Monday, February 7, 2011

Operation Ajax Redux 2

"Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak appears likely to remain at the helm, according to a US-approved transition plan for presidential elections to be held within 8 months. Despite 13 consecutive days of protests involving millions of Egyptians calling for his resignation, the 82-year old dictator has persuaded foreign powers that Egypt would be best served if he oversaw the transition. As the largest opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, caved in to pressure to hold talks with new Vice-President Omar Suleiman, the Obama administration's special envoy to Egypt, Frank Wisner, spoke of Mr Mubarak in glowing terms. Speaking to the Munich Security Conference via video link at the weekend, Mr Wisner, a former US ambassador to Egypt, described Mr Mubarak as an 'old friend' of the US. 'You need to get a national consensus around the preconditions of the next step forward, and the President must stay in office to steer those changes through', Mr Wisner said. 'I therefore believe that President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical, it's his opportunity to write his own legacy'." (Mubarak likely to hang on during transition, Jason Koutsoukis, The Age, 7/2/11)

OK, seeing that the USraeli-engineered coup against the will of the Egyptian people and for Egypt's continued subordination to Israeli interests appears to be firming (read my 3/2/11 post Operation Ajax Redux if you haven't already done so), let's take another look at the forces at work behind it:

If the coup has found its General Zahedi in Omar Suleiman, as I've suggested in my 4/2/11 post Smooth Operator, could it have its Kermit Roosevelt in Frank Wisner?

Frank Wisner Jr, that is. You see, there was a Frank Wisner Sr, who was, as it happens, in like flynn on Operation Ajax:

"Over the course of his meetings in Washington, ['Monty'] Woodhouse [chief of the British intelligence station in Tehran during the early 1950s] detected 'steadily increasing interest' in his proposal for what the British called 'Operation Boot'. Frank Wisner, a New York lawyer who had become the CIA's director of operations, was strongly positive. So was Wisner's newly named boss, Allen Dulles... By the time Woodhouse flew home, the incoming [Eisenhower] administration had committed itself... to a covert operation aimed at removing [Iranian prime minister Mohammad] Mossadegh. It had also accepted Britain's nominees to play the two key roles: General Zahedi as Iraq's designated savior and Kermit Roosevelt as the CIA field commander who would place him in office." (All the Shah's Men, Stephen Kinzer, 2008, p 152)

Frank Sr then moved on to direct the overthrow of the democratically-elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954:

"Once the plan [to oust Arbenz] received official sanction, the CIA and State Department began to divide up responsibilities for its execution... Frank Wisner, the CIA's deputy director for 'plans' (ie 'operations'), was in command. He had served as Mission Chief for the CIA's predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), in Istanbul and Bucharest during WWII, and had abandoned a prestigious law firm in Manhattan after the war to return to the dark arts in 1947... The plot was code-named Operation Success, reflecting the optimism of its creators. Wisner and his crew immediately began daily meetings on Guatemala. Wisner's first major decision was to choose a field commander. Once Kermit Roosevelt had turned Dulles down, Wisner appointed Colonel Albert Haney, then CIA station chief in South Korea." (Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala, Schlesinger & Kinzerpp, 1982, 108-109)

Kermit Roosevelt? Fascinating how these names just keep on popping up.

Alas, after helping screw first Iran, then Guatemala, Frank Sr topped himself some years later. But not before siring that chip off the old block, Frank Jr:

"Frank Jr is well known around [CIA headquarters] Langley [Virginia], with a career in the Defense and State Departments along with ambassadorial service in Egypt, the Philippines, and then India. In each of these places Wisner insinuated himself into the social and military branches of the power elite. He became their spokesperson. Wisner and Mubarak became close friends when he was in country (1986-1991), and many credit this friendship (and military aid) with Egypt's support of the US in the 1991 Gulf War. Not once did the US provide a criticism of Egypt's human rights record. As Human Rights Watch put it, the George HW Bush regime 'refrained from any public expression of concern about human rights violations in Egypt'. Instead, military aid increased, and the torture system continued. The moral turpitude (bad guys, aka the Muslim Brotherhood and democracy advocates, need to be tortured) and the torture apparatus set up the system for the regime followed by Bush's son, George W after 9/11, with the extraordinary rendition programs to these very Egyptian prisons. Wisner might be considered the architect of the framework for this policy. Wisner remained loyal to Mubarak. In 2005, he celebrated the Egyptian election (Mubarak 'won' with 88.6% of the vote). It was a 'historic day' he said, and went further, 'There were no instances of repression; there wasn't heavy police presence on the streets. The atmosphere was not one of police intimidation'. This is quite the opposite of what came out from election observers, human rights organizations and bloggers... The Democratic and Republican ghouls came together in the James Baker Institute's working group on the Middle East. Wisner joined the Baker Institute's head Edward Djerejian and others to produce a report in 2003 that offers us a tasty statement, 'Achieving security and stability in the Middle East will be made more difficult by the fact that short-term necessities will seem to contradict long-term goals'. If the long-term goal is Democracy, then that is all very well because it has to be sacrificed to the short-term, namely support for the kind of Pharaonic State embodied by Mubarak. Nothing more is on offer. No wonder that a 'Washington Middle East hand' told The Cable, '[Wisner's] the exact wrong person to send. He is an apologist for Mubarak.' But this is a wrong view. Wisner is just the exact person to send to protect the short-term, and so only-term, interests of Washington. The long-term has been set aside." (The empire's bagman, Vijay Prashad,, 2/2/11)

Whether it's Operation Ajax of 1953, Operation Success of 1954, or Operation Ajax Redux of 2011, ain't it great to see folks like the Wisners doing their bit to keep USrael safe from the Reds and the Fundies. Shame about the Egyptian people though. But then of course, they are brown...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another great article together with "Operation Ajax Redux". Real history plus real journalism is a winning formula.