Super-secret organization remains elusive as ever

Published on Online Journal, by Wayne Madsen, May 29, 2009.

A super-secret entity, known as ISTO, or International Strategic and Tactical Organization, which this editor previously reported was involved in coups and assassinations primarily in Africa, including the April 6, 1994, double assassinations of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, remains as secretive and elusive as ever. However, WMR has been informed by a well-placed source that ISTO has been active as late as 2006.

After French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere named a number of Rwandan government officials as behind the 1994 missile attack on the Rwandan presidential aircraft that resulted in the deaths of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira, ISTO, which reportedly consists of U.S. defense contractors, oil company executives, and wealthy Republicans, began a campaign via the Belgian media to spread the disinformation that it was France that brought down the aircraft of its ally, Habyarimana, and three French military officers said to have shot down the plane – Cyrille Lafortune, Michel Billet and Raymond Meghuira – were supplied to the Rwandan embassy in Canada.

French investigators originally tracked down an ISTO operation in Canada. There is also a strong indication that ISTO elements were represented in Rosslyn, Virginia, the home to a number of defense and intelligence contractors.

The three French officers identified by ISTO’s interlocutors in Belgium turned out to be bogus. Neither the French St. Cyr military academy nor INTERPOL and the French Judicial Police had any record of the individuals identified.

There are strong indications that ISTO operates as a front for the CIA.

The CIA’s use of Canadian front operations to carry out some of its “wet affairs” is not new. The CIA’s use of a Canadian firm that interacted with then-Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is well documented. After Tsvangirai became prime minister, following a lengthy political stalemate with President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai’s vehicle was struck on March 6 by a truck bearing U.S. embassy license plates. Tsvangirai’s wife, Susan, was killed and Tsvangirai was injured. The truck that killed Susan Tsvangirai and almost killed Zimbabwe’s new prime minister was owned by John Snow Inc., and contracted to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), a long-time cipher for CIA clandestine activities in Africa and elsewhere. However, three days after the crash, John Snow International sent out a confidential memo that stated that on the day of the crash with Tsvangiraict):  that particular day … (full text).

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