There are hundreds of cases of economic and military blackmail, election fraud, assassination and the violent overthrow of democratically elected leaders in Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, Georgia, Ukraine), east Asia (Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines), North Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco) and many more.
Let’s go through a few examples of where the United States (under the leadership of both political parties) has interfered in the elections of other countries.
The 1948 Italian general election was greatly influenced by the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. The CIA, by its own admission, gave $1 million to Italian centrist parties such as the Christian Democrats, as well as publishing forged letters in order to discredit the Italian Communist Party leaders. The legal authority for these actions in Italy came about around 6 months after the passage of The National Security Act of 1947, signed into law by US President Harry Truman, which legalized and funded foreign covert operations.
CIA operative Felton Mark Wyatt described the CIA’s involvement in the election: “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their political expenses, their campaign expenses, for posters, for pamphlets,”. US agencies undertook a campaign of writing ten million letters, made numerous radio broadcasts and funded the publishing of articles and books, all of which warned the Italians of what was believed to be the consequences of a communist victory. Time Magazine backed the campaign and featured the Christian Democrat leader and Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi on its cover and as its lead story on 19th of April 1948.
The Christian Democrats eventually won the 1948 election with 48% of the vote. The CIA’s practice of influencing the political situation was repeated in every Italian election for decades after.
Being regarded as stronghold of US imperial power in Asia, the Philippines, and more specifically the capitol Manila has been a regional headquarters for the U.S. CIA. for quite some time. Intelligence collection in Manila is also a part of a covert and offensive operation where people, ideas, or places that deemed to be threats to the U.S. were attacked and neutralized.
the CIA and the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) engineered the bloody suppression of the nationalist People’s Liberation Army (HMB). Success from this CIA suppression was made into a model for future counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam and Latin America. Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay (1953-1957) entrusted Colonel Edward Lansdale as his military adviser. Secretly Lansdale was working for the CIA, and funneled $1 million of agency money to Magsaysay, along with additional funds from the Coca Cola Company. The CIA also established the Trans-Asiatic Airlines Inc. as a front to recruit veteran Filipino war pilots and military intelligence who were still active.
CIA agents Lansdale and Napoleon D. Valeriano used their counter-guerrilla experiences in the Philippines to train covert operatives for Vietnam and guerrilla assassins for Latin America. The Philippines became the CIA’s prototype in a successful covert operations and psychological warfare. On April 18th 1973 National Security advisor at the time, Henry Kissinger had discussed providing assistance in improving the Manila police’s equipment and also to have advisors brought in.
In a lecture given at the University of the Philippines Manila on August 18, 2000, Roland B. Simbulan, Coordinator of the Manila Studies Program, said about the CIA in the Philippines, “The CIA in the Philippines has engaged in countless covert operations for intervention and dirty tricks particularly in Philippine domestic policies. On top of all this is the U.S. diplomatic mission, especially the political section that is a favorite cover for CIA operatives. CIA front companies also provide an additional but convenient layer for operatives assigned overseas. In general, wherever you find U.S. big business interests…you also find a very active CIA.”
On may 30th, 1961 Dominican Republic President Rafael Trujillo (who had warm relations with the United States) was assassinated on May 30, 1961. In February 1963, a democratically elected government under leftist Juan Bosch (who was the first democratically elected President of the Dominican Republic), took office but it was overthrown shortly therafter in September 1963. In April 1965, after 19 months of military rule, a pro-Bosch revolt broke out.
Days later U.S. President Lyndon Johnson, concerned that Communists might take over the revolt and create a “second Cuba,” sent the Marines, followed immediately by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and other elements of the 18th Airborne Corps, in Operation Powerpack. Johnson remarked “We don’t propose to sit here in a rocking chair with our hands folded and let the Communist set up any government in the western hemisphere” Johnson said.
These American forces remained inside the country for over a year and left after supervising elections in 1966 won by Joaquín Balaguer. He had been Trujillo’s last puppet-president. Off and on he was President for around 20 years.
Patrice Lumumba was a ConRgolese politician and independence leader who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo from June until September 1960. He played a significant role in the transformation of the Congo from a colony of Belgium into an independent republic. Ideologically Pan-African an African nationalist,he led the Movement called National Congolais (MNC) party from 1958 until his murder in 1961.
President of Congo, Kasa-Vubu began fearing a Lumumba coup would take place. On September 5th 1960, Kasa-Vubu announced over radio that he had dismissed Lumumba and six of his ministers from the government and for involving the Soviets in the Congo.
Upon hearing the broadcast, Lumumba made his way to the national radio station, which was under UN guard. Though they had been ordered to bar Lumumba’s entry, the UN troops allowed the prime minister in. Lumumba denounced his dismissal over the radio as illegitimate, and in turn labeled Kasa-Vubu a traitor and declared him deposed.
He proceeded to Parliament and launched into a debate in which he, in the words of American Ambassador Clare Timberlake, “devastated the points raised by the opposition” and “made Kasa-Vubu look ridiculous.” The newly appointed prime minister, Senate leader Joseph Iléo, failed to secure a vote of confidence, which Lumumba then won in the Senate 41 to 2 (with 6 abstaining).
Parliament did not back Lumumba’s dismissal of Kasa-Vubu however, creating a constitutional crisis. On September 13th, the Parliament held a joint session between the Senate and the Assembly. They voted to grant Lumumba emergency powers. The next day a coup organised by Colonel Mobutu politically incapacitated both Lumumba and Kasa-Vubu. With logistical support from the United States and Belgium, Mobutu’s troops managed to capture Lumumba.
Mobutu claimed Lumumba would be tried for inciting the army to rebellion and other crimes.
A report in 2001 by the Belgian Commission of Inquiry mentions that there had been previous U.S. and Belgian plans to kill Lumumba. Among them was a CIA sponsored attempt to poison Lumumba, which came on orders from U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The CIA station chief (Larry Devlin) helped to direct the search to capture Lumumba transfer to his enemies in Katanga; Devlin was involved in arranging Lumumba’s transfer to Katanga; The CIA base chief in Elizabethville was in direct touch with the killers the night Lumumba was killed. Declassified documents reveal that the CIA had also previously plotted to assassinate Lumumba. These documents indicate that the Congolese leaders who killed Lumumba received money and weapons directly from the CIA.
The inauguration of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in January 1961 caused fear within the CIA that the incoming administration would shift its favor to the imprisoned Lumumba. While awaiting his presidential inauguration, Kennedy had come to believe that Lumumba should be released from custody, though not be allowed to return to power. Lumumba was killed three days before Kennedy’s inauguration on January 20th 1961.
This series of events allowed Colonel Mobutu Sese Seko, who was backed by Belgium and the US to take power and control the country for around 32 years. Mobutu befriended several US presidents up to the 1990’s, including Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush.
Mobutu consolidated power by publicly executing political rivals, secessionists, coup plotters, and other threats to his rule. Many were hanged before large audiences.
The first Russian president (after the collapse of the Soviet Union), Boris Yeltsin, won a second term in the 1996 Presidential elections (despite having a popularity rating of 8%) thanks to the extensive assistance provided by the team of media and PR executives from the US. According to the cover story in the Time magazine, these were Steven Moore, Joe Shumate, Felix Braynin, George Gorton and Richard Dresner, who worked in Russia four months and received $250 thousand each, plus payment of all costs and an unlimited budget to conduct surveys and other activities.
Campaign strategists for the former Republican governor of California Pete Wilson such as George Gorton covertly made their way to the Presidential Hotel in Moscow where, behind guards and locked doors, served as Yeltsin’s “secret campaign weapon” to save Russia for the sake of Democracy.
Felix Braynin, a Soviet immigrant to the US who was a wealthy wealthy consultant to American businesses interests working in Russia, began assisting the Yeltsin campaign.
After he asked about American advisers who could help, San Francisco lawyer Fred Lowell suggested Gorton and Joe Shumate, an expert on political polling, and Richard Dresner, a political strategist who has helped not only Wilson but President Clinton in his earlier campaigns for governor of Arkansas.
Before the election, they were told that their involvement had to be treated like as a state secret because of fears that the Communist candidate Gennady Zyu-ganov would use their presence to try to perpetuate anti-Western sentiment among Russian voters. The US political consultants worked in hiding on the 11th floor of the Kremlin’s Presidential Hotel in downtown Moscow for 6 weeks. Staying at the hotel is by invitation only.
About 2 weeks after Yeltsin won his relection campaign on June 16th 1996, the U.S. political consultants assigned to Yeltsin, briefed reporters on their role in the campaign.
Around the same time, the Clinton Administration secured a $10.2 billion dollar International Monetary Fund loan to Russia as it was drowning in the economic and social disaster in the aftermath of the breakup of the USSR. This was done in order to keep the national economy and pro-Western government afloat.
The loan funds were fraudulently misused by Yeltsin’s inner circle, and the IMF knowingly turned a blind eye to this. Although the aggressive pro-Yeltsin campaign boosted his approval rating from an initial 6% to 35% in the polls during the first round of elections, and later made him win the second round against the communist candidate Gennady Zyugan-ov with 54% of the vote to 40%. There were widespread speculations about the rigged nature of the official results, but Yeltsin was re-elected.
On 9 August 1999, Vladimir Putin was appointed one of three First Deputy Prime Ministers, and later on that day was appointed acting Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin. Yeltsin also announced that he wanted to see Putin as his successor. Later on that same day, Putin agreed to run for the presidency. A few days later, Putin was officially appointed by the DUMA as Prime Minister (The 5th Prime Minister in an 18 month timespan).
On 31 December 1999, Yeltsin unexpectedly resigned and, according to the Constitution of Russia, Putin became Acting President of the Russian Federation. The first Presidential Decree that Putin signed ensured that “corruption charges against the outgoing President and his relatives” would not be pursued.
In a sense, the US is responsible for the rise of Vladimir Putin in Russia, by tipping the scales in favor of their preferred Candidate in 1996 (Yeltsin), who in turn appointed Vladimir Putin as Prime Minister in 1999, and then quickly resigned.
In more recent years, since the 2016 US Presidential elections, many corporate media outlets in the US have accused Russia of either hacking our election, meddling in our elections, or collusion in a conspiracy to elect Donald Trump. The Russian Government and Vladimir Putin deny any election interference.
During the 2006 Palestinian elections, Israel hoped that Fatah would prevail over Hamas, the latter being a Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist organization.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon wanted to halt the elections if Hamas ran candidates. However, U.S. President George W. Bush objected to such election interference, and Hamas won, despite millions of dollars flowing from the Bush administration to Fatah during the closing weeks of the campaign.
Then-Senator Hillary Clinton commented at the time:
Presidential elections were held in Afghanistan on April 5th 2014, with a second round held on June 14th. Opinion polls showed Abdullah Abdullah (a former mujahideen doctor) and Ashraf Ghani (a former World Bank technocrat) as the front-runners during the election. In the first round of elections, Abdullah was in the lead. The second set of results came after the run-off election on the 14th of June. Preliminary results were delayed because of widespread accusations of election fraud. In September 2014, the Independent Election Commission named Ashraf Ghani the winner.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat with Abdullah Abdullah, and Ashraf Ghani at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 12, 2014, after he helped broker a power sharing agreement to resolve the disputed outcome of the election between them. A new position was opened up titled “Chief Executive” which Abdullah was appointed to from outgoing President Karzai.
In 2009, Former President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya was promoting a controversial nonbinding poll on whether to include a fourth ballot box in the November elections of whether to have a constitutional convention to rewrite the constitution. He had ignored a restraining order in this regard. Opponents said his goal in doing so was to extend his term, although as scheduled the balloting would have been simultaneous with the election of his successor.
The 2009 Honduran coup d’état, part of the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, occurred when the army of Honduras followed orders from the Honduran Supreme Court on June 28th 2009 to remove President Manuel Zelaya and send him into exile. On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks released over 250,000 confidential documents, which detail messages between the U.S. State Department and U.S. embassies around the world.
One of these documents was written by U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens in late July 2009, which analyzes the legality of the removal of President Zelaya under the Honduran constitution. Llorens concluded that although Zelaya might “have committed illegalities and…even violated the constitution”, “there is no doubt that the military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired on June 28 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch”.
Emails released later showed that the 2009 Hunduras coup was supported by Hillary Clinton’s State Department. Clinton and her team worked behind the scenes to stall efforts by neighboring countries through the Organization of American States to restore Manuel Zelaya to office.
“The OAS meeting today turned into a non-event, just as we hoped,” wrote senior State Department official Cheryl Mills, celebrating their success in slow-walking a restoration.
Secretary Clinton had also helped organize elections that she said would be “strategized on a plan to restore order in Honduras and ensure that free and fair elections could be held quickly and legitimately, which would render the question of Zelaya moot and give the Honduran people a chance to choose their own future”. Zelaya was overthrown just three weeks after Clinton’s visit to Honduras for the Organization of American States.
These are just a few examples of many instances of when the United States has interferred in the elections of other countries. While some Americans are screaming from the hilltops that our elections might be influenced by another country, it’s been routine US behavior for decades, and it hasn’t stopped.
Recently, former CIA director James Woolsey humorously admitted that the US continues to interfere in the election of other nations.
Only when Americans are able to look at themselves in the mirror and acknowledge the illegal actions of the US government will things ever change…Otherwise the same games we play on other countries might come back to bite us in the ass later.