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Thu Feb 11, 2021, 11:49 AM

Great DUers warned us in 2001...

Smells like coup spirit

By Dwayne Eutsey

April 27, 2001-Thanks to the investigative reporting of journalists such
as Greg Palast, more evidence of a coordinated effort to disenfranchise
tens of thousands of registered voters (mostly African American) is
surfacing in Florida. When these reports are considered within the context
of police roadblocks, cases of intimidation, and possible large-scale
voter fraud and ballot tampering, fears of an orchestrated dirty election
become more substantiated.

There is another aspect of the 2000 election in Florida that remains
largely untouched, however: the possibility of a domestic covert
intelligence operation designed to make certain that America didn't go
Democratic "due to the irresponsibility of its own people," to paraphrase
Henry Kissinger's remark concerning overthrowing the democratically
elected government in Chile.

Perhaps the possibility of such an operation in the US is too far-fetched
to take seriously, or perhaps there isn't enough evidence to proceed with
documenting such suspicions. Unfortunately, history proves that the
former assumption is naive (Watergate, Iran-Contra, and documented CIA
activities against US citizens come immediately to mind). Regarding
evidence, it's the nature of the covert beast to leave no fingerprints and
smoking guns behind (unless you're setting up a patsy). However, if you
can't find a corpse laying around, the stench in the air can often reveal,
nonetheless, that a murder victim's body is covered up somewhere nearby.

What follows here is not an expose of how a CIA-backed coup in Florida
helped kill the democratic process in November. It is an effort, however,
to draw attention to the disturbing stink surrounding events in the 2000
election that are similar to known CIA actions that thwarted democracy in
other countries, namely Guatemala in the 1950s and Chile in 1973. To
avoid the appearance of "conspiracy theorizing" on my part, I've limited
the information presented here to what can be verified. I have also
limited the focus of this survey to very broad similarities. Many others
connections exist and warrant further investigation (such as claims that
former CIA/FBI agent Charles Kane, who was involved in possible absentee
ballot tampering in Florida, played a role in the Bay of Pigs invasion and
CIA coups and dirty tricks around the world. He allegedly retired in the
mid-'70s and would have been employed during the Agency's heyday of covert
operations).

Hopefully, this general overview will help prompt others to conduct a more
thorough look into murky activities that, taken as a whole, suggest the
spirit of CIA-Coups-Past may have paid an unwelcome visit last November to
Florida.

Historical Background

By placing these facts within the larger historical context of CIA coup
activity, many of the baffling events transpiring in Florida last year
begin to make some sense. The same players (CIA, powerful corporations,
rightwing militarists), the same motives (preserving economic/political
power), and even the same tactics (armed violence, fortunately, being one
exception) begin to emerge that suggest some unpleasant connections among
them.

For easier comparison, I break down these similarities according to coup
patterns in Guatemala, Chile, and Florida. Unless otherwise noted, the
information here is from David Halberstam's excellent book, The Fifties,
and from the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with
Respect to Intelligence Activities (Church Report).

Guatemala: Prior to the legitimate election of Jacobo Arbenz to the
presidency in the early '50s, United Fruit Company controls most of the
country's land, economy, and politics. The land reform policies that
Arbenz wants to implement, which would redistribute United
Fruit-controlled land to Guatemalans, threaten United Fruit's economic
interests and political power in the region. United Fruit has close ties
to powerful figures in America, including Allen Dulles (Director of the
CIA) and his brother Foster (Secretary of State). The Dulles brothers and
others portray Arbenz as a communist threat and convince President
Eisenhower that a coup is in America's best interest.

Chile: Despite CIA covert efforts to defeat him, socialist Salvador
Allende is elected as president in 1970. His plan to nationalize Chilean
industries poses a direct threat to the reactionary Nixon Administration
and the multinational corporate interests it represents. Prior to
Allende's election, the CIA spent years and millions of dollars waging a
propaganda war to maintain a US/corporate-friendly government in Chile.
After the election, the Agency is instrumental in implementing Henry
Kissinger's desire to thwart Allende's policies and in supporting a
military coup being planned by General Augusto Pinochet.

Florida: Strategically important in the CIA's covert war against Cuba
(and other troublespots throughout Central and South America), Florida has
been home to CIA mercenary training camps since at least the '50s (such as
one in Opa-Locka).

There is also an interesting Bush connection to Florida (apart from Jeb
Bush holding the state's governorship). According to a report in The
Nation, days after the Kennedy assassination in 1963 a memo from J. Edgar
Hoover stated that a "Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency"
had been briefed regarding the reaction of anti-Castro Cuban exiles in
Miami to the murder. Although George H.W. Bush claims the name he shares
with the "Mr. George Bush of the CIA" is coincidental, a source for the
story observed: "I know [Bush] was involved in the Caribbean. I know he
was involved in the suppression of things after the Kennedy assassination.
There was a very definite worry that some Cuban groups were going to move
against Castro and attempt to blame it on the CIA." (see Joseph McBride,
"'George Bush,' CIA Operative," The Nation, July 16/23, 1988, p. 42).

The Players

What follows is a very general review of similar interests and
organizations involved in some manner in Guatemala, Chile, and Florida.

Guatemala:

CIA: Director Allen Dulles is a key player in organizing the coup.

Multinational: United Fruit Company is known as "el pulpo" ("the
octopus" because of its pervasive influence over so many facets of the
country.

Rightwing Militarists Takeover: A reactionary military junta is installed
after the coup, fronted by the CIA-selected Carlos Enrique Castillo Armas.
The junta is responsible for the mass murder of dissidents and years of
brutal repression.

Chile:

CIA: For a detailed analysis of widespread US covert activities in Chile,
see the Church Report.

Multinationals: "In addition to providing information and cover to the
CIA, multinational corporations also participated in covert attempts to
influence Chilean politics." Church Report. Among the corporations
actively opposed to Allende's election and his socialist experiment were
ITT, Pepsi-Cola, and the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Rightwing Militarists Takeover: With CIA support and the blessings of the
Nixon Administration, General Augusto Pinochet establishes a brutal and
reactionary military junta after the coup. As in Guatemala, the junta is
repressive and responsible for the mass murder of dissidents (including
Americans Charles Horman and Frank Terrugi, both of whom were tortured and
executed. According to a US State Department memo dated August 25, 1976,
the CIA "may have played an unfortunate part" in both deaths. See
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/19991008/01-04.htm).

Florida:

CIA: At least one "former" CIA operative (Charles Kane) is implicated in
shady activities during the Florida election. The attorney for those
investigating Kane's involvement in tampering with absentee ballots said
Kane's efforts were part of a "sinister underground conspiracy." ("Florida
Official Admits Helping GOP," Associated Press, December 7, 2000).

Multinationals: Oil, insurance, tobacco, pharmaceuticals, etc., all have
concerns about a Gore presidency and its potential for regulatory
activism. These corporations are eager to bring "business special
interests into politics so they can take over the regulatory bodies of
government and regulate themselves. ("America in the Grip of Bush's 'Iron
Triangle,'" The Observer, December 3, 2000).

Rightwing Militarists Takeover: The Bush Administration has established
"itself as the most brazenly rightwing of modern times. As the ecstatic
head of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation enthuses, the new crowd
are 'more Reaganite than the Reagan administration.'" (The Guardian,
April 25, 2001). Among the appointments Bush has made are Cold Warriors
(e.g., Donald Rumsfield), old Iran/Contra characters and intelligence
operatives (e.g., John Negroponte and Otto Reich; see The Nation, May 7,
2001: "Lie to the Media, Get a Job," by Eric Alterman).

Tactics

Media Manipulation/Reality Distortion


Guatemala: CIA "deftly created a fictional war over the airwaves, one in
which the government troops faltered and refused to fight and in which the
liberation troops were relentlessly moving toward Guatemala City."
Halberstam

Chile: "Press placements [by the CIA] were attractive because each
placement might produce a multiplier effect, being picked up and replayed
by media outlets other than the one in which it originally came out."
Church Report

Florida: John Ellis, Bush's first cousin, at the rightwing Fox News
decides to declare the state for Bush after 2 a.m., causing the other
networks to do likewise, creating the lasting (and false) impression that
Bush won the election.

Press Collusion

Guatemala: " . . . one crucial ingredient left for the success of the coup
. . . was the cooperation, voluntary and involuntary, of the American
press. This meant it was necessary for the press corps to tell the public
that the coup was the work of an indigenous Guatemalan force." Halberstam

Practically all American reporters cooperate, with the exception of NYT
reporter Sydney Gruson. After CIA director Allen Dulles puts pressure on
the Times, Gruson is removed from covering Guatemala. "It was an important
moment," writes Halberstam, "a warning to the paper's top executives about
the potential difference between the agenda of the secret government and
that of serious journalism."

Chile: Excerpts from the Church Report . . ."The most common form of a
propaganda project is simply the development of 'assets' in media
organizations who can place articles or be asked to write them."
"According to CIA documents, the Time correspondent in Chile apparently
had accepted Allende's protestations of moderation and constitutionality
at face value. Briefings requested by Time and provided by the CIA in
Washington resulted in a change in the basic thrust of the Time story on
Allende's September 4 victory and in the timing of that story." "According
to the CIA, partial returns showed that 726 articles, broadcasts,
editorials, and similar items directly resulted from Agency activity. The
Agency had no way to measure the scope of the multiplier effect . . . but
concluded that its contribution was both substantial and significant."

Florida: After Election Day, airwaves are saturated with rightwing
commentators, such as Ann Coulter, accusing Gore of being a "nutcase" who
is trying to steal an election that was, at the very least, in dispute; at
the most, it was a victory for Gore. (See "GOP Won by Planting Seeds of
Deception, by Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, December 14, 2000).

Lewis Lapham of Harper's noted that the "poisonous language" and
"paranoid" arguments being aired at the time were mostly coming from
rightwingers (although the Democrats were not free from "unctuous
statement, rank hypocrisy, and bitter diatribe." Still, when it came to
rancor and speciousness, he "didn't find the same sort of stupidity on the
Democratic side of the dispute."

A sidenote on the Press and the CIA: There are a number of articles
exposing the connections between the US media and the CIA. The most
famous expose was Carl Bernstein's "The CIA and the Media" in the October
20, 1977 issue of Rolling Stone. In it, Bernstein reveals the cooperation
during the '50s and '60s between major US media outlets and the
intelligence community, including, CBS, New York Times, Time, the Miami
Herald, and hundreds of others. The NY Times recently reported,
ironically enough, that the CIA has included news wire services (the now
Moonie-owned UPI, for example) as part of its "regular propaganda
apparatus;" this apparatus also included "Miami exile contacts with
Florida papers."

Although this report is based on a CIA document from the early '60s, it
was also reported this year (or underreported) that US Army psychological
operations personnel (responsible for spreading propaganda) were placed at
CNN's TV, radio, and satellite bureaus during the Kosovo war. (From a
report by Alexander Cockburn in Counterpunch, cited among AlterNet's Top
Ten Censored Stories of 2000).

Staging "Spontaneous" Revolts/Protests

Guatemala: CIA creates the "rebel army" that is supposed to be an
indigenous uprising. "One of the CIA's main responsibilities was to keep
American journalists out of the area lest they find out how pathetic
Castillo Armas's army really was." Halberstam

Chile: "The CIA was directed to undertake an effort to promote a military
coup in Chile to prevent the accession to power of Salvador Allende."
(This particular coup fell apart). Church Report.

Florida: Republican operatives are bussed into Miami in a GOP-orchestrated
campaign to shut down the recount effort and intimidate (and even
physically assault) Democratic election officials.

Targeting Special Groups for Propaganda

Chile: "The covert propaganda efforts in Chile also included 'black'
propaganda-material falsely purporting to be the product of a particular
individual or group . . . the CIA used 'black' propaganda to sow discord
between the Communists and the Socialists and between the national labor
confederation and the Chilean Communist Party." Church Report

Florida: African Americans received calls the weekend before the election
from a speaker who falsely claimed to be with the NAACP, asking them to
vote for Bush. (Midwest Today, December 2000: "Scary Facts About the
Florida Vote," by Larry Jordan).

Conclusion

Where does mere coincidence end and meaningful patterns begin? Even if
the events in Florida listed here (along with the more detailed reports
being filed by investigative journalists) are removed from the context of
covert actions, it is easy to conclude that something profoundly
disturbing happened in the previous election.

Reviewing the increasing amount of evidence demonstrating just how dirty
the 2000 election was, however, is it so unreasonable to think that those
interests whose hands remain sullied from Florida would have sunk one
notch lower into the murky depths of covert operations? What are the
limits when the objective is to grab power at any cost?

And what will those who seized that power do next time in order to hold on
to it?

SOURCE: DU via http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg66317.html

Posted per recommendation of the great DUer niyad.

https://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=15090737

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