Wednesday, May 4, 2011

(1) How U.S. Support for Sociopathic Dictators in Iran, Iraq, & Egypt -- BACKFIRED

This three part series will explore America’s attempts to build up and rely on sociopaths to protect U.S. strategic interests abroad. This policy assumed that the single-minded, conscienceless vigor such psychopathic dictators displayed in pursuing their own interests, would work for ours as well.  But alas, that tactic backfired – big time.  It precipitated the World Trade Center bombings, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now America's public embarrassment at having stifled rather than supported the push towards democracy in Egypt and other Arab countries.  


Fatimah was eight months pregnant when the Iranian Secret Police (SAVAK), arrested her in 1977 for criticizing the regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi in a public forum. Stripping her naked, the prison guards whipped her with electric cables, then tore open her rectum with a broken bottle. They dumped the half-dead body in front of the woman’s four year old child. Fatimah’s case was just one of hundreds in which female political prisoners were fried on hot metal beds, hung upside down, their nude bodies burned with cigarettes, electric shock batons and other pain-producing devices.[1] To be sure, the techniques practiced on male prisoners was no more humane than that meted out to females. However, torturing women did have one added advantage. Those sessions were videotaped and in some cases reproduced as snuff films, for the Shah of Iran’s viewing pleasure.

Enraged Iranians held America responsible for installing the deranged Shah in power, whose CIA-trained secret police, SAVAK, was responsible for the mutilation, death and disappearance of thousands of Iranians during his thirty-eight year reign. But most Americans, if they had ever heard of the Shah at all, associated the name with a distinguished and bemedalled occasional guest at the White House, touted for pushing modernization in his backward country, granting newfound rights to Iranian women, and displaying the courage to recognize the state of Israel. Virtually no one in the United States, other than the foreign policy establishment and harassed Iranian students, had even heard of “SAVAK.” So, what was the American public to conclude, when “rampaging mobs” seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, and held 52 people hostage for 444 days? Might the Iranian water supply be contaminated with paranoia-inducing hallucinogens?

Who was the Shah of Iran?After the 1951 election of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency stepped in with “Operation Ajax.” The new government was quashed, and Reza Shah installed in power. An intelligence report leaked to the New York Times in 2000 described the bribing of Iranian legislators and payments made to demonstrators in order to foment unrest. In one such instance, the report stated:

“In addition to the general authorization of April enabling the Tehran Station to spend up to $1,000,000 in covert activity in support of Zahedi, the station on 20 May was specifically authorized to spend one million rials a week (rate of 90 rials to the US dollar) in purchasing the cooperation of members of the Iranian Majlis.”[2]

Another account published in Paris by two French reporters, Claire Brière and Pierre Blanchet, described the cooperative efforts of British and U.S. intelligence:

“On 19 August small groups of Iranians [recruited by CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt] pull out banknotes and shout “Call out ‘Long live the Shah!’” Those who chant this get ten rials...”[3]

Both the Eisenhower White House and Whitehall in London preferred bringing a dictatorial figure like the Shah to power, rather than supporting the democratically-elected government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, over whom it could exercise little control. In fact, Mossadegh had wound up in the wrong column of America’s “naughty or nice” list in 1951, when he nationalized the British-run oil industry in Iran, and allocated its profits to domestic economic development projects. The Shah’s first actions upon re-taking office was to ban multi-party elections and sign the Consortium Agreement of 1954, returning 80% of Iran’s oil profits to Great Britain and the U.S.

Cold War thinking preoccupied itself with the dangers Iran posed were it to fall into the Russian camp, given its 1,600 mile border with the Soviet Union. U.S. officials surmised that the potential disaster created should Iran fall into the Soviet camp was of sufficient weight, that it would have to take priority over the unseating of the popular, democratically-elected prime minister, Mossadegh. The CIA’s subsequent actions in Iran reflected the mission statement that had been hammered out in 1954, by a Commission President Dwight Eisenhower appointed to suggest means of strengthening U.S. intelligence activities around the world. The Commission concluded:

“It is now clear that we are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply. If the United States is to survive, long-standing American concepts of ‘fair play’ must be reconsidered. We must develop effective espionage and counterespionage services and must learn to subvert, sabotage, and destroy our enemies by more clever, more sophisticated, and more effective methods than those used against us. . . . No one should be allowed to stand in the way.”[4]


(2) How U.S. Support for Sociopathic Dictators BACKFIRED  "The Root Doctrine"

(3) How U.S. Support for Sociopathic Dictators BACKFIRED "Torture & the Shah"

(4) How  U.S. Support for Sociopathic Dictators BACKFIRED  CIA Personality Tests

(5) How U.S. Support for Sociopathic Dictators BACKFIRED  Blowback Iran
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