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Saturday, October 3, 1998

Tibet rules out Lama links with CIA

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE  
DHARAMSALA, OCT 2: The Tibetan government-in-exile yesterday came down heavily on the propaganda about clandestine Central Intelligence of Agency (CIA) links with the Dalai Lama and categorically said that there was no direct connection between the CIA and the Tibetan spiritual and temporal head.

In sharp reaction to media reports about CIA's secret financial support, from late '50s till early '70s, to the Tibetan resistance movement and the Dalai Lama following the release of certain declassified documents by the United States Senate department last month, Tibetan Minister of Information and International Relations T C Tethong said the Dalai Lama was nowhere involved in the CIA help, though the American intelligence wing had links with the early guerrilla operations waged by Tibetan freedom fighters.

The minister said that in his autobiography (Freedom in Exile), the Dalai Lama has already mentioned: ``Naturally, my brothers judged it wise to keep this information (about CIA involvement in Tibet) awayfrom me. They knew what my reaction would have been.''

Tethong said all the financial transactions during early guerrilla operations were in fact handled by the elder brother of the Dalai Lama, Gyalo Thondup. While the money (cited by the declassified documents as 1.7 million dollars a year) allocated for the resistance movements by CIA was spent on training of the volunteers and guerrilla operations against China, the subsidy earmarked for the Dalai Lama (amounting to 180,000 dollars) was utilised to finance the setting up of offices of Tibet in Geneva and New York and for other international lobby activities.

``In as much as the CIA's help proved crucial and a necessary support to the Tibetan freedom struggle in initial stages, the concerned authorities like Gyalo Thondup deliberately opted to keep the Dalai Lama out of the picture because of his age, religious sensibilities and mainly because the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government were then making their best efforts to make the 17-point agreementwith China succeed,'' the Minister held, asserting that the CIA and other involved intelligence authorities were even denied meetings with the Dalai Lama despite their repeated requests then.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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