Peace Corps

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Peace Corps "traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship.

"Since that time, more than 187,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have been invited by 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

"Today's Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development, and committing more than 1,000 new Volunteers as a part of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities." [1]

Kevin Lowther writing in 2005 notes that: "The Peace Corps, lest we forget, was spawned by the US cold war desire to compete with the Soviet bloc for influence in the third world. The Peace Corps quickly transcended its more ideological origins, but at its core it was a battle for hearts and minds. The more than 175,000 volunteers who've served since 1961 have made millions of friends for America - friends we dearly need in an increasingly dangerous, conflicted world." [2]

Senior Management

Accessed August 2007: [3]

Past Directors [4]

"Peace Corps: The Urban Front"

Writing in 1974, the North American Congress on Latin America notes that:

"The Peace Corps is a perfect structure for the CIA. It provides a point of contact with the working class which is so necessary for information gathering. And, because of the Peace Corps structure, the CIA does not have to control it in order to use it successfully. The Peace Corps entered Latin America as the "person-to-person" of the Alliance for Progress. Working out of the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, the first head of the Peace Corps in Chile was Nathaniel Davis, promoted to Ambassador by the time of the September 1973 coup. Under the skillful guidance of Davis, many of the youthful volunteers headed straight for the poblaciones which housed the poorest sectors of the Chilean working class and unemployed. Fresh out of Swarthmore, Bennington and Berkeley, the volunteers invaded the poblaciones, lived with the people and came to know them -- politically and socially. They worked with them, observed their customs, their way of life, their traditions. And then they drew up work reports describing their experiences.
"It was not necessary to have many agents in the Peace Corps -- just in the right places and with access to all the information which was generated. Unknowingly, thousands of U.S. youths, most thinking that they were helping the Chileans, were instead gathering data for the now undercover Project Camelot.
"Those agents in the Peace Corps who were conscious of their role had several tasks. As they mingled with the people, they were identifying future leftist leaders as well as those right-wingers who in the future would work for U.S. interests. They were assessing consciousness, evaluating reactions to reforms. And they were selecting and training future agents. It was at this point that Michael Townley, Peace Corpsman in the sixties, was recruited to enter the Agency. Townley returned to Chile in 1970 as one of the agency's closest contacts with Patria y Libertad.
"Finally, the Peace Corps was used as a front to get paramilitary equipment into the country. Ellis Carrasco, who succeeded Davis as head of the Peace Corps, was himself accused of gun-running. Later, the U.S. Army donated and installed radio receivers in all Peace Corps regional offices to facilitate communications. These same receivers were used during the coup to facilitate coordination of the Junta's bloody activities." [5]

In 1996, CNN reported that:

"Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Georgia, who was director of the Peace Corps during the Bush administration, urged the committee to ban intelligence recruitment of Peace Corps volunteers.
""It would be, in my judgment, exceedingly dangerous for our volunteers to be included in a context in which they may be representatives of the CIA," Coverdell said.
"Several senior senators think the CIA should have the right to recruit outsiders when there's an extraordinary threat." [6]



Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. What is the Peace Corps?, Peace Corps, accessed August 21, 2007.
  2. Kevin Lowther, "'Service to your country' muddied by Peace Corps-military agreement", Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2005.
  3. Senior Management, Peace Corps, accessed August 21, 2007.
  4. Past Directors, Peace Corps, accessed August 21, 2007.
  5. Annon, "Under the Cloak and Behind the Dagger", North American Congress on Latin America, Latin America & Empire Report, July - August 1974, pp. 6-8.
  6. Annon, "Journalists tell Senate they want no CIA ties", CNN, July 18, 1996.

External links