Monday, 23 January 2017

Electoral manipulation is nothing new

The myth of Trump’s ‘mate’ Putin swinging the election in his favour has now become an accepted factoid in the mainstream media. The real issue behind the public exposure of Hillary Clinton’s emails have, in the meantime, been obscured under the mountains of speculation about Russian interference. Julian Assange’s  revelation of  how Clinton was involved in the process of taking weaponry from Libya and sending it to Syria, and her generally hawkish attitude on the Middle East has been well documented, but has, in the meantime, been well buried.

However much the Russian state was actually involved in influencing the outcome of the 2016 US election, it was actually Hillary Clinton who was doing her best to sabotage that Presidential Election, according to another Wikileaks release. It shows that Clinton campaign staffers bribed six Republicans to ‘destroy Trump’. The evidence includes an email from her campaign chairman John Podesta discussing diverting Clinton campaign funds to various Republicans who were secretly on the Clinton payroll.

Whether Putin and the Russian state were directly involved in the hacking of her campaign team’s emails is still an open question, but the rationale behind it could hardly have been to win the election for Trump (surely a hubristic and fantasy goal anyway), but simply to undermine the ‘clean’ credentials of a hard-line, hawkish and establishment politician. The fact that Trump was in the end elected has more to do with the underlying factors of deprivation, anger and disillusion with mainstream politics by millions of US citizens that anything the Russians could achieve by subterfuge.

Perhaps the most infamous attempt by the establishment and secret services to rig an election was the infamous Zinoviev Letter. This ‘letter’ was a controversial document ‘exposed’ by the Daily Mail just four days before the 1924 general election. It purported to be a directive from the Communist International in Moscow to the British Communist Party suggesting that the resumption of diplomatic relations (by a Labour government) between the two countries would hasten the radicalisation of the British working class. This scare tactic was intended to lose Labour the election and it appeared to succeed admirably, as the Conservatives won an overwhelming majority.

In Iran in 1953 the CIA together with the British secret services launched Operation Ajax and engineered a coup d’état against the democratically elected, progressive and secular government of prime minister Mossadegh. Mosaddegh had nationalised the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, cancelling its oil concession and expropriating its assets. The West was determined to prevent this happening. The coup was prepared by the placing of false news stories in the press to the effect that Mossaddegh and his ‘communist friends’ would undermine Islam, thus invoking the ire and outrage in an overwhelmingly Muslim country.

In Italy and France after the Second World War with the communists’ role in the resistance against the fascists garnering them much respect and esteem, they appeared certain to win influential positions in government once free elections were held. The Mafia (in Italy) and the Catholic Church in both countries were mobilised to undermine the communists and a re-invigorated left-led trade union movement. Under the former communist and then avid red-baiter, Jay Lovestone, the US set up AIFLD (American Institute for Free Labor Development). It was a covert arm of the US foreign policy establishment with the aim of preventing the establishment of progressive unions in Europe after the war. Not only did the organisation help mobilise the Church and press against the communists, but nor did it shy away from arranging the murder of leading left trade unionists through its Mafia henchmen.

On 15 July 1948, L’Osservatore Romano, the daily of the Vatican State, published a decree which excommunicated those who propagate ‘the materialistic and anti-Christian teachings of communism’, which was widely interpreted as an excommunication of the Communist Party of Italy. The excommunication extended to any Italian Catholic who was a communist candidate in the parliamentary elections. This decree was actively supported by the Christian Democratic Party which was actively promoted by the CIA. In 1949, the Holy Office issued the Decree Against Communism, which excommunicated any Catholic who joined or collaborated with the Communist Party. In a country with a large population of devout Catholics, this policy was extremely effective.

Twenty years ago, Time magazine reported on the feats of American political consultants who managed — much to the satisfaction of the US government — to ensure Boris Yeltsin won re-election to the Russian presidency.
The report was titled ‘Rescuing Boris,’ and bore a subtitle oddly similar to headline allegations two decades later.  The sub-tile was: ‘The secret story of how four US advisers used polls, focus groups, negative ads and all the other techniques of American campaigning to help Boris Yeltsin win.’

While the mainstream media today scream ‘fake news’ and dismiss the successes of alternative media’s reporting on corruption in the Democrat Party and the significance of Hillary Clinton’s emails, by deeming it all ‘Russian propaganda’, it would seem the entire country has forgotten US exploits elsewhere. In fact, those American advisors literally meddled in the Russian election of that year 1991 — and as TIME, itself, pointed out, changed the course of the country’s politics forever.

The more recent hacking and sabotaging of the Iranian nuclear programme by US and Israeli agents using the computer virus Stuxnet is another example of blatant electronic US interference, and what about the hacking of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel’s phone? All these examples are merely the tip of the proverbial iceberg concerning Western interference in other countries’ affairs, but memories are short and deliberately made so.