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US Government: Interfering in European Elections Since At Least the End of World War Two

During the 2016 US Presidential Election, the candidates of the twin parties owned and operated by the US capitalist class – the Republicans and the Democrats – began a campaign of lies and disinformation about what they charged was intolerable Russian intervention in the US electoral process.  The Russians, they alleged, were responsible for the hacking of email accounts of Hillary Clinton and some of her top advisors during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State.   Backed by absolutely nothing more than wild assertions, the Clinton campaign, which was heavily damaged by the WikiLeaks releases, declared to the world that the documents had been leaked by the Russian Government of Vladimir Putin using the WikiLeaks organization as their global distributor.

The campaign of disinformation and slander against both Russia and WikiLeaks was launched by the US capitalist-class-financed Clinton campaign and dutifully parroted by the US capitalist news media and their fellow pro-capitalist propaganda outlets all over the world; and throughout their campaign they all insinuated that interfering in foreign elections was “beyond the pale” and certainly something that the United States Government would never, ever stoop down to.

It is quite absurd for the United States Government and its paid agents and apologists to take the Russians to the woodshed over Russian intervention in US elections; the US has been deeply involved in all manner of interventions in Russian domestic affairs – from elections to military invasions – since the time of the Russian Revolution of 1917.  While that fact is known to the world, it is less well-known that in fact, the United States Government – via its spy agencies like the NSA, as well as via its spy and paramilitary agency the Central Intelligence Agency – have intervened in foreign elections all over the world – including Europe – since even before these agencies were created at the end of World War Two.

All across Europe both during and after WWII the United States engaged in propaganda and paramilitary operations designed to create pro-US political and military organizations across Nazi-occupied and, later, Allied-occupied territory.  From Greece to France the US and its spies sought to recruit ex-Nazis to help them prevent the rise of and to disrupt and destroy pro-USSR organizations all over Europe.

The “Stalin-Hitler” pact had thrown western European socialist and communist party members and sympathisers into a state of mass confusion, with many abandoning their support for the USSR in the wake of what seemed to them to be an unpardonable and completely indefensible alliance between nations and antithetical political movements that were obviously mortal enemies.  However, after the Nazis invaded the USSR in 1941 in Operation Barbarossa, the political pendulum of support to the USSR swung once again in the Soviet Union’s direction; and as the reports of Nazi atrocities being carried out against the Jewish and communist working class populations of Eastern Europe came to light, the USSR once again became the guys wearing the white hats in the eyes of a large number of workers around the world.  In Europe, many people, inspired by the heroic resistance of the workers of the USSR to the Nazi onslaught, organized the anti-fascist Resistance movements in Western Europe.  Fighting heroically against devastating odds, the Western European resistance fighters – largely composed of and led by Communists – won the respect of workers all over the world.

“I think the Communist Party came out of the war with a great aura, because many people who were members of the Communist Party had worked in the Resistance, in the railroads, in the mines, in the steel industry and in many other places. Many other people had been shot and murdered and when the war was over, I think that they had this glory from their action in the Resistance. Besides, I think that people were grateful to the Russians for having taken part in the war the way they did. And that added, I believe, to the aura that the Communists had — especially as I think that people felt that a great part of the bourgeoisie had betrayed their republican ideals.

“There was a lot of working class support for the Communist Party, but the support went beyond the working class. After the war, about 25 percent of the voters voted Communist, and of course many of these people weren’t working class people and weren’t Communists, but they voted for the Communist Party because it represented what seemed to be most progressive in social terms to many people in the country at the time.”

—- Marianne Debouzy, a French student in 1945, quoted in CNN’s “The Cold War” Episode 3 – The Marshall Plan

At the end of World War II, as the Nazi-allied regimes across Western Europe collapsed one after another, these communist resistance fighters seized power in towns and cities as the Nazis fled back to Berlin.  Many of these heroic workers fully expected that, with the capitalists of Western Europe having been exposed as massively pro-Nazi and utterly discredited by their association with the fascists, the Communists would take power across Western Europe.  The temporary political power vacuum created by the collapse of fascism was going to be filled by something; and the United States Government swung into action to make certain that the workers of Western Europe would not be allowed to choose a revolutionary socialist future for themselves.

Utilizing a massive economic loan program popularly known as the “Marshall Plan”, the US sought to tie food and economic aid to support for the capitalist West.  In the postwar elections, when it became clear that in spite of the massive US aid the Communists were making sweeping electoral gains in Greece, France and Italy, the US Government began planning on how to destroy the well-earned popular support for the Communists all over Europe.  Their plan was not only to destroy the popular Communist parties of Europe but also to destroy the militance of the communist-led labor federations across the continent by replacing the internationalist pro-USSR leadership of those trade-union organizations with a nationalist, pro-capitalist leadership.

Marianne Debouzy describes what she saw was the popular French attitude towards the Marshall Plan:

“I had mixed feelings — and so did many people that I knew — about the Marshall Plan. We didn’t believe in philanthropy on the part of politicians. And most people I knew felt that the generosity of Americans was a self-serving one, in the sense that they thought of Europe as an outlet for their goods, as a market to export stuff. And we thought that we could see that [motivation] in the types of things that they wanted us to buy with the money that they lent us. And we were very skeptical about the disinterested motives of the Marshall Plan — and we even thought that in some areas they were trying to prevent French industry from building up again, in order to export some of their goods and some of their stuff to Europe. So our view of the Marshall Plan was not a very positive one.

“The Marshall Plan appeared to us as both an economic and a political enterprise. An economic [enterprise], because as I said, Americans were looking for markets and this was going to be a real problem. And a political [enterprise], because we felt that they thought that if they could bring up the living standard in Europe, there’s hope that this will be a way to escape communism — that people would be more satisfied and less dissatisfied with the present regime and that they wouldn’t choose to change things. So we felt that the Marshall Plan was a political undertaking and also a cultural one, because there was a terrific cultural war being waged in France at the time. [I] remember, you know, accusations against Coca-Cola taking over and driving the French vineyard growers from business and Coca-Cola being a real poisonous drink that would bring France to its knees. So I think there was an economic, political and cultural side to the opposition to the Marshall Plan.

“The Marshall Plan may not have been responsible for splitting the world, because there were [other] forces at work that did that. But I think it contributed to deepening the rift between East and West. Of course, the Russians might have expected to benefit from the Marshall Plan, but they didn’t and then I think, from then on it was considered by us as a way of sort of splitting the world.”

This document, which was released by the US Central Intelligence Agency via its “Freedom of Information Act” section of their website, describes just how intense the US intervention in the postwar labor movement and political scene of Europe was.

The US intervention in European elections was not isolated to the immediate postwar period.  As has been well documented throughout the third world, the CIA’s political interventions included everything from the organization of goon squads to attack communists selling their newspapers on the street to installing right-wing governments which then began torturing and assassinating Communist Party members and sympathisers.  Their activities in the immediate postwar era in Europe were just as brutal.

We have come across a CIA document that lays out the initial planning for what was to become a widespread US Government campaign to manipulate European elections so as to prevent the rise of militant revolutionary socialist parties and workers revolution in Europe.  The document was listed on the CIA’s website as “CIA-RDP80R01731R003200020013-5.pdf”.  It carries the date of 15 September 1951 and is entitled “Analysis of the power of the Communist Parties of France and Italy and of measures to counter them.”  It was written by notorious US spymaster and Cold Warrior Allan W. Dulles , who at the time was the Deputy Director of the CIA.  He would later – partly due to his success in crippling the revolutionary socialist workers movement in Europe – be promoted to be the head of the Agency, a position which he held for nearly 10 years, during which the damage he and his criminal agency did to the workers movement in Europe, South and Central America and throughout the world was massive.

The United States Government has been interfering in European elections since the end of WWII.

The United States Government has been interfering in European elections since the end of WWII.

Dulles whines that “[i]n France and Italy the Communist Parties occupy a position of respectability that they do not enjoy elsewhere in Western Europe.  There are no social or economic disadvantages to being a member of these communist parties.  In fact, for labor there may be certain advantages in being a member of the party and of the communist-controlled unions which largely dominate labor in the two countries…

[…]

Dulles admits, grudgingly, that “[o]ne of the reasons for communist strength and relative respectability in these countries is the important role which the communists played in the French and Italian wartime underground resistance movements.  As a result, immediately upon liberation they seized strategic positions, took over building sites and appropriated other prerogatives, particularly in the field of the press and of labor.  They have never been dislodged from many of these positions.”  This, Dulles and his co-conspirators determined, had to be made to change – whether the French and Italian workers and governments wanted to change the situation or not.

“I conclude that it should be a major point of American and of NATO policy to cripple these communist parties” Dulles coldly declares.

The US Government plan to interfere in European elections was not merely a project of the CIA: it was concocted with the full participation of the US State Department – a fact which should be known to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was, after all, the US Secretary of State and who knows full well just how deeply the US Government interference in European affairs is to this day.  If she did not bother to study the history of her own State Department she would definitely have been made aware of the massive US spy operations of the NSA and other US intelligence agencies exposed by Edward Snowden over the past couple of years, as well as other revelations in which it was revealed that the US seeks to continuously monitor and collect not just all the telecommunications of European and world elected and appointed officials but samples of their DNA as well. 

According to the “Guardian” (UK), the order to spy on UN officials “was issued to US diplomats under Hillary Clinton’s name in July 2009, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications.

“It called for detailed biometric information ‘on key UN officials, to include undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders’ as well as intelligence on [UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s] ‘management and decision-making style and his influence on the secretariat’. A parallel intelligence directive sent to diplomats in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi said biometric data included DNA, fingerprints and iris scans.

The US State Department has always worked hand-in-glove with the CIA and other US intelligence agencies, and is required by US federal law to provide the CIA with office space and support at every US embassy in the world.  US embassies are where the CIA’s stations are located in most nations of the world.  US Ambassadors – State Department employees, of course – are in many cases deeply involved in the work of the CIA, and help to run comprehensive spying operations in every nation with which the US maintains diplomatic relations.  These spy operations include continuous attempts to recruit leading members of all of the major political parties in every country as paid spies working for the CIA.  You can read all about the details of US spy operations in rogue ex-CIA agent Philip Agee’s excellent books  “Inside the Company: CIA Diary” and the lesser known but quite enlightening “Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe”.

In Italy and France, Greece and Germany, the US Government has been exposed as the “sugar daddy” of the Christian Democrats, Social Democrats, and other right-wing and center-right political parties, funneling millions of dollars into their coffers in order to bolster their clout in their respective nations’ elections in a largely “successful” effort to marginalize militant revolutionary working-class parties and to keep them out of European legislative bodies.  Massive and well-funded campaigns led by AFL-CIO-fronted CIA operations were simultaneously launched to create new, anti-communist trade union federations to split and cripple worker militancy across Europe and to head off the development of workers revolutions on the continent.

The 1951 CIA document complains that inspite of massive fraud committed in both the French and Italian elections to deny the Communists their rightful electoral victories, and to the massive multi-billion-dollar US “Marshall Plan” to rebuild European economies and to provide food for malnourished workers in devastated postwar Europe “nonetheless, the communist parties had shown a voting strength roughly equal” to the results in 1946 and 1948 and concludes that “consideration must be given to new techniques to deprive the French and Italian Communists of their power”.

What were the techniques proposed to achieve this by the US capitalist class’ most loyal and highly-placed governmental servants?  To what lengths would the US Government go to deny the workers of Europe their democratic rights?  A comprehensive program of disruption of the work of the European communist parties was proposed.

“Action against the French and Italian Communist Parties must develop and be presented to the people as independent French and Italian moves.  It should not appear to come under U.S.A. pressure and our support should be covert, not overt…”

The Dulles paper grades the French government on the anti-communist actions that had taken by 1951.  A government decree of 1950 had created a French “territorial guard” “to provide the means for dealing with a Communist fifth column in the event of a national emergency”.  Dulles decried the fact that little had been done to bring this reactionary formation into existence, giving the government a rating of “unsatisfactory”.  A French government minister had “declared that it is the policy of the Government to remove Communists from ‘posts of command’, although not from lesser positions, in public administration and the national economy”.  Dulles’ graded the French effort to be “Relatively Satisfactory”.  The French government received the same grade on their efforts to “[Outlaw] International and Foreign Communist Organizations and Fronts”, the “Prohibition of Soviet and Cominform Periodicals” and gave a higher “Satisfactory” rating to the French efforts to “[Prohibit] French Communist and Communist Front Demonstrations”, to create “Anti-Communist Propaganda” and to encourage pro-French nationalism or “nationalist deviationism” within the French labor federations.

Dulles and his cabal would seek to encourage the French Government to deny the reds access to newsprint and publishing facilities; to deny French Communists access to government jobs and “social welfare benefits” to which they were legally entitled; and to get the French Government to pass a law banning strikes of public service employees and to declare public statements of the French Communists in support of rebels in Algeria and Vietnam to be a form of treason.

In Italy, a paper by James Clement Dunn which accompanies the Dulles paper declares, “vast sums of money are being expended in Italy under the authority of the U.S. Government in various ways for propaganda and information […] with a view to influencing Italian public opinion toward an attitude more favorable to the United States.”

Sweeping new laws and Italian government action against Communists and organizations that supported them was proposed along the same lines as described above for France.  This is how the top representatives of “American Democracy(TM)” promoted democratic rights for workers in postwar Europe!

The capitalist classes’ idea of “democracy” does not extend to actual democratic rights for workers to decide their own futures.  Supporting any political party or NGO not completely controlled by the capitalists is now and always has been “treason” in the eyes of the capitalists.  The hypocrisy and cynicism of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the capitalist press on the question of “foreign interference in US elections” is laid absolutely bare by the growing well-documented record of comprehensive US Government interference in the political life of all the world’s nations.

— Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago

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