ukraine war peace

PART 3. THE ROOTS OF VIOLENCE: NEEDS FOR POWER AND FREEDOM

Part 3A. Fears of US Political Interference and Coups, Much Like the 9/11 Coup of Allende

We’ve been discussing one way to approach non-violent conflict resolution by applying the Paradigm for Peace model to the current crisis in Ukraine. In our imaginary chart for the Roots of Violence, we list down the left-hand size the seven categories of the Roots of Violence. We’ve already examined the first category, Life and Safety—how threats to Life and Safety trigger defensively-motivated violence, and how illegitimate desires to deprive others of life cause aggressively-motivated violence. Across the top of our chart, we’ve got listed the actors in the external conflict, including Russia, the US, NATO, and others, and the actors in the internal conflict within Ukraine.

Now we move down to the second category, Power and Freedom. How does the topic of power and freedom drive violence in the current crisis? Is violence caused in part by some nations, groups, or individuals who feel the need to use violence to protect their power and freedom which are under threat? Is violence caused by some who are aggressively seeking to deprive others of their legitimate needs for power and freedom? Or do all actors believe they’re acting defensively?

Let’s first look at the larger, external conflict between the US and Russia. To what degree do Russia and the US fear their power and freedom are threatened because of undemocratic political interference from each other? In this Part 3A, we’ll examine how Russia likely feels threatened by the US with regard to political interference, with a particular look at US coups performed by the CIA.

According to a recent book by Dov H. Levin, a political scientist at the University of Hong Kong, during the years 1946–2000, the US government was the government that interfered the most in foreign national elections with a total of 81 times. The nation second on the list for interfering in elections abroad was Russia, with not even half that number—36 times. It’s not clear from the article whether Levin included within his count political interference in the form of US wars and coups that toppled foreign governments and installed puppet leaders. He writes that the most common way of interfering is through the funding of opposition parties.

Of interest, the number one-targeted nation is Italy, which has had its elections interfered with 12 times, 8 of those by the US, who was desperate in the years following WWII that Italy’s popular Communist party not win an election, since that could jeopardize the US government’s hope of expanding NATO into Italy. One would think that Italy, formerly led by the fascist Mussolini, should be encouraged not to be fascist, but the US supported the Christian Democrat party which included fascists.[1]

Knowing the US history of being the number-one election meddler and coup instigator, do Putin and other Russians fear US-political interference? The US smear campaign against Putin already began 15 years ago. But do Putin and Russians fear the next stages of a coup operation: US payments to opposition parties, bribery of Putin’s rivals who are willing to politically or physically destroy Putin, and a subsequent US-promoted political coup? It’s certainly possible.

The CIA and the US State Department’s National Endowment for “Democracy” (NED) have promoted and instigated coups in multiple nations worldwide, including throughout much of Latin America as well as nations of Asia and Africa. Given the topics of school curricula and mainstream media news, most Americans are probably unaware of the extent of the US government’s severe and illegal interference in the internal affairs of foreign nations. US wars that killed millions in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Angola, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala were inflicted in the name of fighting for freedom against the USSR. US coups of Iran’s Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953, Guatamela’s Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán in 1954, the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba in 1961, the Dominican Republic’s Rafael Trujillo in 1961, Ecuador’s Carlos Julio Arosemena in 1963,[2] Brazil’s Joao Goulart in 1964, Indonesia’s Sukarno in 1965,[3] Cambodia’s Norodam Sihanouk in 1970 (with CIA involvement at least in earlier coup attempts),[4] Bolivia’s Juan Torres in 1971,[5] Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973, and beyond, as well as massacres, death squad executions, and often decades of oppressive brutality following these coups, were also performed in the name of fighting the USSR and upholding freedom against oppression and brutality.

Yet these extreme inflictions of violence by an out-of-control US government actually had nothing to do with fighting the USSR, nothing to do with upholding freedom, and nothing to do with fighting oppression and brutality. They were, instead, much more related to the failure of these nations and leaders to observe what I call the “Four Commandments” of US foreign policymakers. I cover these coups in greater depth and document my reasons and proof for suggesting that these Four Commandments exist in my unpublished series, but I’ll just briefly list them here. If you yourself take a look at these wars and coups, you’ll notice that violation of one or more of these commandments is what marks a foreign leader for disempowerment or death by the US government:

First Commandment: Thou shalt not obstruct US businesses’ profit-making abroad.

Second Commandment: Thou shalt not significantly help the poor or give decent amounts of fertile land to the landless.

Third Commandment: Thou shalt not be enemies with our friends, or friends with our enemies.

Fourth Commandment: Thou shalt not reject US military bases and weapons.

In his work, Freeing the World to Death, the late William Blum, one of my favorite authors, lists instances in the 60 years from 1945 to 2004 of the US government overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government, whether by invasion, proxy war, or coup. Blum lists 52 events in that list, nearly one per year on average.[6] US foreign policymakers have inflicted several more since 2004.

While reading the sheer quantity of US coups abroad is essential, it’s also important to examine the details of these coups in order to get the full flavor of the large-scale, in-depth US programs to topple and destroy foreign leaders. If you don’t know the history of the coups and their details, you’re more vulnerable to US propaganda because you’re less likely to recognize the current pattern against Putin as a pattern we’ve seen before. Therefore, I’ll go into some detail on one of the numerous US-engineered coups.

On 9/11/1973, a US coup engineered by the two-man team undemocratically running US foreign policy at the time—President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger—replaced Chile’s democratically-elected Marxist President Salvador Allende Gossens, who was killed in the process, with Augusto Pinochet, who would destroy all of Chile’s democratic institutions. In their intolerance for both socialism and democracy, Nixon and Kissinger seemed to agree with Pinochet’s disparaging remark against democracy in 1974: “Democracy is the best pot for Marxism.” The result? Throughout the next decade, Pinochet’s reign of terror killed tens of thousands of Chilean civilians.

Nixon and Kissinger despised Allende because he was a socialist. Since 2 percent of the population had 46 percent of the income, Allende planned to redistribute income. It made sense. He wanted to nationalize major industries, especially the copper industry, an industry in which US businessmen were deeply involved, an industry which treated its Chilean workers in ways that deeply enraged the famous revolutionary Che Guevara. Allende wanted agrarian reform. He wanted to improve relations with socialist and Communist nations.[7] But all of this wildly violated the first Three Commandments and was thus deemed by the US policymaker-CEO-banker clique to be sufficiently scary and dangerous to warrant the convictions that Chileans should not be able to hold fair elections, they should not be informed truthfully, Allende should not become president, and he should be killed before such a thing could ever happen.

Allende had almost won the presidency in 1958, and it was then, sometime during the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations, that the US State Department and CIA began laying the groundwork for the 1964 election by funding anti-left-wing parties and flooding Chile with anti-Allende and anti-Communist alarmist propaganda that warned of infiltrating Russians and godless atheist Communists. As Blum writes, “The United States decided that the next election, in 1964, could not be left in the hands of providence, or democracy.”[8]

Fearing the loss of profits and business from Allende’s nationalization plans, the Business Group for Latin America, including ITT, PepsiCo, and the copper-mining Anaconda Mining Company, had covertly supported anti-Allende campaigns.[9] The Business Group for Latin America had been organized in 1963 by David Rockefeller, chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, at the request of President John Kennedy.[10] ITT had already taken over the telephone systems in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay back in the 1920s with the help of J.P. Morgan & Company.[11] An ITT memo of 1970 was later found to reveal a scheme to cause a covert run on the banks in Chile in order to lead to factory closure, massive unemployment, and unrest which would in turn be a pretext for the military to make its move against Allende.[12]

The CIA had spent $20 million to support the 1964 campaign of Allende’s opponent, Eduardo Frei of the Christian Democratic Party. First National City Bank’s John M. Hennessy had helped channel CIA monies and later joined the Nixon campaign to help destabilize Allende. The US government succeeded in keeping Allende from power in 1964, and during Frei’s administration (1964–1970), US foreign investment reached a peak. In the late 1960s, foreign investments tripled. Twenty-four of the top thirty US transnational corporations (TNCs) were operating in Chile, including Dow, Dupont, First National City Bank, Ford, GM, and Standard Oil of New Jersey.[13]

CIA efforts failed in 1970, when Allende was elected president. At that point, the US destabilization operation kicked into high gear, a vast program that both Blum and Cockcroft describe in tremendous, interesting detail. The CIA poured millions of dollars into this destabilization operation, more of which we’ll discuss in Part 4 when we focus on the next category, Wealth, Land, and Possessions. In addition to the Communist-alarmist tactics, the US government now threatened to cut off all aid. False propaganda warned that Allende wanted to nationalize everything, even small shops. False propaganda predicted economic collapse and created a smear campaign against Allende as an undemocratic leader. It’s a favorite smear tactic of US policymakers.

The Chilean economy did collapse, but not because of socialism. The economy collapsed because Chile’s economy had become so dependent upon the United States that Chile was now vulnerable to the United States—a situation that should be taken as a worldwide warning of the immense dangers posed by globalization and economic interdependencies to both political sovereignty and democracy. In my view, nations are much safer not being economically dependent upon the US or US-powered international lending institutions.

Nixon and Kissinger made sure to choke off all loans and exports to Chile. Their goal? To make Chile’s economy “scream” and then prod Chileans to blame the economic disaster on Allende, rather than those who had undermined both Allende and Chile’s economy. US government assistance programs to Chile disappeared almost completely. With its typical practice of tying supposedly-generous loans to strings that allow for severe US influence on borrowing nations’ internal government policies and thus allow for severe US violations of national sovereignty, loans from the US Export-Import Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, thanks to US pressure, plummeted. The World Bank, in which the US is the only nation with veto power, made no new loans to Chile from 1971 to 1973. US businesses were told to “tighten the economic noose.” Lengthy CIA-funded strikes were promoted. The usual CIA false propaganda in Chile’s media was used to alarm citizens and the military. At the same time, the United States continued to train Chilean troops and provide military equipment, thus softening Chile’s military into a cozy relationship with the United States.

The United States sabotaged Chile to convince the public that socialism could not work. Of course it couldn’t work: the United States was waging economic war against Chile and destabilizing the nation with the use of falsehoods.[14] But that’s like saying painting your house from yellow to blue won’t work. It can work, but not if all the while someone else is hosing down the freshly painted blue.

In fact, Kissinger was apparently more fearful of Chile’s Allende than of Cuba’s Castro, because Allende’s socialism and democracy might succeed. According to investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, it wasn’t simply Allende taking power that Kissinger feared: he feared that Allende would peacefully pass the reins of power to the next president at the next election, thus proving that socialism can be democratic and setting an example of socialist success and independence from the US which would in turn set a “dangerous” precedent for other nations of Latin America and southern Europe, which the US had been trying hard to get involved with NATO.[15]

Similarly, Blum remarks that what was especially provocative to the US government was the fact that Allende was a Marxist who was constitutionally elected and who continued to honor the constitution. Such decent behavior undermined the foundation of US propaganda—that Communism and socialism equate to terror, tyranny, oppression, atrocities, brainwashing, evil. For the US policymaking clique, “there could be only one thing worse than a Marxist in power—an elected Marxist in power.”[16]

As bad as the US destabilization program was, it paled in comparison to the horror of the coup itself and the consequent decade and beyond of suffering. And this is the kind of activity in which the US government takes great pride. It “saved” and “liberated” Chile from Marxism from which it was not suffering. Putting aside the freedom and liberation hogwash, in reality, the US government and the Chilean thugs it befriended brought all this to the people of Chile:

  • The coup of September 11, 1973 left Chile’s President Salvador Allende dead and was accompanied by massive fire power, sophisticated weaponry, mass killings, arrests, torture, and dead bodies and limbs floating down the Mapocho River.
  • Women wearing pants had their pants slit. They were arrested and told that women in Chile only wear skirts.
  • Men with long hair were arrested.
  • People were lined up and shot with machine guns. Heads were crushed.
  • Thousands were shot or tortured.
  • Many newspaper offices, shantytowns, schools, factories, and trade-union headquarters were destroyed by fire.
  • “Subversive” books were burned.
  • One American journalist, Charles Horman, who was trying to get the full scoop, not simply the anti-Allende line, was disappeared. The US embassy had refused to help him. His body was found at the morgue.
  • 10,000 citizens were herded into Santiago’s National Stadium which was converted into a prison camp and torture chamber. The folksinger-guitarist Victor Jara tried to comfort the people there with song. Officials reportedly broke his hands, smashed his guitar, and beat him to death.

Is this what awaits Russia?

The Allende coup was not an outlying case. It was typical and it remains typical. The pattern of US sabotage of foreign leaders for dark motives continues.

Hearing these and similar details in other nations, it’s disturbing to learn that Kissinger was lauded by Nightline’s Ted Koppel as “plain and simply the best secretary of state we have had in 20, maybe 30 years. . . . I’m proud to be a friend of Henry Kissinger. He is an extraordinary man. This country has lost a lot by not having him in a position of influence and authority.”[17]

I realize that the two men apparently felt a common bond because of their common German Jewish heritage, with both their parents fleeing Nazi Germany. However, sympathy for common family histories should not eclipse a newscaster’s vision so greatly that he cannot see Kissinger’s immense weaknesses of thought, the enormous blind spots in his sense of morality, and the immense, unwarranted suffering that Kissinger greatly helped inflict upon thousands of people in multiple nations. Kissinger was a major reason why Pinochet came to power, why life in Chile became hell, why tens of thousands of Chileans died, and many more were tortured and disappeared. Koppel might as well be praising Hitler. Killing socialists, which both Pinochet and Hitler enjoyed doing, is a hateful act of prejudice based on ignorance and greed.

Of course, Kissinger, like everybody else allowed into the foreign policy establishment, was also a longtime friend of the Rockefeller family, which had personal economic interests in Latin America and had founded the Business Group of Latin America to advise US policymakers on Latin America, as if businesses even have the right to be advising US foreign policymakers. Belonging to a social circle that seeks profit above all else can have a way of severely bending the lines of morality and eclipsing compassion for others, even while seeing oneself as noble and good.[18] But it’s that profit-minded, control-oriented, insulated social circle which has forever remained in power in the US and which threatens to do a lot more damage.

Chileans experienced a lot more suffering on their 9/11/73 than Americans experienced on their 9/11/01. And that was only a taste of what was to come, all brought thanks to the US government. Brazilian and Bolivian troops who had been trained at US Army schools in the Panama Canal Zone had previously taught 250 Chileans the techniques of terrorism. The CIA had funded the pro-Nazi terrorist group Patria y Libertad which had engaged in numerous terrorist attacks between 1970 and 1973 and then became key leaders and torturers in the coup’s aftermath. They unleashed their talents on their fellow Chileans under the direction of the US-supported, funded, and armed Pinochet.[19] At that point, Chilean hopes, dreams, families, loves, and ways of life were pulverized.

One year later, US President Gerald Ford remarked with the usual US policymaker Orwellian doublespeak that what the United States had done in Chile was “‘in the best interest of the people in Chile and certainly in our own best interest.’”[20] Nixon and Ford are the types of idiots that we Americans are so fortunate to get to vote for in our wonderful “democratic” elections, elections especially prepared and tailored by those elite social and business circles who make our foreign policy.

An examination of whom the US topples and whom it doesn’t topple proves that US policymakers routinely accept and fund authoritarian leaders as long as they play by the rules—the Four Commandments—and serve the interests of US policymakers. Only when such leaders seek to behave independently from the Four Commandments do US policymakers suddenly decide that the leader’s authoritarianism is now something to complain about and use as a pretext for a coup or invasion. In other words, authoritarianism itself is never the real reason for US policymaker disapproval of a foreign leader.

In fact, foreign authoritarianism often provides a way for US policymakers to secure what they want from other nations, for no foreign population would, of its own volition, wish to observe the Four Commandments. At the same time, a type of soft authoritarianism within the US, which involves the absolute sealing off of alternative, non-violent views on foreign policy, the absolute lack of voice we have in determining whether or not our tax dollars will be spent on wars, weapons, and foreign CIA and NED subversive operations, and the Orwellian propaganda to try to keep Americans compliant, helps ensure a steady supply of tax dollars and American docility. The first victims of CIA and NED propaganda campaigns were, perhaps, Americans themselves.

As we know from nearly every single one of the other CIA and NED coups, with one or two exceptions such as the coup of Rafael Trujillo in 1961, they’re never about liberating people or preserving freedom, they’re never about saving people from torture and brutality: they’re almost always about the very opposite. They’re about getting into power puppet leaders who will give certain US social and business circles the deals they want abroad and access to resources, markets, and profits—all at the sacrifice of the prosperity of their own people, and all with the never-ending establishment of more US/NATO military bases, because 800 US military bases around the world just isn’t enough. It’s a violent, kleptocratic practice: preying upon hard-earned US tax dollars to then prey upon foreign nations by funding violent, unjust operations abroad to fatten the wallets of certain US social and business circles.

When we get to the third category in this analysis, Wealth, Land, and Possessions, we’ll look more closely at examples and evidence of the effect these coups have upon certain US businesses and on the targeted nation as well as the unpublicized role that greed and economic rivalry are playing in current US behavior towards Russia.

Russia has every right to have its defenses up, for US foreign policymakers are completely capable of destroying another nation while playing innocent and noble at home. We see that time and time again. Even the reason Nixon was impeached ended up having nothing to do with his illegal behavior towards Chile. We Americans were only supposed to be upset about the domestic crime of Watergate, not US-funded and US-engineered slaughter abroad. Americans are never supposed to question or worry about that.

The current smear campaign against Putin is extremely disturbing because it suggests that US policymakers are well on their way to launching a coup or some other underhanded maneuver to get Putin out of their way.

Kristin Christman has been independently researching US foreign policy and peace since 9/11. Her channel focuses on US-Russian relations at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-10lk-CwU-5vAElcg. Kristin graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College with a BA in Russian, and she holds Master’s degrees in Slavic languages from Brown University and public administration from SUNY Albany. She is a guest with former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter and UNAC coordinator Joe Lombardo on Cynthia Pooler’s program, Issues that Matter, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDlaLNJih7U. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice recently published her article on suicide, culture, and peace in their special edition on suicide, Vol. 33 No. 4.  kristinchristman956@gmail.com

 

[1] Kim Hjelmgaard, “The US Is the Biggest Election Meddler of Them All, New Book Claims,” USA Today, Sept. 4, 2020, https://www.usatoday.com.

[2] Ramón Núñez, “Otra vez la CIA!” December 13, 2012, El Telégrafo, https://www.eltelegrafo.com.

[3] Vincent Bevins, “What the United States Did in Indonesia,” The Atlantic, October 20, 2017, https://www.theatlantic.com.

[4] Milton E. Osborne, Sihanouk Prince of Light, Prince of Darkness (Honolulu, Hawaii:  University of Hawaii Press, 1994), 110.

[5] Robert P. Baird, “US Paid Money to Support Hugo Banzer’s 1971 Coup in Bolivia,” May 30, 2010, https://hcranalysis.wordpress.com;

Memoranda with Nixon, Kissinger, 40 Committee:  #79 September 26, 1969, #80 October 17, 1969, #93 October 7, 1970, #97 March 15, 1971, #101 June 11, 1971, #104 June 29, 1971, #105 July 6, 1971, #106 July 9, 1971, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969-1976, Volume E-10, Documents on American Republics, 1969-1972, https://history.state.gov.

[6] William Blum, Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire (Monroe, ME: Common Courage, 2005), 225-26.

[7] James D. Cockcroft, Latin America: History, Politics, and US Policy, (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1998), 208.

[8] William Blum, Killing Hope, (London: Zed, 2014), 206.

[9] Seymour M. Hersh, The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, (New York: Summit Brooks, 1983), 260;

Cockcroft, Latin America, 550.

[10] Hersh, Price of Power, 258-76.

[11] Ron Chernow, Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller (New York: Vintage Books, 1998), 19, 243-46, 250, 308.

[12] Cockcroft, Latin America, 552.

[13] Cockcroft, Latin America, 541-46.

[14] Blum, Killing Hope, 206-12.

[15] Hersh, Price of Power, 270.

[16] Blum, Killing Hope, 215.

[17] Martin A. Lee and Norman Solomon, Unreliable Sources: A Guide to Detecting Bias in News Media, (New York: Carol, 1990), 26.

[18] Hersh, Price of Power, 258-76;

Cockcroft, Latin America, 550.

[19] Cockcroft, Latin America, 549-50, 552.

[20] Blum, Killing Hope, 214.


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