The United States has always had an imperialistic relationship with Mexico, as well as with all of Latin America. Stephen Kinzer in The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, And Their Secret World War (2013) posits that under guise of wiping out Communism, the US has always fostered it imperialistic ambitions in the Western Hemisphere.
After the Dulles brothers and the CIA successfully overthrew Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953, they turned their attention to remaking Latin America into southern satellite states with governments favorable to the United States’ economic conditions beginning with the overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala.
A few months after the invasion and conquest of Guatemala, from exile in Mexico, the Guatemalan diplomat Guillermo Toriello published his own account. “The break of day on June 29th, 1954, brought with it the triumph of foreign aggression against Guatemalan democracy,” he wrote. “A combination of the State Department [where John Foster Dulles was Secretary], the Central Intelligence Agency [that Allen Dulles was Head], and the Banana Empire [various traitors in the Arbenz government] had finally manage to crush this small nation, indefensible and inoffensive, one hundred times smaller than its adversary, and drown in blood a flowering democracy dedicated to the dignity and economic liberation of its people. The next day, John Foster Dulles announced the ‘glorious victory’ and proclaimed his delight at the crime’s consummation.”
Kinzer writes that Allen brought the CIA into its golden age by showing that he could topple governments with minimum cost and almost complete discretion. Foster understood the power this implied. The world had become their battlefield. The brothers came to power determined to depose the leaders of two countries on opposite sides of the world. Both were now gone. Flushed with success, they moved on to their next target.
Rick Perry's Legal Trouble: The Line Between Influence And Coercion
Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks to the media and supporters after he was booked on August 19 in Austin. Perry is charged with abuse of office and coercing a public official.
The day he was booked, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a big smile for his mug shot — which was then printed up on t-shirts to demonstrate just what a farce he thought the indictment was. In a press conference, the scorn dripped from Perry's voice as he took up the sword — defender, not of himself, but of the state's constitution.
"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," he said. "It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."
Perry has been pushing back hard against allegations he misused the power of his office. Texas's longest serving governor is indicted on charges he tried to coerce the Austin district attorney into resigning by threatening to veto part of her office's funding if she didn't.
Perry has fired up his base, but like it or not his future will be decided not in the court of public opinion but inside the Texas legal system. So after the initial week-long artillery volley, Tony Buzbee, Perry's lead lawyer, is taking a softer tone.
"I think we're taking it seriously, and we're going to defend it in court," Buzbee says. "We're going to be careful about not attempting to try the case in the press. But I think it raises very serious constitutional issues; it raises issues with regard to the constitutional right of the governor to veto legislation."
The case revolves around Perry's attempt to oust Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg after she had an embarrassing drunk-driving conviction. At the time, Lehmberg's Public Integrity Unit was in the middle of a corruption investigation involving a state agency near to Perry's heart.
The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas hands out billions of dollars in state grants to recruit cancer research and biotech companies to Texas. But the agency was accused of dolling out grants to companies whose owners were better known for giving campaign contributions to Perry and Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott.
That's why, when Perry said he'd veto the Public Integrity Unit's budget if Lehmberg didn't resign immediately, it raised a few eyebrows. After all, the governor would have picked her replacement.
As it played out, Lehmberg refused to resign and Perry vetoed her budget, and those actions brought the indictment — coercion of a public official.
James Tomsheck poses in his office in Washington in June 2009. At the time, he was assistant commissioner for internal affairs with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Two months ago, James Tomsheck was pushed out of his job as internal affairs chief for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
At the time, authorities criticized him for not doing enough to investigate abuse and corruption.
But now Tomsheck tells a very different story: about a culture that goes out of its way to evade legal restraints.
Use of force by law enforcement agents along the Southwest border has drawn attention and criticism recently, after reports that Border Patrol agents shot and killed unarmed migrants and faced no consequences.
Since 2010, 28 people have been killed by agents and officers. Tomsheck says he believes about a quarter of the incidents are highly suspicious.
"I believe the system was clearly engineered to interfere with our efforts to hold the Border Patrol accountable," he says.
When asked how that could happen, he responded: "Some persons in leadership positions in the Border Patrol were either fabricating or distorting information to give the outward appearance that it was an appropriate use of lethal force when in fact it was not."
Things like exaggerating the threat an unarmed migrant posed, he says. Or claiming a migrant was on the U.S. side of the border, when he was actually in Mexico.
And in describing how Border Protection leaders forced him out after eight years on the job, Tomsheck doesn't mince words:
"I think there's every indication that my removal from the position ... was an effort to identify a scapegoat."
A scapegoat, he says, to silence criticism that few, if any, agents face justice for killing unarmed migrants on the border.
What's wrong overall, Tomsheck says, is the culture. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Border Protection agents and officers thought of themselves as an extension of the military. "The phrase was frequently used — a 'paramilitary border security force' or a 'paramilitary homeland security force.' "
One that he says operated outside normal legal bounds. "I believe that has caused them to believe that they are separate and distinct from the federal law enforcement community," he says. "And not bound by the same constitutional restraints regarding use of force."
For some of the very same reasons, CBP leaders recently brought in an FBI agent to review use of force, launched more training programs, and said they'd try to jump-start an internal affairs unit that allegedly lost its way under Tomsheck.
For his part, Tomsheck says he supports reforms to ensure the CBP is acting within the law. That includes putting body cameras on agents to capture images of their interactions with people on the border and bringing in independent investigators to review use-of-force complaints.
The internal affairs unit he ran for eight years is now headed by an FBI agent, brought in by management to lead a sweeping review of operations.
Tomsheck suggests he start by looking for corruption within the Customs and Border Protection ranks.
A significant number — 5 or 10 percent — of agents and officers, he says, are likely to be corrupted by money or family ties.
"That is a number which I believe is a conservative estimate based on the number of unsuitable persons who have entered the agency by virtue of hiring surges, most of which occurred after 2006," he says.
Hiring surges so urgent that the CBP failed to administer polygraph exams to job candidates. Exams that he says could have rooted out past criminal behavior or connections to drug cartels and human trafficking networks.
Before the polygraphs, Tomsheck says, about 20 percent of candidates got weeded out as unsuitable. But after the polygraphs became a regular part of screening, that number rose to more than half.
Now he's the one with human resource problems. After being ousted for allegedly failing to do enough to investigate misconduct, Tomsheck filed a complaint with the federal whistleblower office. He's speaking out now to try to clear his name.
"To hear it suggested that I didn't properly discipline persons — when I know that neither myself or anyone in the office of internal affairs has anything to do with discipline — was quite difficult to hear," he says.
Tomsheck says he prepared reports on use of force and other misconduct, which he says was part of his job. By his account, higher-ups are the ones who were supposed to make decisions about whether to discipline agents.
A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection says he can't discuss personnel issues. But he says the agency is committed to openness and accountability.
A U.S. Alliance for Unequal Progress In Latin America
The greatest political farce of the 20th century was the Alliance for Progress for Latin America. Jack Woddis in An Introduction To Neo-Colonialism (1967) seems a precursor to Kinzer’s Brothers in that it undercuts the propaganda that the United States has always has the best interest of the Latin American countries in mind as it fought to maintain imperialism in the Western Hemisphere.
Woddis writes that the U.S. sponsored Alliance for Progress for Latin America has equally proved to be a means of increasing the exploitation of a continent in the interests of foreign capital. for decades, Latin America has been a major source of profit for the big U.S. monopolies. Up to the end of the first world war, these firms were concerned to establish their control in Latin America—and the marines were always at their disposal for this purpose.
Capital exports in this period were relatively small, since a modest investment in mining or plantations yielded extraordinarily large profits. After 1920 the big hunt for oil began. Rockefeller’s Stand Oil Company pushed its way into Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico. Wars were fought—Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay, and the war between Peru and Ecuador—in order to oust British oil interest and make Latin America an exclusive hinterland for Standard Oil.
After 1945, however, the major increase in U.S. investments took place in Latin America, and this was even more so after 1950. The total value of U.S. investments in Latin America rose from 2,721 million dollars in 1943 to 4,445 million in 1950, and to 8,932 million in 1964. these investments were directed particularly to oil, and to the new manufacturing industries which have been established since the end of WWII. By 1964 oil and manufacturing accounted for 61 percent of U.S. directed investment in Latin America.
The victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 ushered in a new stage in the history of the Latin American people. The overthrow of the American-backed Batista dictatorship on the very doorstep of the United States (in modern military terms), the defeat of the invaders at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, American’s climb down after the missile crisis of 1962, and the radical economic and social changes introduced in the new Cuba, all had a most powerful impact throughout the Latin American continent.
Different Strokes For Different Folks: The Real Purpose ofUnequal Progress Alliance
Cuban Rafters Still Attempt Difficult Journey To The U.S.
Woddis posits that the supporters of the Alliance for Progress have themselves revealed it real purposes, which is still pertinent today. The late Secretary of State Dean Rusk [wrote] that the Alliance ‘rests on the concept that this Hemisphere is part of Western Civilization which we are pledged to defend.’ Todoro Moscoso, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, later head of the Latin American program of the Agency for International Development, and then chief of the Alliance for Progress, has stated quite candidly: ‘In supporting the Alliance, members of the traditional ruling class will have nothing to fear. The Alliance deserves their support, for is it not a call to their conscience and patriotism and at the same time their very means of self-defense?’ The former Venezuelan president, Romulo Betancourt, who was a favorite of the U.S. State Department, has stated in defense of the Alliance: ‘We must help the poor in order to save the rich.’
In other words, the Alliance, even in its original aims, was a neo-colonialist device for forestalling revolutionary change. Its intentions, in fact, were counter-revolutionary.
Because the Alliance for progress was not predicated on fundamental change, but had the limited aim of patching up the system so as to safeguard American economic and political interest, its six years of operation [had] resulted in a worsening of the crisis in Latin America.
American warplanes are once again attacking targets in Iraq. Ordered into action by a President who made it his business to end US military involvement in Iraq. To his critics it's one more piece of evidence pointing to an incoherence of Barack Obama's strategy in a region becoming ever more unstable and dangerous. HARDtalk speaks to Ali Khedery, a former adviser to a number of US ambassadors in Baghdad.
With a ceasefire now in place in Gaza, the Israeli government faces a simple question: what exactly did Operation Protective Edge achieve? For all the death and destruction in Gaza, has Israel's position been strengthened or weakened? Stephen Sackur speaks to Israel's Minister of Intelligence, Yuval Steinitz. Does Israel need a strategic rethink?
Afghanistan's presidential election was supposed to mark the country's progress, instead it threatens to inflict new wounds. The long drawn out process appeared to deliver a second round victory to Ashraf Ghani; but his rival Abdullah Abdullah alleged massive fraud and the vote count is under review. The Americans are urging the two rivals to share power. Stephen Sackur talks to Abdullah Abdullah. Is he currently acting in Afghanistan’s interest, or his own?
The Hamas/Israeli ceasefire in Gaza has allowed Palestinians time to assess the cost of the Israeli offensive both in human lives and damage to buildings and facilities. HARDtalk speaks to Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor just back from Gaza where he works as a volunteer at the main Al-Shifa Hospital. He is also an outspoken political activist on behalf of the Palestinian cause. Does this interfere with his work as a medic and humanitarian?
The United Nations has declared its highest level of emergency in Iraq as a humanitarian crisis follows the rapid advance of Islamic State militants. There have been eye-witness accounts of people beheaded, of whole families buried alive, and there are an estimated 1.2 million Iraqis internally displaced. Hardtalk speaks to Masrour Barzani, the head of intelligence and security in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. He is also the son of that region’s President. Is it the Kurds who can rescue the state of Iraq and how much outside help do they need to defeat the jihadists of the so called 'Islamic State'?
In August 1914, the five great powers of Europe declared war on one another. For countries like Britain, Germany and France the significance of World War One is regularly debated and commemorated. But what of that other great power, Russia? It also fought against Germany, but by the end of the war Tsar Nicholas II and his family had been murdered and the Bolshevik Revolution had brought Lenin to power.How far does what was happening in Russia then, help explain what is going on today? Zeinab Badawi talks to the renowned Russian theatre and film director Andrei Konchalovsky.
NATO is sixty five years old – does it lack the vigour, resources and political will to be an effective military force on the world stage at a time when conflicts across continents in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and West Africa present ever greater dangers to global security? HARDtalk speaks to NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Can NATO make the world a safer place and, if not, is it time the alliance went into retirement?
As the world commemorates the start of the First World War, HARDtalk travels to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia Herzegovina, to speak to Karl von Habsburg - grandson of the last of the Habsburg emperors. It was in Sarajevo that his great uncle Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in June 1914, an event which set the Great War in motion. Stephen Sackur hears reflections on Europe then and Europe now.