Dalai Lama and the CIA

The Dalai Lama’s older brother, Gyalo Thondup, was involved in various CIA-sponsored operations against China, which were eventually crushed by Beijing, resulting in many thousands of deaths. Often playing the role of the Dalai Lama’s “unofficial envoy”, Thondup, living in India today and aged in his early 90s, first travelled to the US in 1951. He provided ample information to the US Department of State on all issues concerning Tibet.

A CIA-funded and armed Tibetan army, the Dokham Chushi Gangdruk, continued a guerrilla warfare campaign for years within the frontiers of China. By the mid-1960s, there were almost 2,000 US-supported combatants of Tibetan ethnicity in operation. The Dalai Lama benefited from generous quantities of CIA funds, and in 1964 alone he was subsidised with $180,000.

Until 1975, the Dalai Lama obscured the CIA’s role in the 1959 Tibetan revolt and other activities, at a time when he was in contact with US agents in Tibet. The Dalai Lama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, was furnished with an allowance from the CIA dating to the early 1950s, but perhaps even preceding that.

During an interview with the New York Times in mid-September 1993, the Dalai Lama said, “today, the help and support we receive from the United States is truly out of sympathy and human compassion”. Well into the 21st century, US governments have continued chanelling funds to Tibetan independent causes, through US Department of State branches like the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

Elsewhere in China, and in more recent times, Washington has been limited to utilising its “soft power” organisations like the Reagan-era founded NED, which is financially supporting the anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong. Since 2014, the NED has provided about $30 million to Hong Kong’s pro-Western or independence marchers. The demonstrations have enjoyed large-scale coverage and sympathy from the mainstream press.

It may be apt to highlight the phrase used by the American scholars, Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, in their book Manufacturing Consent – regarding the case of “Worthy and Unworthy victims”.

In liberal media analysis, there are quite often examples on display of our world’s recognised and unrecognised victims. The typical mass media narrative applies the principles of: Rohingya Muslims, “Worthy victims”. Palestinians, “Unworthy victims”. Hong Kong protesters, “Worthy victims”, Yellow Vest protesters, “Unworthy victims”, etc.


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Shane Quinn obtained an honors journalism degree. He is interested in writing primarily on foreign affairs, having been inspired by authors like Noam Chomsky. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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