Much Ado About Nothing? – The Anti-Empire Report

Published on DissidentVoice, by William Blum, July 4th, 2009.

What is there about the Iranian election of June 12 that has led to it being one of the leading stories in media around the world every day since? Elections whose results are seriously challenged have taken place in most countries at one time or another in recent decades. Countless Americans believe that the presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen by the Republicans, and not just inside the voting machines and in the counting process, but prior to the actual voting as well with numerous Republican Party dirty tricks designed to keep poor and black voters off voting lists or away from polling stations. The fact that large numbers of Americans did not take to the streets day after day in protest, as in Iran, is not something we can be proud of. Perhaps if the CIA, the Agency for International Development (AID), several US government-run radio stations, and various other organizations supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (which was created to serve as a front for the CIA, literally) had been active in the United States, as they have been for years in Iran, major street protests would have taken place in the United States.

The classic “outside agitators” can not only foment dissent through propaganda, adding to already existing dissent, but they can serve to mobilize the public to strongly demonstrate against the government. In 1953, when the CIA overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, they paid people to agitate in front of Mossadegh’s residence and elsewhere and engage in acts of violence; some pretended to be supporters of Mossadegh while engaging in anti-religious actions. And it worked, remarkably well.1 Since the end of World War II, the United States has seriously intervened in some 30 elections around the world, adding a new twist this time, twittering. The State Department asked Twitter to postpone a scheduled maintenance shutdown of its service to keep information flowing from inside Iran, helping to mobilize protesters …

… Long live the Cold War:

President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras was overthrown in a military coup June 28 because he was about to conduct a non-binding survey of the population, asking the question: “Do you agree that, during the general elections of November 2009 there should be a fourth ballot to decide whether to hold a Constituent National Assembly that will approve a new political constitution?” One of the issues that Zelaya hoped a new constitution would deal with is the limiting of the presidency to one four-year term. He also expressed the need for other constitutional changes to make it possible for him to carry out policies to improve the life of the poor; in countries like Honduras, the law is not generally crafted for that end.

At this writing it’s not clear how matters will turn out in Honduras, but the following should be noted:

The United States, by its own admission, was fully aware for weeks of the Honduran military’s plan to overthrow Zelaya. Washington says it tried its best to change the mind of the plotters. It’s difficult to believe that this proved impossible. During the Cold War it was said, with much justification, that the United States could discourage a coup in Latin America with “a frown.” The Honduran and American military establishments have long been on very fraternal terms. And it must be asked: In what way and to what extent did the United States warn Zelaya of the impending coup? And what protection did it offer him? The response to the coup from the Obama administration can be described with adjectives such as lukewarm, proper but belated, and mixed. It is not unthinkable that the United States gave the military plotters the go-ahead, telling them to keep the traditional “golpe” bloodiness to a minimum. Zelaya was elected to office as the candidate of a conservative party; he then, surprisingly, moved to the left and became a strong critic of a number of Washington policies, and an ally of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Evo Morales of Bolivia, both of whom the Bush administration tried to overthrow and assassinate. (full long text).

Comments are closed.