Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 8: The Agenda of the Doves: 1988 Segment 5/11
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Note that the conception of freedom and independence corresponds closely to liberal doctrine concerning the domestic population, who must also be free to ratify the decisions of their betters, but not to choose unwisely out of failure to comprehend the common interests that lie beyond their limited grasp. One should appreciate the intensity of the concern that the ignorant masses might choose a path that is not laid out for them by their betters.

Another example, pertinent here, is provided by a declassified National Intelligence Estimate of July 26, 1955, on "probable developments in Guatemala" after the successful CIA coup of 1954 that terminated Guatemala's 10-year experiment in capitalist democracy -- or, as the intelligence analysts prefer to put it, after "the Arbenz regime collapsed in June 1954" when army leaders, "concerned at his tolerance of Communists in the government," forced Arbenz to resign.13 U.S. intelligence detected an impressive commitment of the U.S.-imposed Castillo Armas regime to "democratic forms and practices, to land reform, to the development of a modern economy, and to the protection of a free labor movement and other social gains"; the evidence is that democratic forms were dismantled by violence and most of the population was disenfranchised, land reform was reversed, "the Guatemalan economy weakened considerably following the fall of Arbenz," the labor movement was "virtually destroyed" and "rural groups are having even more difficulty in obtaining favorable government action" with the destruction of peasant organizations and the denial of "the right to organize," while the social gains of the democratic decade were abolished. Equally impressive was the fact, explained by Assistant Secretary Holland, that Castillo Armas "led the first liberation movement ever to free a nation which had fallen captive to international Communism" (in a country were "there were almost certainly no more than 4,000, and perhaps substantially fewer, the height of Arbenz's power").

Nevertheless, despite these favorable developments, some problems still remained. One problem was that "Most politically conscious Guatemalans believe that the US planned and underwrote the 1954 revolution," an unacceptable insight into the reality that must be concealed even in an internal intelligence analysis. "A keen sense of nationalism, at times verging on the irrational, colors Guatemalan politics. There is a strong tendency to attribute Guatemala's backwardness to foreign investors, especially those from the US" -- who had been prime movers in the unmentionable CIA operation. "Even the most pro-US elements in the area are not immune to this type of extreme nationalism" -- the "low level of intellectualism" of the people of Guatemala constantly deplored by the CIA, for which no cure has yet been found.14

No less serious was "the heritage of the revolution of 1944." "Many Guatemalans are passionately attached to the democratic-nationalist ideals of the 1944 revolution," particularly, to "the social and economic programs initiated by the Arévalo and Arbenz regimes." During these years of excessive democracy, "the social and economic needs of labor and the peasantry were articulated and exploited by the small Communist leadership" who "were able to promote measures which appeared to meet some of the aspirations of these groups," including "considerable progress in the organization of urban and rural unions" and "inducing the government to expropriate large tracts of land for distribution among the landless" in a successful agrarian reform.

Though these strange delusions are held by "many Guatemalans," including workers and peasants and even the political class and pro-U.S. elements, nevertheless "there are probably not over 200,000 Guatemalans who are more than marginally politically conscious." And of this tiny minority, "few understand the processes and responsibilities of democracy," so that "responsible democratic government is therefore difficult to achieve."

Once again, the benevolence of the U.S. government is thwarted by the "stupidity of the average man." And subsequent history reveals how Guatemala too remained "beyond the reach of our good intentions." It is not easy to manage democracy in the dependencies when the ignorant masses fail to comprehend their responsibilities and fall "out of control." These problems have bedeviled us for generations. They are not likely to disappear.

This National Intelligence Estimate is typical of the genre in the scrupulous evasion of unwanted fact, the easy tolerance of self-contradiction, and the parrotting of ideological pieties in a manner that we would regard as comical in the case of some official enemy. The editors of the government publication (Foreign Relations of the United States) in which it appears introduce it with the observation that "National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) were high-level interdepartmental reports presenting authoritative appraisals of vital foreign policy problems," carefully drafted, discussed and revised by the CIA and other agencies represented on the Intelligence Advisory Committee, and "circulated under the aegis of the CIA to the President, appropriate officers of cabinet level, and the National Security Council." An important function of intelligence, as of the specialized class generally, is to construct a framework of illusion that protects decision-makers and other influential elite sectors from awareness of the meaning of what they are doing, so that they can carry out their necessary tasks -- articulated with brutal clarity when necessary -- with no compunctions and a sense of rectitude. It is not easy to man the ramparts in defense against the barbarians on all sides, and those who bear the burden need all the help they can get.

In addressing the ignorant masses, in contrast, the illusions suffice, and the parallel articulation of actual policy goals must be carefully suppressed. We thus find a characteristic difference between the "public diplomacy" conducted by the media and much of scholarship, on the one hand, and the internal record, on the other. Both spin the required web of illusion, but the parallel analysis of actual policy concerns and goals is restricted to the internal record in a properly functioning ideological system.

Go to the next segment.

13 FRUS, 1955-7, Vol. VII, 88f., NIE 82-55.

14 See chapter 1, p. 51; chapter 12, section 5. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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