Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Wrong Kind of Foreign Aid

A friend of mine has raised the point that our foreign aid program does nothing more than support regimes around the world that hate us, and that we shouldn't be sending them these funds, because all we are doing is buying their hatred of us.

Honestly, we don't buy their hate, we earn it:

In 1953, the CIA worked with the United Kingdom to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh.  Mossadegh was replaced with the Shah Reza Pahlavi who held absolute power until his overthrow by the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khoumeni.

The 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état was a covert operation organized by the United States Central Intelligence Agency to overthrow Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, the democratically-elected President of Guatemala.  Following the coup, the Guatemalan Civil War began, a civil war involving some of the most brutal counterinsurgency of its time (including years of massacres of Maya Indians).

General Fulgencio Batista's second spell as President of Cuba was initiated by a military coup planned in Florida, and U.S. President Harry S. Truman quickly recognized Batista's return to rule providing military and economic aid. The Batista era witnessed the almost complete domination of Cuba's economy by the United States, as the number of American corporations continued to swell, though corruption was rife and Havana also became a popular sanctuary for American organized crime figures, notably hosting the infamous Havana Conference in 1946.  Ultimately, this brought about the revolution led by Fidel Castro, who U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially recognized in 1959.

In 1960, Belgium granted independence to its most prized territory, the Belgian Congo. A leader of the successful anti-colonial struggle, Patrice Émery Lumumba was elected to be the first prime minister of the country that following its independence from colonial rule had become known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Soon after the election, during the Congo Crisis, the CIA and the Belgian government orchestrated a military coup to remove the Lumumba government from power. Lumumba was subsequently murdered in prison.

In February 1963, the United States backed a coup against the government of Iraq headed by General Abd al-Karim Qasim, who five years earlier had deposed the Western-allied Iraqi monarchy.  Washington immediately befriended the successor regime. "Almost certainly a gain for our side," Robert Komer, a National Security Council aide, wrote to President John F. Kennedy on the day of the takeover.

In Brazil, a democratically-elected government headed by President João Goulart was successfully overthrown by a CIA-supported coup in March 1964.

On 24 February 1966, while Kwame Nkrumah, the President of Ghana, was out of the country his government was overthrown in a military coup backed by the CIA.

In Iraq, in 1968, the CIA backed the coup by Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of the Baath Party, bringing Saddam Hussein to the threshold of power.  The CIA deputy for the Middle East Archibald Roosevelt (grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt) was quoted by former NSC official Roger Morris as saying, with regard to Iraqi Ba'ath Party officers on his payroll during the coups, "They're our boys, bought and paid for, but you always gotta remember that these people can't be trusted."

On Tuesday 11 September 1973, the democratically elected President Salvador Allende was overthrown in a coup d’état organised by the Chilean military and endorsed by the United States. A military junta took control of the government, composed of the heads of the Air Force, Navy, Carabineros (police force) and the Army led by General Augusto Pinochet who later assumed power and ended Allende's democratically elected Popular Unity government.

As early as 1973-74, the CIA began offering covert backing to radical Islamist rebels in Afghanistan on the premise that the authoritarian government headed by Mohammed Daoud Khan might prove a likely instrument of Soviet military aggression in South Asia.

The CIA colludes with the Shah of Iran to finance and arm Kurdish rebels in an attempt to overthrow al-Bakr in Iraq. When Iran and Iraq sign a peace treaty in 1975, the support ceases. The Shah denies the Kurds refuge in Iran, even as many are slaughtered. The U.S. decides not to press the issue with the Shah.  The American betrayal of the Kurds was investigated by the Pike Committee, which described it as cynical and self-serving, and it has been argued that it tarnished America's image with one of the most pro-Western groups in the Middle East.

The democratically elected government of Argentina headed by Isabel Martínez de Perón was successfully overthrown by a military putsch in March 1976.  Two days after the coup, Assistant Secretary for Latin America, William Rogers, advised Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that he expected significant repression to follow the coup.  But Kissinger made his preferences clear: "Whatever chance they have, they will need a little encouragement… I do want to encourage them."

From 1981-90, the CIA planted mines in civilian harbors and sunk civilian ships in an attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The U.S. also armed and trained the Contra guerrilla insurgency to destabilize the Nicaraguan government.

One of the CIA's longest and most expensive covert operations was the supplying of billions of dollars in arms to the Afghan mujahideen militants against the Soviet military invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979. The early foundations of al-Qaida were built in part on relationships and weaponry that came from the billions of dollars in U.S. support for the Afghan mujahadin during the war to expel Soviet forces from that country.

And on and on.....

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