Friday, August 24, 2012
Archaeology of the Cold War: The CIA Report on the 1953 Coup in Iran
I propose that if we had a top ten of most controversial CIA cold war "activities", the coup in Iran that put the Shah in power would be on that list. Everyone knows that we put the Shah in power, right ?
Maybe we did, or maybe things are a little more complicated than that. At the very least, we (i.e. the USA & the CIA) could be accused of serious meddling, actually quite a bit worse than that. But maybe not exactly guilty of putting the Shah in power, or so it might seem.
Submitted for your consideration is a 200-page CIA historical report, more or less an after-action report, of the planned coup in Iran and what transpired. The first thing you will notice, when you read it, is that the CIA coup failed. What, you say ? How could that be ? Although I could tell you the story here, and very well may in a future version of this post, for now I am suggesting that you read the report yourself. There is some value in watching the CIA's plans fail, see them work to get their people out of the country, and watch their confusion as things evolved beyond what they had planned.
Now I have to admit that one would be really naive to think that the CIA is going to release a report that is going to criticize themselves, and we are the first to admit that I can only guess when the truth ends and the wishful thinking, or worse, begins.
But since the situation with Iran is certainly on the front pages every day, and since many people in Iran certainly blame us for putting the Shah in power, I think it is worthwhile for concerned Americans to read a little bit about either what happened, or maybe happened, on those days long ago.
(For those who want the executive summary, it goes something like this. The CIA coup failed. But things were sufficiently riled up that others took things into their own hands... particularly the army, or that is my interpretation from reading this. You read it, and tell me what you think).
For those who are upset because it might appear that I am defending the Shah of Iran, that is not the case. The Shah was completely evil! Evil! For example, he wanted to educate women! Can you believe that?! What a scumbag! No wonder they got rid of him. (Ok, I am being sarcastic. I have no particular opinion on the Shah. I do have an opinion about the current government of Iran, and it is not positive. But that does not mean that I advocate the USA being involved in regime change, overt or covert, no such opinion is expressed here).
But I digress. Seriously, check it out. Remember this is a CIA internal report of some sort, quite possibly deliberately constructed as some sort of disinformation campaign, and you should assume it is not the entire truth, at the very least.