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For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United
States, went to great lengths to prevent Cheddi Jagan”three times the democratically
elected leader”from occupying his office. Using a wide variety of tactics”from general
strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms, the US and Britain forced
Jagan out of office twice during the period.6
Japan, 1958-1970s

The CIA emptied the US treasury of millions to finance the conservative Liberal
Democratic Party in parliamentary elections, "on a seat-by-seat basis," while doing what
it could to weaken and undermine its opposition, the Japanese Socialist Party. The result
was 38 years in power for the Liberal Democratic Party, comparable to the reign of the
Christian Democrats in Italy, also sponsored by the CIA; these tactics kept both Japan
and Italy from developing a strong multi-party system.7

The 1961-63 edition of the State Department's annual Foreign Relations of the United
States, published in 1996, includes an unpreced-ented disclaimer that, because of material
left out, a committee of distinguished historians thinks "this published compilation does
not constitute a 'thorough, accurate and reliable documentary record of major United
States foreign policy decisions'," as required by law. The deleted material involved US
actions from 1958-1960 in Japan, according to the State Department's historian.8


Nepal, 1959

By the CIA's own admission, it carried out an unspecified "covert action" on behalf of
B.P. Koirala to help his Nepali Congress Party win the national parliamentary election.
The NCP won a majority of seats in the new legislature and Koirala became prime
minister. It was Nepal's first national election ever, and the CIA was there to initiate them
into the wonderful workings of democracy.9


Laos, 1960

CIA agents stuffed ballot boxes to help a hand-picked strongman, Phoumi Nosavan, set
up a pro-American government.10


Brazil, 1962

The CIA and the Agency for International Development expended millions of dollars
during federal and state elections in support of candidates opposed to President Joao
Goulart. The Agency also dipped into its bag of dirty tricks to torment the campaigns of
various candidates.11


Dominican Republic, 1962

In October 1962, two months before election day, US Ambassador John Bartlow Martin
got together with the candidates of the two major parties and handed them a written
notice, in Spanish and English, which he had prepared. It read in part: "The loser in the
forthcoming election will, as soon as the election result is known, publicly congratulate
the winner, publicly recognize him as the President of all the Dominican people, and
publicly call upon his own supporters to so recognize him...Before taking office, the
winner will offer Cabinet seats to members of the loser's party. (They may decline)."12

The United States also worked with the Dominican government to deport some 125
people”supporters of the former dictator Trujillo as well as "Castro/Communists"”to
the US and elsewhere, who were not allowed to return until after the election. This was
"to help maintain stability so elections could be held", as Martin put it.13

As matters turned out, the winner, Juan Bosch, was ousted in a military coup seven
months later, a slap in the face of democracy which neither Martin nor any other
American official did anything about.


Guatemala, 1963

The US overthrew the regime of General Miguel Ydigoras because he was planning to
step down in 1964, leaving the door open to an election; an election that Washington
feared would be won by the former president, liberal reformer and critic of US foreign
policy, Juan Jose Ar©valo. Ydigoras's replacement made no mention of elections.14


Bolivia, 1966

The CIA bestowed $600,000 upon President Ren© Barrientos and lesser sums to several
right-wing parties in a successful effort to influence the outcome of national elections.
Gulf Oil contributed two hundred thousand more to Barrientos.15


Chile, 1964-70

There were major US interventions into national elections in 1964 and 1970, and into
congressional elections in the intervening years.

Socialist Salvador Allende fell victim in 1964, but won in 1970 despite a multimillion,
multifaceted CIA operation against him. The Agency then orchestrated his downfall in a
1973 military coup.16


Portugal, 1974-5

In the years following the coup in 1974 by military officers who talked like socialists, the
CIA revved up its propaganda machine while tunneling many millions of dollars to
support "moderate" candidates, in particular Mario Soares and his (so-called) Socialist
Party. At the same time, the Agency enlisted social-democratic parties of Western Europe
to provide further funds and support to Soares. It worked. The Socialist Party became the
dominant power.17


Australia, 1974-75

See "Interventions" chapter.


Jamaica, 1976

A CIA campaign to defeat social democrat Michael Manley's bid for reelection featured
disinformation, arms shipments, labor unrest, economic destabilization, financial support
for the opposition and attempts upon Manley's life. Despite it all, he was victorious.18


Panama, 1984, 1989

In 1984, the CIA helped finance a highly questionable presidential electoral victory for
one of Manuel Noriega's men. The opposition cried "fraud", but the new president was
welcomed at the White House. By 1989, Noriega was no longer a Washington favorite,
so the CIA provided more than $10 million dollars to those opposing Noriega's candidate
as well as providing for clandestine radio and TV broadcasts to influence the vote. When
the Noriega man "won", Washington, on this occasion, expressed its moral indignation
about the fraudulent election.19


Nicaragua, 1984, 1990

In 1984, the United States, trying to discredit the legitimacy of the Sandinista
government's scheduled election, covertly persuaded the leading opposition coalition not
to take part, A few days before election day, some other rightist parties on the ballot
revealed that US diplomats had been pressing them to drop out of the race as well.20 The
CIA also tried to split the Sandinista leadership by placing phoney full-page ads in
neighboring countries.21 But the Sandinistas won handily in a very fair election
monitored by hundreds of international observers.

Six years later, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Washington's specially
created stand-in for the GIA, poured in millions of dollars to defeat the Sandinistas in the
February elections. NED helped organize the Nicaraguan opposition, UNO, building up
the parties and organizations that formed and supported this coalition. The successful
UNO was the only political party to receive US aid, even though eight other opposition
parties fielded candidates.22
Perhaps most telling of all, the Nicaraguan people were made painfully aware that a
victory by the Sandinistas would mean a continuation of the relentlessly devastating war
being waged against them by Washington.


Haiti, 1987-1988

After the Duvalier dictatorship came to an end in 1986, the country prepared for its first
free elections the following year. However, Haiti's main trade union leader declared that
Washington was working to undermine the left. US aid organizations, he said, were
encouraging people in the countryside to identify and reject the entire left as
"communist". Meanwhile, the CIA was involved in a range of support for selected
candidates until the Senate Intelligence Committee ordered the Agency to cease its covert
electoral action.23


Bulgaria, 1990-1991 and Albania, 1991-1992

With no regard for the fragility of these nascent democracies, the US played a major role
in ousting their elected governments. See "Interventions" chapter.


Russia, 1996

For four months (March-June), a group of veteran American political consultants worked
secretly in Moscow in support of Boris Yeltsin's presidential campaign. Although the
Americans were working independently, President Clinton's political guru, Dick Morris,
acted as their middleman to the administration, and Clinton himself told Yeltsin in March
that he wanted to "make sure that everything the United States did would have a positive
impact" on the Russian's electoral campaign. Boris Yeltsin was being counted on to run
with the globalized free-market ball and it was imperative that he cross the goal line. The
American consultants in Moscow scripted a Clinton-Yeltsin summit meeting in April to
allow the Russian to "stand up to the West", just like the Russian Communist Party”
Yeltsin's main opponent”insisted they would do if they won.

The Americans emphasized sophisticated methods of message development, polling,
focus groups, crowd staging, direct-mailing, etc., urged more systematic domination of
the state-owned media, and advised against public debates with the Communists. Most of
all they encouraged the Yeltsin campaign to "go negative" against the Communists,
painting frightening pictures of what the Communists would do if they took power,
including much civic upheaval and violence, and, of course, a return to the worst of
Stalinism. With a virtual media blackout against them, the Communists were extremely
hard pressed to respond to the attacks or to shout the Russian equivalent of "It's the
economy, stupid."
It is impossible to measure the value of the American consultants' contributions to the
Yeltsin campaign, for there's no knowing which of their tactics the Russians would have
employed anyhow if left to their own devices, how well they would have applied them, or
how things would have turned out. But we do know that before the Americans came on
board, Yeltsin was favored by only 6 percent of the electorate. In the first round of
voting, he edged the Communists' 35 percent to 32, and was victorious in the second
round 54 to 40 percent. "Democracy," declared Time magazine, "triumphed."24


Mongolia, 1996

The National Endowment for Democracy worked for several years with the opposition to
the governing Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (the former communists, who had
won the 1992 election) to achieve a very surprising electoral victory. In the six^year
period leading up to the 1996 elections, NED spent close to a million dollars in a country
with a population of some 2.5 million, the most significant result of which was to unite
the opposition into a new coalition, the National Democratic Union. Borrowing from
Newt Gingrich's Contract With America, the NED drafted a "Contract With the
Mongolian Voter", which called for private property rights, a free press and the
encouragement of foreign investment.25 The MPRR had already instituted Westen>style
economic reforms, which had led to widespread poverty and wiped out much of the
communist social safety net. But the new government promised to accelerate the reforms,
including the privatization of housing.26 The Wall Street Journal was ecstatic that
"shoclotherapy" was now going to become even more shocking, as with the sale of state
enterprises. The newspaper's editorial was entitled "Wisdom of the Steppes".27 The new
government was one that Washington could expect to be more hospitable to American
corporations and intelligence agencies than the MPRR. Indeed, by 1998, the National
Security Agency had set up electronic listening posts in Outer Mongolia to intercept
Chinese army communications, and the Mongolian intelligence service was using
nomads to gather intelligence in China itself.28


Bosnia, 1998

Bosnia effectively became an American protectorate, with Carlos Westendorp”the
Spanish diplomat appointed to enforce Washington's offspring: the 1995 Dayton peace
accords”as the colonial Governor-General. Before the September elections for a host of
offices, Westendorp removed 14 Croatian candidates from the ballot because of alleged
biased coverage aired in Bosnia by neighboring Croatia's state television and politicking
by ethnic Croat army soldiers. After the election, Westendorp fired the elected president
of the Bosnian Serb Republic, accusing him of creating instability. In this scenario those
who appeared to support what the US and other Western powers wished were called
"moderates", and allowed to run for and remain in office. Those who had other thoughts
were labeled "hardliners", and ran the risk of a different fate. When Westendorp was
chosen to assume this position of "high representative" in Bosnia in May 1997, The
Guardian of London wrote that "The US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, praised
the choice. But some critics already fear that Mr. Westendorp will prove too lightweight
and end up as a cipher in American hands."29

Further evidence of Washington's love affair with elections

There have also been the occasions where the United States, while (perhaps) not
interfering in the election process, was, however, involved in overthrowing a
democratically-elected government, such as in Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, the Congo
1960, Ecuador 1961, Bolivia 1964, Greece 1967 and Fiji 1987.

In other countries, US interventions resulted in free, or any, elections being done away
with completely for large stretches of time, as in Iran, South Korea, Guatemala, Brazil,
Congo, Indonesia, Chile and Greece.



CHAPTER 19 : Trojan Horse: The National Endowment for
Democracy

How many Americans could identify the National Endowment for Democracy? It is an
organization which often does exactly the opposite of what its name implies. The NED
was set up in the early 1980s under President Reagan in the wake of all the negative
revelations about the CIA in the second half of the 1970s. The latter was a remarkable
period. Spurred by Watergate, the Church Committee of the Senate, the Pike Committee
of the House and the Rockefeller Commission, created by the president, were all busy
investigating the CIA. Seemingly every other day there was a new headline about the
discovery of some awful thing, even criminal conduct, the CIA had been mixed up in for
years. The Agency was getting an exceedingly bad name, and it was causing the powers-
that-be much embarrassment.

Something had to be done. What was done was not to stop doing these awful things. Of
course not. What was done was to shift many of these awful things to a new organization,
with a nice sounding name”the National Endowment for Democracy. The idea was that
the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades,
and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities.

It was a masterpiece. Of politics, of public relations and of cynicism.

Thus it was that in 1983, the National Endowment for Democracy was set up to "support
democratic institutions throughout the world through private, nongovernmental efforts".

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