Mossadeq democracy in IranAuthor Stephen Kinzer writes, "The result of that coup was that the Shah was placed back on his throne. He ruled for 25 years in an increasingly brutal and repressive fashion. His tyranny resulted in an explosion of revolution in 1979 the event that we call the Islamic revolution. That brought to power a group of fanatically anti-Western clerics who turned Iran into a center for anti-Americanism and, in particular, anti-American terrorism. The Islamic regime in Iran also inspired religious fanatics in many other countries, including those who went on to form the Taliban in Afghanistan and give refuge to terrorists who went on to attack the United States. The anger against the United States that flooded out of Iran following the 1979 revolution has its roots in the American role in crushing Iranian democracy in 1953. Therefore, I think it's not an exaggeration to say that you can draw a line from the American sponsorship of the 1953 coup in Iran, through the Shah's repressive regime, to the Islamic revolution of 1979 and the spread of militant religious fundamentalism that produced waves of anti-Western terrorism." Roosevelt notes that both CIA chief Allen Dulles and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles were excited about the prospect of further governmental overthrows; the next year, the US would overthrow the government of Guatemala. That coup also resulted in the formation of a brutal military dictatorship in that country that would go on to slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians. Kinzler says, "We have the power to [overthrow a government] very easily, but we do not have the power to shape long-term political processes in foreign countries. ...In the case of Iraq, we need to realize that not everybody sees us the way we see ourselves. We see ourselves as liberators and people who bring democracy and freedom to other countries. We need to place ourselves in the shoes of the people whose countries we are intervening in, and realize that unless we are ready to stay the course over a long period of time and be sure that the new systems we've put in place function well -- which is something we have a history of not doing -- we need to be very afraid of the long-term results of our foreign intervention." (Buzzflash)
George H.W. BushAgain, Bush's uncle George Herbert Walker provides connections with lots of cash to ensure a successful startup, and Dresser steers clients to the fledgling oil company. Legislation is proposed in the US Congress that would federalize offshore resources, including oil, in order to raise revenue for government funding of education. Senator Prescott Bush of Connecticut, George H.W. Bush's father, leads the fight to defeat the legislation, which is not passed. The defeat of the bill ensured that Zapata Oil, among other companies, would be able to successfully enter into offshore oil drilling. By 1954, Zapata was a major player in the Texas oil industry, branching out to do deep-sea oil exploration; the same year, the CIA under Bush family friend Allen Dulles overthrows the leftist government of Guatemala. There is some evidence of a connection between Zapata Offshore and the Guatamalan coup. Bush and Overbey partner with veteran oilmen Hugh and William Liedtke; Hugh Liedtke becomes the de facto director of Zapata Oil, while Bush's main role is to use his family connections to raise more money for the firm.
Media manipulation and marketing by GOPat the request of the CIA, who desires a pro-US slant on the election coverage. Alsop is later proven to have cooperated with the CIA for years, and routinely slants his reporting to suit the CIA and the American government.
Ronald Reaganbattling severe financial problems with the IRS and other claimants, has a deal made for him by MCA for the mob-controlled Last Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas to host a song-and-dance revue for two weeks and receive enough money to pay off his tax debts. After the Las Vegas stint, Reagan is hired to host MCA's flagship television show, "The General Electric Theater," for the then-princely sum of $125,000 a year. He makes additional money by producing some episodes. In direct violation of SAG laws, he remains on SAG's board even after becoming a producer. In 1959, when Reagan runs again for the presidency of SAG, the issue is raised by his opponents, and Reagan responds by denying that he had ever produced the show -- a blatant lie. (Dan Moldea)
Kikuyu, or Mau Mau, rebellionEven today, the word "screening" evokes powerful emotions among the Kikuyu of Kenya. Interrogations, and the attempts to enforce confessions of Mau Mau affiliations, often turn bloody. "No Kikuyu -- man, woman, or child -- was safe from the screening teams," writes historian Caroline Elkins. "Every Kikuyu was a suspect." One survivor will tell Elkins in 1999, "One thing I will never forget is screening. Those British were never satisfied; they just wanted more information from me but I didn't have any. They just beat me and beat me in the police station, in detention, and in the village. Screening was hell." When the initial interrogation techniques didn't work on a suspect, torture was the accepted next step. This often included electric shock to the most sensitive areas of the body; broken bottles, snakes, gun barrels, knives, vermin, and hot eggs shoved up rectums or vaginas; breasts and testicles squeezed with pliers; whippings; burnings; shootings; and mutilation. Some suspects were tied to the back of trucks and pulled along until they "died in pieces."
Kikuyu, or Mau Mau, rebellionincluding provisions for communal punishment, curfews, control of individual and mass movement of natives, confiscation of property and land, imposition of draconian taxes upon natives, issuance of special documentation and passes, censorship, the disbanding of all Kenyan political organizations, control and disposition of labor, suspension of due process, and detention without trial. Emergency legislation extends to the control of African markets, shops, hotels, and all transport. Baring also issues orders establishing detention camps throughout Kenya. (Caroline Elkins)
Eisenhower administrationIn his inaugural address, Eisenhower talks about freedom conferring "a common dignity upon the French soldier who dies in Indo-China, the British soldier killed in Malaya, the American life given in Korea." Eisenhower implictly accepts the European argument that the US must back the colonial forces in Asia as if these efforts were synonymous with American efforts in Korea. What neither Eisenhower nor the Europeans realize is that the fleeting US successes in Korea, Iran, and Guatemala, among others, will lay the groundwork for America's biggest Cold War disasters. During his term, Eisenhower will greatly increase US military aid to the French in Vietnam to prevent a Communist victory. US military advisors will continue to accompany American supplies sent to Vietnam. To justify America's financial commitment, Eisenhower will cite a "Domino Theory" in which a Communist victory in Vietnam would result in surrounding countries falling one after another like a "falling row of dominoes."
Cold Warthe US "...knew little about the exact dimensions of the Soviet threat, and feared the worst. Unable to see how many warplanes and missiles the Kremlin was building, we assumed the numbers were great and growing larger every day. The only way to answer such an unfathomable threat, it seemed, was to devote the national treasure to building ever greater and more expensive defenses, even at the risk of damaging the American economy and creating what Dwight Eisenhower described as a garrison state. That debilitating path was largely skirted, due in no small measure to the ingenuity and industry of the architects of the new espionage technologies." (Philip Taubman)
Eisenhower administrationIn reality, Eisenhower is an "extremely able, indeed extremely shrewd master of deadly practicalities," in the words of historian Derek Leebaert; he will find the confusion over his capabilities useful, as "clever people celebrated their intellectural superiority to him, while thrusting people stressed their greater decisiveness. What counted to Eisenhower was that he was in command." Eisenhower will be far more active in making ground-breaking decisions that affect US intelligence and surveillance capacities than he will let on to the public. Publicly he dismisses any assertions that the USSR might be catching up in any fashion to US military and/or surveillance capabilities, in order to assuage public fears of Soviet threats and prevent needless military spending. Critics of Eisenhower will say that he was blase about the possibility of Soviet threats to the point of disconnection. In private, however, Eisenhower will be extremely active, especially in pushing for new intelligence-gathering technologies such as spy planes and satellites. While critics slam Eisenhower for supposedly letting the USSR catch up to the US in military and surveillance matters, in reality, Eisenhower is a key element in the development of new weapons and intelligence systems. Philip Taubman writes, "These technological breakthroughs laid the basis for American military might through the remainder of the twentieth century. No modern president other than Franklin Roosevelt, who authorized the development of atomic weapons, so dramatically altered the nature of military power."
Kikuyu, or Mau Mau, rebellionwrites a letter bragging about what he calls the "Gestapo stuff" going on in the ranks of the colonial police and the Home Guard. Cross's account of brutality and murder makes the left-wing press, and other police officers confirm and extend Cross's account. Tales of horrific brutality and torture begin to make the rounds of the British press; some Labour politicians begin calling for inquiries (Labour has a history of opposing colonialism). In response, the Conservative (Tory) government in both Britain and Kenya begin a systematic and effective propaganda campaign to paint the Mau Mau rebels as savage, subhuman murderers who can only be handled with extreme violence. Records of torture and murder among the various detention camps are later purged. One lawyer who spent years trying to defend Mau Mau rebels in the Kenyan courts terms the British efforts to eradicate Mau Mau as "ethnic cleansing." (Caroline Elkins)
Cold WarThe outspoken Nikita Khrushchev succeeds him. At the time of Stalin's death, the US believes that the Soviet arsenal is far larger than it actually is. The US believes that the USSR has over 150 atomic bombs ready for deployment; in reality, the USSR possesses fewer than 10, none deployed. (Khruschev will say, with dark humor, in 1974 that "I remember President Kennedy once stated...that the United States had the nuclear missile capacity to wipe out the Soviet Union two times over, while the Soviet Union had enough atomic weapons to wipe out the Unites States only once.... When journalists asked me to comment...I said jokingly, 'Yes, I know what Kennedy claims, and he's quite right. But I'm not complaining.... We're satisfied to be able to finish off the United States first time round. Once is quite enough. What good does it do to annihilate a country twice? We're not a bloodthirsty people.") (Vietnam War Timeline, Nuclear Weapons Archive, Derek Leebaert)
Cold Warthe Air Force research center, release a classified report that suggests US Strategic Air Command (SAC) bases are vulnerable to a massive Soviet air strike, potentially leaving the US open to a devastating nuclear attack with little possibility of retaliation. The report sends shock waves through the Eisenhower administration and the military, best exemplified by the response of Trevor Gardner, a senior official for the Air Force's research and development efforts. Gardner tells Lee DuBridge, head of Eisenhower's Scientific Advisory Committee, "You're abnegating your responsibility to science and the country, sitting on your dead *sses in fancy offices in Washington, wasting your time and the taxpayers' money going through a lot of g*ddamn motions on a lot of low-level, sh*tty exercises -- all in the name of science." Gardner demands an immediate study of the threat of surprise attack and the US ability to meet it: "the true story, not the sh*t Washington is feeding the American people." Taubman observes, "Gardner's language may have been intemperate, but his analysis was correct. The Soviet Union appeared to be gaining on the United States, and Washington was misleading the American people with confident assurances about the nation's military and scientific superiority. Americans were only dimly aware that traditional concepts of war and defense were rapidly being overtaken by new technologies." (Philip Taubman)
Cold WarPresident Eisenhower gives a grim accounting of the threats posed in the years ahead, and the costs dealing with such threats will entail, in a speech designed to offer a subtle, indirect olive branch to the USSR and emphasize stability and American values over state management and crisis-driven spending. He says in part, "The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated. The worst is atomic war. The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth. Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two finely equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." Three million pamphlets featuring Eisenhower's powerful "Cross of Iron" speech are distributed throughout Western Europe and Latin America; 100,000 handbills in eight languages are distributed in New Delhi. The text is sent to over 900 German newspapers and magazines. It is broadcast hourly over Radio Free Europe. The effect of Eisenhower's eloquence is difficult to measure. (Philip Taubman, Derek Leebaert)
NATOWest Germany joins NATO. (CBS News, NATO and UN History)
Cold WarThe evidence against them has always been controversial, with many believing that both were either innocent of the charges, or dupes of Soviet intelligence. The Venona transmissions, released to the public in 1995, gives a certain proof that Julius, at least, was involved in espionage. Both were openly members of the American Communist Party, though both denied to their deaths that they were Soviet agents. Julius was recruited in September 1942 by KGB agent Semyon Semenov, who ran him until his departure for the USSR in 1944, when his duties were taken over by Alexander Feklisov. Feklisov will call Julius Rosenberg his most productive agent, though Julius never transmitted any major nuclear secrets. Rosenberg, an employee of Emerson Radio, passed thousands of classified documents to the USSR through Semenov and Feklisov, including information on a proximity fuse that will be used in a Soviet missile design that eventually is responsible for shooting down the U2 flight of Francis Gary Powers. Rosenberg recruited several other Americans for Soviet service, including his brother-in-law David Greenglass, then working on the nuclear project at Los Alamos. When he and another spy, Harry Gold, were caught and confessed, their testimony implicated both Rosenbergs.
Korean Warleaving the country divided along almost the exact lines where the fighting had begun three years before. The armistice is seen by many in the international community as a potential model for resolving the ongoing conflict in Vietnam. The armistice avoids the likely use of "tactical" nuclear bombs against the North Koreans -- in fact, the NSC had advocated using atomic weapons against the Chinese "from Shanghai all the way north," and Eisenhower helped bring about the armistice about by quietly warning the Chinese of the US plans to use nukes if an armistice wasn't quickly concluded. Eisenhower made his point by having a number of critical dams bombed, causing catastrophic flooding throughout the peninsula.
Soviet nuclear programThe Russian and American advances in nuclear weapons technology escalates the Cold War to unparalled heights. US intelligence gathering methods are exposed as much weaker and more ineffective than previously thought. "There was an extraordinary absence of knowledge," recalls Richard Helms, then a rising young CIA officer and later the head of the CIA. "It was totally frustrating trying to learn anything, no matter how hard we tried or how imaginative we were. Eisenhower was sorely pressed to know what his enemy was about." Even if an attack never came, however, the fear of one, fueled by the absence of hard information, was potentially debilitating. The US had little choice than to do everything possible to defend itself against Soviet threats, but without precise information about Soviet military and nuclear capabilities, there was a strong risk that the US would waste time and resources building defenses and weapons that did not match the threat, or invest in military programs that were unnecessary. The drain could seriously impact the entire American economy. Edwin Land, the inventor of instant photography who would become a key element in the development of US spy technologies, said, "We cannot afford to defend against all possible threats. We must know accurately where the threat is coming from and concentrate our resources in that direction. Only by doing so can we survive the cold war." (Philip Taubman)
Mossadeq democracy in IranThe CIA promptly reinstates Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlevi on the throne. The Shah's secret police, SAVAK, trained by the CIA and Israel's Mossad, are as brutal and terrifying as the Gestapo. Resistance against the US's interference in Arab affairs builds throughout the Middle East. British oil interests, partially nationalized under previous governments, are returned to British control. American oil interests are retained by 8 private oil companies, who are awarded 40% of the Iranian oil industry. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr. helps the Shah develop the fearsome SAVAK secret police. (ZNet, History Lesson: Middle East Timeline, Global Policy Forum, Guardian, A Timeline of Oil and Violence)
Media manipulation and marketing by GOP"There is no such thing, at this date, of the world's history, in America, as an independent press.... The business of the journalist is to destroy truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it and what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and the vassals for rich men behind the scenes. We are jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes." (Lewis Lapham)
Supreme CourtEisenhower replaces him with moderate Republican Earl Warren, the governor of California and the vice-presidential nominee in 1948. Eisenhower is surprised by Warren's unexpected liberalism and activism. Warren is best remembered for leading the Court in obtaining a unanimous decision to end school segregation in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case, though the Court had been wrestling with the case for ten months before Warren joined the bench. (Earl Warren, Fireside and Fuller, Vincent Bugliosi)
Israel-Palestinian conflictan Israeli commando force destroy part of the Palestinian village of Kibya, killing 69 Palestinians, mostly women and children. The leader of the commando unit is Ariel Sharon; the leader of the Israeli terror group called the Stern Gang is Yitzhak Shamir; the leader of another Israeli terror group, the Irgun, is Menachem Begin. All three are future prime ministers of Israel. Pat Buchanan writes, "In both storied uprisings of the twentieth century, the Irish and Israeli wars of independence, terrorism was used, and those who used it are today national heroes in the pantheons of their people." (Pat Buchanan)
McCarthyismAn infuriated Eisenhower realizes that it is time to rein McCarthy in. Army sources pass information about McCarthy to Drew Pearson and other investigative journalists, including information about McCarthy and his legal associate Roy Cohn abusing Congressional privilege in trying to prevent David Schine from being drafted and later trying to force the Army into granting Schine special privileges. Other media figures, including writers I.F. Stone and George Seldes and cartoonists Herbert Block (Herblock) and Daniel Fitzpatrick, who have been working against McCarthy for a long time, find themselves joined by new allies in opposition to McCarthy, most notably Edward R. Murrow and Walter Lippman. As detailed below, by December 1954, McCarthy will be rendered irrelevant, with one newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, writing that "[i]n this long, degrading travesty of the democratic process, McCarthy has shown himself to be evil and unmatched in malice." One journalist says that after this, no one of any stature in the media pays any attention to anything else McCarthy has to say: "Most reporters just refused to file McCarthy stories. And most papers would not have printed them anyway." (HUAC Timeline, Spartacus Educational, Lewis Lapham)
Vietnam WarThe French underestimate the forces Giap will bring to bear against their position. On March 13, Giap, outnumbering the French 5-to-1, launches a huge assault against the French. After destroying French supply lines to the airbase, Giap begins large-scale tunnelling and trench-digging operations, having his troops surround the French. The airbase is besieged on March 30, a siege which stretches through April. The French quickly run out of fresh water and medical suppiles, and make an urgent appeal to Washington for aid. After heated debate among US military and civilian leaders, Eisenhower decides that none of his three options (sending in combat troops, launching B-29 airstrikes, or using tactical nuclear weapons) are feasible. The US does nothing to help the French. On May 7, the French surrender. France decides to cut its losses after Dien Bien Phu and withdraw completely from Vietnam. (Vietnam War Timeline)
US intelligenceOlson runs the Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick, Maryland, and has deep, covert ties to such US intelligence programs as Operation Paperclip and Operation Artichoke, the precursor to MK-ULTRA. (In 1978, former CIA director William Colby will reveal that Olson was not a civilian employee of the Army, as his family so long believed, but a CIA agent. His specialty was the development of aerosol-delivered anthrax.) After a relentless investigation by his son Eric, the US government produces a story that says Olson committed suicide nine days after being administered LSD without his knowledge during a secret CIA experiment, a story Eric Olson finds just as bogus as the original "accidental death" tale. Eric Olson, who was 9 when his father died, later says, "I'm not essentially conspiratorial in my world view. In my father's case, I just started turning over stones, and there was a snake under every one."
Cold Waris charged with delaying the naming of a number of Soviet spies as well as blocking the development of the hydrogen bomb. Oppenheimer, who denies being a Communist but admits to belonging to several Communist front groups, is found not guilty, but his security clearance is revoked and his contract with the Atomic Energy Commission is revoked. (It is later learned that Oppenheimer was the victim of a personal vendetta by the AEC's Lewis Strauss, a grudge facilitated by the enthusiastic testimony against Oppenheimer by fellow nuclear scientist Edward Teller.) Oppenheimer will live out the rest of his life in semi-seclusion, but takes a post at Princeton University. He will die of throat cancer in 1967. Many of his fellow scientists believe Oppenheimer was "crucified" because he holds beliefs in opposition to that of the US government. (Nuclear Files, Derek Leebaert)