How the US Spent Billions to Control Elections Around the World
Next Post

Press {{ keys }} + D to make this page bookmarked.


How the US Spent Billions to Control Elections Around the World


WASHINGTON — January 11, 2019

Americans are at least somewhat hypocritical when they criticize everyone else for allegedly trying to interfere in their political system. Most analysts today believe the US is too worried about its elections, which gives rise to theories like Russian interference in 2016 and November 2018.

However, it is necessary to start by making clear differences between American intervention laws during the Cold War on the one hand, and the activities of the US after the Cold War on the other, and then study the so-called interference of other countries in US policy.

In the Cold War era, the US did intervene illegally in electoral processes in many countries, trying to help those candidates who were favored by Washington -- and in some cases trying to overthrow legitimately elected leaders in whom the White House saw a threat to American security and economic interests. It's a long and dark history, marked by particularly high-profile cases in Guatemala and Iran in the early 1950s and in Chile and Nicaragua in the 1970s and 1980s.

For example, the victory over communism, very popular in Italy after the fascist dictatorship, cost Washington $360 million — $1.5 billion today considering inflation. That’s cheap..

"The CIA gave money to the Christian Democrat party, their politicians, their media, organizations, famous people and conducted other operations of influence on the Italians. It started in 1948 and continues to this day around the world," says journalist Wayne Madsen, an ex-employee of the US National Security Agency in 1985-89.

First, the Washington Post, then the New York Times issued an article, according to which the United States intervened in other elections, but unlike the Russian for good reason. Here is a sample of an interview with former Director of Central Intelligence James Wolsey to FOX:

"Have we ever interfered in someone else's election?" asked the news anchor.

"Only with a good intentions. To prevent the Communists from coming to power. For example, in Europe in 1947-1949. And then in Greece, in Italy," Wolsey answered.

"What about today? Do we do this today at all?" continued the leader of the TV program.

"Only for a very good reason, only for the sake of democracy," Wolsey joked.

However, after the end of the Cold War, the scale of such interventions "significantly decreased," as American politicians ceased to believe that the world is a "global ideological struggle" in which each country is "a very important figure on the strategic chessboard." America was now much less concerned about the outcome of elections in most other countries, and it was much less likely to try to tilt electoral processes in one direction or another.

However, there have also been at least a few cases in recent decades where the US has tried to manipulate foreign elections to bring the right candidate to power.

"During the Palestinian Elections in 2006, the Bush administration used economic aid to strengthen Fatah's position in its fight against Hamas. In the run-up to the Iraq Elections in 2005, White House developed a plan to provide clandestine financial assistance to preferred Iraqi candidates and parties, but rejected it because of congressional objections."

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also mentions in his memoirs that in 2009 the United States carried out "secret work" before the elections in Afghanistan, trying to "push" President Hamid Karzai and deprive him of the chances of winning. There were undoubtedly other cases, which today remain mostly classified, but mostly the US interference in the elections has decreased significantly. America has changed its interests, and in the political establishment of the United States began to look differently at the acceptability of such actions.

The US position in many cases has caused a lot of sarcasm in Europe. A popular German sketch show grabbed onto the topic:

"Know what? The US is in the first place, with 81 interventions on its account, and this does not include putsch. You know that old joke. Why hasn't the coup happened in the US yet? Yes, because there is no US Embassy. Donald Trump is just an act of tiny revenge for Boris Yeltsin. You remember," joked actors of the Die Anstalt show.

Meanwhile, Don Levin, a fellow at the Institute of Police and Strategy at Carnegie-Mellon told CNN: "I study the traces of interference, especially when the great powers interfere in the elections in other countries in order to influence their results. According to my study, from 1946 to 2000, the United States has 81 such cases with the participation of 47 countries.”

And recall the words of FDR: “Somoza [Anastasio "Tachito" Somoza DeBayle was a Nicaraguan dictator] may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch." With the support of hte US, he ruled the country for 45 years. Little has changed since then.

"They support anti-government organizations. And they justify it by fighting for democracy. But everything is much more prosaic. They simply promote their own interests in the state. They are doing the same thing as the CIA in the last century," says former CIA officer, Executive Director of the US National Interest Council Philip Giraldi.

“They” are American organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, funded by Congress.

"It was kind of awkward to constantly justify the fact that the CIA is behind the coup d'état and interference in the Affairs of other countries, and it was decided – let's give this function to the National Fund for democracy. And then millions flowed like a river in other countries. In 2013, 65 local special operations were carried out in Ukraine alone. And in Serbia it was the same," said ex-CIA analyst Raymond McGovern.

It was the coup in Serbia that opened a new page in the history of the US interference in the elections. The youth movement Resistance, the so-called coup force was created on American money. Here's what the Washington Post wrote in 2000: "It was the beginning of a non-standard for the US attempt to overthrow a foreign head of state not through hidden actions that the CIA once used in places such as Iran and Guatemala, but in modern methods of the election campaign."

A year before the elections, Serbian students were invited to seminars abroad, pumped ideologically and trained in the tactics of the so-called "non-violent protest,” which easily turns into violence. Washington liked the technology of intervention so much that it was almost invariably exported to dozens of countries. Even the symbols were not changed. It begs the quote of the same Dov Levin: "In the XXI century, interventions are too expensive, instead of bullets now we use election ballots."

According to the official story from the White House and other law enforcement agencies, the United States and other Western countries seek to help civil society in other countries "in the struggle for rights and democracy,” and not to take sides in the inter-party political struggle and election campaigns, or to create boundaries between political and civil society, which are often very blurred.

Moreover, despite the fact that the US and the West "promote democracy openly and without reserve,” some of their organizations are becoming less transparent in the process of providing assistance to protect its recipients "from persecution and intimidation" -- and this gives much reason to accuse the West of carrying out secret political interference.

"This scenario creates a vicious circle in which anti-democratic regimes accuse supporters of democracy of covert interference and persecute those with whom they work, which is why these organizations begin to act even more covertly. In turn, this further strengthens confidence in the harmful and secret external interference," a Foreign Affairs article on US interference in the elections of other countries says.

In short, the American policy of promoting democracy is inconsistent. The American government allocates much more funds for democracy programs in those countries that the US considers its strategic opponents (Iran or Cuba) than in non-democratic states in which the US sees strategic partners (Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia). This inconsistency can be challenged at times, but it is generally detrimental to the "common cause of democracy" because "democracy itself is based on principles.”

It is still unclear what measures the US will take to "effectively respond to Russian interference in the election." However, this should not be a reason to argue that Washington "has no moral right to object to such actions of Russia." Indeed, the United States itself has intervened in elections in the past, especially during the Cold War years but in recent years, "interference trends" in the behavior of Washington and Moscow diverge, rather than converge, and it is Moscow that is "on the negative side.”

"Although the United States actions to promote democracy can hardly be called flawless, as in the past they made serious mistakes, but they are very far from the illegal and secret interference of Russia in the elections, which it clearly intends to make one of the defining characteristics of its activities abroad," Foreign Affairs concluded.

Author: USA Really