-Rise and Fall-
Part 3: America's Imperial Achievements
Iran 1953: Mossadeq - British Petroleum - Dulles
Guatemala 1954: Arbenz - United Fruit - McCloy
The Congo 1960: Lumumba - Union Miniere - Rockefeller
Iraq 1963: Kassem - Standard Oil - Baath Party - CIA
Brazil 1964: Goulart - Hanna Mining - McCloy
Indonesia 1965: Sukarno - The Greatest Prize - Rockefeller
Ghana 1966: Nkrumah - African Unity - Cocoa - CIA
Cambodia 1970: Sihanouk - Nationalism - Vietnam - Kissinger
Chile 1973: Allende - ITT - Copper - Kissinger
Nicaragua 1981: Ortega - Iran-Contra - Bush
The Cold War was a front for a new form of Imperialism, led by New York, but with strong guidance from London. To the masses being indoctrinated by the Establishment-controlled press the greatest threat to the West was Communism, and this was the enemy to be faced and defeated throughout the globe. But to the Establishment the real enemy was not Communism, the real enemy was Third World Nationalism, and Communism provided the smokescreen under which it was fought. The Soviet Union was never attacked. Red China itself was never attacked. Even Castro's Cuba was allowed to exist ninety miles from the American border, perhaps to keep the "Communist menace" always relevant and firmly entrenched in the minds of America's public.
This "Third World" War was played out in scattered battles throughout the continent of Africa, in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and in Central and South America. Leftist William Blum offers a list of fifty-five American CIA and military interventions since World War II in his book Killing Hope, but for the purposes of this article we will highlight only two examples from each of the above regions.
These ten should be enough to make it clear that acquiring and protecting corporate profit was the priority, and Democracy the actual target, of these Anglo-American interventions into the affairs of Third World nations.
Iran 1953 - Establishment intervention in Iran was prompted at the very beginning by the initiatives made by Iran's most patriotic politician, Dr. Mohammed Mossadeq, to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). In 1950 this firm had made a profit of £170 million, but the Iranian government only received twelve percent of it, the rest going to the British government and private investors. Mossadeq spearheaded the bill to take over Iranian oil for the Iranian people, which was passed on March 15, 1951, and shortly afterwards he was elected Iran's Prime Minister. Even though the British government had recently nationalized its own coal industry, it accused Mossadeq of turning to "communism." Blum explains how the scenario played out,
As the prime minister had anticipated, the British did not take the nationalization gracefully, though it was supported unanimously by the Iranian parliament and by the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people for reasons of both economic justice and national pride. The Mossadegh government tried to do all the right things to placate the British: It offered to set aside 25 percent of the net profits of the oil operation as compensation; it guaranteed the safety and jobs of the British employees; it was willing to sell its oil without disturbance to the tidy control system so dear to the hearts of the international oil giants. But the British would have none of it. What they wanted was their oil company back. And they wanted Mossadegh's head. A servant does not affront his lord with impunity.
A military show of force by the British navy was followed by a ruthless international economic blockade and boycott, and a freezing of Iranian assets which brought Iran's oil exports and foreign trade to a virtual standstill, plunged the already impoverished country into near destitution, and made payment of any compensation impossible. Nonetheless, and long after they had moved to oust Mossadegh, the British demanded compensation not only for the physical assets of the AIOC, but for the value of their enterprise in developing the oil fields; a request impossible to meet, and, in the eyes of Iranian nationalists, something which decades of huge British profits paid for many times over.
This episode is described in greater detail in Stephen Dorril's 850-page book, MI6 - Inside the Secret World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service. He describes how the British government put together an operation code-named "Boot" to oust Mossadeq, and they tried to immediately gain American assistance by arguing that Mossadeq's government was unduly influenced by Iran's communist Tudeh Party. Dorril handily refutes this allegation and concludes,
Despite British propaganda, the Mossadeq government was generally democratic, moderate, and seemed likely to succeed in establishing a middle-class hold over the state. It was officially viewed by the Truman administration as popular, nationalist, and anti-communist. Mossadeq believed that fear of a communist takeover in Iran would lead the Americans to support his government despite British pressure.
The CIA was approached by British Intelligence regarding Operation Boot, but joint action against Mossadeq was strategically put on hold. Truman held nothing against Mossadeq, but the next president, the Republican General Dwight Eisenhower, was much more caught up in the emotional crusade against communism, and was susceptible to such British accusations. Dorril explains,
US support for Boot illustrates the difference between the Truman and Eisenhower administrations in the Cold War consensus. Whereas Truman had often tried to foster non-communist nationalist governments, feeling that some degree of social change was inevitable and that it could be channelled to America's advantage - to which roster Mossadeq could be added - the new administration tended to see reform movements as disruptive and likely to fall prey to communists. It was also true that members of the Eisenhower administration were much more explicit in their espousal of the big business interests that lay behind the anti-communist rhetoric. In particular, the new Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, liked to mix big business with international politics, while his brother Allen, as Director of Plans in the CIA, made sure that intelligence operations supported commercial interests.
Dorril also makes note of the fact that the Dulles brothers were partners in the powerful Wall Street law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, which just happened to be the legal counsel for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).
After numerous intrigues, which we will not go into here, the coup against Mossadeq occurred as planned on August 19, 1953. It was initiated by the British, but carried out primarily by CIA agents and with CIA funding. Mossadeq was arrested and the Shah was placed back into power. Previously democracy had greatly reduced the Shah's role as an Iranian leader to that of a mere figurehead, but this Anglo-American coup put him back in power as a dictator. The oil profits again flowed into British bank accounts and as a payoff for the American involvement American companies were given their piece of the pie as well. Dorril explains,
The Dulles law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, helped negotiate the redivision of Iran's reserves, to the advantage of American companies. The four parent companies (Jersey, Socony, Texas and Socal) involved in the Iranian consortium deal (along with Gulf) had also cut the Aramco-Saudi 50-50 agreement. In the new consortium, AIOC, which changed its name to British Petroleum, held a 40 percent share and received £34,500,000 in compensation plus 10 per cent a barrel on all exports until a sum of £510 million was reached... To further compensate their old client, Sullivan and Cromwell 'helped it on to the North Slope of Alaska, arranged a takeover of Standard Oil of Ohio, and protected it from anti-trust legislation in American courts.'
According to the exposé Meet The Rockefellers, the Dulles family was not the only major American Establishment family working to topple Mossadeq,
...it was disclosed by syndicated columnist Jack Anderson in December of 1979 that the Rockefellers had helped to plan the August 1953 CIA coup in Iran that brought down Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the detested Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. According to Anderson, the Rockefellers were handsomely rewarded by a grateful Shah who deposited huge sums of cash in Chase Manhattan and consigned the construction of new housing to a Rockefeller firm.
Guatemala 1954 - The story of the American-backed coup against the democratically elected President of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz, is one of the most shameful and disturbing accounts of CIA operations in the "Third World" War.
Guatemala achieved independence from Spain in 1821. Afterwards, Guatemala's post-colonial existence was the familiar sort where the people were ruled by the Elite, and the government took the form of a series of dictatorships. As Spanish influence waned, American influence rose. The most important American influence in Guatemala came to be the Boston-based United Fruit Company (UFCO).
In the 1930's the dictator in charge was President Jorge Ubico. He enjoyed very friendly relations with the UFCO because he gave them a huge plantation on the Pacific Coast, greatly reduced their taxes, allowed them to import duty-free goods, and also asked that they keep wages low so as not to create envy of UFCO employees within the rest of the peasant population. At the same time the UFCO took over International Railways of Central America, which then placed United Fruit in "complete authority of the nation's international commerce."
As World War II came to a close the people of Guatemala were caught up in the rising tide of freedom and democracy. They listened as FDR outlined his Four Freedoms, and they applauded at the signing of the Atlantic Charter. In 1944, at the people's encouragement, the Guatemalan military kicked out the dictator Ubico, and then it withdrew to allow the democratic process to take effect. Guatemala's first democratically-elected president was a schoolteacher named Juan Jose Arevalo. By the end of his term average wages in the country had risen by eighty percent.
In 1951 Jacobo Arbenz became Guatemala's second democratically-elected president. In his inaugural address, which can be read within Nicholas Zuiker's paper, "The Banana Coup," Arbenz outlined his plans for Guatemala to achieve economic independence, to increase his people's standard of living, and to utilize science and technology in agriculture. A key component of his plan was land reform, and because of this he faced off against Guatemala's biggest landowner, the American-owned United Fruit Company. In Killing Hope, William Blum describes the power that Arbenz was up against (excerpts),
United Fruit functioned in Guatemala as a state within a state. It owned the country's telephone and telegraph facilities, administered its only important Atlantic harbor, and monopolized its banana exports. A subsidiary of the company owned nearly every mile of railroad track in the country. The fruit company's influence amongst Washington's power elite was equally impressive. On a business and/or personal level, it had close ties to the Dulles brothers, various State Department officials, congressmen, the American Ambassador to the United Nations, and others. Anne Whitman, the wife of the company's public relations director, was President Eisenhower's personal secretary. Under-secretary of State (and formerly Director of the CIA) Walter Bedell Smith was seeking an executive position with United Fruit at the same time he was helping to plan the coup. He was later named to the company's board of directors.
Under Arbenz Guatemala constructed an Atlantic port and a highway to compete with United Fruit's holdings, and built a hydro-electric plant to offer cheaper energy than the US controlled electricity monopoly. Arbenz's strategy was to limit the power of foreign companies through direct competition rather than through nationalization, a policy not feasible of course when it came to a fixed quantity like land.
Zuiker's paper, which draws heavily on Schlesinger and Kinzer's book Bitter Fruit, explains how Arbenz's government implemented its policy of land reform in a very clever yet fair way. Those holding massive land monopolies were forced to hand over portions of their unused and uncultivated land to the government, but the government paid back to the owner the full price of the land according to its worth as stated by the owner in property tax documents. The problem for United Fruit, and the beauty of Arbenz's policy, was that in the past United Fruit had consistently undervalued its own land in an effort to defraud the Guatemalan government out of tax revenue! Zuiker writes,
In the spring of 1953, Guatemala expropriated 225,000 of United Fruit's 300,000 acres. Guatemala paid United Fruit U.S. $1,000,000 dollars in exchange for the land. United Fruit insisted the land was worth $20 million dollars...
United Fruit was enraged over the new proposal. UFCO began a huge campaign to appeal to Congressmen, State Department officials and anyone else that would listen. They stated that Guatemala was for all practical purposes stealing their land. UFCO never mentioned that they had valued their land at those prices, however, they did mention that it was all uncultivated; UFCO stated that this loss of land would ruin the company.
One of United Fruit's biggest supporters was a man by the name of John J. McCloy. In 1958 the famous Harvard economist/historian John Kenneth Galbraith singled out McCloy as the "Chairman" of the American Establishment, and thus the most powerful man in America. During his life McCloy was a partner in three powerful New York law firms; he served as assistant Secretary of War under Stimson in the FDR administration; he was appointed US High Commissioner in Germany after the war; served as the second President of the World Bank(1947-1949); served as chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank from 1953-1960; served as chairman of the Ford Foundation from 1958-1965 (see the article The Ford Foundation and the CIA); and served as chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1953-1970 (prior to David Rockefeller). He simply was "The Chairman."
While serving as President of the World Bank McCloy had turned down a much-needed loan application from Guatemalan President Arevalo, and in 1953 as Arbenz battled United Fruit McCloy oversaw a CFR study group that concluded that a coup against Arbenz was necessary. McCloy later became a director of United Fruit.
Another powerful associate of United Fruit was public relations expert Edward Bernays. Zuiker notes that in 1928 Bernays wrote a book entitled Propaganda, in which he stated,
The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country... it is the intelligent minorities [the Establishment Elite] which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically.
The success of United Fruit's propaganda campaign across the nation, to portray democratic Guatemala as a bastion of communism that threatened the security of Central America and indeed the United States itself, is documented in Zuiker's paper. Against the hysteria Guatemala could do nothing but meekly protest, as Blum explains in Killing Hope,
In the midst of the American preparation to overthrow the governmet, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Guillermo Toriello, lamented that the United States was categorizing "as 'communism' every manifestation of nationalism or economic independence, any desire for social progress, any intellectual curiosity, and any interest in progressive liberal reforms."
Toriello was close to the truth, but Washington officials retained enough contact with reality and world opinion to be aware of the inappropriateness of coming out against nationalism, independence or reform. Thus it was that Secretary of State Dulles asserted that Guatemalans were living under a "Communist type of terrorism" ... President Eisenhower warned about "the Communist dictatorship" establishing "an outpost on this continent to the detriment of all the American nations" ... the US Ambassador to Guatemala, John Peurifoy, declared that "We cannot permit a Soviet Republic to be established between Texas and the Panama Canal" ... others warned that Guatemala could become a base from which the Soviet Union might actually seize the Canal ... Senator Margaret Chase Smith hinted, unmistakably, that the "unjustified increases in the price of coffee" imported from Guatemala were due to communist control of the country, and called for an investigation ... and so it went.
In the campaign against Guatemala the US found an ally in Nicaragua, home of dictator Anastasio Somoza, and in neighboring Honduras, also governed by dictatorship, which became a base for the anti-Arbenz militia. The rulers of both of these nations had an interest in stopping the spread of democracy that also threatened their own regimes.
In 1954 the CIA and United Fruit financed and armed the military coup that defeated the Arbenz government and installed dictatorship. Castillo Armas became the new President of Guatemala and United Fruit was given back the land that was taken from it, along with all of the concessions given to it by previous dictatorships.
The people of Guatemala had been betrayed by the USA and the corporate interests that ruled it. This betrayal also marked a turning point in the life of an Argentine doctor named Ernesto "Che" Guevara. As a resident of Guatemala he had observed the treacherous American action against democracy, and from that point on he became a radical convinced that armed struggle was the only way to defeat the "oligarchic system and the main enemy, Yankee imperialism."
The Congo 1960 - The third largest nation in Africa, but the richest in natural resources, gained its independence from Belgium on June 30, 1960. Elections had been held a week before and a young articulate nationalist by the name of Patrice Lumumba [film] had been swept into power. Democracy lasted for only two months in the Congo, before Belgium, Britain, and the United States put an end to it for good. Through it all Lumumba continued to write letters to President Eisenhower appealing for help, and according to journalist D'Lynn Waldron, "It was America to which Lumumba looked as the dream of what the Congo could be."
The problem for Prime Minister Lumumba was that his country possessed a fortune in natural resources that the Establishment was determined to control. An excellent article by Osei Boateng from New African magazine explains the situation,
By 1958, Congo was producing 50% of the world's uranium (almost all of it bought by America), 75% of the world's cobalt, 70% of the world's industrial diamonds, and it was the world's largest producer of rubber.
More than 80% of the uranium in the American atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 came from Congo's heavily guarded mine at Shinkolobwe. In terms of Western geo-political interests at the height of the Cold War, Congo was a very important country...
...Two of the companies that shaped the history of Congo were the Union Miniere de Haut-Katanga founded in 1906 (mining copper, uranium, cobalt etc) and the Societe Internationale Forestiere et Miniere du Congo (Forminiere) which started mining diamonds in the Congo in 1907. By 1929, Congo had become the world's second largest diamond producer, after South Africa. Forminiere also had gold and silver mines in the Congo, in addition to vast cotton, oil palm, cocoa and rubber plantations, cattle ranches, sawmills and a chain of shops.
Union Miniere was largely controlled by Belgian, French and British interests while Forminiere was controlled by American interests. But in 1950, the Rockefeller Group became a major shareholder of Union Miniere by buying into one of Miniere's subsidiaries, Tanganyika Concessions. This opened the door for American interests in Union Miniere. It was therefore vital that Congo remained in the Western sphere of influence.
During the independence day ceremonies, when Belgium handed over control of the Congo to the newly elected government, Prime Minister Lumumba listened as King Baudouin whitewashed Belgium's decades of brutal colonial oppression saying,
"The independence of the Congo is the crowning of the work conceived by the genius of King Leopold II, undertaken by him with courage and continued by Belgium with perseverance.
"For 80 years, Belgium has sent to your land the best of its sons - first to deliver the Congo basin from the odious slave trade which was decimating the population, later to bring together the different tribes which, though former enemies, are now preparing to form the greatest of the independent states of Africa...
"Belgian pioneers have built railways, cities, industries, schools, medical services and modernised agriculture... It is your task, gentlemen, to show that we were right in trusting you."
After King Baudouin ended his speech, Joseph Kasavubu, the moderate President of the Congo, gave a speech on behalf of his nation, but he failed to mention colonialism, or his people's struggle, or to comment on the "genius" of King Leopold II who had presided over the deaths of millions of Congolese. Lumumba was appalled at King Baudouin's speech, and at his own president's pathetic response, and so he stormed the podium to offer an unscheduled but much-needed rebuttal,
"Men and women of the Congo, who have fought for and won the independence we celebrate today, I salute you in the name of the Congolese government.
"I ask you all, friends who have fought relentlessly side by side to make this 30th of June 1960 an illustrious date that remains ineradicably engraved on your hearts, a date whose significance you will be proud to teach to your children, who will in turn pass on to their children and grandchildren the glorious story of our struggle for liberty.
"For, while the independence of the Congo has today been proclaimed in agreement with Belgium, a friendly country with whom we deal on an equal footing, no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that independence has only been won by struggle, a struggle that went on day after day, a struggle of fire and idealism, a struggle in which we have spared neither effort, deprivation, suffering or even our blood.
"The struggle, involving tears, fire and blood, is something of which we are proud in our deepest hearts, for it was a noble and just struggle, which was needed to bring to an end the humiliating slavery imposed on us by force.
"Such was our lot for 80 years under the colonialist regime; our wounds are still too fresh and painful for us to be able to forget them at will, for we have experienced painful labour demanded of us in return for wages that were not enough to enable us to eat properly, nor to be decently dressed or sheltered, nor to bring up our children as we longed to.
"We have experienced contempt, insults and blows, morning, noon and night because we were 'blacks'. We shall never forget that a black was addressed tu, not because he was a friend but because only the whites were given the honour of being addressed vous.
"We have seen our lands despoiled in the name of so-called legal documents which were no more than a recognition of superior force. We have known that the law was never the same for a white man as it was for a black: for the former it made allowances, for the latter, it was cruel and inhuman.
"We have seen the appalling suffering of those who had their political opinions and religious beliefs dismissed as exiles in their own country, their lot was truly worse than death. We have seen magnificent houses in the towns for the whites, and crumbling straw huts for the blacks; a black could not go to the cinema, or a restaurant, or a shop that was meant for 'Europeans', a black would always travel in the lowest part of a ship, under the feet of the whites in their luxurious cabins.
"And finally, who can ever forget the shooting in which so many of our brothers died; or the cells where those who refused to submit any longer to the rule of a 'justice' of oppression and exploitation were put away?
"All this, brothers, has meant the most profound suffering. But all this, we can now say, we who have been voted as your elected representatives to govern our beloved country, all this is now ended. The Republic of Congo has been proclaimed, and our land is now in the hands of its own children. Together, brothers and sisters, we shall start on a new struggle, a noble struggle that will bring our country to peace, prosperity and greatness...
"We shall show the world what the black man can do when he is allowed to work in freedom, and we shall make the Congo the focal point of Africa..."
Prime Minister Lumumba presided over the political liberation of his country, but he was also determined to achieve economic liberation as well, and to use the resources of the Republic of the Congo to improve the general welfare of his people. Perhaps that is why, according to Under Secretary of State Douglas Dillon, President Eisenhower and the National Security Council determined in 1960 that Lumumba was a "very difficult if not impossible man to deal with, and was dangerous to the peace and safety of the world."
The first plan that was adopted by the Establishment to ensure the continued plundering of natural resources that was taking place under Union Miniere, Formeniere, and other corporate interests, was to back the secession from the Congo Republic of the province of Katanga, home of the two mining companies and the source of 60% of the Congo's wealth, that was ruled by "company man" Moise Tshombe.
Only weeks after the Congo achieved independence from Belgium, Tshombe proclaimed Katanga independent from the Congo, and Belgian, British, Rhodesian and South African troops moved into Katanga to support him. After a UN condemnation of the secession the Eisenhower administration (itself under a great deal of Establishment pressure to back Katanga) decided to back a UN proposal to end the secession and to replace the Belgian and foreign troops with UN troops. Lumumba then appealed to the US for help to transport his own troops to regain control of his rebel province. When the US turned him down he asked the Soviets for help, who quickly sent him trucks and planes. By this foolish action Lumumba falsely identified himself as a "Communist," offering the Anglo-American Establishment a weapon by which he was brought down.
Note: [Even today conservatives in America continue to falsely portray Lumumba as a Communist, in sources such as Katanga: The Untold Story, an hour long documentary narrated by US Congressman Donald L Jackson, 46 Angry Men by the 46 doctors of Elisabethville, Who Killed the Congo by Phillipa Schuyler, Rebels, Mercenaries, and Dividends by Smith Hempstone ,and The Fearful Master by G. Edward Griffith. For a first-hand account of Lumumba's brief career, the disinformation spread in the American press, and a forceful rebuttal of the charge that he was a Communist see the writings of American journalist D'Lynn Waldron.]
On September 5 President Kasavubu, later proven to be on the CIA payroll, illegally dismissed Prime Minister Lumumba from the government, but Lumumba took his case to the Congolese legislature where both houses of Parliament voted to reinstate him as Prime Minister.
This democratic action was too little, too late, because the Establishment had another ace up its sleeve in the form of military strongman, and Pentagon favorite, General Joseph Mobutu. Encouraged by the CIA he carried out a military show of force and installed himself as Kasavubu's partner in the government. Prime Minister Lumumba then became a fugitive in the country that had elected him its leader. Blum goes on to describe the CIA's unease regarding Lumumba even while he was on the run, offering a few quotes from American officials at the time, and describing their attempts to eliminate him,
"CIA and high Administration officials continued to view him as a threat" ... his "talents and dynamism appear [to be the] overriding factor in reestablishing his position each time it seems half lost" ... "Lumumba was a spellbinding orator with the ability to stir up the masses of people to action" ... "if he ...started to talk to a battalion of the Congolese Army, he probably would have them in the palm of his hand in five minutes" ...
In late September, the CIA sent one of its scientists, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, to the Congo carrying "lethal biological material" (a virus) specifically intended for use in Lumumba's assassination. The virus, which was supposed to produce a fatal disease indigenous to the Congo area of Africa, was transported via diplomatic pouch. [Note: According to researchers, AIDS first emerged as a new virus in the Belgian Congo in 1959].
In 1975, the Church committee went on record with the conclusion that Allen Dulles had ordered Lumumba's assassination as "an urgent and prime objective" (Dulles's words). After hearing the testimony of several officials who believed that the order to kill the African leader had emanated originally from President Eisenhower, the committee decided that there was a "reasonable inference" that this was indeed the case.
American journalist D'Lynn Waldron, a supporter of Lumumba and one of his primary voices to the West, describes how her stories for Scripps-Howard were edited, and offers a clue that may explain how the CIA tracked him down,
The story I sent to my newspaper in America had a paragraph that said Lumumba told me he was afraid that the Communists would take control of his party and that the Belgians were accusing him of taking financing from Russia, but the publisher changed this to make it seem as if I were saying this as a fact, rather than something Lumumba feared. I did not see this article until the Russians arrived and showed it to Lumumba to discredit me with him. (It should be noted that Lumumba never gave up on hopes that America would aid him, and after he became Prime Minister, Lumumba's travelling companion and confidant was Frank Carlucci [!], who it has since been revealed in Congressional investigations was an American intelligence officer and presumably part of Operation Zaire Rifle, the plot to assassinate Lumumba.
Lumumba's capture was brought about with the help of the CIA and Mobutu's troops arrested him on December 1, 1960. He was then handed over to his worst enemy, Moise Tshombe of Katanga province on January 17, 1961 and assassinated the very same day. Former CIA agent John Stockwell mentions in his book In Search of Enemies - A CIA Story, that he spent time in 1965 with a CIA instructor who related to him an adventure he had experienced in Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga, "driving about town after curfew with Patrice Lumumba's body in the trunk of his car, trying to decide what to do with it." According to a recently published book Lumumba's body was buried and exhumed twice, and then finally dismembered and dissolved in sulphuric acid by a Belgian police commissioner in Katanga.
Lumumba's assassination took place three days before John F. Kennedy was sworn in as America's 34th president. This was no coincidence. Allen Dulles knew that he had to act fast because he knew that Kennedy had a much different idea of what the role of the United States should be in addressing Third World nationalism. This aspect of Kennedy's foreign policy is explained in the article "Dodd and Dulles vs. Kennedy in Africa" by Jim DiEugenio, which often cites the book JFK: Ordeal In Africa by Richard D. Mahoney as a source. On the cover of Mahoney's book is the photograph of an anguished JFK on the phone, taken when he received the news of Lumumba's death. DiEugenio recounts a speech JFK gave on the subject of Third World nationalism in LA in 1956,
...the Afro-Asian revolution of nationalism, the revolt against colonialism, the determination of people to control their national destinies... in my opinion, the tragic failure of both Republican [Eisenhower] and Democratic [Truman] administrations since World War II to comprehend the nature of this revolution, and its potentialities for good and evil, has reaped a bitter harvest today - and it is by rights and by necessity a major foreign policy campaign issue that has nothing to do with anti-communism.
After quoting from Kennedy, DiEugenio goes on to write,
Kennedy objected to the "for us or against us" attitude that, in Africa, had pushed Egypt's Gamel Abdul Nasser into the arms of the Russians [after the World Bank refused to help finance the Aswan Dam]. He also objected to the self-righteousness with which people like Dulles and Nixon expressed this policy. John Foster Dulles' string of bromides on the subject e.g. "godless Communism," and the "Soviet master plan," met with this response from Senator Kennedy: "Public thinking is being bullied by slogans which are either false in context or irrelevant to the new phase of competitive coexistence in which we live."
John F. Kennedy proved to be an aggressive opponent of the Establishment from the very beginning and he acted to curb the power of the CIA that continued to function as an independent Establishment-controlled entity after he assumed office. He once remarked in frustration that he wanted to "splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds." DiEugenio describes JFK's actions regarding the Congo when he first assumed the presidency,
Unaware of Lumumba’s death, Kennedy requested a full-scale policy review on the Congo his first week in office. Kennedy had made an oblique reference to the Congo situation in his inaugural address. He had called the UN, "our last best hope" and pledged to support "its shield of the new and the weak". Once in office he made clear and forceful those vague insinuations. On his own, and behind the scenes, he relayed the Russians a message that he was ready to negotiate a truce in the Congo. Ambassador Timberlake got wind of this and other JFK moves and he phoned Allen Dulles and Pentagon Chief Lyman Lemnitzer to alert them that Kennedy was breaking with Eisenhower’s policy. Timberlake called this switch a "sell-out" to the Russians. Upon hearing of the new policy formation, [UN Sec. Gen.] Hammarskjold told [UN rep. to the Congo] Dayal that he should expect in short order an organized backlash to oppose Kennedy.
On February 2nd, Kennedy approved a new Congo policy which was pretty much a brisk departure from the previous administration. The new policy consisted of close cooperation with the UN to bring all opposing armies, including the Belgians, under control. In addition, the recommendation was to have the country neutralized and not subject to any East-West competition. Thirdly, all political prisoners should be freed. (Not knowing Lumumba was dead, this recommendation was aimed at him without naming him specifically.) Fourth, the secession of Katanga should be opposed. To further dramatize his split with Eisenhower and Nixon, Kennedy invited Lumumba’s staunch friend Nkrumah [PM of Ghana] to Washington for an official visit. Even further, when Nehru of India asked Kennedy to promise to commit US forces to the UN military effort and to use diplomatic pressure to expel the Belgians, Kennedy agreed.
Against fierce Establishment resistance JFK led the United States government to work with the UN to ensure that Katanga province remained within the Congo Republic. Kennedy supported the forceful, and sometimes brutal UN action to remove Moise Tshombe from power, the brutal corporate puppet who was known as "Africa's most unpopular African." Kennedy also directed the US Air Force to supply Congolese troops in their fight against the Katanga rebels, but at the same time, according to Blum, "...the CIA and its covert colleagues in the Pentagon were putting together an air armada of heavy transport aircraft, along with mercenary units, to aid the very same rebels."
The breakaway Katanga province was eventually crushed and brought back into the Congo Republic. However, after Kennedy's death, with Establishment support, the hated Tshombe was brought into the Congo government by Mobutu! Then in 1965 Mobutu got rid of the "moderate" President Kasavubu. In 1966 General Mobutu, at the urging of his powerful American friends, finally ended any appearances of democracy and installed himself as the sole military dictator of the Congo. Under his rule he changed the name of his nation to Zaire, and his own to Mobutu Sese Seko. He became the Anglo-American Establishment's favorite dictator in all of Africa and he ruled at the expense of his people with total authority and in great luxury until he was deposed by Laurent Kabila in 1997.
Turning back to JFK, establishment leftists (Chomsky, Hersh, Schlesinger, even William Blum of Killing Hope) and establishment conservatives (take your pick) have done a hatchet job on the JFK presidency. For a clear and non-partisan look at JFK's legacy this writer suggests Battling Wall Street, by Professor Donald Gibson. JFK openly sparred with David Rockefeller regarding economic policy on the pages of Life magazine, and he sparred with CFR chief John J. McCloy behind the scenes regarding foreign policy, even going so far as to fire Allen Dulles as the head of the CIA. JFK was an admirer of Egypt's Nasser, of India's Nehru, of DeGaulle's desire to allow an independent Algeria, and of Nationalism in general throughout the Third World. He also began programs such as the Peace Corp and the Alliance For Progress that sought to help the Third World become economically self-sufficient. According to Gibson, whose conclusion is backed up with sharp logic and copious references, not to mention the bare historical record, JFK threatened the Establishment the most because he threatened their control over the economies of the Third World. The vast riches of South America, Africa and Asia beckoned, and lay there for the Establishment's taking, but JFK's idealism stood in the way. For that he was eliminated.
Iraq 1963 - On April 28, 1959, CIA Director Allen Dulles appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He warned, "Iraq is today the most dangerous spot on earth."
From 1930 to 1958 Iraq had been led by the most pro-British Arab leader in all of the Middle East, Prime Minister Nuri Said. He governed Iraq alongside a figurehead monarchy and proved his worth to the British and to the Iraqi elite in numerous ways. Historian Said Aburish documents a few of his policies in A Brutal Friendship - The West and the Arab Elite,
- The British Mandate over Iraq expired in 1932, but in 1930 Said sponsored a British-Iraqi treaty that gave Britain military bases in Iraq and status and influence over Iraq's foreign policy.
- Said scaled back the land reform policies that had been enacted under Turkish rule, taking land away from the Iraqi people and giving it back to the feudal sheikhs.
- In 1936 Said advised the Grand Mufti of Palestine to end the anti-British rebellion when Arabs everywhere wanted it to continue.
- In 1948 he refused to allow the Iraqi army in Palestine to come to the aid of the Egyptian army in the face of the Israeli attack, and then he withdrew Iraqi troops altogether, allowing Israel to achieve a victory.
- In 1955 Said initiated an alliance with Turkey that became the pro-West Baghdad Pact. The Anglo-Americans saw the pact as necessary to neutralize both the Soviet influence and the rise of Arab nationalism led by Gamal Nasser of Egypt. The vast majority of Arabs favored an alliance with Egypt to combat the emerging power of Israel and to avoid domination by either the Soviets or the West.
- In 1956 Said stooped to the lowest level of any Arab leader by supporting the failed British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt that was prompted by Nasser's takeover of the Canal.
Aburish writes that Nuri Said was,
...the antithesis of a believer in democracy, openly scoffing at the idea, and his anti-democratic activities included expelling students from universities, sacking civil servants, banning newspapers, imprisoning politicians, eliminating opponents through implicating them in phony plots and executing and banishing communists and leftist to brutal desert detension camps...
...Above all, Nuri was neither king nor president: he was a strongman rather than a head of state. As is obvious from the brief description of his internal, Arab and foreign policies, he was an extremely unpopular and corrupt conspirator who stopped at nothing to stay in power and he had very little time for the Arabs and the Iraqis. However, by all accounts - including those of many of his opponents - the man had charm. It was a charm which appealed to women decades younger and which he used with tribal sheikhs, army officers, most members of the royal family, Iraqi politicians, Arab heads of state and Western leaders.
Unfortunately for Nuri Said his charm ran out on July 14, 1958. On that day the monarchy was toppled in a populist-inspired military coup. King Faisal II was executed and Nuri Said took refuge in the home of a friend. His friend felt compelled to hide Said, but his friend's boy did not share the same feelings for the old despot and reported him to the military. Aburish goes on, "Sensing danger, Nuri tried to escape dressed as a woman. But a mob recognized him, killed and tore him to bits and repeatedly ran over whatever was left of him with their cars. There was nothing left to bury."
The danger perceived by Allen Dulles only a year later stemmed from the policies of Iraq's new republican leader, General Abdel Karim Kassem. Aburish explains that Kassem, although not a communist himself, favored working with the Iraqi Communist Party rather than ignoring or harassing it. This was of course the main excuse used by Dulles to condemn him, but Kassem also carried out some very popular reforms that threatened the Establishment just as much,
He successfully pressured the British-controlled Iraqi Petroleum Company (IPC) into giving Iraq a greater share of the oil income, prevailed on the British to close their military bases in his country, encouraged the trade unions, built new cities for workers, distributed land to peasants, reduced rents, created the People's Militia and signed arms deals with the USSR.
Dulles was also worried that Kassem might unify with Nasser to create an even stronger pan-Arab block. This paranoia regarding Kassem was at first not entirely shared by the British who had a more subtle approach and a deeper understanding of Middle Eastern realities. Aburish explains that they believed that Kassem would emerge independent of Nasser and resurrect the old Babylon vs. Egypt antagonism, thus weakening Arab nationalism by dividing it.
This British perception was proven true, and after Nasser saw that he would not be able to dominate Kassem he tried to have him assassinated in the hopes that a more pro-Egyptian leader would emerge. One of the early attempts on Kassem's life was made by a young Baath Party acitivist named Saddam Hussein, who was wounded in the failed attack and forced to flee to Cairo in 1959.
British tolerance of Kassem's regime did not last long, however. In 1960 Kassem was one of the leading figures involved in the creation of OPEC, envisioned as a way for oil producing nations to resist Anglo-American corporate domination of the industry. Then in 1961 Syria seceded from the United Arab Republic that had unified it with Egypt, and Arab nationalism was no longer seen as such a great threat. The same year Kassem made two blunders that angered the British even more: He nationalized another portion of the British-dominated Iraqi Petroleum Company, and then he vocalized the Iraqi claim to Kuwait, the nation that had been shorn off of Iraq by the British after World War I. Kassem made the same assertions that Saddam Hussein would stupidly act on thirty years later.
With Anglo-American oil profits at stake in Iraq and Kuwait the CIA was called in to take care of business. Their partner against Kassem became Iraq's Baath Party, a strongly anti-communist, yet socialist party that had branched off from the Syrian Baath Party and was led at first by secular middle class intellectuals. By the time Kassem came into power it had gained a strong influence within the Iraqi military and with several Sunni Arab tribes, out of which Saddam's Tikrit tribe emerged on top.
The CIA connection to the Baath Party was through Colonel Saleh Mahdi Ammash, who was recruited by the CIA when he served at the Iraqi embassy in Washington, DC. The CIA also established ties with Iraqi dissidents that had fled to Egypt, including Saddam Hussein.
When Colonel Ammash was arrested by the Iraqi government the Baath-CIA coup was forced to spring into action. It began on February 8, 1963, and ended the next day when General Kassem surrendered. The Iraqi nationalist was interrogated, subjected to a sham tribunal, and then shot in the head without a blindfold as he shouted "Long live the people!" Afterwards Robert Kromer of the National Security Council explained to a sidelined and skeptical President Kennedy that "the coup is a gain for our side."
In the aftermath of Kassem's execution phase two of the coup was put into action. The CIA demanded that the Baath Party remove all communist elements from the country and they provided Baath leaders with lists of suspects, the longest of which came from a CIA operative named William McHale, who worked in Beirut undercover as a reporter for Time magazine. Instructions were also transmitted into Iraq from a CIA radio station in Kuwait during the coup and throughout the elimination phase that followed it. The purges were more than thorough. Aburish explains,
The number of people eliminated remains confused and estimates range from seven hundred to thirty thousand. Putting various statements by Iraqi exiles together, in all likelihood the figure was nearer five thousand...
...There were many ordinary people who were eliminated because they continued to resist after the coup became an accomplished fact, but there were also senior army officers, lawyers, professors, teachers, doctors and others. There were pregnant women and old men among them and many were tortured to death in the presence of their young children. Saddam Hussein, who had rushed back to Iraq from exile in Cairo to join the victors, was personally involved in the torture of leftists in the separate detention centres for the fellaheen, or peasants, and the muthaqafeen, or educated class... The British Committee for Human Rights in Iraq, one of the few international groups to investigate what happened after the coup, confirmed all this in a 1964 report and compared the Ba'athist hit squads to 'Hitlerian shock troops.'
The main goal of the purges was to destroy Iraq's Communist Party but, much like Mao's "Cultural Revolution," the end result was the loss of a significant portion of Iraq's educated and intellectual populace. The Baath Party which, in the words of the new Minister of the Interior "came to power on a CIA train," then became the Establishment's path to the natural riches of Iraq.
In the commercial field, Shell, BP, Bectel, Parsons, Mobil and other British and American companies were allowed to re-enter Iraq to develop its oilfields. Robert Anderson, the one-time Eisenhower Secretary of the Treasury and later a CIA troubleshooter, came to Baghdad to negotiate a sulphur concession for the Pan American Sulfur Company. American companies began negotiations to build the Basra dry-dock facilities. The CIA-Iraqi connection was yielding economic benefits.
In overthrowing Kassem the Baathists had removed a very popular leader. Partly to placate the populace they appointed as President a former ally of Kassem's who had drifted apart because of Kassem's refusal to cooperate with Nasser. He was Colonel Abdel Salam Aref, and to the dismay of the Baathists and the CIA he immediately made moves to bring Iraq closer to Egypt. This inevitably brought about another coup, which took place in 1968, again with CIA backing. From that point on the Baath Party firmly ruled Iraq with strong support from the US and British governments. Saddam Hussein took power in 1979, and he continued to be viewed as a Western ally until after the end of the Iran-Iraq war when he was tricked into invading Kuwait in 1990. President Bush then made his famous speech rallying Americans to war, hypocritically screeching, "This tyranny shall not stand!"
Brazil 1964 - Brazil is the largest nation in the South American continent, and one of the world's richest in terms of natural resources. In 1961 a young idealistic nationalist named João Goulart became president and he began promoting policies of land reform, nationalization, and industrialization to try to make the most of his nation's enormous potential.
During Goulart's presidency he became good friends with President Kennedy who began the Alliance for Progress foreign aid initiatives involving Brazil in 1961. These initiatives were made on a government-to-government basis, sidestepping the World Bank and the IMF and the profit-driven initiatives of Wall Street, and they were widely criticized by Establishment spokesmen such as Nelson and David Rockefeller, and in Wall Street mouthpieces such as the Wall Street Journal and Fortune magazine, and in McCloy's CFR journal Foreign Affairs.
Gerard Colby in his book Thy Will Be Done offers David Rockefeller's perspective on how the United States should approach foreign economic development, and the quote within it is from Rockefeller's paper, "A Reappraisal of the Alliance for Progress," written in February of 1963,
The Cold War doctrine of counterinsurgency had brought U.S. policy full circle, blurring means and ends: Development was necessary for order, and order was necessary for development.
David Rockefeller had explained the first half of this thesis from an exclusively corporate interpretation of development in 1963. He had called upon President Kennedy to shift foreign economic aid away from government-to-government aid. Such aid allowed governments in underdeveloped countries to fund publicly owned enterprises that competed with privately owned (often American controlled) companies. Local government aid, in turn, encouraged political independence from Washington and greater national sovereignty - including nationalization of American holdings.
David wanted Kennedy to proclaim a shift in foreign-aid policy toward private entrepreneurs, both American and allied local investors, on the grounds that private enterprise per se was the basis of freedom:
"The first requirement is that the governments - and, as far as possible, the people - of Latin America know that the U.S. has changed its policy, so as to put primary stress on improvement in the general business climate as a prerequisite for social development and reform."
But David went beyond the classical liberal argument of the market basis for individual liberty. He extended it to suggest that U.S. policy should not merely prefer private enterprise, but should oppose public enterprise and its creation out of private corporations, no matter what the public's grievances or the corporation's crimes. David wanted a general U.S. policy that discouraged all nationalizations...
David and his corporate allies feared "possible changes in the rules of the game." To soothe corporate jitters in corporate boardrooms and securities exchanges, the "obstacles" that a developing nation usually erected to protect its infant industries, small farms, and working-class' buying power had to be done away with... Multinational corporate ideology had not yet advanced to the point of asserting that these protections were "outmoded" in their global marketplace, but this would be the next step.
JFK had very different ideas from David Rockefeller on how developing nations could realize their potential, and JFK's ideas were viewed much more favorably by those nations than were the Establishment's clever ideas promoting neo-imperialism. Perhaps that partially explains the anguish felt in Brazil, and worldwide, at the death of JFK, as Colby describes,
News of John Kennedy's murder sent a shudder through Brazil. Then came grief such as had not been shown for the death of any foreign leader since President Franklin D. Roosevelt. As then, Brazilians sensed that the world had taken a dramatic turn. A shroud had been hung over the face of the future, making the loss of Kennedy so unexpectedly personal. In Rio de Janeiro, rivers of grief swept through the streets as lines of people converged to mourn at the U.S. Embassy
Ambassador Lincoln Gordon was startled by the emotional crowds and what they could mean for President Lyndon B. Johnson in Latin America. "The experience we had that Friday afternoon and evening and the following weekend, I suppose, was repeated all over the world," he later recalled. "But in Rio it was a most dramatic thing. We opened a book at the chancery and another one at our residence, and over that weekend we had a line of people stretching for three of four blocks. It was continuous, day and night, of every class of person, every type, poor, rich, middle class, most of them weeping. It was a most extraordinary outpouring of emotion. So as a reaction to that, there would inevitably be some doubts about Kennedy's successor."
There was no doubt in Washington's higher circles, however, about Lyndon Johnson. The former Senate majority leader was no maverick like Kennedy. He was the classic insider among Washington's power brokers.
After Kennedy's death in November of 1963 major changes occurred in the Alliance for Progress program, changes which, as noted by Gibson, were received very favorably by David Rockefeller, as he made clear in a 1966 article he wrote for Foreign Affairs. Major changes also took place in the Brazilian government, when President Goulart was removed from power in a CIA-backed right-wing military coup in March of 1964. Brazil then endured two decades of death squads and dictatorships before any meaningful form of democracy was allowed to surface again.
The Establishment's interest in Brazil came chiefly through the Brazilian holdings of the Rockefeller family, which by the 1960's were extensive and diverse, from oil and mining, to electricity and communications, to cattle ranching, agriculture, and of course banking and investment. Much of them were managed under the umbrella of Nelson's massive multinational corporation, the International Basic Economy Corporation (IBEC), which also included holdings throughout the rest of South and Central America, in Southeast Asia, and in Africa as well. Rockefeller's influence in South America, and the influence of the IBEC, is documented extensively in the previously mentioned book written by Gerard Colby in 1995, Thy Will Be Done - The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil. As the title infers, the Rockefeller's designs on the resources of South America were cleverly cloaked by their support for Protestant evangelism, especially through the missionary work of William Cameron Townsend and Wycliffe Bible Translators. In the United States Billy Graham was the most prominent name among a host of evangelicals that have always had strong financial backing from the secular Rockefellers. This may help explain how American corporate initiatives against Third World nationalism came to be falsely portrayed by Big Christianity in America as "Christian" initiatives fighting against "Communism."
Even before João Goulart became president of Brazil the CIA had his eye on him. Colby writes,
A stocky, handsome man with a large popular following, Goulart viewed himself as [former Brazilian president] Getulio Vargas's spiritual successor in the struggle to rid Brazil of foreign domination. For that reason alone, he made Washington nervous at every step in his rise to power. As Vargas's minister of labor, he had built himself a base among Brazil's growing, restless working class. In gestures all too reminiscent of Argentina's Juan Peron, he found every opportunity to deliver rousing, populist speeches to the masses.
Colby describes how in 1963 Goulart presided over the nationalizing of a subsidiary of American-owned International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT). The president of ITT then began to furiously lobby congress for an amendment to Kennedy's 1962 foreign-aid bill that would immediately cancel all aid to any country that nationalized, repudiated a contract, or specially taxed or regulated any American company. According to Colby,
Such a Big Stick approach appalled President Kennedy, who worried that it would further enflame Third World nationalism, appear to corroborate Soviet propaganda about "U.S. imperialism," and force the United States to take the side of American companies more often than was merited.
Kennedy fought the amendment to the bill, and then helped mediate a settlement between ITT and the Brazilian government. Afterwards, Goulart made an offer to buy out all American-owned utilities that were squeezing the Brazilian economy with steadily jacked up rates. Colby writes,
Kennedy endorsed the idea. He wanted to avoid Brazilian anger at rising electric bills. "It's that damned U.S. company," he thought Brazilians would say when their monthly bills arrived.
Unfortunately for Brazil, Goulart's plan was shelved because of lack of internal political support for such an ambitious move. His next action was to order his finance minister to apply a limit on the amount of net profits that foreign companies would be allowed to take out of the country, and then he asserted control over foreign aid. Up to that point much of it was being poured into favored states within Brazil, but Goulart mandated that it must first be channeled through the federal government. These were all policies aimed at improving the general welfare of the Brazilian people, but they conflicted with the profit motives of the American Establishment.
Goulart also turned his attention to the United States' largest producer of iron ore, the M.A. Hanna Mining Company, that had a major presence in Brazil. Hanna was the main iron ore supplier of National Steel, which in turn supplied 40% of Chrysler Corporation's steel, and all three companies were highly invested in by the Rockefeller family. In 1962 President Goulart issued an expropriation decree against Hanna's iron ore concession. It was appealed in the Brazilian courts by Hanna's CEO George Humphrey, but by early 1964 it looked as if Goulart's decree would be passed. JFK was out of the way, and the time had come for the Establishment to act.
No time was wasted because Humphrey was a firm Establishment insider. He had previously been Eisenhower's Treasury secretary, and his company's law firm was Milbank and Tweed, the law firm of John J. McCloy. "The Chairman" then took control of the Goulart situation during the very same time that he was beginning his work with the Warren Commission on the JFK assassination. McCloy would work to cover up the successful American coup at the same time as he planned for a Brazilian coup, and as these two tasks began President Lyndon Johnson awarded him the Freedom Medal at a White House ceremony in the State Dining Room.
Biographer Kai Bird describes how McCloy took command,
McCloy quickly set about educating himself on the situation by seeing all the appropriate officials at the State Department, the World Bank, the IMF, and the CIA. As it happened, one of the men he had worked with in Germany after the war, Lincoln Gordon, was now the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil. Gordon was back in Washington temporarily that week and gave McCloy his own highly pessimistic assessment of the situation...
In preparation for the worst, McCloy set up a channel of communication between the CIA and Hanna's man, Buford [CEO Humphrey's assistant]. Thereafter, whenever Buford returned from one of his frequent trips to Rio de Janeiro, he would drive out to the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Virginia, for a debriefing. According to Buford, McCloy also arranged for him to meet periodically with the CIA station chief in Rio. "Through this fellow," recalled Buford, "we had many, many meetings with the military people who were opposing Goulart behind the scenes."
Bird relates that on February 28 McCloy flew out to Rio de Janeiro to meet with President Goulart. In his pocket he had two proposals to settle the dispute between Hanna Mining and the Brazilian government. Goulart readily agreed to both of the proposals and promised to set up a meeting between Hanna officials and government representatives to work out the deal. Goulart felt greatly relieved at this turn of events, but he had no way of knowing that the proposals were never meant to be lived up to. Several days later Goulart pressed on with his reforming agenda, announcing at a rally his plans to nationalize "all private oil refineries and some landholdings."
At the same time the powerful anti-Goulart opposition shifted into a higher gear. Demonstrations for and against Goulart took place throughout Brazil and tensions escalated. Bird writes,
Hanna officials were now very worried. Back in their Cleveland headquarters, Humphrey and Buford considered sending McCloy down to Rio once again. But McCloy knew from his contacts in the intelligence community that the time for deal making was over. On March 27, 1964, Colonel Walters cabled Washington that General Castello Branco had "finally accepted [the] leadership" of the anti-Goulart "plotters." Three days later, he told Ambassador Gordon that a military coup was "imminent." The following morning, Washington's contingency plan for a Brazilian coup, code-named Operation Brother Sam, was activated as a U.S. naval-carrier task force was ordered to station itself off the Brazilian coast. Well before the coup began, the Brazilian generals were told that the U.S. Navy would provide them with both arms and scarce oil.
The Goulart regime, however, collapsed so quickly that the protracted civil war predicted by the CIA on March 31 never developed. The generals who planned and executed the coup did not need the arms or oil supplies waiting for them off the coast. Hanna Mining Company, in fact, ended up giving the generals more direct assistance than did Operation Brother Sam. The initial army revolt occurred in Minais Gerais, the state in which Hanna had its mining concession. When these troops began marching on Rio, some of them rode in Hanna trucks. In Rio itself, Jack Buford was in constant touch with the local CIA station chief, who kept him informed by phone on Goulart's movements.
Throughout President Goulart's brief term he was continually labeled a "Communist" by much of the Brazilian elite, by a large segment of its military and by the Establishment-controlled mass media in the United States. The hysteria was so effective that a year later the House of Representatives took as credible the testimony of US Southern Command General Andrew O'Meara, who stated, "The coming to power of the Castelo Branco government in Brazil last April saved that country from an immediate dictatorship which could only have been followed by Communist domination."
In Killing Hope author William Blum refutes O'Meara's ridiculous testimony,
The rescue-from-communism position was especially difficult to support, the problem being that the communists in Brazil did not, after all, do anything which the United States could point to. Moreover, the Soviet Union was scarcely in the picture. Early in 1964, reported a Brazilian newspaper, Russian leader Khrushchev told the Brazilian Communist Party that the Soviet government did not wish either to give financial aid to the Goulart regime or to tangle with the United States over the country...
A year after the coup, trade between Brazil and the USSR was running at $120 million per year and a Brazilian mission was planning to go to Moscow to explore Soviet willingness to provide a major industrial plant. The following year, the Russians invited the new Brazilian president-to-be, General Costa e Silva, to visit the Soviet Union.
During the entire life of the military dictatorship, extending into the 1980s, Brazil and the Soviet bloc engaged in extensive trade and economic cooperation, reaching billions of dollars per year and including the building of several large hydroelectric plants in Brazil. A similar economic relationship existed between the Soviet bloc and the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976-83, so much so that in 1982, when Soviet leader Brezhnev died, the Argentine government declared a national day of mourning.
Why were there no hysterical cries of communist influence from the Establishment during the Brazilian and Argentinean dictatorships? Because the Soviets did not threaten American corporate profits, while their pet dictators ensured it. The biggest threat to the Establishment has always been the threat that Third World people's might take over their own affairs, put an end to Anglo-American plundering and exploitation, and use their own natural wealth for themselves. Death Squads are not an enemy of the Establishment, nor is Dictatorship. Its greatest enemy has always been thriving and functioning Democracy, where the people have the power to control their own government and their own economy, and where they can achieve the potential they naturally possess.
Indonesia 1965 - Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands in December of 1949, and their leader Achmad Sukarno quickly came to be a major thorn in the side of the Anglo-American Establishment. He became an outspoken enemy of Imperialism and one of the most important Third World leaders forging an independent path between the Soviet bloc and the Anglo-American Imperial faction.
In 1955 he convened the Conference of Asian and African Nations in Bandung, Indonesia. It became known as the Bandung Conference, and it led to the creation of the Nonaligned Movement in 1961. Sukarno, Nehru (India), Nasser (Egypt), Tito (Yugoslavia), and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana (who the Establishment will get to next), were all founding members of this Third World organization that unsuccessfully tried to create a new international economic order.
However, the power and wealth of the Anglo-American faction was too great, and Indonesia was steadily pushed into submission. The article "A Brief History of the International Financial Institutions in Indonesia," describes how Sukarno put up a strong fight,
Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, the Indonesian economy faced a crisis caused by the sudden drop in the world market price for natural rubber, at that time the country's main export. The US and the World Bank seized on this "opportunity" and lobbied the left-wing Sukarno government to receive a delegation from the World Bank. The delegation offered substantial loans to Indonesia conditional upon the implementation of severe austerity measures and the denationalisation of the previously foreign-owned sector the economy. The World Bank package was rejected and President Sukarno confronted the US ambassador before a mass rally in Jakarta with the cry: "Go to hell with your aid!"
With Sukarno unwilling to play ball the Establishment was left with their last, but always reliable option, which was simply the fact that President Sukarno allowed a large communist party, the PKI, to exist within his country. Once again, a "communist threat" emerged to save Anglo-American Imperialism. The excuse came when, according to Blum,
...a small force of junior military officers abducted and killed six generals and seized several key points in the capital city of Jakarta. They then went on the air to announce that their action was being taken to forestall a putsch by a 'General's Council' scheduled for Army Day, the fifth of October . The putsch, they said, had been sponsored by the CIA and was aimed at capturing power from President Sukarno.
To confront this threat the powerful CIA-backed General Suharto and his colleagues and troops sprang into action. They charged that the PKI was behind the uprising, and that Communist China was backing the PKI. To "restore order" General Suharto grabbed control of the Sukarno government, and then crushed the faction involved in the uprising in a matter of days. With Sukarno neutralized General Suharto then turned his attention to the PKI and other potential rivals. Once again, the CIA provided the Indonesian military with long lists of "communists" to be eliminated. Over the next few years Indonesia was engulfed in a terrible bloodbath, where suspected communists, large numbers of ethnic Chinese, and any other undesirables were arrested, tortured or killed. Estimates of the final death toll range from 500,000 to a million victims.
When the smoke cleared the Establishment stepped in. British investigative journalist John Pilger explains what happened in his book The New Rulers of the World,
In November 1967, following the capture of the 'greatest prize', the booty was handed out. The Time-Life Corporation sponsored an extraordinary conference in Geneva which, in the course of three days, designed the corporate takeover of Indonesia. The participants included the most powerful capitalists in the world, the likes of David Rockefeller. All the corporate giants of the West were represented: the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British Leyland, British-American Tobacco, American Express, Siemens, Goodyear, the International Paper Corporation, US Steel. Across the table were Suharto's men, whom Rockefeller called 'Indonesia's top economic team'.
The 'top team' was led by the Sultan of Jogjakarta, Hamengku Buwono, whom Suharto had persuaded to join him, and Adam Malik, an old political warhorse, in a triumvirate that now ruled the country. Suharto knew he needed America to underwrite him; and in April 1967, he had asked the Sultan to draw up a plan for a 'market economy'. In fact, the plan was the inspiration of the Ford Foundation, which had a long history in Indonesia, often working through CIA front organisations like the Center for International Studies, and the Stanford Research Institute, which sent a team to Jakarta immediately after the coup. It was written by Harvard economist Dave Cole, hired by the US Agency of International Development, a branch of the State Department. Cole was fresh from re-writing South Korea's banking regulations according to Washington's requirements.
In Geneva, the Sultan's team were known as the 'Berkeley Mafia', as several had enjoyed US government scholarships at the University in Berkeley. They came as supplicants and duly sang for their supper. Listing the principal selling points of his country and its people, the Sultan offered '...abundance of cheap labour... a treasure house of resources... vast potential market'...
On the second day, the Indonesian economy was carved up, sector by sector. 'This was done in a most spectacular way,' said Jeffrey Winters, professor at Northwestern University, Chicago, who, with doctoral student Brad Simpson, has studied the conference papers. 'They divided up into five different sections: mining in one room, services in another; and what Chase Manhattan did was sit with a delegation and hammer out policies that were going to be acceptable to them and other investors. You had these big corporate people going around the table, saying this is what we need: this, this and this, and they basically designed the legal infrastructure for investment in Indonesia. I've never heard of a situation like this where global capital sits down with the representatives of a supposedly sovereign state and hammers out the conditions of their own entry into that country.'
The Freeport Company got a mountain of copper in West Papua (Henry Kissinger is currently on the board). An American and European consortium got West Papua's nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia's bauxite. A group of American, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra, West Papua and Kalimantan. A Foreign Investment Law, hurried on to the statutes by Suharto, made this plunder tax-free for at least five years. Real, and secret, control of the Indonesian economy passed to the Inter-Governmental Group on Indonesia (IGGI), whose principal members were the US, Canada, Europe and Australia and, most importantly, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank...
Under Sukarno, Indonesia had had few debts; he had thrown out the World Bank, limited the power of the oil companies and publicly told the Americans to 'go to hell' with their loans. Now the big loans rolled in, mostly from the World Bank, which had the job of tutoring the 'model pupil' on behalf of the IGGI godfathers. 'Indonesia,' said an official of the bank, 'is the best thing that's happened to Uncle Sam since World War Two.'
Rockefeller was Chase Manhattan's president and co-CEO, along with George Champion, during the November 1967 "division of the spoils" conference in Geneva. In his 500-page Memoirs, just published in 2002, "Indonesia" does not even appear in the index, and the only hint we get of Chase Manhattan's involvement is his brief remark on page 204 that Chase established a branch in Jakarta in the late '60s.
David Rockefeller became full CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank in early 1969 and, as his memoir recounts, he became a leading figure in (if not the originator of) Nixon's policy of engagement with the Soviet Union and Red China. Rockefeller writes,
President Nixon regarded broadening commercial intercourse with the Soviet Union an integral element in his policy of détente. The Soviet leadership, hungry for access to the modern technology and capital resources of the West, were eager to oblige, and the framework for a trade treaty was incorporated in the agreements signed at the 1972 Moscow Summit that inaugurated a "new era in Soviet-American relations." As part of the "new era," a Soviet-American Commission was created to work out the details that would lead to most-favored nation (MFN) status for the Soviets.
In 1973 Rockefeller opened up a Chase branch in Moscow, and Chase also became the first American bank to sign an agreement with Red China during Rockefeller's visit there the same year as well. His bank would help to openly prop up International Communism for the next decade and a half. For further information on the Establishment's long-standing support for Russia and China see The Best Enemy Money Can Buy, by Antony Sutton.
Regarding Indonesia, under Sukarno the nation had been relatively debt free, but after thirty years under General Suharto (with World Bank and IMF direction, while multinational corporations extracted untold billions of dollars in natural resources), Indonesia now has a total debt of $262 billion, which is 170 percent of its gross domestic product. Pilger writes, "There is no debt like it on earth. It can never be repaid. It is a bottomless hole." Then when General Suharto fled the country in 1998 he took a "retirement bonus" of $17 billion with him. This nation was, according to the World Bank, its "model pupil."
Ghana 1966 - After World War II the British colony known as the Gold Coast went through a period of unrest marked with demonstrations and civil disobedience that was often met with brutal and violent British repression. The people of the Gold Coast had become infected with the stubborn desire for independence and they made it clear to the British ruling regime that they would accept nothing less. The man that emerged to lead that movement was Kwame Nkrumah.
Nkrumah had left his African homeland in 1935 to live in the United States and go to college. He received degrees at Lincoln University and Pennsylvania University, and then moved into a teaching career. In 1945 he was voted "Most Outstanding Professor of the Year" by the Lincoln University newspaper. By this time he was one of the most prominent and outspoken leaders in the movement for a free Africa. Later in 1945 he moved to London, where he thought he could be more effective in the independence movement of his homeland, and while in England he helped to organize a Pan African Congress in Manchester.
In December of 1947 he returned to the Gold Coast. His tour of the country, with speeches to large crowds and many meetings, made it clear that he was a force to reckon with, and in January of 1948 Nkrumah was appointed as the General Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), one of the leading revolutionary parties. The three part article "Kwame Nkrumah: Africa's 'Man of the Millenium'" describes what happened next,
The 28th of February, 1948, was a landmark day in the nation's history. A large contingent of former servicemen who were tired of unfulfilled promises by the government, drafted a petition seeking redress of grievances for presentation to H.M's Governor, Sir Gerald Creasy. As they marched, unarmed and defenseless, they were set upon by government troops at Christianborg cross-roads. When the smoke cleared, sixty-three former loyal soldiers lay dead or badly wounded on the streets of Accra. Gold Coast would never be the same. Rioting and looting lasted for five days.
On 1 March, 1948, the Riot Act was read and Governor Creasy declared a state of emergency. Strict press censorship was imposed over the entire country. On 12 March, the Governor issued Removal Orders and police were dispatched to pick up and arrest the entire UGCC Central Executive. Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Danquah, E. Akufo Addo, William Ofori Atta, E. Obelsebi Lamptey and E. Ako Adjei were arrested, detained and exiled to the Northern Territories.
On 14 March, 1948, Cape Coast students demonstrated, demanding the release of the Party leadership. Once again, the government responded with great force, leaving the dead and dying in its wake.
In the wake of the unrest, the British government undertook a study on what to do with their colony, which became known as the Coussey Committee Report. During this time Nkrumah became disillusioned with the lack of action from his own party, the UGCC, and so he left his post as secretary to form his own Convention Peoples Party (CPP), in 1949.
When the Coussey Report was published in December of 1949 the study fell far short of recommending full independence for the Gold Coast, and so Nkrumah led a protest movement that utilized the economic weapon of labor strikes. In a speech that echoed the cries of the USA's founding fathers Nkrumah said, "...all men of goodwill, organize, organize, organize. We prefer self-government in danger, to servitude in tranquility. Forward ever, backward never".
For his role in leading the strikes he was arrested and put in jail. The Coussey Report recommended limited representation for the Gold Coast and during Nkrumah's thirteen months in prison his party the CPP won the elections by a landslide. Out of 23,122 votes cast, Nkrumah received 22,780, to become the recognized and legitimate political leader of the Gold Coast. He was released from prison, but he warned the British regime that he would not rest until his country achieved full independence, and then he worked with it to embark on an agenda of modernization and industrialization for his country.
On March 6, 1957 the Gold Coast, now known as Ghana, was finally granted political independence from Great Britain under Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah. However, Nkrumah quickly found that it would be a much greater task to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency for his country. The biographical article of Nkrumah lists the great achievements of Ghana under his leadership,
-He was the co-founder of the Pan-African movement and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) that at first included 32 member nations, and grew to include 53.
-He built factories and industries in Ghana, the Tema City Harbor, new roads, and expanded the Civil Service.
-He constructed the Akosombo Dam to provide electricity both for Ghana and the neighboring states.
-He broke the monopoly of the multinational corporations in the Ghanaian economy, through nationalization policies. He created more jobs in the economy and increased wages. He set up the main Ghana Shipping Line - the Black Star Line.
-He built new hospitals and pipe-borne water
-He encouraged and financed sports to introduce Ghana to the world.
-He maintained the colonial educational structures geared towards European degrees and values.
-He introduced free basic education for all children in Ghana by abolishing school fees at this level.
-He expanded education by building more schools to increase enrollments.
-He built teacher colleges to train teachers for the schools.
-He built several secondary schools (high schools).
-He built three universities: The University of Ghana, Cape Coast University, and the University of Science & Technology.
All of this positive development was not received very well by the Western colonial powers that still sought to dominate Africa. Nkrumah's success had to be thwarted and Africa's drive for modernization and self-sufficiency had to be stopped.
There were a number of weaknesses within Nkrumah's regime that the West was able to take advantage of. The first was the fact that Ghana's economy largely depended on its main cash crop of cocoa that was bought almost exclusively by Western chocolate makers at an ever increasing rate. If cocoa prices were lowered then Nkrumah would find it harder to finance his industrialization projects. A second weakness was the fact that Nkrumah had an affinity for many Marxist and Communist doctrines. As the West became increasingly resistant to Nkrumah he found no problem in turning to the Soviets and Chinese for help. A third weakness was that Nkrumah had a messianic view of himself that surfaced in an increasingly authoritarian management style as forces began to line up against him. By the end of his regime he was accurately described as a Communist dictator, but it did not have to turn out that way. The previously mentioned article describes how the West's economic strategies against Ghana achieved success,
...beginning in mid-1960, at about the time that he assumed the Presidency and approved the new Republican Constitution, the economic fallibility of Ghana clearly manifested itself and materially effected the lives of all Ghanaians. From 1960 to 1965, world cocoa prices plummeted, and the enormous development spending begun by Nkrumah four years earlier, severely impacted the country's economy. Foreign exchange and government's reserves shrank and disappeared. Unemployment rose dramatically. Food prices skyrocketed up over 250% from 1957 levels and up a phenomenal 66% in 1965. Eventually, there were massive food and essentials shortages effecting every area, sector and individual in Ghana. Economic growth, which had ranged from 9% to 12% per annum until 1960, dropped to 2% to 3%, insufficient to sustain a population expanding at almost 3% per year.
Nkrumah's response was an austere socialist budget which imposed flawed Marxist concepts of economic resuscitation on the population, primarily through harsh and unrealistic taxation. Financial mismanagement and economic chaos increased and the country was eventually poised at the brink of national bankruptcy and international disgrace.
Near the end of his regime in 1965 Nkrumah published his famous book, Neo-Colonialism - The Last Stage of Imperialism. In it he accused the CIA of being the main strike force behind the former colonial powers. He later wrote that after publishing his book the American government under Lyndon Johnson sent him a note of protest and backed out of a US promise for $35 million in aid. As Ghana's economy continued to self-destruct internal unrest against Nkrumah began to increase. The inevitable military-led coup finally took place in February of 1966. William Blum describes the CIA's involvement in his book Killing Hope,
At the time of the coup, the Soviet press charged that the CIA had been involved, and in 1972 The Daily Telegraph, the conservative London newspaper, reported that "By 1965 the Accra [capital of Ghana] CIA station had two-score active operators, distributing largesse among President Nkrumah's secret adversaries." By February, 1966, the report continued, the CIA had its plans ready to end Nkrumah's regime: "The patient assiduous work of the Accra CIA station was fully rewarded."
It wasn't until 1978, however, that the story "broke" in the United States. Former CIA officer John Stockwell, who had spent most of his career in Africa, published a book in which he revealed the Agency's complicity. Shortly afterwards, the New York Times, quting "first-hand intelligence sources", corroborated that the CIA had advised and supported dissident Ghanaian army officers.
Stockwell disclosed that the CIA station in Accra "was given a generous budget, and maintained intimate contact with the plotters as a coup was hatched..."
Blum goes on to describe the aftermath of the coup,
The Ghanaian leaders soon expelled large numbers of Russians as well as Chinese and East Germans. Virtually all state-owned industries were allowed to pass into private hands. In short order the channels of aid, previously clogged, opened wide, and credit, food and development projects flowed in from the United States, the European powers, and the International Monetary Fund. Washington, for example, three weeks after the coup, approved substantial emergency food assistance in response to an urgent request from Ghana. A food request from Nkrumah four months earlier had been turned down.
After Nkrumah was removed the West stepped in to ensure their continued domination of the once promising independent nation. Evidence that the price of cocoa had been artificially depressed was revealed in the fact that only one month after the coup the international price for the commodity had increased by fourteen percent.
Cambodia 1970 - Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia wrote the following about his dealings with the American Establishment that took place through the Dulles brothers, John Foster and Allen Welsh, in 1955,
John Foster Dulles had called on me in his capacity as Secretary of State, and he had exhausted every argument to persuade me to place Cambodia under the protection of the South-East Asia Treaty Organization. I refused ... I considered SEATO an aggressive military alliance directed at neighbors whose ideology I did not share but with whom Cambodia had no quarrel. I had made all this quite clear to John Foster, an acidy, arrogant man, but his brother [CIA Director Allen Dulles] soon turned up with a briefcase full of documents "proving" that Cambodia was about to fall victim to "communist aggression" and that the only way to save the country , the monarchy and myself was to accept the protection of SEATO. The "proofs" did not coincide with my own information, and I replied to Allen Dulles as I had replied to John Foster: Cambodia wanted no part of SEATO. We would look after ourselves as neutrals and Buddhists. There was nothing for the secret service chief to do but pack up his dubious documents and leave.
The meetings are described in Sihanouk's memoirs, My War With the CIA. They occurred only two years after Cambodia received independence from France, and the same year that Sihanouk had been elected Prime Minister after abdicating his throne in order to enter the electoral process. After Sihanouk's rebuffing of the Dulles brothers, the Establishment settled on a policy of destabilizing Cambodia economically and by funding and training Cambodian factions hostile to Sihanouk such as the Khmer Serei and Khmer Krom. William Blum writes about a conspiracy to topple Sihanouk through a powerful Cambodian general named Dap Chhuon, at the end of the Eisenhower administration,
The intrigue, according to Sihanouk, began in September 1958 at a SEATO meeting in Thailand and was carried a step further later that month in New York when he visited the United Nations. While Sihanouk was away in Washington for a few days, a member of his delegation, Slat Peou, held several conferences with Americans in his New York hotel room which he did not mention to any of his fellow delegates. Slat Peou, it happened, was a close friend of Victor Matsui and was the brother of General Dap Chhuon. In the aftermath of the aborted conspiracy, Slat Peou was executed for treason. Sihanouk was struck by the bitter irony of the CIA plotting against him in New York while he was in Washington being honored by President Eisenhower with a 21-gun salute.
Blum writes that by February of 1959 the conspirators in the plot had all been apprehended or had fled, including Victor Matsui who had been "operating under State Department cover as an attaché at the embassy." When Kennedy took office the CIA continued its covert operations against Cambodia. Sihanouk confronted Kennedy about the matter and Kennedy tried to assure him that the US government was not involved. To this Sihanouk wrote, "I considered President Kennedy to be an honorable man but, in that case, who really represented the American government?" American interference into Cambodian affairs finally led to Sihanouk taking an unprecedented step. Blum explains,
On 20 November... two days before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Cambodian National Congress, at Sihanouk's initiative, voted to "end all aid granted by the United States in the military, economic, technical and cultural fields." It was perhaps without precedent that a country receiving American aid voluntarily repudiated it. But Sihanouk held strong feelings on the subject. Over the years he had frequently recited from his register of complaints about American aid to Cambodia: how it subverted and corrupted Cambodian officials and businessmen who wound up "constituting a clientele necessarily obedient to the demands of the lavish bestower of foreign funds"; and how the aid couldn't be used for state institutions, only private enterprise, nor... used against attacks by US allies.
With the death of Kennedy the Establishment used its control over the LBJ administration to commit the United States towards a more complete domination of Indochina. Strategists such as Robert McNamara, Walt Rostow and the Bundy brothers saw South Vietnam as the key to the region and to prop it up they committed more and more American troops and created the Vietnam War. When the Republican administration of Nixon took office in 1969 the war shifted into an even higher gear, and Sihanouk's neutral regime became a main target. The most important Establishment agent to emerge from this era was National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany on May 27, 1923. His family was Jewish and they arrived in the United States in 1938 as refugees from the Nazis. He then served in the US Army from 1943 to 1946, which allowed him to gain US citizenship. Because Kissinger's native tongue was German he was placed in a counter-intelligence unit, and after the war ended, while only 22 years old, he was made the military administrator, the "absolute ruler," of the German town of Bensheim.
In 1947, at the age of 24, Henry Kissinger entered Harvard University where he was assigned Professor William Yandell Elliott of the Government Department as his personal tutor. Elliott was himself a key academic figure within the Anglo-American Establishment, having been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in the 1920s and an open admirer, in his lectures and published writings, of H.G. Wells' blueprint for an Anglo-American world government. Elliott was a southern racist neo-confederate who viewed the U.S. Constitution, as well as the very concept of democracy, with thinly veiled contempt. Closely associated with the Rockefeller and Harriman families, during his decades at Harvard Professor Elliott also helped to recruit and indoctrinate influential figures such as the Vietnam hawk McGeorge Bundy, "Clash of Civilizations" advocate Samuel Huntington and "Arc of Crisis" mastermind Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Kissinger graduated from Harvard, summa cum laude, in 1950 and received his Ph.D. in 1954. In 1951 he was put on the Harvard payroll as the executive director of Professor Elliot's new Harvard International Seminars. These seminars were funded by the Rockefellers, the CIA and the Ford Foundation and they attracted the cream of the crop of young foreign and domestic diplomats, politicians and journalists. A year later Kissinger founded the publication Confluence to promote the seminars, with $26,000 from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and continued assistance from the Ford Foundation.
From 1954 to 1969 Kissinger remained a fixture at Harvard, first as a faculty member of the Department of Government, then as an associate professor, and later as a fully tenured professor. During this time he was known to his fellow professors as "Kissassinger" for his ability to flatter and manipulate those who could advance his career.
The door opened for Kissinger in a big way in early 1955 when he was brought into the Council on Foreign Relations (chaired by John J. McCloy) to direct a study group on the subject of nuclear weapons and U.S. foreign policy. The resulting book, with the obvious title, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, written almost entirely by Kissinger, quickly became a best seller. A friend of Kissinger, a former Council colleague, commented that Kissinger's role as director of this study proved to be the most important event in his life, second only to his decision to enroll at Harvard. The main conclusion of the study was that the United States had to make clear its willingness to engage in limited nuclear war to obtain its objectives, rather than allowing the Soviets to "paralyze us with the argument that any limited war must automatically lead to all-out war."
After serving under John J. McCloy for two years, McCloy recommended Kissinger to Nelson Rockefeller, who was looking for a young sharp mind to head a Special Studies Project on the nation's major problems and opportunities in store for the next fifteen years. The project was financed by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and its purpose was to help Nelson in his political career. Biographer Kai Bird records McCloy's observation that the ambitious Kissinger "wanted to get close to the Rockefellers," and that he took to the assignment "as a trout takes to bait." He became Nelson Rockefeller's right-hand man for the next fifteen years, and a Rockefeller lackey for the rest of his life.
When JFK took office the switch from a Republican to a Democratic administration created a number of openings, and Kissinger found work as a consultant to McGeorge Bundy, JFK's special assistant for National Security Affairs. During the Berlin crisis Kennedy found out that Kissinger was advocating the use of limited nuclear weapons, (perhaps attempting to test the thesis of his CFR book), and for that Kennedy promptly fired him. Years later even McGeorge Bundy would regret his sponsorship of Kissinger, commenting on his constant reliance on subterfuge saying, "Kissinger doesn't lie because it's in his interest; he lies because it's in his nature."
However, Kissinger remained a favorite within the Establishment and his stock continued to rise. In the presidential elections of 1968 both the Democrat Hubert Humphrey and the Republican Richard Nixon made clear their intention to hire Kissinger as the National Security Advisor in their new administrations, which is just another example of how foreign policy of the United States remained outside of the democratic process and under Establishment control.
In his book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens goes into great detail to reveal the fact that Henry Kissinger was almost single-handedly responsible for the breakdown of the peace talks in Paris between North and South Vietnam in 1968. From Kissinger's perspective a Republican administration was more appealing than a Democratic one under Hubert Humphrey, who campaigned on a peace plank that was neutralized when the South backed out of the talks in Paris. Kissinger was a member of LBJ's delegation to the peace talks and he was privy to every shift in the negotiations. Kissinger sabotaged them very simply be leaking them to the Nixon team, which had its own covert line of communication to the South Vietnamese. Every time the North made a concession the Nixon team urged the South to demand even further concessions, and promised them that a Nixon administration could achieve more favorable terms for the South if they would but stall and wait until after the election. Hitchens writes,
In the December 1968 issue of the establishment house organ Foreign Affairs [published by the CFR], written months earlier but published a few days after his gazetting as Nixon's right-hand man, there appeared Henry Kissinger's own evaluation of the Vietnamese negotiations. On every point of substance, he agreed with the line taken in Paris by the Johnson-Humphrey negotiators. One has to pause for an instant to comprehend the enormity of this. Kissinger had helped elect a man who had surreptitiously promised the South Vietnamese junta a better deal than they would get from the Democrats. The Saigon authorities then acted, as Bundy ruefully confirms, as if they did have a deal. This meant, in the words of a later Nixon slogan, "Four More Years." But four more years of an unwinnable and undeclared murderous war, which was to spread before it burned out, and was to end on the same terms and conditions as had been on the table in the fall of 1968.
When Kissinger took the reigns of power in 1969 he embarked on a two-track foreign policy: first to consolidate American control over the Third World by promoting military and CIA interventions against neutral or communist-leaning states, and second to neutralize and appease the Soviet Union and Red China through peace overtures, arms control agreements, technology transfers, financial assistance and trade, often facilitated by Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank. Regarding Kissinger's first track, Cambodia emerged as his first target, as Blum relates in Killing Hope,
In March 1969, the situation began to change dramatically. Under the new American president, Richard Nixon, and National Security Affairs advisor Henry Kissinger, the isolated and limited attacks across the Cambodian border became sustained, large-scale B-52 bombings - "carpet bombings"...
Over the next 14 months, no less than 3,630 B-52 bombing raids were flown over Cambodia. To escape the onslaught, the Vietnamese Communists moved their bases further inside the country. The B-52s of course followed, with a concomitant increase in civilian casualties.
The Nixon administration artfully played down the nature and extent of these bombings, going so far as to falsify military records, and was largely successful in keeping it all a secret from the American public, the press and Congress.
On March 18, 1970, Prince Sihanouk was removed form power while he was on a trip to the Soviet Union, and Cambodia was taken over by General Lon Nol and Sirik Matak. Of General Nol CIA sources had previously said, "He would welcome the United States with open arms and we would accomplish everything," and the Pentagon had called Matak "a friend of the West" and "cooperative with U.S. officials." Blum records the observations of Roger Morris at the time, who served on the NSC under Kissinger,
It was clear in the white house that the CIA station in Phnom Penh knew the plotters well, probably knew their plans, and did nothing to alert Sihanouk. They informed Washington well in advance of the coup.
With Prince Sihanouk removed from power as the lynchpin of Cambodian nationalism and unity all hell broke loose. Pro-Sihanouk troops faced off against General Lon Nol's troops, which faced off against the North Vietnamese and the Vietcong, which faced off against the Khmer Serei and Khmer Krom, which faced off against the greatly energized Cambodian communist movement, the Khmer Rouge led by the infamous Pol Pot.
On April 30, 1970, only weeks after the coup, American troops invaded Cambodia to assist General Lon Nol, and to fight against the Communists that seemed to come from all sides. As Blum records, the invasion was met with a huge protest from the peace movement in the United States, and four members of Kissinger's NSC, including the above-mentioned Roger Morris, resigned in protest.
The end result of the Establishment's actions, both to prolong the Vietnamese war, and to weaken and eventually destroy the Sihanouk regime in Cambodia, was a Communist victory in both nations. On April 17, 1975, Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, which led to the murderous campaign of Pol Pot's genocide against the Cambodian people that took over a million lives (some say up to four million) and sent Cambodia back into the stone age.
Two weeks later, on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese. Unlike in Cambodia, the Vietnamese Communists took power without a campaign of genocide and in a relatively ordered and rational manner. In 1978 the Vietnamese intervened in Cambodia and invaded to topple Pol Pot's insane self-destructive regime, and for this the People's Republic of China declared war on Vietnam in 1979. The Chinese invasion lasted for only a month before the People's Liberation Army withdrew after suffering large losses and gaining little territory. During Vietnam's invasion to crush Pol Pot the United States backed the murderous Pol Pot (even defending the Khmer Rouge's right to Cambodia's UN seat after it had been chased back into the jungle), and during China's brief invasion of Vietnam the Establishment cheered on their new ally, Communist China.
Blum recounts the fact that during the Vietnam war China sold several thousand tons of steel to the US military in South Vietnam to help in the building of Air Force and Army bases. White House envoy Alexander Haig met with Chinese Premier Zhou En-Lai in January of 1972, and Haig later wrote of his impressions of the meeting,
Though he never stated the case in so many words, I reported to President Nixon that the import of what Zhou said to me was: 'don't lose in Vietnam; don't withdraw from Southeast Asia.'
Chile 1973 - At the same time that the Establishment was organizing a coup in Brazil against President Goulart, it was also acting with a great deal of alarm in the nation of Chile to prevent the election of the patriotic socialist Salvador Allende to the Presidency. In 1958 Allende had failed to reach the post by only three percentage points, and in 1964 the Establishment worked through the CIA to influence the Chilean people to reject him once again.
An estimated $20 million was spent on blatant propaganda to help the favored choice, the moderate Christian Democrat Edwardo Frei, which was later described in a Senate report, Covert Action in Chile, 1963-1973,
In addition to support for political parties, the CIA mounted a massive anti-communist propaganda campaign. Extensive use was made of the press, radio, films, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, direct mailings, paper streamers, and wall painting. It was a "scare campaign", which relied heavily on images of Soviet tanks and Cuban firing squads and was directed especially to women. Hundreds of thousands of copies of the anti-communist pastoral letters of Pope Pius XI were distributed by Christian Democratic organizations. They carried the designation, "printed privately by citizens without political affiliation," in order more broadly to disseminate its content. "Disinformation and "black propaganda" - material which purported to originate from another source, such as the Chilean Communist Party - were used as well...
The propaganda campaign was enormous. During the first week of intensive propaganda activity (the third week of June 1964), a CIA-funded propaganda group produced twenty radio spots per day in Santiago and on 44 provincial stations; twelve-minute news broadcasts five times daily on three Santiago stations and 24 provincial outlets; thousands of cartoons, and much paid press advertising. By the end of June, the group produced 24 daily newscasts in Santiago and the provinces, 26 weekly "commentary" programs, and distributed 3,000 posters daily...
In addition to buying propaganda piecemeal, the Station often purchased it wholesale by subsidizing Chilean media organizations friendly to the United States. Doing so was propaganda writ large. Instead of placing individual items, the CIA supported - or even founded - friendly media outlets which might not have existed in the absence of Agency support.
The most important link into the Christian Democrat Party and the Chilean media was a man by the name of Augustin Edwards. He was the owner of the influential El Mercurio chain of newspapers and prior to the election he met with a number of influential corporate executives at David Rockefeller's Fifth Avenue office to strategize how to defeat Allende, their enemy who promised the necessary land reform, nationalization and industrialization that Chile needed to become fully independent. Edwards' meeting with Rockefeller resulted in funding for his right wing newspaper that came from the CIA and from the influential Rockefeller Group subsidiary, ITT.
The article "US Responsibility for the Coup in Chile," by Daniel Brandt, explains the Establishment's corporate interests in Chile's economy and their profitable looting of Chile's resources that they intended to preserve,
At the end of 1968, according to Department of Commerce data, U.S. corporate holdings in Chile amounted to $964 million. During that year, U.S. corporations averaged 17.4 percent profit on invested capital, and mining enterprises alone turned an average of 26 percent. Copper companies, notably Anaconda and Kennecott, accounted for 28 percent of U.S. holdings, but ITT had the largest holding of any single corporation with an investment of $200 million. Chilean copper accounts for 21 percent of the world's proven copper reserves. Over a 42 year period the copper companies earned $420 billion on original investments totaling $35 million.
By 1970 the Chilean people could see that the massive profits of the multinationals had failed to trickle down to them and did not result in any substantial improvement of their general welfare. They also saw that the promises of the Christian Democrats had failed to bear any fruit, and for these reasons, despite another massive Establishment-funded propaganda campaign, Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile on September 4.
However, his margin of victory was so small that he needed a confirmation vote by the Chilean Parliament scheduled for October 24, before taking office. To meet the crisis of a nationalist regime taking power in South America the American Establishment controllers called a series of high-level meetings and determined that Allende had to be stopped.
The most famous meetings took place on September 15 and included Henry Kissinger, President Nixon, CIA Director Richard Helms, Attorney General John Mitchell, PepsiCo CEO Donald Kendall, and Augustin Edwards. As a means of demonstrating how the Establishment works, the connections between this seemingly diverse group of people should be examined: Richard Nixon had received his first corporate account from Donald Kendall's PepsiCo when he joined John Mitchell's New York law firm as a young lawyer. Augustin Edwards, by 1970 the president of the Chilean branch of Nelson Rockefeller's vast IBEC conglomerate, owned Chile's largest newspaper chain (El Mercurio), largest granary, and largest chicken farm, as well as the Pepsi bottling operation in Chile. Kissinger was, of course, Nelson Rockefeller's former advisor, and Helms, as CIA chief, simply took orders from the Establishment. At the meeting of September 15 he hastily took notes,
One in ten chance perhaps, but save Chile! Not concerned risks involved.
No involvement of embassy. $10,000,000 available, more if necessary. Full-time job - best men we have ... Make the economy scream. 48 hours for plan of action.
Allende never had a chance. Chile's economy was so heavily dependant on American imports and credit from American and international banks that the Establishment found it quite easy to make it scream. The following list of economic measures taken against Chile is compiled from the article "US Responsibility for the Coup in Chile," by Daniel Brandt:
- After Allende's election in 1970, commercial banks, including Chase Manhattan, Chemical, First National City, Manufacturers Hanover, and Morgan Guaranty, cancelled credits to Chile. In 1972, Kennecott tied up Chilean copper exports with lawsuits in France, Sweden, Italy, and Germany, forcing Chile to spend $150,000 in legal expenses. The campaign continued even after Allende agreed, in February 1972, to pay a Kennecott subsidiary $84 million and made a down payment of $5.7 million.
- In addition to multinationals and commercial banks, the U.S. government also involved itself in the economic boycott. The involvement of the government was partly a result of massive pressure from ITT, which had access to Kissinger, William Rogers, the CIA, and the U.S. Ambassador in Chile.
- After 1970, the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Agency for International Development, and the Export-Import Bank either cut programs in Chile or cancelled credits. The Allende government continued to pay off old loans from the IDB and the World Bank, but neither made new loans to Chile. The only exceptions were IDB loans to Catholic University and Austral University; both universities were strongholds of anti-Allende activity.
- Chile's foreign-exchange reserves fell from $335 million in November, 1970 to $100 million by the end of 1971, and in August, 1972, Chile became the first country in the International Monetary Fund to completely exhaust its Special Drawing Rights. By this time Chile's imports had declined, and the percentage of total imports from the U.S. dropped from 40 percent to about 15 percent. In December, 1972, Allende spoke to the U.N. General Assembly and complained of Chile's inability to purchase food, medicine, equipment, and spare parts. Almost one-third of the privately-owned microbuses, taxis, and state-owned buses had been immobilized by early 1972 because of the lack of spare parts. The scarcity of parts also fueled the truckers' strike, which in turn provoked more economic chaos.
- The economic boycott did not include aid to the Chilean military. On the contrary -- military aid to Chile, which has always been substantial, doubled in the 1970-1974 period as compared to the previous four years.
It was through the military that the Establishment was able to eliminate Allende, but in 1970 they faced an early obstacle to this route. He was General René Schneider, the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army. The general was not a fan of Allende's policies, but he was a true Chilean patriot intent on keeping his military forces out of the political battle. In the run up to the October 24 Parliamentary vote to confirm Allende as president, Kissinger and Helms set their sights on the elimination of Schneider, and they authorized a shipment of machine guns, grenades, and $50,000 to an opposing general with ties to a far right fascist organization. On October 22, after several failed attempts, the conspirators finally succeeded in murdering General Schneider, and the way was paved for the ascendancy of the Anglo-American's favorite, General Augusto Pinochet.
The Chilean Parliament refused to be intimidated by the murder of General Schneider, however, and they confirmed the results of the election and gave Allende the presidency. When he took office he knew that he was facing the most powerful enemies in the world, but he fearlessly pushed ahead to enact the policies for which he had been elected.
Chile was made up of a populace that tended to vote one third left-wing socialist, in favor of major reform; one third capitalist and in favor of the established upper class and the status quo; and one third centrist and moderate Christian Democrat. Allende was elected by a slim margin, and backed by a parliamentary minority, but there were many of his policies that received a great deal of majority support. Chief among these was the long-awaited takeover of the multinational mining outfits that were taking obscene profits out of Chile. An excerpt from the book The End of Chilean Democracy describes the takeover,
In July 1971, the Chilean Congress, although controlled by the opposition Christian Democrat and National parties, unanimously passed a constitutional amendment requiring the Allende administration to nationalize all copper mines. The rich copper reserves of Chile, in just sixty years, had produced for U.S. copper corporations (which included among their largest stockholders the Rockefeller and Morgan financial groups) the equivalent of over half of Chile's total assets accumulated over the previous 400 years. The unanimous vote for the nationalization amendment reflected widespread popular sentiment that the country had been plundered. The amendment called for compensation of the U.S. firms "at book value, less outstanding taxes, depreciation and deductions for obsolescence, depleted lodes and excess profits."
The Chilean takeover of Chilean copper resources was not arbitrary and it was not illegal. International law and the UN Charter allowed the nationalization of resources if carried out constitutionally, as Chile did. The key sticking point was the article dealing with "excessive profits," that said that all profits extracted from the country in excess of a reasonable twelve percent, could then be subtracted from the value of the company to determine the amount of final compensation. The excess profits of the two largest companies, Kennecott and Anaconda, were so massive ($774 million) that Chile's Comptroller General's Office (appointed prior to Allende) determined that Chile did not owe the two companies any compensation whatsoever.
In December and March of 1972 negotiations between Chile and the United States were held to deal with Chile's nationalization of US companies and Chile's debt to US banks. Chile offered to have the disputes settled along the lines of a 1916 treaty that had been made between the two nations. The treaty stipulated that economic disputes would be handed over to a five member commission, composed of two members appointed by Chile, two by the US and one by common agreement. In 1972 Chile had maintained its side of the panel, and the common member of the panel was included as well, having been agreed upon by Chile and JFK, but the two American posts were vacant because the original members had died and had not been replaced. Article Three of the treaty stated that the five member commission was to have six months to study disputes and if an agreement was not concluded then the dispute would be handed over to the International Court of the Hague. Birns gives an excerpt from a report that covered this issue,
During the negotiations in March of this year Chile proposed that, due to the impasse, it was willing to allow its interpretation of the nationalization proceedings be studied by the international commission according to the treaty. The United States negotiators recognized that the treaty was effective and obligatory in this instance, but they gave a very firm but informal "no." They also let it be known that the position of the United States in the upcoming Paris talks for the renegotiation of Chile's international debts would even be more stringent than it has been to date ...
The renegotiation of the debt and the nationalization of the copper companies are two separate and distinct issues. The U.S. attempt to unite the two issues during these negotiations is a clear example of government protection of private investment in foreign companies.
The United States knew that it could afford to take a hard line against Chile and Allende and they refused to allow international mediation because they knew that it was only a matter of time before Chile's internal problems became so intense that Allende would be forced out of office. Henry Kissinger and the CIA played the major role in this operation. David Rockefeller gives his own interpretation of the events in his Memoirs. He begins by speaking about Latin America's "dismal years," and writes that after the Alliance For Progress initiatives failed to work out (after JFK's guidelines were replaced by the Establishment's), a number of South American nations formed the Andean Pact in 1970 as a united front to defend themselves against Anglo-American economic domination. At David's and Kissinger's urging Nixon sent Nelson Rockefeller on a tour of South America to help improve "hemispheric relations," but he was greeted by hostile crowds wherever he went. Then David turns to Chile,
Most emblematic of these dismal years in Latin America was Chile during Salvador Allende's presidency in the early 1970s. The story has become well known and quite controversial. Allende, an avowed Marxist and leader of the Chilean Socialist Party, campaigned in 1970 on a platform of radical land reform, the expropriation of all foreign corporations, the nationalization of banks, and other measures that would have put his country firmly on the road to Socialism.
In March 1970, well before the election, my friend Augustin (Doonie) Edwards, publisher of El Mercurio, Chile's leading newspaper, told me that Allende was a Soviet dupe who would destroy Chile's fragile economy and extend Communist influence in the region. If Allende won, Doonie warned, Chile would become another Cuba, a satellite of the Soviet Union. He insisted the United States must prevent Allende's election.
Doonie's concerns were so intense that I put him in touch with Henry Kissinger. I later learned that Doonie's reports confirmed the intelligence already received from official intelligence sources, which led the Nixon administration to increase its clandestine financial subsidies to groups opposing Allende.
Despite this intervention, Allende still narrowly won the election. The Chilean congress confirmed his choice a few months later even though the CIA continued its efforts to prevent Allende's accession to power. Once in office the new president, true to his election promises, expropriated American holdings and stepped up the pace of land seizure from the elite and its redistribution to the peasantry. Most of Doonie Edwards' property was taken, and he and his family fled to the United States where Donald Kendall, CEO of Pepsico, hired Doonie as a vice president, and Peggy and I helped get them established.
Allende's radical program swiftly alienated the Chilean middle class. By September 1973 economic conditions had worsened and political violence had increased. The Chilean military, led by General August Pinochet Ugarte, revolted. Army units stormed the Moneda presidential palace, and Allende committed suicide. What followed can only be described as a reign of terror as old scores were settled and Allende loyalists, trade union leaders, and others were tortured, killed, or driven into exile.
Despite the claims of David Rockefeller and his pal "Doonie," Allende was never a Soviet dupe. The Soviets feared interfering in the Western Hemisphere and during his time in office the Soviets actually pressured Allende to be more receptive to American demands. Rockefeller's recollection is also slanted by his refusal to explain why Chile's economy suffered under Allende. It was not due to "socialism," but was caused almost entirely by the American economic blockades, the drying up of credit from the World Bank and other American banks, and CIA-sponsored strikes and walkouts by upper middle class workers. A final point is that Salvador Allende did not commit suicide, he was murdered in cold blood by Pinochet's henchmen on September 11, 1973, as he and a small group of supporters courageously fought back from within the Moneda.
After lamenting the negative aspects of Pinochet's regime, David Rockefeller's Memoirs concludes its section on Chile on a positive note, by describing the subsequent guidance Pinochet received from America's best laissez-faire economists,
Despite my own abhorrence of the excesses committed during the Pinochet years, the economic side of the story is a more constructive one. Faced with high inflation and huge budget deficits, and cut off from the international capital markets, Pinochet sought the advice of a group of young economists, many of them trained at the University of Chicago. They counseled the general to free Chile's economy from the restraints and distortions it had labored under for many years. Their daring experiment became the basis of Chile's strong recovery after 1985 and the model for other hemispheric nations.
Rockefeller's touting of Chile's "economic miracle" is another fantasy. To read what the Establishment actually achieved in Chile read the article "The Chicago boys
and the Chilean 'economic miracle'," by Steve Kangas. He writes,
Many people have often wondered what it would be like to create a nation based solely on their political and economic beliefs. Imagine: no opposition, no political rivals, no compromise of morals. Only a "benevolent dictator," if you will, setting up society according to your ideals.
The Chicago School of Economics got that chance for 16 years in Chile, under near-laboratory conditions. Between 1973 and 1989, a government team of economists trained at the University of Chicago dismantled or decentralized the Chilean state as far as was humanly possible. Their program included privatizing welfare and social programs, deregulating the market, liberalizing trade, rolling back trade unions, and rewriting its constitution and laws. And they did all this in the absence of the far-right's most hated institution: democracy.
The results were exactly what liberals predicted. Chile's economy became more unstable than any other in Latin America, alternately experiencing deep plunges and soaring growth. Once all this erratic behavior was averaged out, however, Chile's growth during this 16-year period was one of the slowest of any Latin American country. Worse, income inequality grew severe. The majority of workers actually earned less in 1989 than in 1973 (after adjusting for inflation), while the incomes of the rich skyrocketed. In the absence of market regulations, Chile also became one of the most polluted countries in Latin America. And Chile's lack of democracy was only possible by suppressing political opposition and labor unions under a reign of terror and widespread human rights abuses.
Conservatives have developed an apologist literature defending Chile as a huge success story. In 1982, Milton Friedman enthusiastically praised General Pinochet (the Chilean dictator) because he "has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle." However, the statistics below show this to be untrue. Chile is a tragic failure of right-wing [laissez-faire!] economics, and its people are still paying the price for it today.
Nicaragua 1981 - In July of 1979 the Nicaraguan people rose up and overthrew the US-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza II. The Somoza dynasty had ruled since 1933, when it was originally set up with US support at a time when General Augusto Sandino's rural revolutionary movement threatened American financial interests. The main group that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship forty-three years later, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), was named after the legendary Sandino.
After Somoza was toppled he fled to Miami, taking with him hundreds of millions of dollars (his paycheck for his service as an American corporate strongman), but leaving Nicaragua with a $1.6 billion foreign debt. The Sandinistas then took over a bankrupt Nicaragua and in a few years they did more to help the people of Nicaragua than any regime has ever, or probably will ever do. After a few successful years the Sandinistas presided over an election in 1984, in which their candidate, Daniel Ortega, was easily elected president in a process that was declared by all observers to be free from fraud and intimidation. Some of the achievements of the Sandinista regime, from 1980 to 1990, are listed in an article by Peter Costantini,
In many areas, the Sandinistas did the things that every government of a poor country ought to do, but few actually do.
They conducted one of the largest and most effective land reforms in Latin American history, granting land titles to 184,000 poor families in the countryside and urban shantytowns.
In health care, they quadrupled public expenditures, building free health clinics and involving thousands of volunteers in vaccination campaigns. These measures cut the infant mortality rate in half and extended life expectancy by seven years. In 1983, the World Health Organization praised Nicaragua as a "Model Nation in Health Attention" among developing countries.
Tripling education spending, the Sandinistas extended free public schooling to all. Within one year, 100,000 student volunteers from the cities went out into the countryside and reduced Nicaragua's illiteracy rate from over 50% to 13%...
Whereas under Somoza strikes had been routinely suppressed and union leaders jailed, under the Sandinistas labor union membership grew from 6 percent to 55 percent of the workforce. In some public-sector enterprises, workers won significant participation in decision-making.
Although branded "communist" by Washington, Nicaragua's economy remained a mixed one: only 39% of industrial production and 11% of farmland was in public hands. It was a Latin American adaptation of a western-European social-democratic economy, more like Sweden's or France's than a Soviet-style state socialism. The Sandinistas merely tried to extend democracy and public accountability into a market economy.
When the Sandinistas first took power in 1978 the Carter administration viewed it relatively passively, but when Reagan took office in early 1981, with an ex-CIA Vice-President, a cabinet of Establishment insiders, and a flock of Wall Street advisors, the heat was turned up a great deal on the new Nicaraguan government:
In November of 1981 the US approved a budget of $19 million for the CIA to begin subverting the Sandinista regime. The main thrust was to re-arm the remnants of Somoza's hated National Guard, rename them as the Contra Freedom Fighters, and offer them bases in neighboring countries to carry out their attacks on Nicaragua. They were the very same forces that had killed 40,000 Nicaraguan civilians in the seven weeks prior to the FSLN victory in 1979. The article "The CIA In Nicaragua" explains how the subversion worked,
...By the autumn of 1983, 12,000 to 16,000 contra troops of the so-called FDN (Nicaraguan Democratic Force) were operating along the Honduran border. Smaller contra forces operated from bases in Costa Rica. They staged hit and run raids against rural towns and co-operatives in Nicaragua, before returning to their bases across the border. The CIA had no illusions about the contras' ability to overthrow the FSLN; in two years of operations, they failed to take and hold even a small village. The aim of the contras was to use terrorist tactics to stop Nicaraguan development projects in all areas: economic, education, health services and political organisations.
The contras blew up bridges, civilian power plants and schools, they burned fields of crops and attacked hospitals. Their tactics included rape, kidnappings of peasants and civilians, ambushes and massacres against small rural communities, farms, co-operatives, schools and health clinics. Contra raids caused extensive damage to crop fields, grain silos, irrigation projects, farm houses and machinery. Numerous state farms and co-operatives were incapacitated; other farms still intact were abandoned because of the danger.
Witness For Peace, an American Protestant watchdog body, collected a list of contra atrocities in one year, which included murder, the rape of two girls in their homes, torture of men, maiming of children, cutting off arms, cutting out tongues, gouging out eyes, castration, bayoneting pregnant women in the stomach, amputating the genitals of people of both sexes, gouging out eyes, scraping the skin off the face, pouring acid on the face, breaking the toes and fingers of an 18 year old boy, and summary executions...
One survivor of a contra raid in Jinotega province, which borders Honduras, reported: "Rosa had her breasts cut off. Then they cut into her chest and took out her heart. The men had their arms broken, their testicles cut off and their eyes poked out. They were killed by slitting their throats and pulling the tongue out through the slit." The human rights organisation Americas Watch, concluded that "the contras systematically engage in violent abuses…. so prevalent that these may be said to be their principle means of waging war." ...
The Reagan administration imposed a total trade embargo on Nicaragua, together with additional economic sanctions. This was designed to force the Sandinistas to divert resources from development projects to defence, and to disrupt their economy to such an extent that the government could not deliver its promises of a better life for the poor, and thus be discredited. Washington hoped that the people would eventually tire of the war and turn against the FSLN. Nicaragua was excluded from US programmes which promoted American investment and trade, sugar imports from Nicaragua were slashed by 90% and Washington pressured the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Common Market to withhold loans to Nicaragua.
In the face of the Contra atrocities the US Congress passed the Boland Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill on December 21, 1982, designed to prohibit any US Government action to destabilize Nicaragua. The amendment read in part,
None of the funds provided in this Act may be used by the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Defense to furnish military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual ... for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.
President Reagan was, for the most part, a lame duck president who exercised only ceremonial power. The most important decisions were made for him by the Establishment insiders that surrounded him, and chief among these was his vice president, George Bush. In fact, Reagan had been coerced by the Establishment into naming Bush as his VP against his own wishes. He had beaten Bush in the campaign for the Republican nomination for the presidency, and had come to dislike the man intensely, but as it came time to announce the ticket his party worked to present Bush as the only possible candidate for VP.
The real history of George Bush is revealed in the book George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin. The book is a collectors item, selling for $200 and up on the used book market, but the entire text is available online at www.tarpley.net.
The Bush family has been a member of the East Coast Establishment for generations, and George, a graduate of Yale and member of Skull and Bones, was able to take advantage of his family's connections from the beginning of his career. Initially his most important backing came from his maternal uncle George Herbert Walker, Jr. (Skull and Bones, Wall Street financier), and by his father Prescott's connections to the Harriman Group. They were the main financial supporters of his Zapata Petroleum business that he ran until 1966.
After establishing himself as a name to be reckoned with in the Texas oil business George turned his attention to politics. He failed in his bid to unseat Senator Yarborough in 1964, but he won a congressional race in 1966 for a seat representing a newly created district in Houston. He came to Washington in January of 1967, and due to his high-level connection, the new representative became "the first freshman member of the House of either party to be given a seat on the Ways and Means Committee since 1904."
In 1970 President Nixon persuaded Bush to give up his Congressional seat and his important Committee memberships to run again for the Texas Senate seat. After being defeated in the Senate race by Lloyd Bentsen, Bush was given the position of US Ambassador to the United Nations. It was during this time that Bush became one of the most important agents of the Anglo-American imperial establishment. The Unauthorized Biography explains,
Henry Kissinger was now Bush's boss even more than Nixon was, and later, as the Watergate scandal progressed into 1973, the dominion of Kissinger would become even more absolute. During these years Bush, serving his apprenticeship in diplomacy and world strategy under Kissinger, became a virtual Kissinger clone in two senses. First, to a significant degree, Kissinger's networks and connections merged together with Bush's own, foreshadowing a 1989 administration in which the NSC director and the number two man in the State Department were both Kissinger's business partners from his consulting and influence-peddling firm, Kissinger Associates. Secondly, Bush assimilated Kissinger's characteristic British-style geopolitical mentality and approach to problems, and this is now the epistemology that dictates Bush's own dealing with the main questions of world politics...
Kissinger was the high priest of imperialism and neocolonialism, animated by an instinctive hatred for Indira Gandhi, Aldo Moro, Ali Bhutto, and other nationalist world leaders. Kissinger's British geopolitics simply accentuated Bush's own fanatically Anglophile point of view which he had acquired from father Prescott and imbibed from the atmosphere of the family firm, Brown Brothers Harriman, originally the US branch of a British counting house...
Bush spent just less than two years at the UN. His tenure coincided with some of the most monstrous crimes against humanity of the Nixon-Kissinger duo, for whom Bush functioned as an international spokesman to whom no Kissinger policy was too odious to be enthusiastically proclaimed before the international community and world public opinion. Through this doggedly loyal service, Bush forged a link with Nixon that would be ephemeral but vital for his career while it lasted, and a link with Kissinger that would be decisive in shaping Bush's own administration in 1988-89. The way in which Bush set about organizing the anti-Iraq coalition of 1990-91 was decisively shaped by his United Nations experience. His initial approach to the Security Council, the types of resolutions that were put forward by the US, and the alternation of military escalation with consultations among the five permanent members of the Security Council- all this harkened back to the experience Bush acquired as Kissinger's envoy to the world body.
The Nixon years were a hard time for the CIA, and after Nixon resigned President Ford felt pressured to fire the Director of Central intelligence (DCI) William Colby, in late 1975. To take over this most important job the Establishment had in mind George Bush, who had proven his loyalty as UN Ambassador, then as Chairman of the RNC, and then as Kissinger's ambassador to Communist China. However, Bush looked forward to a place as Ford's VP in the presidential elections of 1976. These ambitions were dashed when Bush was forced to agree to put aside his VP ambitions in order to be confirmed as the DCI by Congress. However, his acceptance of the DCI post paid off when Ford was beaten by Carter. This opened up a new opportunity and Bush resigned as DCI in 1977 to focus on the 1980 Presidential elections. He viewed the presidency as his "birthright" and put all his energy, political connections, and Machiavellian manipulations towards achieving the new goal.
The main covert operation that led directly into the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s was the so-called October Surprise agreement between the CIA, high levels of the Republican Party, and the new Iranian revolutionary regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Tarpley and Chaitkin demonstrate convincingly that George Bush was up to his neck in this operation, which basically resulted in money and arms for the Iranians in return for a promise that the American hostages held in Iran would not be released while Carter remained President. The plot worked and the plane carrying the released hostages took off from Iranian soil at the very moment that Reagan was sworn in as President on January 20, 1981.
Ronald Reagan was 70 years old when he became President and Bush knew that he was only a bullet away from the position that he had worked his whole life to achieve. Only a few months after taking office, on March 25, 1981, George Bush was named the leader of the US "crisis management" staff, within the National Security Council. Five days later Reagan was shot.
Tarpley and Chaitkin spend a whole chapter on "The Attempted Coup D'Etat of March 30, 1981," covering the John Hinckley assassination attempt. They reveal a number of coincidences and connections between the Bush and Hinckley families, including the fact that John Hinckley's brother was invited as a dinner guest to the home of Neil Bush, George's son, for the night of March 31, and the fact that the Hinckley family had been generous contributors to the Bush presidential campaign. Rather than focus on these remarkable and potentially damning coincidences the media felt obliged to dwell on the bizarre obsession that John Hinckley had for Hollywood actress Jody Foster. Where the media failed, common sense prevailed for even the most simple-minded observers, as Tarpley and Chaitkin relate,
What was the truth of the matter? The Roman common sense of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (who had seen so many of Nero's intrigues, and who would eventually fall victim to one of them) would have dictated that the person who would have profited most from Reagan's death be scrutinized as the prime suspect. That was obviously Bush, since Bush would have assumed the presidency if Reagan had succumbed to his wounds. The same idea was summed up by an eighth grade student at the Alice Deal Junior High School in Washington DC who told teachers on March 31: "It is a plot by Vice President Bush to get into power. If Bush becomes President, the CIA would be in charge of the country."
In any event, President Reagan survived, and George Bush had to pursue other avenues through which to consolidate his power as the real decision-maker of the Executive Branch. For all intents and purposes, this was achieved on May 14, 1982, by a secret memorandum that explained the creation of a new agency through National Security Decision Directive 3 (NSDD3). The new agency to be established was known as the Special Situations Group (SSG) and it was chaired by the Vice President. It was created for the task of "formulating plans in anticipation of crisis," a broad purpose which Bush was to exploit throughout his vice presidency to pursue his many illegal and unconstitutional foreign policy exploits.
Along with the SSG, a subordinate agency was also created, known as the Crisis Pre-Planning Group (CPPG). It was composed of Bush representatives, NSC staff members, and reps from the CIA, the military and the State Department. Its mission included: -identifying areas of potential crisis, -presenting plans and policy options to the SSG, -coordinating implementation plans to resolve the crises, -providing the SSG with "recommended security, cover, and media plans that will enhance the likelihood of successful execution." Oliver North was the NSC staff member who worked for the SSG under Bush coordinating the different agencies involved with the CPPG. Tarpley and Chaitkin write,
It is most astonishing that, in all of the reports, articles and books about the Iran-Contra covert actions, the existence of Bush's SSG has received no significant attention. Yet its importance in the management of those covert actions is obvious and unmistakable, as soon as an investigative light is thrown upon it.
Tarpley and Chaitkin then proceed to throw that much-needed light into the actual workings of the Iran-Contra affair, the details of which cannot all be told here. The bottom line is that Iran-Contra did not stop at Oliver North, and it had little involvement from President Reagan. Indeed, after May 14, 1982, Reagan's presence in the Oval Office was viewed by the Establishment as little more than an irritant. Iran-Contra was a Bush project in which he carried out Establishment desires to destroy the example the Sandinista government was becoming, of Latin American resistance to US hegemony in the form of neo-imperialism and brutal right-wing dictators.
The first Boland Amendment to prohibit US Government sabotage of Nicaragua was passed at the end of 1982. However, illegal CIA involvement continued, as described in a Wall Street Journal article of March 6, 1985, as related by Tarpley and Chaitkin,
Armed speedboats and a helicopter launched from a Central Intelligence Agency "mother ship'' attacked Nicaragua's Pacific port, Puerto Sandino on a moonless New Year's night in 1984. A week later the speedboats returned to mine the oil terminal. Over the next three months, they laid more than 30 mines in Puerto Sandino and also in the harbors at Corinto and El Bluff. In air and sea raids on coastal positions, Americans flew--and fired from--an armed helicopter that accompanied the U.S.-financed Latino force, while a CIA plane provided sophisticated reconaissance guidance for the nighttime attacks. The operation, outlined in a classified CIA document, marked the peak of U.S. involvement in the four-year guerrilla war in Nicaragua. More than any single event, it solidified congressional opposition to the covert war, and in the year since then, no new money has been approved beyond the last CIA checks drawn early [in the] summer [of 1984].... CIA paramilitary officers were upset by the ineffectiveness of the Contras.... As the insurgency force grew ... during 1983 ... the CIA began to use the guerrilla army as a cover for its own small `"Latino '' force.... [The] most celebrated attack, by armed speedboats, came Oct. 11, 1983, against oil facilities at Corinto. Three days later, an underwater pipeline at Puerto Sandino was sabotaged by Latino [sic] frogmen. The message wasn't lost on Exxon Corp.'s Esso unit [formerly Standard Oil of New Jersey], and the international giant informed the Sandinista government that it would no longer provide tankers for transporting oil to Nicaragua. The CIA's success in scaring off a major shipper fit well into its mining strategy.... The mother ship used in the mining operation is described by sources as a private chartered vessel with a configuration similar to an oil-field service and towing ship with a long, flat stern section where helicopters could land....
These outrages prompted Congress to reiterate its intentions to keep the United States out of Nicaraguan affairs by passing new legislation on October 3, 1984, that became known as Boland II. It stated bluntly,
During fiscal year 1985, no funds available to the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting, directly or indirectly, military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual.
On December 5, 1985 more aid-limitation laws were passed by Congress that became known as Boland III. Altogether the Boland legislation did very little to hinder the Contras or covert Establishment support for them. Aid was simply channeled through El Salvador, which Bush and North visited in 1983, or through Honduras, which became the favored route for aid to the Contras after a February 7, 1995 meeting of the CPPG. On March 16, 1985 Bush acted on the conclusions of the meeting and visited with the Honduran President, presenting him with an aid package of $110 million, with the understanding that Honduras would continue to support the Contras and enable the transfer of arms and supplies to their bases.
The entire scandal erupted on October 5, 1986 when a cargo aircraft flying out of El Salvador was shot down over Nicaragua. Eugene Hasenfus, a cargo handler, was the only survivor and he was captured by the Sandinistas, promptly confessing to everything he knew. He stated that his covert mission "had the blessing of Vice President Bush." Upon hearing of the loss of the aircraft Felix Rodriguez, the on-the-ground manager of the operation, made a phone call directly to the office of the Vice President and another to Bush's aid Sam Watson. Oliver North was then immediately sent to El Salvador to attempt a cover-up, and false explanations for the downed aircraft were offered to the press.
On October 7, 1986, Rep. Henry Gonzalez of Texas called for a congressional investigation. On October 9 Hasenfus exposed Felix Rodriguez as the head of the covert operation to supply the Contras. On October 11 the Washington Post ran a headline story, "Bush is Linked to Head of Contra Aid Network," in which the ties between Rodriguez and Bush were revealed. On November 3 the Iranian connection first surfaced in the pages of a Lebanese newspaper, which led to the exposure of the fact that the Reagan (Bush) Administration sanctioned a shipment to Iran of 3000 TOW missiles in exchange for hostages held in Lebanon.
A year later, on November 13, 1987, the House Select Committee filed its report on the Iran-Contra affair. George Bush found that he was entirely exonerated and that his name was hardly even mentioned. The senior Republican member of the Committee was Wyoming Representative Richard Cheney. When Bush took office as President in 1989 he made Cheney his Secretary of Defense. In 2001 Cheney became the Vice President for the administration of George Bush, Jr. Such is the state of our American "democracy." The moral of the story then, is that when you deal with the Bush family you either play ball and are rewarded, as in the case of long-time Bush cronies Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Powell, etc., or you resist and you get eliminated, as in the case of the scores of unfortunate individuals who are now included posthumously within the Bush Body Count.
Returning to Nicaragua, by the time that the Iran-Contra scandal broke out the people of Nicaragua had been beaten down by the effects of years of civil war and economic sanctions, and they had become disheartened about the potential that the Sandinistas could offer in the face of continued American animosity. By the time of the national elections of 1990 the people were ready for a change. In the election nine opposition parties faced off against the ruling Sandinistas. The Bush Administration backed only one of these parties, the National Opposition Union (UNO) Party, that was led by Violeta Chamorro, to the tune of $11 million via the National Endowment for Democracy. Prior to the election Bush gave a further warning to the Nicaraguan people by ordering the US invasion of Panama. Daniel Ortega explains how it influenced the election in an interview he gave for CNN,
[The United States] invaded Panama, which had a great influence on the elections in our country -- because this happened two months before the 1990 elections, and it broke up the support we had and the votes we had accumulated during the campaign. In December we had 47 percent support, with two months' campaigning still to do; [then] the invasion of Panama took place on December 23rd. And when we did a poll the following January, we had come down 10 points to 37 percent --- by which time we were one month away from the elections. ...
It wasn't a completely free election because there was open interference from the United States, from President Bush, in the form of financial and political support to our opponents, as well as threats that the blockade would not be lifted and all the rest of it if UNO didn't win. The decisive moment was the invasion of Panama.
At the elections the UNO prevailed and Violeta Chamorro was elected President of Nicaragua. Bush called the UNO's victory, bought with foreign money that would be viewed as illegal for any American election, a "victory for democracy." The ensuing policies of the Chamorro regime explain why the UNO was so whole-heartedly supported by the US Establishment: She immediately signed accords with the IMF that included the usual "austerity programs" aimed at Nicaragua's poor for the purpose of making Nicaragua's economy attractive to foreign investors. Privatization was at the top of the agenda and industries and businesses taken from the Somoza oligarchy were given back. Her regime also made attempts to roll back the land reforms that had been begun, but never finished, by the Sandinistas. The Somoza family and its supporters had consolidated (stolen) massive land holdings that the Sandinistas had given back to the poor, but Chamorro invited many Somoza cronies back into Nicaragua to either get their land back or receive compensation. In the face of the reversal of land reform many Nicaraguans echoed the sentiments of one Adalberto Cantalero, who told the Washington Post, "If I lose my land, I will be the first one to go back to the mountains and pick up a rifle and go to war again."
By 1996 Nicaragua faced a foreign debt of $10 billion, which is five times the country's GNP. Average annual income was $479, with 60% unemployment and 75% of Nicaraguans living under the poverty line. It was a very typical IMF "success" story.
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