by Stuart Littlewood
I’m referring to the fuss over allegations that Russia was hacking Clinton’s emails during the US presidential campaign. Such small beer compared with the heavy-handed way America interferes in other people’s business.
Who recently tried to sway UK voters in our recent EU referendum, which was far more important than any general election, by threatening that Britain would go to the back of the queue in the US if we left the EU?
Who didn’t like the result of the last Palestinian election in 2006, won fair and square by Hamas, and has ever since tried ever trick in cahoots with Israel and its stooges, including Britain, to crush the resistance party opposing Israel’s illegal occupation?
The US has a history of interfering through either the CIA or NED (National Endowment for Democracy), for example in Iran, Nicaragua, Bulgaria, Cuba, Mongolia, Haiti, Venezuela, Afghanistan…. America just can’t keep its nose out of other nations’ affairs.
And Syria? Yet another unfortunate country on America’s regime change list.
As for the NED, google its directors are imagine the mind-set.
America’s most catastrophic meddling was probably in Iran. I don’t mean the attempt to stop Ahmadinejad in the 2009 presidential election, in which the US was widely suspected of inciting chaos on the streets. Whatever the truth on that occasion, it’s the perception that counts. And the US already had ‘form’.
CNN reported at the time that Obama said the violence used against demonstrators disputing the election results was “outrageous…. and despite the government’s efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it.”
He also claimed it was “absolutely clear” that Ahmadinejad’s chief rival in the election, Mir Hossein Moussavi, had “captured the imagination or the spirit of forces within Iran” and had become a representative of street protesters who clashed with security forces.
Obama said he and German chancellor Merkel shared the belief that the Iranian government’s violence against its own citizens was unacceptable. “I continue to believe that ultimately, it’s up to the Iranian people to make decisions about who their leaders are going to be…. A government that treats its own citizens with that kind of ruthlessness and violence and that cannot deal with peaceful protesters who are trying to have their voices heard in an equally peaceful way I think has moved outside of universal norms, international norms that are important to uphold.”
Of course, you wouldn’t hear Obama, or any other US president for that matter, upholding those universal and international norms by rapping their bosom-friend Netanyahu over the Zionist regime’s frequent use of lethal force against the Palestinian people whose territory it illegally occupies. If any terror regime needed changing it’s that one.
Addressing the crowds the Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, responded: “After street protests, some foreign powers … started to interfere in Iran’s state matters by questioning the result of the vote. I strongly condemn such interference.
“American officials’ remarks about human rights and limitations on people are not acceptable because they have no idea about human rights after what they have done in Afghanistan and Iraq and other parts of the world. We do not need advice over human rights from them.”
But it was Britain he singled out as the most treacherous of Iran’s enemies. Western diplomats, said Khamenei, “are displaying their enmity against the Islamic state, and the most evil of them is the British government”. He must have had in mind the deposing of Dr Mossadeq and what led up to it.
Iran was subjected to exploitation of the worst kind
No British foreign secretary had set foot in Iran since the 1978/9 Revolution until Jack Straw’s one-day visit in 2001, prompted by 9/11. It was an appalling dereliction of duty considering what a friend Iran (Persia) had once been. In 1901 Persia granted a Devon man, William Knox D’Arcy, a 60-year oil concession covering half-a-million square miles. When D’Arcy struck oil in 1908 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was formed. It turned out to be a vital asset to Britain in World War One. From this sprang Anglo-Iranian Oil and subsequently the mighty BP. But we repaid Iran with corporate greed and diplomatic double-cross. The greedy British were raking in more profit from Iran’s oil than the Iranians themselves.
The US State Department was also sniffing around. Back in the 1920s it had described the oil deposits in the Middle East as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history”.
Then up popped Dr Mossadeq. In March 1951 the Iranian Majlis and Senate voted to nationalise Anglo-Iranian Oil, in which the British government had a majority shareholding and which had controlled Iran’s oil industry since 1913 under terms that were extremely disadvantageous to Iran. Dr Mohammad Mossadeq, as the newly elected prime minister, carried out his government’s wish to cancel Anglo-Iranian’s oil concession, which was not due to expire for another 42 years, and take over its assets.
In a speech in June 1951 [M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran, p. 525] he explained why. “The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provides that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation…
“It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention…”
The Arab-American Oil Co (Aramco) was said to be sharing profits 50/50 with the Saudis. Britain had been paying Iran only 16% during the inter-war years and treating Iranian oil workers abominably while profiting hugely herself.
What revenue Iran did receive went to re-pay debts still owed to European creditors by the country’s extravagant shahs. Furthermore the company reneged on agreements to train Iranian technicians and engineers, and it paid its Iranian workers considerably less than foreigners and forced them into sub-standard housing. “Wages were 50 cents a day,” according to a director’s report. “There was no vacation pay, no sick leave, no disability compensation. The workers lived in a shanty town called Kaghazabad, or Paper city, without running water or electricity.”
The company had promised to build schools, hospitals, roads and a telephone system, but never did. It was exploitation of the worst kind.
And remember, the British government had the controlling interest in Anglo-Iranian and its Aberdan refinery which was the largest in the world.
Faced with Mossadeq’s move to nationalise, the British government went mad and imposed a blockade and crippling sanctions, quickly reducing the country to chaos. Britain looked to America for help in bringing Iran to heel, but the US initially opposed Britain’s behaviour with Dean Acheson calling it “destructive”, However, when Eisenhower entered the White House in 1953 America’s attitude changed. Mossadeq, popular and highly regarded, was removed in a coup by MI5 and the CIA, imprisoned for 3 years then put under house arrest until his death.
US and UK themselves in need of regime change
The CIA-engineered plot reinstated the hated Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in. For ordinary Iranians it was the final straw. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission.
Thereafter the US and Britain were known as ‘Great Satan’ and ‘Little Satan’ respectively. But what should have been a sharp lesson for Western meddlers has become a festering sore. The US seems more determined than ever to seize this vast energy resource through regime change. And never mind the consequences for millions of innocents.
And Iran has not forgotten past crimes… How could she?
US and British leaders, now as then, continue to demonstrate that there is nothing too devious or too dishonest for them to contemplate… and carry out. Double standards are their way of life. It is laughable — and embarrassing — when they lecture others about principles and have to be slapped down by the Ayatollah.
The joke is, America and Britain themselves are in dire need of regime change. But it is better coming from within. We in the UK have already started ours. It’s called Brexit. We’re finally breaking free from suffocating EU control. We never gave our government permission to make us vassals of the EU in the first place and we’re driving that point home. There will be trouble if they mess up getting us out.
Perhaps Trump is America’s regime change, though few will be convinced that change has come until they see the whole gruesome neo-con crew dangling from Brooklyn Bridge.
After working on jet fighters in the RAF Stuart became an industrial marketing specialist with manufacturing companies and consultancy firms. He also “indulged himself” as a newspaper columnist. In politics, he served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and member of the Police Authority. Now retired he campaigns on various issues and contributes to several online news & opinion sites. An Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, he has produced two photo-documentary books which can be read online at Radiofreepalestine.org.uk and Paperturn-view.com