Producer’s note, March 15, 2018, 5:24 PM: This episode cited an article published by Salon, which was a republication of an original article written for Alternet by Nicolas J.S. Davies. The original article can be seen here.
The Russians hacked our election. The Russians attacked our democratic process.
You have heard these claims from the media and politicians for well over a year.
Then, the recent federal indictment of Russians accused of intervening in the 2016 election. That was the final bit of proof, right?
Consider the fact that the Russian meddling indictment was just $100,000 in Facebook ads bought to swing the election. But compare it to the money spent and lives put at stake when the U.S. meddles in foreign elections or outright overthrows governments all over the world.
A former CIA director claims our meddling is different because when we do it, it is “for the good of the system.” Is that really true?
Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.
Ex-CIA Director James Woolsey said it himself. Yes, the U.S. meddles in other countries elections. But when we do it, it’s for the right reasons.
“Only for a very good cause,” he says, because our government is ensuring foreign elections result in “democracy.”
But doesn’t democracy demand that people decide for themselves, even if they choose to have a communist government? And how well has U.S. meddling actually worked out?
According to Carnegie Mellon University researcher Dov Levin, the United States has attempted to sway elections in other countries more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000.
“One example of that was our intervention in Serbia, Yugoslavia in the 2000 election there. Slobodan Milosevic was running for re-election, and we didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency, you know, to disrupts the Balkans and his human rights violations,” according to Levin. “So we intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate. And we gave funding to the opposition, and we gave them training and campaigning aide.”
But those 80+ instances of the U.S. interfering with other nations elections does not include regime change efforts.
In the 1970s in Chile, the CIA conducted a botched kidnapping of General René Schneider, the Chilean Army’s commander-in-chief, that resulted in Schneider’s death. The plot was an effort to undermine the presidency of Salvador Allende, which may have fueled the violent coup that led to Allende’s overthrow.
In 1974, Henry Kissinger was quoted in Newsweek, saying about Chile: “I don’t see why we have to let a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”
Levin’s tally also does not include covert coup d’etats where our government overthrows a foreign leader like the the U.S. did in Iran in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954.
But remember, we only do that to spread democracy around the world and for a very good cause… right?
No, not so much. In fact, Salon magazine documents 35 nations in which the United States has overthrown legitimate governments and or supported fascists, drug lords or terrorists.
Going back to 1953 Iran, it is one of the most stark examples of the U.S. overthrowing governments. The CIA and the U.K.’s MI6 overthrew the popular, elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh.
The good and right reason? Because, according to Salon, “Iran had nationalized its oil industry by a unanimous vote of parliament, ending a BP monopoly that only paid Iran a 16% royalty on its oil.”
“For two years, Iran resisted a British naval blockade and international economic sanctions. After President Eisenhower took office in 1953, the CIA agreed to a British request to intervene. After the initial coup failed and the Shah and his family fled to Italy, the CIA payed millions of dollars to bribe military officers and pay gangsters to unleash violence in the streets of Tehran. Mossadegh was finally removed and the Shah returned to rule as a brutal Western puppet until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.”
Cuba: “The United States supported the Batista dictatorship as it created the repressive conditions that led to the Cuban Revolution.”
Argentina: “U.S. documents declassified in 2003 detail conversations between U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Argentinian Foreign Minister Admiral Guzzetti in October 1976, soon after the military seized power in Argentina. Kissinger explicitly approved of the ‘dirty war,’ in which 30,000 people were killed, most of them young people, and 400 children were stolen from the families of their murdered parents.”
Guatemala: In 1954, the U.S. decided “to remove the elected liberal government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala”… “The CIA recruited and trained a small army of mercenaries under Guatemalan exile Castillo Armas to invade Guatemala, with 30 unmarked U.S. planes providing air support.”
“U.S. Ambassador Peurifoy prepared a list of Guatemalans to be executed, and Armas was installed as president. The reign of terror that followed led to 40 years in which at least 200,000 were killed, most of them indigenous people.”
What you need to know is everything I am sharing with you is public record. But this is where our media fails.
Because it is our media who wants so badly to point the finger at the Russians who “hacked our election” by trying to influence our democracy. But that same media absolutely refuses to hold our own nation responsible, not for creating Facebook ads to sway an election but toppling governments and leaving millions of people around the world living in horrific conditions.
Look back at history and you will find that U.S. intervention is rarely about democracy. And instead, it is often about profit, business, natural resources and political control.
It is about what is “good” for the U.S. and not about what is good for the people of those nations, who should have every right to choose their own government and their own systems for themselves.
That’s Reality Check let’s talk about it right now on Facebook and Twitter.