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Issue #1791      August 23, 2017

Culture & Life

Who is the real “Rogue State”? (Part 1)

You have presumably noticed how Australian news bulletins invariably refer to the DPRK (North Korea) as “the rogue state”. The use of this term of opprobrium began, of course, with the Yanks but all of America’s assorted allies and clients quickly fell into line. In Australia, even the ABC uses it. But one has to ask: why?

North Korea has not invaded anyone, hasn’t organised any coups against democratically-elected governments, hasn’t imposed economic blockades on another country in the face of repeated condemnation from the UN General Assembly, hasn’t carried out terrorist drone raids and assassinations, and has not armed and financed any terrorist groupings to kill civilians and destabilise governments in countries that don’t do as it says.

On the other hand, the USA has done – and still does – all those things. And more. Just who is the real rogue, then?

As early as 1916, that great exponent of world peace and civilised relations between states, US President Woodrow Wilson ordered the invasion of the Dominican Republic by US marines, who occupied the country for the next six years. However, US efforts to prevent the election of left-wing governments or to bring about “regime change” in favour of US corporations and investments really took off after WW2.

It began with US intelligence agencies organising and financing terrorist campaigns in Western Europe after the War to thwart a likely election victory by the Communist-led Anti-fascist Resistance movement. At the same time, the US took over from Britain the task of preventing a left-wing victory in the Greek Civil War. (Prior to WW2, Britain had proudly led the intrigues and plots against the USSR but the change in the balance of forces within imperialism brought about by the War saw this leading role yielded after the War to the US.)

After the victory of the Chinese Reds in 1949, the US transported an invasion force – made up from the remnants of Chiang Kai Check’s anti-Communist “Nationalist” army on Taiwan – to northern Thailand so they could begin the “liberation” of China. However, they proved to be less interested in taking on the Chinese Red Army than in getting involved in the lucrative narcotics trade.

The same year the US successfully engineered a coup d'état in Syria and sent an invasion force of counter-revolutionary émigrés into Albania. This latter plan was disclosed to Soviet (and hence Albanian) authorities in full in advance by Soviet agent Kim Philby and the invasion force was quickly rounded up. Nevertheless, the US continued actively trying to subvert and overthrow Albania’s Communist government into the 1950s.

From 1951 until 1956, the US – with British assistance – tried unsuccessfully to bring about an anti-Communist coup in Tibet that would install the Dalai Lama as titular head of a pro-imperialist anti-Chinese government.

In 1953, however, the US was successful in organising a coup d'état in Iran to remove the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh who had sought to restrict the activities of the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, now BP) and to divert at least some of its profits to Iran itself.

Although British intelligence officials played a pivotal role in initiating and planning the coup, and the AIOC contributed $25,000 towards the expense of bribing officials, in August 2013, the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) admitted that it had been in charge of both the planning and the execution of the coup, including the bribing of Iranian politicians and high-ranking security and army officials, as well as providing pro-coup propaganda. The CIA is quoted acknowledging the coup was carried out “under CIA direction” and “as an act of US foreign policy, conceived and approved at the highest levels of government”.

The following year, US President Dwight Eisenhower implemented a CIA-run coup in Guatemala on behalf of the US-owned United Fruit Company, which had enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the country. So blatant was UFC’s involvement that even British ruling class journal Punch ran a full-page cartoon showing the Statue of Liberty holding not a torch but a full bunch of bananas.

Prior to the coup, the democratically-elected regime of Juan Jose Arevalo had introduced a minimum wage and increased funding to education while his successor, Jacobo Arbenz, instituted land reforms to grant property to landless peasants. Such shockingly socialistic measures were deemed an unacceptable threat to the UFC, which had direct ties to Eisenhower's Secretary of State (John Foster Dulles) and his brother, CIA head Allen Dulles. The US-initiated coup led to four decades of civil war in Guatemala, as successive US-backed dictators committed atrocities such as genocide against the Mayan people (acts that, significantly, the US government never spoke out against).

In 1957, the US sought to interfere in Syria by alleging there was a Soviet plot to take over the government. American ally Turkey mobilised on the Syrian border. The USSR threatened nuclear retaliation if Syria was attacked and the US threatened to do the same if Turkey was attacked, but after some sabre rattling the US and Turkey backed down.

Meanwhile, throughout the 1950s, the United States, Britain, and Australia were trying to ease out Indonesia’s “Non-Aligned” President Sukarno. Sukarno’s allegiances were too ambiguous for what was happening during the Cold War as he courted the US, the USSR, and the Chinese, and the West wanted him out. In 1955, the CIA plotted to assassinate President Sukarno despite objections from then Vice President Nixon. Over the next three years, the CIA attempted to subvert Sukarno by financing his political opponents and bribing other public officials. This happened until September 25, 1957 when President Eisenhower finally ordered the CIA to overthrow the Sukarno government. In 1958, elements of the Indonesian military, with the support of the CIA, rebelled against the rule of President Sukarno. This attempted coup ended in failure.

NEXT WEEK a look at US involvement in coups, murderous intrigues and destabilising efforts – not mention actual wars – in Cuba, the Congo and lots of other places.

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