The United States notoriously uses humanitarian and religious foundations, as well as journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGO), to gather intelligence on other countries, an author and radio host in Chicago says.
“America will go to any means to demonize or commit subversive actions against countries that it wants to take action against,” Stephen Lendman told Press TV on Friday.
“America notoriously uses civilian individuals or organizations as spies to serve US interests, having them perform activities other than their normal ones,” Lendman said.
“NGOs, most of them, are notorious for being profit making organizations instead of so-called non-profit organizations,” he added.
A new report reveals that the US government has used a Christian NGO as a front for an espionage program to spy on North Korea.
In 2004, the Pentagon launched a secret program to gather intelligence from inside the East Asian country that has long been a source of great concern to Washington, The Intercept reported.
A Christian charity organization called the Humanitarian International Services Group, or HISG, was able to finally make way into North Korea through offering much-needed humanitarian aid to Pyongyang, according to the NGO’s documents obtained by The Intercept.
HISG was established by three friends shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York. Under the leadership of Kay Hiramine, the organization set out to provide disaster relief and sustainable development in poor and war-torn countries around the world.
The espionage program was the brainchild of Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, a senior US Defense Department intelligence official during the George W. Bush administration.
Boykin who was an evangelical Christian, obsessed with finding new and unorthodox ways to penetrate North Korea.
Boykin improvised a plan to use charities as a cover for espionage operations and this was how HISG was chosen to participate in the program.
In the period between 2004 and 2006, HISG helped coordinate a humanitarian shipment to North Korea.
The charity offered faith-based donations that the North Korean government would occasionally accept to help its population endure the country’s harsh winters.
However, the shipment included concealed compartments of bibles underneath the clothing. The idea was that if the bibles were not discovered, the Pentagon could use the same smuggling method to get military sensors and equipment into the country.
Once they made sure that the bibles entered the country unnoticed, the Pentagon tasked HISG with gathering the intelligence it needed inside North Korea.
The US even planted shortwave radios that could help a downed pilot to escape in the event of a future conflict with North Korea.
Citing a former US military official and documents reviewed in relation to the case, the report noted that before being dismantled in 2013, Hiramine’s organization had received millions in funding from the Pentagon through a complex web of organizations designed to mask the origin of the cash.
In 2007, President Bush awarded Hiramine with a President’s Volunteer Service Award.