US meddling in Foreign Elections: Lessons for Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan citizens cannot ignore the manner foreign envoys are seen interfering into the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. The regular visits to Temple Trees, the uncanny diplomatic statements being issued, the virtual threats of imposing sanctions & freezing aid simply because their poster boy has been democratically removed just does not tally with their chorus of good governance, rule of law, democracy first blah blah blah. It has always been about exporting democracy whether countries sought for it or not and US is alleged to have rigged elections, funded candidates & parties & even overthrown presidents.
In February 2018 an article by Scott Shane Russia isn’t the only one meddling in elections. We do it too” confirmed US interference in foreign elections. The article highlighted some poignant facts that the US interference in foreign elections was not to instill democratic traditions to these nations but to disenfranchise ‘leftist & progressive voters & political parties …. and protect the interests of the US military bases and US multinational corporations”. More American companies would mean more American interference. According to GlobalResearch contributor Bill Van Auken New York Times editorial board is operating in lockstep with the Pentagon and the CIA in the machinations of US imperialism in Latin America” therefore, do we need to take any of NYT’s articles seriously? https://www.globalresearch.ca/foreign-meddling-in-elections-yankee-imperialist-style/5631197
Here’s just a handful of these interventions:
2018 Venezuela; US declared elections illegitimate ironically even before people cast their votes. An attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President was also made via a drone attack
2014 Ukraine: After Ukranian President rejected EU offer of closer economic cooperation & pursued closer ties with Russia. US then decided to deliver ‘democracy’ via an illegal process in Kiev where US is said to have handpicked leaders of this new illegal government. The country plunged into a civil war which continues to this day.
2013 Kenya: Obama administration
2009 Lebanon: Obama administration
2009 Afghanistan: Obama administration tried to defeat Afghan President Karzai but failed.
2009 Fiji’s PM Frank Bainimarama gave Australia & New Zealand 24hours to get their high commissioners out of Fiji and recalled his own envoys from Australia & New Zealand. The reason for expelling the two foreign envoys was their meddling in Fiji’s judiciary. Incidentally, the envoys had warned a Sri Lankan judge of being banned from entering Australia if she accepts a job offer by the Fijian judiciary!
2008 Serbia: Presidential elections Western support for Boris Tadic
2005 Iraq: Sham elections. US delivered democracy to Iraq but it is in ruins. A hurried undemocratic election was held to write a new constitution. Scott Ritter, a UN official in Iraq claims US changed the results after the election.
2004 Ukraine: Orange Revolution
Ukrainians in general were against Western interference in its elections. Much of this interference came through NGOs as is seen in the case of Sri Lanka.
2000 Serbia: US helped oust Milosevic using NGO George Soros’s Open Society Institute staff.
1990 Nicaragua: CIA helped defeat ruling Sandinista-led government
1973 Chile: Deposing Allende
1964 Brazil: deposing Goulart
1954 Guatemala: Operation PBSUCCESS overthrew elected President Jacobo Arbenz to protect corporate interests of US company United Fruit Company, plan was devised by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles who arrived in Ceylon in 1956 too.
1946 Argentina: US published Blue book on Argentina’ just before elections accusing Presidential candidate Juan Peron of being a Nazi. The plan backfired Peron made the US interference his propaganda & won the election. A good tip for Sri Lanka too.
Prof. Dov Levin of Carnegie Mellon university analyzing data from 117 elections from 1946-2000, claims US has interfered in U.S. has intervened 81 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000”. Not counting covert coup d’etats such as the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran in 1953 or Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954,
Prof. Levin says that US has meddled in elections of:
Americas: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Uruguay, Panama, Nicaragua, Grenada, Jamaica, El Salvador
Africa: Somalia, Lebanon, Iran,
Europe: Italy, West Germany, Iceland, Greece, Malta, UK, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Albania, Yugoslavia/Serbia, Montenegro, Ukraine, Slovakia, Russia,
Asia:Japan, Philippines, Indoensia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Haiti, Cambodia, South Vietnam, Mauritius & Sri Lanka
According to Prof Levin, UNP had sought assistance from US embassy for elections & US sent campaign advisors to help UNP & gave covert funding to UNP.
- US help 1: May 1956 elections when UNP was facing defeat – US promised $5m to help UNP campaign. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles even arrived in then Ceylon on 11 May 1956 to meet PM Kotelawala & help install UNP in power. But SWRD won with a landslide victory.
- US help 2: 1960 election – UNP won with slim majority but lost it in July
- US help 3: 1965 election – US helped UNP capture 65 seats of the 151 seat parliament & form a ‘national government’ with ITAK. In 1965 SLFP won just 41 seats. The UNP victory was described as a ‘crushing victory’ and a triumph for America. Dudley Senanayake went on to compensate American oil companies Esso & Caltex & British oil company Shell which Mrs. Bandaranaike had nationalized under her government.
- US help 4: UNP 2000 election
Prof Levin says that these election interventions come with the approvals of the highest levels in US govt and that they use US embassy staff, smear campaigns, NGOs to do the job.
Late Robert Keeley, who served as US ambassador to Greece said that the template used by US embassy staff in 1965 for UNP was used in Greece elections in 1967. However, Keeley’s book The Colonel’s Coup & the American Embassy: A diplomats view of the Breakdown of Democracy in Cold War Greece” says that Mrs B’s party won an overwhelming victory driving our clients from power most ignominiously”.
That USAID requested $3.4m to assist UNP in 2015 was revealed by Ms. Hassina Leelaratna. The funds had been requested from the Complex Crisis Fund (CCF) & was part of a $40m US funding package to ‘support governance, rule of law & economic reform in Sri Lanka”.
Enough & more examples can be given to show how US, UK & alliances have joined to oust leaders they think are a headache to their imperial goals & wish to install puppets in their place. If they too don’t toe the line, its kaput for them too – Egypts Hosni Mubarak found that out too late.
What is the lesson for Sri Lanka in all this? A good look into each of the elections that the US, CIA, UK & other western alliances have meddled in, what is clear is that they all work in tandem & to a well-coordinated plan. With mainstream media in their pockets it is easy to create the necessary hysteria projecting foreign leaders as despots megalomaniacs, dictators – these are often the favorite buzzwords used. Then they pump plenty of funding to various glorified initiatives that their local NGOs are tasked to do well ahead of any election – these are data gathering, information sourcing & quantitative research which all get collected to a central room that uses the data to decide what type of democracy to deliver. Depending on the emotional triggers & other psychological tricks at their disposal people are led to believe in a point which picks up on a bit of truth & bloats it to unbelievable heights that can generate varied types of emotions all of which will impact negatively on the candidate they oppose. To match this the Western bandwagon of diplomats, officials, UN, foreign experts, panelists will all be chirping the same idea making the locals believe and accept the lies as truth.
From what Prof Levin says Sri Lanka has been a victim of US election meddling 6 times counting 2 elections in 2015 & it should be now more than obvious that these diplomats by regular visits to Temple Trees, visiting the other members of the UNP coalition, regular meetings with the local NGO heads, media etc that we are going to see them meddling again. How can we deal with the situation? The best way to do so is for the People to rally around the candidate this foreign meddlers are against because he is the main obstacle to them realizing their plans. Iraq’s new constitution has become their undoing & we know the part US/West has played in Sri Lanka’s ‘new constitution’.
Sri Lanka must realize by understanding the chaos that the countries that the West has meddled in to ensure the same is not repeated in Sri Lanka.
West & UN tells the world to respect ‘democratic values’ & then delivers democracy via bombs. US has bombed 21 countries & invaded 22 in 20 years. If this is the type of democracy West & UN are asking of us, then we have to say ‘no thank you’.
Shenali D Waduge