The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Coup has everything; the CIA, an evil corporation, an heroic, democracy loving man of the people, all with an anti-American slant to top it off. It’s an ideologue’s perfect fairy tale. The fact that the narrative is palpably and obviously a pack of grotesque lies doesn’t matter to them. Don’t believe me? Just Google the story. You’ll find link after link to historical fantasists, all flogging the same bogus line, all professional paragons of ostentatious, self-proclaimed virtue, all with big crocodile tears streaming down their faces. For them, the pose is everything, and the reality nothing.
Let’s continue deconstructing the Great Coup myth. Take a close look at what’s out there, and you can get a pretty good idea of what really happened. In fact, the CIA did try to pull off a coup. According to the narrative, it did so at the behest of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). This flimsy fabrication falls apart as soon as you shine the light of day on it. In fact, the CIA became involved because the US feared a Communist takeover in Iran. The author of the Wikipedia article on Mossadegh is typical of the genre in implying that the Communist menace was just a fig leaf, citing Mossadegh’s “open disgust with socialism.” In fact, it was obvious to US decision makers at the time that Mossadegh wasn’t a Communist, but they weren’t stupid enough to believe that this would somehow magically protect Iran from a Communist takeover. In fact, they had taken over numerous other countries in the decade preceding the coup, including those with “nationalist” leaders, like Iran.
Czechoslovakia is a case in point. There they had gradually infiltrated the police, security and military forces until they felt strong enough to seize power for themselves. In fact, the same thing had been going on in Iran. It was discovered after the coup that the Iranian Communist (Tudeh) Party had “477 members in the armed forces, ’22 colonels, 69 majors, 100 captains, 193 lieutenants, 19 noncommissioned officers, and 63 military cadets,’ although none of these were in the ‘crucial tank divisions around Tehran’ that could have been used for a coup d’état and which the Shah had screened carefully. Ironically, a Tudeh colonel had been in charge of the Shah’s personal security – as well as that of Vice President Richard Nixon when he visited Iran.” Is it any wonder that western leaders saw Mossadegh as a “sorcerer’s apprentice,” likely to unleash powers he couldn’t control?
Following World War II, the Soviet Union did not withdraw the troops it had stationed there for strategic reasons during the war, but used them to occupy parts of the north of the country, where it established puppet states. These were not finally suppressed by Iranian troops until November 1946, after the Soviets had withdrawn in return for an agreement giving them access to Iranian oil.
The role of the Tudeh is typically glossed over by the Great Coup storytellers. In fact, Mossadegh, who had no organized power base of his own, had been openly collaborating with them, relying on their support to garner over 99.9% of the vote in a rigged, non-secret plebiscite. The Tudeh had staged a massive demonstration in his support on July 21, about a month before the coup, and had again rampaged in the streets on August 17, destroying statues of the Shah, who had fled the country by this time. The yarn spinners claim Kermit Roosevelt’s book, Countercoup, proves he hired these very demonstrators. It proves nothing of the sort. In purported Great Coup leader Roosevelt’s own words, he was surprised by the demonstrations, and they “scared the hell” out of him. The New York Times report on these events is typical of perceptions in the US: “Thus, at day’s end, Dr. Mossadegh was alone with the Tudeh party in Iran’s political arena. At the moment, however, the two are uneasy allies.”
Following the events of August 17, Mossadegh used loyal military units to clear the Communists from the streets and “restore order.” It proved to be a fatal mistake. Other than the Tudeh, by this time he had little organized support left. He had succeeded in alienating military leaders and civilians loyal to the Shah, Ayatollah Kashani and other powerful clerics, and anyone fearful of a Communist takeover. With the Communists out of the picture, it proved an easy task for his opponents to unseat him. In the end, they did so on their own, without significant CIA help or direction.
The point of all this is that the Communists were cited as the reason for CIA involvement, and that, in fact, that reason is credible, because the Communists were perceived as a threat, and actually were a threat to the security of Iran at the time. The myth that the whole show was motivated by an oil company is just that, a myth.
Now let us turn to the legend of Mossadegh himself. He is described in the narratives as a popular, democratically inclined leader. In fact, he was a Hugo Chavez prototype. The legend that he was a virtuous, disinterested democrat falls apart if one looks at his track record. In 1951 elections for the Iranian Majlis, or parliament, Mossadegh suspended the vote after he had achieved a quorum, denying rural voters, who likely would have opposed him, a voice. He justified this high handed act by claiming “manipulation” by foreign intelligence services. This lame, self-serving excuse, stock-in-trade for any would be dictator, has been swallowed whole by western journalists of the “good-guy, bad-guy” genre, like the New York Times’ Steven Kinzer. He informs us breathlessly that this pathetic, self-seeking power grab was justified because British intelligence was pumping a whole 10,000 pounds a month into the country. Once again, we are to believe the usual yarn about the infinite effectiveness of CIA and MI6 money, the infinitesimal effectiveness of funds similarly spent by the Soviets and their Tudeh pals, and the complete disinterestedness of the noble Mossadegh. When cautioned by his advisors that western journalists would see through some similarly abject imposture, Stalin once replied, “Don’t worry, they’ll swallow it.” He was right. The “good guy, bad guy” school of journalists, capable of infinite self-deception and an infinite capacity to swallow their own narratives in the teeth of contradictory facts have been the bane of the truth for a long time. In 1952, the “democrat” Mossadegh convinced the Majlis to grant him “emergency powers” for a period of six months. When that period expired, he had these dictatorial powers extended, this time for a year. We’ve already mentioned how he held a plebiscite on his policies, removing the secret ballot protection for the occasion. The result, 99.94% in favor, was reminiscent of the Soviet Union in its heyday. Of course, even this has not been enough to sway the Kinzer school of journalists, bitterly determined as they are to portray Mossadegh as the “good guy” no matter what, and the facts be damned, but his own countrymen were not similarly bamboozled. Previous supporters such as the powerful cleric, Ayatollah Kashani, began to suspect that the “pure, noble democrat” Mossadegh was actually a nascent dictator.
In tomorrow’s installment, we’ll take a closer look at Wilber’s “History,” and some of the other source material commonly claimed as “proof” of their version by the peddlers of the Great Coup myth, and see what they really say.
Parts I and III of this post can be found here and here.
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