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President Kennedy with his advisers on the Bay of Pigs operation in Florida 1961

“Lets just call it nationbuilding”

In an act of the most astonishing political blindness Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15), the Ranking Member of the CIA Subcommittee of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, together with Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD-07), the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, have introduced the pompously sounding Protecting Our Democracy Act to establish the National Commission on Foreign Interference in the 2016 Election.

This is a bill that would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government and others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or sow distrust in this year’s U.S. elections. The commission — which would examine similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities — would issue a final report with recommendations for future security protections to Congress and the President within 18 months of the bill’s enactment.

Oh dear, oh dear.  In what must be one of the most jaw dropping moments of hypocrisy (even from an American politician choked with synthetic verklemst) he sets it out as follows.

“This past election, the principles of our democracy were attacked. We owe it to our constituents to defend the integrity of our representative democracy, starting with finding out what exactly happened and how we prevent it from ever happening again,” said Ranking Member Swalwell. “While our intelligence agencies have concluded with high confidence that Russia meddled in America’s elections, to what degree and whether other state or non-state actors were involved remains unresolved. Americans of all political parties are rightfully worried and deserve answers. To protect our democracy, we are calling for a fact-based, independent, bipartisan-appointed commission on foreign interference in the 2016 election.”

We are clearly entering one of America’s periodic bouts of political blindness where the elite hope to distract the public once again.  This time it’s that old red herring of Soviet interference in good old US politics.  They hope you do not know, or have forgotten, America’s own appalling history of interfering in other people’s business.  More smoke and mirrors and half-truths.  So, I thought it might be helpful to draw out some of the more egregious examples of America’s history of meddling in other people’s politics.  I do not even claim it as a complete list, just some of my favourites.

America has been interfering in foreign elections for over a hundred years.  Will Swalwell be looking into these examples?  Probably not.

Nicaragua 1909  US backed rebels in Nicaragua to depose Jose Santos Zelaya.

Nicaragua 1912-1933       US Occupies Nicaragua “to provide stabilization to the government”.

Italy 1948             “Everything including the kitchen sink”.  This really was a big un.  Literally suitcases of cash disappearing into the clutches of anyone who could claim they were not communists.  Support from the US for all sorts of pork barrel projects.  Threats to remove US Aid and forging documents, fabricating sex scandals and trying to undermine the Catholic Church.  Oh yes this one was so much fun. The US kept this up for the next seven elections.  And we wonder why Italian politics is the way it is?

Syria 1949            Truman supported the coup that overthrew the elected parliamentary government in Syria because it was delaying approving an oil pipeline requested by US business interests.  Shocking.  And you are surprised that the Syrians view America with suspicion?

Iran 1953              Eisenhower and the CIA help the Shah overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh.  Well we all know where that led don’t we?

Philippines 1953                Edward Lansdale, an old CIA spook, operates the campaign for President Raman Magsaysay.

Guatemala 1957                Operation PBSUCCESS deposes the democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz and installed the military dictatorship of Carlos Amas. Further information is at my previous blog “The United Fruit Company“.

Lebanon 1957/8                Eisenhower sends in troops to Lebanon  and the CIA arrive with suitcases of loose cash in Operation Blue Hell.

Indonesia 1958  US sponsors a failed revolt against Sukarno.  Never mind we can try again later.

Cuba 1959           The Bay of Pigs disaster.

Congo 1961         The assassination of Patrice Lumumba. Can we say the Congo ever really recovered?

Chile 1964            $4 million identified on 15 separate projects by a Senate inquiry in the mid 1970’s that exposed the CIA role in this rigged election.

Indonesia 1967  The removal of Sukarno and squashing of the democratic will of the people.  An international tribunal in Den Hague found the US complicit in Indonesian crimes against humanity in 1965 in the run up to this act.

Chile 1970            CIA instigates a coup to keep Alende out thereby devastating the country.

Malta 1971 Showing that there is no state too small that the good ol’ USA will not upset its economy in the run up to elections it does not approve of.

Portugal 1974-6  Interference following death of the old dictator.

Zaire 1975

Granada 1983     Invasion of a British Colony without so much as a by your leave!

Haiti 1986            CIA campaigned to undermine Jean Betrande Aristide a Roman Catholic priest and liberation theologian.

Panama 1989      Troops sent in to overthrow Manuel Noriega.

Nicaragua 1990                  The CIA leaked damaging information on the Sandinistas and Ortega’s corruption to a German newspaper – sound familiar Barry?

Czechoslovakia 1990       US providing training and funding for Vaclav Haval.

Russia 1996         Clinton endorses $10.2 billion loan to Yeltsin just as the economy was faltering and allowed him to use these funds to pay back wages, pensions etc.  For the Democrats to complain about the role of the Russians is therefore audacious rank hypocrisy.

Israel 1996           Clinton openly supports Shimon Peres.

Israel 1999           Clinton advised Ehud Barak against Netanyahu.

Yugoslavia 2000                 Millions were openly spent in “aid” for parties that were against Slobodan Milosovic.

Britain 2016        Obama told the British not to vote for Brexit and threatened them with “Being at the back of the queue” if they did.

Sadly this is not an exhaustive list by any means.

It ill behoves Obama to try to gain the moral high ground with this track record at his back.  It just makes him look weak and spiteful which should not be his legacy.

Copyright David Macadam 2016