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I would be more impressed with the Gandhi-like nature of the Tibetan opposition if it weren't for the fact that the Dalai Lama was a CIA agent for much of his career, if the Tibetans hadn't been organized, trained and armed during the 1950s by the CIA, and if the so-called "Tibet Houses" in New York and Geneva weren't established as CIA fronts.

According to Tim Weiner's book about the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, the agency requested $2.5 million for Tibetan insurgents as late as 1969, when it called the Tibetan resistance "a force which could be employed in strength in the event of hostilities" against China. Ironically, it was Henry Kissineger who killed the CIA's request.

There's no evidence that the CIA has had a direct hand in Tibet since then, but I wouldn't be surprised if recent administrations, including George W. Bush's, became involved once again covertly. Certainly, the Chinese leadership can't be blamed for seeing the Tibetan movement as a threat, one that might be foreign-inspired, at that.

Robert Dreyfuss

Alexandria, VA

Mar 9 2009 - 12:41pm