Jump to content
The Education Forum

CIA and Democracy


John Simkin
 Share

Recommended Posts

Tim Gratz has always been quick to defend the long history of American presidents (usually Republican) using the CIA to destabilize and overthrow democratic governments. That was of course during the Cold War. According to Tim, Ronald Reagan won the war against communism (what about China?) and that now Republicans like George Bush can promote the idea of democracy. After all, that is why American troops are in Iraq. The problem with this policy is that the people of virtually every country in the world, does not want what George Bush wants. Democracy is in fact bad news for Bush.

Recently, democratic elections in Iran and Palestine have caused Bush serious problems. The same is true of democratic elections that have taken place in countries all over South America (Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia, etc.)

In Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defeated the more moderate, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. In Palestine, Hamas swept to power. Everybody knows that an anti-American government will come to power in Iraq once US troops are removed from the country.

In the old days, Republican presidents sent in the troops if the CIA was unsuccessful at manipulating “democratic” elections. After Iraq, this is no longer possible. As the recent cases of CIA torturing prisoners have illustrated, covert activities are much more difficult in our modern world.

What should George Bush do next?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, please name a "democratic" government the CIA toppled.

You make a good distinction that these efforts were made during the intensity of the Cold War.

Do you think that during WWII the allies would have been correct to overthrow non-democratic governments favorable to the Nazis? Perhaps the Vichy government in France or the Quisling government in Norway comes to mind.

When one is engaged in a life-and-death struggle with a murderous dictatorship intent to destroy your democracy, it is important that one minimize the influence of the dictatorship.

I agree with you that different standards should apply when one is not in a war but I would argue that we are now engaged in a war with terrorists.

I would be interested in your views on what ethical constraints should have been applied against, say, GB during WWII.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tim? Well, obviously Chile . Cuba has shown itself too robust a democracy for the anti democratic CIA, in spite of decades of economic and armed terrorism, to have success there. Hopefully that will remain so.

As far as the bushes during the 40's go? Neutering?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, I need to research it more but you might be correct about Chile.

Correct me if I am wrong but this would be the only case of a CIA-influenced regime change in a democratic government?

Cuba a democracy? Are you daft, John? When was there last a free election in Cuba? That would go back a long, long time ago!

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, I need to research it more but you might be correct about Chile.

Correct me if I am wrong but this would be the only case of a CIA-influenced regime change in a democratic government?

Guatemala in 1954 is another obvious example. Greece is another country where the CIA backed a right-wing military coup in 1967.

We also now know that the CIA attempted to destabilize the Harold Wilson government (1964-1970) and (1974-76). This was a joint CIA/MI5 operation.

We also know that the Strategic Service Unit (1945-47) and the CIA (post 1947) were involved in a black propaganda campaign and illegal funding of opposition parties in an attempt to prevent left-wing governments being elected in Western Europe after the war. When left-wing governments were elected, such as in the UK in 1945, the American intelligence agencies, attempted to bribe leading politicians and trade union leaders to move to the right. This strategy was very successful and is the reason why the Clement Atlee government was far less radical in the last couple of years of its existence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, I thought we had agreed that Guatamela was not a democratic government.

If you could PROVE that Nixon had Wallace eliminated from the 1972 race would you characterize the 1972 election as legitimate? I hardly think so.

Attempting to influence elections through propaganda is of course a far different matter than effecting "regime change" through violence or the threat of violence. Do you object to THAT? If Hitler was attempting to elect a government sympathetic to his desires, would you have objected to Churchill spending money to back the forces in the election that were favorable to truth, justice and the English way? I cannot believe so even for a New York moment!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, I thought we had agreed that Guatamela was not a democratic government.

No we did not. You were the only person to argue this (quoting CIA black propaganda as evidence). As I pointed out, Dean Acheson accepted the Guatamela had carried out democratic elections and via Truman ordered the CIA to bring an end to its attempt to overthrow the Arbenz government.

When Dwight Eisenhower took power he gave the go ahead for the CIA and United Fruit to overthrow Arbenz. Joe McCarthy was then used to smear Acheson and other liberal Democrats as being "pro-communist".

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=5945

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, I need to research it more but you might be correct about Chile.

Correct me if I am wrong but this would be the only case of a CIA-influenced regime change in a democratic government?

Cuba a democracy? Are you daft, John? When was there last a free election in Cuba? That would go back a long, long time ago!

Hmm, Daft??? They've had elections there regularly. Far more frequent and democratic than in the US.

other countries?

OZ, Whitlam and pine gap

http://www.serendipity.li/cia/cia_oz/cia_oz2.htm

Nicaragua, sandinistas

"Part of the CIA campaign to overthrow the Nicaragua government included mining Nicaragua's harbors, resulting in the sinking of a merchant ship. This resulted in a World Court decision in the case Nicaragua v. United States ordering the United States to pay Nicaragua reparations, although the U.S. ignored the verdict of the World Court."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CIA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John I will have to look it up but my source for the proposition that Arbenz supporters killed his opponent was a reputable historical book. On what basis do you believe the allegation was CIA propoganda? Do you propose the CIA assassinated a right-wing military officer to make way for the election of a Commie-lover? Get real. Just on a cui bono theory, who was the most likely suspect in the murder of Arbenz's opponent?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John, please name a "democratic" government the CIA toppled.

It is not just the democratically elected governments that were toppled by CIA interference, Tim. [Although that is a long list.] It is also the democratically elected governments that weren't allowed to transpire, due to CIA interference. [Also a lengthy list.] Nor should you fixate overmuch on CIA perfidy in the prevention of democracy around the globe, because your nation's gunboat diplomacy predates by more than a century the establishment of CIA. [Try starting with the quashing of the Haitian revolution in 1804 and work your way forward chronologically.] CIA is merely the latest in a long list of covert foreign policy instruments. Previously, when peasants wished to be paid more for harvesting their nutmeg, bananas, coffee, sugar, etc., the US foreign policy instrument used to stifle such aspirations in the Western Hemisphere was the US Marines.

However, since you'd prefer to dwell exclusively upon CIA interference in other countries' democratic aspirations, let's have a quick look at a partial list, shall we?

Italy - 1947 to present

Philippines - 1948-54 [at least]

Iran - 1953

Guatemala - 1954

Haiti - 1957

Iraq - 1959/1963/1968

[belgian] Congo - 1961

Dominican Republic - 1961

Ecuador - 1961

Canada - 1963

Brazil - 1964

British Guyana - 1964

Britain - 1960s [Harold Wilson years]

Indonesia - 1965

Peru - 1965

Greece - 1967

Oman - 1970

Chile - 1970-1975

Australia - 1975

El Salvador - 1981

Honduras - 1983-89

Nicaragua - 1980s

Panama - 1989

Venezuela - 2002

Though the list is incomplete, it should at least give you a starting point for filling in the massive blind spot you have about your own country's history of interfering with the political aspirations of other countries.

You make a good distinction that these efforts were made during the intensity of the Cold War.

Do you think that during WWII the allies would have been correct to overthrow non-democratic governments favorable to the Nazis? Perhaps the Vichy government in France or the Quisling government in Norway comes to mind.

Since your country chose to sit out the first half of that war, one is hard pressed to understand your point. Did the Vichy regime suddenly become anathema to the US only once it was involved in WW II?

When one is engaged in a life-and-death struggle with a murderous dictatorship intent to destroy your democracy, it is important that one minimize the influence of the dictatorship.

Which is precisely why so many people around the world labour so hard to minimize US influence throughout the globe. Its record of "exporting democracy" is woeful, as itemized above.

I agree with you that different standards should apply when one is not in a war but I would argue that we are now engaged in a war with terrorists.

You're always at war with somebody. It's just that your government would prefer that its own citizens didn't know it, which is why the covert option is always favoured over direct US military intervention. Hence, CIA's ongoing utility in conducting wars that are never declared, coups that are never acknowledged, murders that didn't officially happen.

I would be interested in your views on what ethical constraints should have been applied against, say, GB during WWII.

John I will have to look it up but my source for the proposition that Arbenz supporters killed his opponent was a reputable historical book. On what basis do you believe the allegation was CIA propoganda? Do you propose the CIA assassinated a right-wing military officer to make way for the election of a Commie-lover? Get real. Just on a cui bono theory, who was the most likely suspect in the murder of Arbenz's opponent?

Operating on the dubious assumption that you are sincere about wanting to know the history of your nation's murderous involvement in the governments of other nations, I suggest you start here:

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB4/

The record disclosed there is based solely upon the documentation generated by your own government. Read it and puke.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everybody knows that an anti-American government will come to power in Iraq once US troops are removed from the country.

Why do you think US troops are going to be removed? The whole point of the Iraq invasion was, to quote the PNAC, to have "a military presence in the Gulf region." The US government now has that, and I'm sure it is not about to give it up after all that it has perpetrated to acquire it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why do you think US troops are going to be removed? The whole point of the Iraq invasion was, to quote the PNAC, to have "a military presence in the Gulf region." The US government now has that, and I'm sure it is not about to give it up after all that it has perpetrated to acquire it.

I have assumed that the US will eventually elect to power a president with some understanding of world events and he/she will bring the troops back home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John,

What leads you to believe, after the last two elections and the nature of the regime in power, that the American electoral process is still functional at the presidential level?

Bush's successor will be appointed, just like presidential successors in Mexico were appointed for most of the 20th century, and that person (most likely Condoleezza Rice) will win regardless of how many votes are actually cast for the opposing candidate.

Here's a link to a very perceptive article in CounterPunch about the present political situation in America. The gist is that perhaps the only alternative for America at this point is to sit back and let Bush and the neocons self-destruct. The problem (which the article doesn't seem to address) is what will be left by then?

http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02062006.html

Ron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the last comment and the first on this thread need to be looked at together.

The first comment seemes to be taking the word "democracy" as meaning having elections. The government of El Salvador had elections in 1984, while it was in the midst of the blood bath created by the U.S. created and funded death squads. Those who didn't vote were simply deemed guerilla sympathizers and targeted for assassination. Elections are at best a symptom of democracy, and in El Salvadore and many other places they have even served as an instrument of state-terror.

Unfortunately I agree with Ron that John might be unrealisticallly hopefull reguarding the "American People's " ability to elect their way out of this Friendly Fascism (to use the title of a prescient book published by the political scientist named Bertram Gross Sp?) The reason I don't call John naive is because he is not living in the U.S. right now, and therefore doesn't have direct access to the surreal state of media politics in this country. It would be virtually impossible for an outsider to believe the degree to which two parties and the corporate media can emulate totalitarianism-- as our government does today--although it is a far more sophisticated totalitarianism than Hitler and Stalin could have ever dreamed of.

Democracy is not simply about elections. It is about letting the Enlightenment live: letting all ideas be given access to a public forum, and may we trust in human reason to let the better idea win. Of course, here in the U.S. all ideas are not given access to the public sphere. They are blocked by Corporations and bureacracies, so that by the time Kansas is finally watching in November the DLC Corporate democrats have nominated someone who -- after tens of millions of volunteeer hours and 500 million dollars in contributions--answers Bush's Haymaker Lies with this post-mortem rabbit-punch: "I would have supported the war in Iraq even had I known there were no WMDs"

This was not a mistake by Kerry. It was the logic of a party paid by Wall Street to function as a false opposite; a party that is quite litterally paid to lose elections, and paid well. Anti-war sentiment is now at 52%. Were it not for the Democrats serving as Geroge Bushes' prophala... ruber, that opposition would be something like 80%, perhaps higher.

Every week Tuesdays Far Righwing is Thursday's mainstream. The Democrats legitimate this righward rush by not speaking out so the average viewer is left thinking " it must not be that bad otherwise the Democrats would be yelling" Hence Hillary's Plantation comment of a couple of weeks ago. She has been running away from her "base" on all the big issues-- Iraq, Patriot Act, NSA-- so that she litterally had to make up a MEDIA ISSUE by saying that the House is run like a plantation. All this is very craftily playing the race card for the liberals, so that they don't notice that Hillary is just like Bush on any issue over a Billion.

Don't blame democracy for this sorry state. Blame its absence, and the simplistic equation of democracy with going into a booth every four years and pulling a lever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nathan wrote:

here in the U.S. all ideas are not given access to the public sphere. They are blocked by Corporations and bureacracies, so that by the time Kansas is finally watching in November the DLC Corporate democrats have nominated someone who -- after tens of millions of volunteeer hours and 500 million dollars in contributions--answers Bush's Haymaker Lies with this post-mortem rabbit-punch: "I would have supported the war in Iraq even had I known there were no WMDs"

What a bunch of garbage.

Nathan, explain how the big bad corporations prohibit you from posting any tripe you want on this Forum or any other; or creating your own blog for millions to see. Explain how the big bad corporations prevent you from going to Kinkos or Office Max and printing ten thousand fliers and passing them out door to door. Explain how the big bad corporations interfere with your picketing the WH, or interfere with Cindy Sheehan's picketing GB's ranch.

Problem is your ideas are so screwed up that no one pays any attention to them. That is why when the Dems nominate a candidate you would like (eg McGovern) he is trounced but when the Dems nominate a center-oriented candidate (like DLC endorsed Clinton or John Kerry) he either wins or almost wins the election.

The Democrats were paid to lose? And how did they manipulate it that they would come close to winning but not quite do so? Your fantasies border on paranoia, man.

Edited by Tim Gratz
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...