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Stop the Blame Game: Research Shows That the US Is the Real Election Meddler, Not Russia
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Stop the Blame Game: Research Shows That the US Is the Real Election Meddler, Not Russia

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Let’s be clear on one thing, although there is a lot of fuss now regarding election meddling, it is not something new, neither is it something rare. And while recently there has been a lot of unsubstantiated finger pointing at Russia for its alleged meddling in the American election, Russia is not the only country that stands accused of meddling in the elections of other countries. As a matter of fact, there is much more evidence of the West, particularly the US meddling in the elections of other countries—by way of various means including channeling funds to spread propaganda, rigging polls, and even organizing coups, some pretty bloody ones too—than of Russia even trying to do so!

Dov Levin, from the Institute for Politics and Strategy at Carnegie Mellon University, studied election meddling that happened during the period from 1946 to 2000. And his findings are not surprising. According to his research, there were 117 strong interventions by foreign countries in the election of other countries. That’s around one out of every nine elections held since the Second World War. And while you might assume that it was Russia playing the dirty game, that is farthest from the truth. In fact, a majority of these, almost 70 percent, were cases of US interference.

Many of our American readers might argue that given the cold war, these were necessary steps to safeguard American interests, however, the research shows otherwise. It appears that blaming its election meddling as acts of self-defense during the cold war was just an excuse; instead, the US was engaged in muscle flexing to create a unipolar world, with it being at the helm. Data shows that between 1990 and 2000, after the cold war had ended, 21 such interventions occurred, of which 18 were by the US. These 18 for sure cannot be blamed upon the cold war.

According to Levin, “60 different independent countries have been the targets of such interventions. The targets came from a large variety of sizes and populations, ranging from small states such as Iceland and Grenada to major powers such as West Germany, India, and Brazil.”

Understandably, most of these meddling were covert acts, with almost two-thirds being done in secret where the voters had no inkling that they were being influenced by the vested interests of a foreign power all set to do them more harm than any good.

Levin said that he was surprised by the extent of American meddling in the elections of other countries. “Such interventions can frequently have significant effects on election results in the intervened country, increasing the vote share of the assisted side by 3% on average – enough to determine the identity of the winner in many cases.”

According to Levin’s research, countries where the US meddled in elections include: Albania, Brazil, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malta, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Slovakia, South Vietnam  and Sri Lanka.

Italy

One of the earliest instances of covert American interventions occurred during the 1948 election in Italy, where the CIA helped swing the election result in favor of the Christian Democrats, helping them form a government that excluded the Communists.

Nearly 50 years later, F. Mark Wyatt, a former secret agent who played a pivotal role in the operation admitted: “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets.”

The Washington Post reported that the CIA’s operation among many other things included “forging documents to besmirch communist leaders via fabricated sex scandals,” and “spreading hysteria about a Russian takeover and the undermining of the Catholic Church.”

The CIA's practice of buying political clout was repeated in every Italian election for the next 24 years, and the US was deciding every major decision in Rome and not Rome itself, declassified records show.

Japan

During the 1950s and 60s, the US covertly financed the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan, despite denials from party leaders. According to admissions by former intelligence officials, America wanted Japan to be a bulwark against Communism in Asia and undermine the Japanese left.

The Liberal Democrats' 38 years of one-party rule ended in 1993 when they fell from power after a series of corruption cases came to light, many involving secret cash contributions.

A State Department document in the National Archives describes a secret meeting in a Tokyo hotel during which Eisaku Sato, a former Prime Minister of Japan, sought under-the-table contributions from the United States for the 1958 parliamentary election.

By the early 1960s, the payments to the party and its politicians were "so established and so routine" that they were a fundamental, albeit secret component of America’s foreign policy toward Japan, said Roger Hilsman, head of the State Department's intelligence bureau in the Kennedy Administration.

Panama

In the 1980s, an American official said to the New York Times that “about $20,000” had been given to support Nicolas Barletta presidential campaign in Panama.

Czechoslovakia

In 1990, $400,000 was given to various organizations in Czechoslovakia, that were leading the revolution against Communist rule.

Albania

Between 1949 and 1953, the US together with its preferred partner in crime UK conspired to overthrow the government of Albania, the tiniest and the most vulnerable communist country in Eastern Europe.  They recruited exiles and trained them on methods to stir up dissent and plan armed uprisings. According to reports, one US diplomat explained: “If Albania votes for socialism in this election, a lot of Western investors and governments are going to direct their aid elsewhere.”

Brazil

In 1964, the CIA provided support to the coup led by General Castelo Branco to ensure its leading to 20 years of brutal military dictatorship.

Like many other victims of US-backed coups in Latin America, the elected President Joao Goulart was not a communist, but his desire to remain neutral during the Cold War were as unacceptable to Washington.

Cuba

The United States supported the Batista dictatorship which created repressive conditions that finally led to the Cuban Revolution. Former US Ambassador Earl Smith testified to Congress that, "the US was so overwhelmingly influential in Cuba that the American Ambassador was the second most important man, sometimes even more important than the Cuban president." But the revolution changed all that. So, the CIA launched a long campaign of terrorism against Cuba, training Cuban exiles in Florida, Central America and the Dominican Republic to commit assassinations and sabotage in Cuba. 

CIA-backed operations against Cuba included the attempted invasion at the Bay of Pigs, in which 100 Cuban exiles and four Americans were killed; several attempted assassinations of Fidel Castro and successful assassinations of other officials; several bombing raids in 1960 (three Americans killed and two captured) and terrorist bombings targeting tourists as recently as 1997; a biological swine flu attack that killed half a million pigs; and the terrorist bombing of a Cuban airliner (78 killed) planned by Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch, who until his death in 2011 remained free in America despite the US pretense of waging a war against terrorism. Bosch was granted a presidential pardon by President George HW Bush.

Iran

In 2013 the CIA finally admitted, although it was a grapevine in the political circles by then, that it had been behind the coup against Iran’s secular prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq.

Reports say that after Mosaddeq nationalized the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later rechristened as BP) the UK persuaded President Eisenhower to take this action to install a “pro-western government” in Iran. To achieve its goals, the CIA paid millions of dollars as bribe to military officers and gangsters to unleash violence in the streets of Tehran

An internal CIA document stated: “The military coup that overthrew Mosaddeq and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government.”

Guatemala

The modus operandi was the same during the overthrow of President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954.

Declassified CIA documents reveal how it launched a massive $3m clandestine operation against the government, including “attempts to subvert and or defect Army and political leaders, broad-scale psychological warfare and paramilitary actions.”

Ukraine

There are also questions about America’s role in Ukraine. After the country’s government made a trade policy U-turn, favoring Russia rather than the west, Senator John McCain joined protesters in the capital. He said he was there “to support your just cause” and supported “a grassroots revolution.”

Later, a leaked phone conversation between the US Ambassador to Ukraine and the US Assistant Secretary of State hinted at extensive involvement. They spoke about the need to “midwife this thing” and said Arseniy Yatsenyuk was “the guy,” shortly before he became president.

I can go on and on about America’s goon like behavior in throwing away governments and leaders it does not like and installing in their place puppet governments. However, that is not the goal. The exact extent to which America has been involved in regime changes around the world may after all never be known. However, we want our readers to understand that a lot of human suffering that we see today has been the direct result of American elites’ desire to rule the world. The commitment to human rights and the rule of law that the US preaches is something that it has never itself adhered to. It is also important to understand that these clandestine operations are funded by money siphoned off secretly from the tax money that Americans pay to the government. So, it is our money that the government is using to install dictators and wage unnecessary wars. Would you really want your money to be the cause of sufferings of many? I can say with certainty, that you would even despise the idea, but that is what is happening. 

I would end with a statement that the first president of the United States made about war: “My first wish is to see this plague of mankind, war, banished from the earth.”

Let’s at least start by keeping the US out of unnecessary wars around the world. And I think that is what Trump wants to do!

Author: Pradeep Banerjee