One of the big problems we face in America is the unwillingness of all too many Americans to identify and confront evil within their own government, especially when that evil is centered within the Pentagon and the CIA, both of which are considered godlike by many Americans. As I point out in my new book An Encounter with Evil: The Abraham Zapruder Story, Americans are very good at identifying and confronting evil in foreign regimes, such as Russia or China, but not so much when it comes to evil within their own government.
An example appeared in a recent story in the conservative Wall Street Journal about the American basketball star Brittney Griner, who has pled guilty to a drug offense in Russia. The article, entitled “America Held Hostage: Day 15,606,” lamented the fact that Russian authorities were refusing to immediately release Griner in response to demands from U.S. officials. The article’s authors, Jared Genser and Skylar Gleason, called Griner a “hostage.”
Needless to say, there was not one single reference to all the drug-war “hostages” that the U.S. government and various state governments have held — and continue to hold — here in the United States — and some for longer than 15,606 days. (Griner has been held for about 5 months.)
But Genser and Gleason go further and bring another official enemy (or adversary, opponent, or rival) of the United States into the picture — Iran. They point to the U.S. diplomats who were taken hostage during the 1979 Iranian revolution.
What Genser and Gleason do not point out, however, is why the Iranian people felt the need to initiate a violent revolution in the first place. That part of the picture is omitted from their Wall Street Journal article.
In 1953, the CIA intentionally, knowingly, and deliberately initiated a violent regime-change operation in Iran that ousted the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammad Mossadegh, from office and restored the Shah of Iran into power.
The Shah was one of the most brutal dictators in the world, and U.S. officials were okay with that because he was ardently pro-U.S. government. In fact, the CIA even helped organize, train, and maintain the fierce SAVAK, the Shah’s domestic police force that was a combination Pentagon, CIA, FBI, and NSA.
Warrantless searches of people’s homes. Arbitrary arrests. Violent suppress of speech, especially speech that criticized the Iranian dictatorship. Indefinite detention. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. This is the U.S.-supported tyranny that the Iranian people had to endure every day for some 26 years.
In 1979, the Iranian people had had enough of this violent and brutal U.S.-orchestrated and U.S.-supported tyranny. That’s when they revolted against their own government, which, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, they had every right to do.
At the time the revolution took place, the Shah was in the United States getting medical treatment. The reason the Iranian people took those U.S. diplomats hostage is to ensure that the CIA and the Pentagon would not attempt to restore the Shah to power. While they were morally and legally wrong to do that, it’s important that we place the matter into the overall context of what the U.S. government, including those diplomats, had done to the Iranian people for the previous 26 years.
Notwithstanding all of the grandiose verbiage about the importance of democracy that comes out of the mouths of U.S. officials, the discomforting fact is that U.S. officials knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy and then helped impose one of the most brutal, non-democratic tyrannies in history on the Iranian people. Unfortunately, after their revolution, the Iranian people were unable to restore the democratic system that U.S. officials had destroyed, and Iranians ended up suffering under another tyranny.
Why did U.S. officials deem it necessary to destroy Iran’s experiment with democracy? For the same reason they would later deem it necessary to destroy Guatemala’s and Chile’s democratic systems by ousting their democratically elected presidents from office and replacing them with brutal, rightwing military tyrants.
The reason lay in the virulent anti-Russia animus that infected the minds of CIA officials, Pentagon officials, and other federal officials — the same virulent anti-Russia animus that afflicts their successors today. They were convinced that Mossadegh was leaning toward Russia rather than the United States during their Cold War racket, which was why they felt the need to violently remove him from office. When Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz and Chilean president Salvador Allende actually did befriend Russia, they too were made the targets of violent regime-change operations on the part of the Pentagon and the CIA.
And, of course, we all know what happened to President Kennedy after he too befriended Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in his famous Peace Speech at American University in June of 1963.
As I point out in An Encounter with Evil: The Abraham Zapruder Story, if we are to get our nation back on the right track — toward liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony with the people of the world — it is essential that we identify, confront, and eradicate evil here at home — the evil that is at the center of the U.S. government.