ospina – to expect five extra hours of flying time. That was because U.S. air space was off limits. Flight 438 traveled to Martinique to pick up extra fuel. Hernando Calvo Ospina learned from the co-pilot and his Mexican interrogators that he was the problem. His weapon may be writing, not guns, he told one of the latter, but  "That weapon sometimes is worse than rifles and bombs” was the reply.  

The assumption is that the threat posed by the Colombian born writer, living now in France, stemmed from his reporting over many years on CIA machinations, especially in Latin America. 

His books include:  “Don Pablo Escobar” 1994 (details U. S. contributions to drug trafficking), “Dissidents or Mercenaries?”1998 (about Miami – based anti-Cuban terrorists), “Peru, Possible Paths” 1994 (response to insurgents there), “Bacardi: the Hidden War of Bicardi Rum,” (organizing and paying for counter-revolution in Cuba), and “Colombia, Democracy and State Terrorism” 2008 (U.S role in Colombia’s war against the poor). The CIA is by no means relegated to bit parts in these books. 

Calvo’s new publication, says Serrano, “pivots on the names of people who took decisions and carried them out in the assassination of Lumumba, Che, or Letelier, in terrorist operations against Cuba, in narcotrafficking to finance covert operations in Nicaragua and Vietnam, in the overthrow of Allende, and in the blowing up of a Cuban civilian aircraft with 73 passengers.”

Yet Calvo Ospina traces out other, more ominous, themes in the book, at least as can be deduced from his January 23 interview with Sergio de Castro Sanchez while on a book tour in Spain.. It’s accessible at

There the author seems to be alluding to what are, in effect, two U.S. governments: the highly visible stirrings of elected officials and the background activities of military, intelligence, and state department functionaries. That’s a distinction hinting at “deep government,” that staple of conspiracy theorists.  

Occult forces aside, Calvo in his interview alludes to forces staunchly resistant to change through standard, two-party political mechanisms.  Specifically, neither Democratic nor Republican control of the outward manifestations of government has served to remedy the horrors Calvo writes about. And, we suggest, Democratic Party adherents satisfied with tiny, superficial gains and silent on murder and mayhem fall into the role of accomplices. Hernando Calvo Ospina, perhaps inadvertently, sets the stage for big, basic U. S. political changes that serve people’s needs.   

There is this necessary footnote: Calvo Ospina’s remarks relate to the Cuban – born archetypal terrorist Luis Posada Carriles. One suspects that Posada, on the CIA payroll for many years, has first hand knowledge of the terrible realities Calvo Ospina has studied. Lest he tell all and embarrass many, U.S. judicial honchos have extended Posada an easy tolerance for almost six years. Likely as not, that’s why his El Paso trial in January centered on charges of lying rather than on murder, terror, and sabotage.

Here is the interview, translated by W.T. Whitney, Jr:

What is the CIA shock team and how did it come about?

Full realization of the CIA doing this type of work came to me during an International conference against terrorism that took place in Havana in June, 2005. But I already had the idea. During my previous work it came to me that many names of responsible U. S. political figures and CIA agents, and terrorists they supported, cropped up repeatedly in actions carried out in various parts of the world. So this book is meant to show this, to make the connections in the most well known operations.

What has now become of those involved? Do they retain their influence with the Obama government? Have CIA politics changed with Obama?

Some of them have already died without having had to account for their crimes, but surely they retained pride in having lent their “services” to their nation. Some are still active, although the most well known and most active were there only through the administration of Bush II, like, for example, John Negroponte and Peter Goss. Both exercised maximum authority in U.S. security services. Negroponte was responsible politically for part of the dirty war in Vietnam, and Goss began his career with preparations for invading Cuban through Playa Giron (Bay of Pigs) in 1961. Definitely then, those persons, operatives and political people, are part of what the United States is today in the world, no matter what government occupies the White House.

Policies of the CIA have not changed despite all the restructuring aimed at making it more effective. In reality, the CIA has made many errors over many years from its having been converted from a spy organization into a paramilitary one.  These days, practically speaking, it’s the Pentagon that controls the CIA. Also at this level, it’s the military that is assuming power in the United States.

Up to what point does the “Communist threat” keep on serving as a pretext for violent and expansionist U.S. policies?”

For the United State and many of its allies, the so-called Cold War has not stopped. Another thing is that the pretext of recent years has been the “war on terrorism”, which in reality is a smoke screen to hide imperial policies directed at many peoples and groups in the world that talk back.

According to what you say in your book, a constant in actions undertaken by the CIA throughout the world is its tie to drug trafficking.

The so-called “drug war” also continues as another good smoke screen for carrying out all kinds of operations in the world, and particularly in Latin America. We see this now in Mexico. The “war” there operates under a real double standard, since the source of the problem is consumption and this is centered in the United States. And as the commercial activity it is, it’s only productive if there are sales. The big impact of this double standard is seen in U. S. banks where, for example, 95 percent of the cocaine trade profits end up. Only the rest goes back to the Latin American mafia. If they stopped that trafficking today, the economies of New York and Miami would collapse.

It’s a question of what’s been covered up – and done so in good measure through the complicity of the big information media in the world – which is that many dirty deeds of the CIA have been financed with money from cocaine and heroine trafficking. There exist investigations in the U.S. Senate itself that clearly point that out, but are under orders of silence for reasons of “national security.”

When one reads, for example, the report from Senator John Kerry, in 1986, one realizes that the drug trade financed an important part of the war against the revolutionary Sandinista government of Nicaragua. But not only that: it was the CIA that made the deal with some guys in Colombia so they would deliver the cocaine. Thus were born the powerful “cartels” in that country. And that happened while President Reagan and the press proclaimed they were in a “war against drug trafficking!” Bush the father has much he could say about that. He knew all. He allowed all. It says so in the report.

January 27, 2011

Calvo Ospina, Hernando. “El equipo de choque de la CIA”. El Viejo Topo. 2010
Entrevista a Hernando Calvo Ospina,

Sergio de Castro Sánchez
Diagonal/Kaos en la red
¿Qué es y cómo surge el Equipo de Choque de la CIA?

La certitud de hacer este trabajo me llegó durante una Conferencia Internacional contra el terrorismo que se realizó en La Habana, en junio 2005. Pero la idea ya la tenía, porque durante mis anteriores trabajos me fui dando cuenta que muchos nombres de responsables políticos estadounidenses, agentes de la CIA y terroristas apoyados por ellos se cruzaban en acciones realizadas en varios puntos del mundo. Entonces este trabajo es para mostrar ello, enlazarlos, en las operaciones más conocidas.

¿Qué ha sido de sus integrantes en la actualidad? ¿Siguen teniendo influencia en el Gobierno de Obama? ¿Ha cambiado la política de la CIA con Obama?

Algunos ya murieron sin que tuvieran que dar cuenta de sus crímenes, de seguro orgullosos de haber prestado esos “servicios” a su nación. Algunos siguen activos, aunque los más históricos y notorios estuvieron hasta el gobierno de Bush hijo, como por ejemplo John Dimitri Negroponte y Peter Gos: ambos llegaron a la máxima instancia de los servicios de seguridad de Estados Unidos. Negroponte fue el responsable político de una parte de las operaciones de guerra sucia en Vietnam. Y Gos empezó carrera desde los preparativos de la invasión a Cuba por Playa Giron en 1961. Pero, en definitiva, esas personas, políticos y operarios, son parte de lo que hoy es Estados Unidos en el mundo, independiente del gobierno que esté en la Casa Blanca.

La política de la CIA no ha cambiado a pesar de todas las restructuraciones que le han querido hacer para que sea más efectiva, pues en realidad ha cometido muchos errores desde hace muchos años, al haberse convertido en una organización paramilitar antes que de espionaje. Hoy en día es prácticamente el Pentágono quien manda sobre ella. También a este nivel son los militares quienes tienen el poder en Estados Unidos.

¿Hasta qué punto la “amenaza comunista” sigue presente como pretexto para las políticas violentas y expansionistas de EEUU?

Para Estados Unidos y muchos de sus aliados, la llamada guerra fría no se ha terminado. Otra cosa es que el pretexto de los últimos años es la tal “guerra al terrorismo”, la que en realidad es una nube de humo para esconder la política imperial contra muchos pueblos y grupos contestatarios en el mundo.

Según cuentas en tu libro, una constante de las acciones de la CIA en todo el mundo en su vinculación con el narcotráfico.

La llamada “guerra al narcotráfico” también sigue siendo otra buena nube de humo para realizar todo tipo de operaciones en el mundo, y particularmente en América Latina. Esto lo vemos ahora en México. Esa “guerra” tiene una buena doble moral, pues la fuente del problema se encuentra en el consumo, y este reside en Estados Unidos. Y como mercancía que es, solo se produce si se vende. Lo más impactante de esta doble moral es que el 95% de las ganancias de la cocaína, por ejemplo, se quedan en los bancos de Estados Unidos. Tan solo regresa el resto a las mafias latinas. Si hoy se detuviera ese tráfico, las economías de Nueva York y Miami se irían al fondo.

Lo que se trata de esconder, y se ha logrado en buena medida por la complicidad de los grandes medios de información en el mundo, es que muchas acciones sucias de la CIA se han financiado con el dinero del tráfico de cocaína y heroína. Existen investigaciones del propio Senado estadounidense que hablan de ello claramente… pero son mandadas a silenciar por motivos de “seguridad nacional”

Cuando uno lee, por ejemplo, el Informe del senador John Kerry, de 1986, se da cuenta que el tráfico de drogas financió una parte importante de la guerra contra el gobierno revolucionario sandinista de Nicaragua. Pero no solo ello: que fue la CIA quien hizo el negocio con algunos hombres en Colombia para que le entregaran la cocaína. Así nacieron los poderosos “carteles” en ese país. Y esto sucedió mientras el presidente Reagan y la prensa gritaban que estaban en “guerra contra el narcotráfico”! Bush padre tiene mucho que decir sobre ello. Él sabía todo. El permitió todo. En ese informe se dice.