Friday, January 21, 2005

Washington Post Talking About Hypocrisy?

Yes. They slam Bush for talking about freedom and all that fluffy stuff, all the while he maintains cozy relationships with the world's dictators who serve his purposes. Daily Kos does some further analysis, referring to State Department documents showing many of our close allies to be the worst of the tyrannies in the world.

Why, then, is the Washington Post being hypocritical? Because, like George Bush, they are not telling the whole truth. They are 'lying by omission'.

Everytime the WaPo talks about freedom and open government - condemning any number of countries around the world, but especially Iran - they should remind the American people why the U.S. has no credibility on the issue of freedom and open government when it comes to any government outside of our own. The U.S. is, I would argue, still a beacon of freedom to movements around the world, but those movement know all-too-well that the U.S. has no interest in helping them to achieve their goals, unless there is a very real economic benefit for U.S. elites in doing so. Let's build the case.

Iran hates the U.S. Why? The American public does not know because the WaPo has failed to properly inform us. The WaPo should also make it clear that George W-loser Bush is not the first U.S. President, and will most likely not be the last, to be a hypocrite when it comes to 'spreading freedom and democracy' abroad. [Can you say ... Reagan?] They are bashing only one U.S. President - making it seem as if the U.S. hasn't, throught its entire history, cavorted (thanks, Condi), with the worst dictators in the world - both Republican Presidents and Democratic Presidents. This is a case of media bias, in a sense, but in another sense it is not. This article would be written about any President who so passionately preaches about freedom and democracy and then does his best to tear it down whereever it is not convenient (Iran, Venezuela, Chile, etc.). By point the finger only at Bush, the WaPo is able to conceal from the American public the larger truth, which is that the U.S. regularly makes these very strong anti-freedom, anti-democracy moves around the world.

This 'lie by omission' from the WaPo is wholly expected, of course, because the elites of American society will only permit so much free speech to get into the newspapers, but it should still be condemned in the hopes that more U.S. citizens will become enlightened.

One instance where the WaPo does point out the history of U.S.-Iran relations is here:

"Saying the status quo is unacceptable is revolutionary," Melhem said. For Muslims, the U.S. legacy on political systems in the Middle East has been most starkly defined by the U.S. intervention in Iran to oust a nationalist movement to put the shah back on the throne in 1953 and by the U.S. failure to act, or even condemn the military, when Algerian generals aborted democratic elections in 1991.

But as a result, Washington has a long-standing credibility problem -- and the administration will need to take concrete steps to prove it intends to follow through in ways earlier administrations did not. Bush's speech was short on specifics.

"In the past, every time a U.S. official has talked about democracy and responsible government, people in the region have looked at them and said, 'You're running against a 50-year legacy of doing the opposite.' We grew up understanding that the United States would not tolerate real democracy as we'd end up with governments or leaders or ideologies that were not compatible with the West," Melhem added.

While it's not the job of the newspaper to reiterate what is well-known to the rest of the world in every single article they ever write on the topic, they are bound to enable the American public to know the truth. This Wikipedia article on Iran does a good job of it:

In 1953, Iran's prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq, who
had been elected to parliament in 1923 and again in 1944, and who had been prime minister since 1951, was removed from power in a complex plot orchestrated by British and US intelligence agencies ("Operation Ajax"). Many scholars suspect that this ouster was motivated by British-US opposition to Mossadeq's attempt to nationalize Iran's oil. Following Mossadeq's fall, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (Iran's monarch) grew increasingly
dictatorial. With strong support from the USA and the UK, the Shah further modernised Iranian industry but crushed civil liberties. His autocratic rule, including systematic torture and other human rights violations, led to the Iranian revolution
and overthrow of his regime in 1979. After over a year of struggle
between a variety of different political groups, an Islamic republic was established under the Ayatollah Khomeini.

We've talked about Operation Ajax on this blog before, but I don't think we've really analyzed it at all. It's very typical of U.S. terrorist operations. A particular country has oil - lots of it - and U.S. and U.K.-based oil firms (Exxon, BP, etc.) have big financial interests in those firms. When a rule of a country does something to threaten the profits of our ruling elites (George and the boyz), they get overthrown. So, what we and the Brits did in 1953 in Iran, we also did in Venezuela in 2002. The 2002 coup against Chavez does not have the kind of supporting evidence as does the 1953 plot againt Mussadegh in Iran, but I think that may be because the Venezuelan coup was reversed shortly after it began.

This Wiki page on the Shah gives us many more details on the history of U.S.-government terrorism for oily elites. Here's a brief clip of what I would consider to be typical post-overthrown support for the U.S. elites once a new dictator has been installed, but the entire page is very informational, so you should check it out:

In 1951, Prime Minister Muhammad Mussadegh, a militant nationalist, forced the parliament to nationalize the British-owned oil industry, in a situation known as the Abadan Crisis. Despite British pressure, including a economic blockade which caused real hardship, the nationalization continued. Mussadegh was briefly forced from power in 1952 but quickly returned and forced the Shah to flee. It was assumed Mussadegh would declare a republic, but a few days later the Shah returned and again forced Mussadegh from office on August 19 with U.S. CIA support. Mussadegh was arrested and a new prime minister was appointed.

In return for the US support the Shah agreed, in 1954, to allow an international consortium of British (40%), American (40%), French (6%), and Dutch (14%) companies to run the Iranian oil facilities for the next 25 years, with profits shared equally. In other words, 0% of control or profits went to Iran. There was a return to stability in the late 1950s and the 1960s. In 1957 martial law was ended after 16 years and Iran became closer to the West, joining the Baghdad Pact and receiving military and economic aid from the US. The Iranian government began a broad program of reforms to modernize the country, notably changing the quasi-feudal land system.

Why would the Iranian people be mad at the good 'ol freedom and democracy-loving US of A?

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