Letter from the US: The hypocrisy of blaming 'Russia'

US interference in the electoral process in Honduras: aftermath of 2009 coup.
Thursday, January 12, 2017

When Donald Trump is sworn in as president on January 20, he will take over the running of the US intelligence agencies — the CIA, FBI, NSA etc — that have brought charges to discredit the outcome of his election.

The Electoral College has rubberstamped Trump’s election and Congress has ratified it. The storm over allegations of Russian interference in last year’s elections will pass as The Leader takes charge and cleans house in these agencies.

But there are some things that should be noted about this brouhaha.

The first is that charges that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the recent elections in the US by hacking into the Democratic National Committee are the height of hypocrisy.

Washington interferes in the elections in other countries on a far greater scale than any other nation. Moreover, when the “wrong” people win elections, the US frequently “interferes” in a bid to remove the government.

A small sample of US interventions to impose governments friendly to US interests:

 

  • After World War II, Korea was divided in two by the US and the Soviet Union. The US military governed South Korea directly from 1945 to 1948. It then organised “elections” in 1948 that installed Syngman Rhee as dictator, a puppet of Washington. Other US-supported dictators followed.

 

  • In 1953, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, was overthrown in a CIA-organised coup after he threatened to nationalise the Western-owned oil companies in Iran. This ushered in the extremely oppressive US puppet regime under Shah Reza Pahlavi, whose dreaded political police agency, SAVAK, was organised by the CIA and Israel’s Shin Bet.

 

  • In 1954, the CIA organised a coup against democratically elected left-wing President Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, resulting in a long series of bloody military dictatorships.

 

  • In 1963, Juan Bosch became the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic after decades of US-imposed dictators. Later that year, he was overthrown in a military coup backed by the Catholic Church, landowners, industrialists and the US because he established a constitution that included democratic and workers’ rights. In 1965, when workers, peasants and sections of the military who supported Bosch overthrew the coup regime, the US armed forces invaded.

 

  • In the early 1970s, US government documents released much later show, Washington tried to keep socialist candidate Salvador Allende from being elected president of Chile. It then worked to destabilise his regime, finally organising the overthrow of Allende and Chilean democracy in a coup that set up General Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship, which jailed, tortured and killed tens of thousands.

 

A similar “dirty war” was established by a US-backed coup in Argentina the same decade.

Examples this century include the CIA-backed military coup that briefly overthrew the elected government of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez in 2002 (who was restored within days by a mass uprising of poor supporters and loyal soldiers).

Evidence of the US role in the coup was later uncovered by Venezuelan journalist Eva Golinger, but in the days after it occurred, journalist William Blum, listing Chavez’s policies that threaten US interests, noted bluntly: “How do we know that the CIA was behind the coup that overthrew Hugo Chavez? Same way we know that the sun will rise tomorrow morning.

“That’s what it’s always done and there’s no reason to think that tomorrow morning will be any different.”

He was proven right.

In Bolivia in 2008, the US ambassador was expelled for what the Bolivian elected government said was his role in helping back a coup attempt centred on the elites in the country’s east.

In Honduras in 2009, the US State Department then headed by Hillary Clinton backed a coup against the elected president Manuel Zelaya, who had allied with left governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba.

With mass protests rocking the country, Clinton helped the military regime to organise “elections” to legitimise the coup. Honduras is now a corrupt narco-state known as the “murder capital of the world”.

There are many other examples, from multiple coups in Haiti to the US-installed-and-backed military regime in post-war Greece.

The second thing to note is that the campaign against Russia obscures what the documents, published by WikiLeaks, actually revealed. The main question is not who leaked or hacked these documents but what they exposed.

The documents revealed an organised effort by the Democratic establishment to discredit the rising challenge by Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. Neither Clinton nor the broader Democrat establishment have challenged the veracity of these documents.

So whoever did provide them to WikiLeaks is only guilty of exposing the truth. They did a public service for the American people.

Possibly, this exposure of the truth did sway some voters not to vote for Clinton. Sanders had charged dirty tricks were being played against him, and these documents provided the truth of those claims. It is likely that this caused some Sanders supporters not to vote at all or for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

There is no serious evidence this swung the result, but regardless, the fault lay with Clinton and her supporters, not Russia or whoever else may have done the leaking or hacking.

The third thing to note is that the allegations by the Democrats and some Republicans that the Russians interfered with the election actually plays into Trump’s hands. The intelligence agencies say they have proof that Putin himself tried to swing the election to Trump, but cannot reveal the evidence due to “national security”.

What all this amounts to is the charge that the election was rigged. The logic of this charge is that Trump should be disqualified as president.

But the accusers pull back from this conclusion and say that Trump’s election was nonetheless fair. Trump has said throughout the campaign that all his opponents and detractors are incompetent “losers”. For Trump, this example makes them whiners, sore losers, too weak to do anything about their charges.

This toothless attempt to discredit the elections is another example of the disarray in the establishment parties evident throughout this weird election.