Europe & the Middle East
30 -
Mohammad Reza Pahlevi
Shah of Iran, King of Kings

1953 was a busy year for Allen Dulles. Even as he readied the CIA for a coup in Guatemala (see card 9), his agents were toppling the liberal left government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadeq and paving the way for the Shah of Iran. With Dulles' encouragement, the Shah made the Iranian people an offer they couldn't refuse - join his party or go to jail. Thousands who refused to yield were imprisoned or murdered. During regional elections in 1954, the Shah's agents raided a religious school and hurled hundreds of students to their deaths from the roof. His regime received 100% of the vote that year, in an election which registered more votes than there were voters.
The Shah's subsequent solidification of power led to an iron fisted rule enforced by fear and torture. His secret police agency, SAVAK, was created in 1957 and managed by the CIA at all levels of daily operation, including the choice and organization of personnel, selection and operation of equipment, and the running of agents. SAVAK's torture methods included electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails.
Iran under the Shah became a devoted U.S. ally and a base for spy operations on the border of the Soviet Union. But eventually the Shah was overthrown in 1978 by an indigenous people's revolution that held sway until fundamentalist religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran from exile and reasserted his power during the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis
32 - Adolf Hitler
Chancellor of Germany

As German bombs fell on London and Nazi tanks rolled over U.S. troops, Sosthenes Behn, president and founder of the U.S. based ITT corporation. met with his German representative to discuss improving German communication systems. ITT was designing and building Nazi phone and radio systems as well as supplying crucial parts for German bombs. Our government knew all about this, for under presidential order, U.S. companies were licensed to trade with the Nazis. The choice of who would be licensed was odd, though: while Secretary of State Breckinridge Long gave the Ford Motor Company permission to make Nazi tanks, he simultaneously blocked aid to German-Jewish refugees because the U.S. wasn't supposed to be trading with the enemy.
Other U.S. companies trading with the Third Reich were General Motors, DuPont, Standard Oil of New Jersey, Davis Oil Co., and the Chase National Bank. President Roosevelt did not stop them fearing a scandal might lead to another stock market crash or lower U.S. morale. Besides, the same companies that traded with Hitler were supplying the U.S., and some corporate leaders threatened to withdraw their support if Roosevelt exposed them. Henry Ford was a good friend of Hitler's. His book The Internatonal Jew had inspired Hitler's Mein Kampf. The Fuehrer kept Ford's picture in his office, and Ford was one of only four foreigners to receive Germany's highest civilian award. As for Sosthenes Behn, at the end of the war, he received the highest civilian award for service to his country - the United States of America.
33 - General Francisco Franco
President of Spain

General Francisco Bahamonde Franco was not the most popular leader in Spain during the early 1930s. A man of humble origins, he had worked his way up the military ladder fighting colonial wars in Africa. He was hardly charismatic; Hitler once described meeting him as "Iess pleasurable than having four or five teeth pulled." But Franco, a staunch  conservative, was infuriated when a Republican alliance of socialists, Marxists, and liberals won Spain's first free elections in 1936. So the General decided to "restore order" by force.
Franco's Nationalists were losing the civil war, but military support from Hitler, Mussolini, and the U. S. corporations that backed Hitler (see card 32) turned the tide in his favor. Italy and Germany sent 6,000 trucks to Franco's fascists, but 12,000 were supplied by Ford, General Motors and Studebaker. The U.S. claimed neutrality but didn't stop these companies from aiding Franco. The failure of the U.S. and other democratic nations to assist Spain's democratic government was ultimately responsible for Franco's victory in 1939, and, sadly, American volunteers who had fought for the Republic were branded "premature anti-fascists" and relentlessly persecuted during the U.S. anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s.
Under Franco, all political parties and labor unions were banned, books were burned, and dissenters were tortured and executed. Spain was ostracized by the international community, but the U.S. considered Franco a Cold War ally and sank millions into the country. After Franco's death in 1975, Spain became a democratic republic once again.
34 - Antonio De Oliveira
Prime Minister of Portugal

Antonio de Oliveira Salazar must have been upset when the Allies won the WW II and he had to take the autographed picture of his hero, Benito Mussolini, off his desk. Salazar worshiped Hitler and Mussolini, but after they lost, he joined the Allies and became a card carrying member of NATO. However, he always kept a piece of fascism alive in Portugal. His secret police, the PIDE, were much like the Gestapo; concentration camps were set up for "enemies of the state"; news organizations were merely propaganda machines; and all schools had their lesson plans carefully monitored by Big Brother. Salazar also kept a little piece of the dark ages alive in Western Europe. In 1970, 30% of the population was illiterate, and the infant mortality rate was the second worst in Europe. The Portuguese economy stagnated. Most of the land was held by 5% of the population, the vast majority of Portuguese were working in agriculture, and all union activities were forbidden.
Portugal was the last stronghold of European colonialism. Salazar refused to give up colonies in East Timor, Portuguese Guiana, Mozambique, and Angola. He believed "the "white man" must bring higher civilization to the "black man". The U.S. openly backed Portugal's colonial claims due to the strategic importance of military bases such as the one in the Portuguese Azores.
Salazar died in 1968, after 40 years in power. His regime fell in 1974, at which point Portugal left Angola, but the U.S. continued to back South African efforts there (see card 27).
35 - George
Prime Minister of Greece

When President Lyndon Johnson offered a solution to the Greek Ambassador for the dispute between Greece and Turkey over Cyprus, the Ambassador protested, saying the solution was unacceptable to the Greek parliament and constitution. Johnson replied, "Fuck your parliament and your constitution. We pay a lot of good American dollars to the Greeks. If your Prime Minister gives me talk about democracy, parliament and constitutions, he, his parliament and his constitution may not last very long." And, indeed, they did not. Three years later, in 1967, a military coup overthrew the freely elected government of Andreas Papandreou.
The coup was headed by CIA employee and ex-Nazi George Papadopoulos. He had been on the CIA payroll for 15 years when he came to power, and during WW II he was a captain in the Nazi Security Battalions, whose main purpose was to catch members of the Greek Resistance. Henry Tasca, American Ambassador to Greece, called the new regime "the most anti-communist group you'll find anywhere." Almost anyone who even said the word "communist" was jailed. During Papadopoulos' first month in power, 8000 so-called "leftists" were imprisoned and tortured. Greece was expelled from the European Commission on Human Rights but continued to receive U.S. aid. In return, Greece kept the world sale for democracy by housing U.S. military bases. Papadopoulos was ousted in 1973 after failing from grace with the inner clique that helped him rule. When the entire government fell in 1974, he and his comrades were tried for human rights abuses.
36 - Turgut Ozal
Prime Minister of Turkey

Turgut Ozal was elected prime minister of Turkey in 1983, after several years of harsh military rule. But while free expression in Turkey has opened up somewhat in recent days, torture and long prison terms for political opponents and government critics have remained a way of life. In 1988, according to Amnesty Intemational, "thousands of people were imprisoned for political reasons ... [and] the use of torture continued to be widespread and systematic."
Turkey's torturers are ruthless. Says one victim: "I loosened the blindfold and looked around. The scene was horrific. People were piled up in the corridor wading their tum to be tortured. Ten people were being led, blindfolded and naked, up and down the corridor and were being beaten to force them to sing reactionary marches. Others, incapable of standing, were tied to hot radiator pipes ... A man was forced to watch while his children were tortured and vice versa."
Regardless of the repression that a succession of governments have subjected the country to, U.S.-Turkish relations remain cordial. In the past, U.S. officials have even attributed the torture problem to "the violent nature of the Turkish people." Retired Turkish General Turgut Sunalp explains it a different way. "There has been, still is and will be torture in Turkey because there is torture everywhere in the world," he said. But despite its human rights abuses, Turkey can do no wrong in U.S. eyes, for it is one of the CIA's key listening posts on the Soviet border. Not surprisingly, in 1987, Turkey was the third largest recipient of U.S. aid.

Text © 1990 Dennis Bernstein & Laura Sydell. Art © 1990 Bill Sienkiewicz
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