Returning Residents: The Coming to Power of US Intelligence Clients

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

19th May, 2016


Yesterday the website WikiLeaks published documents showing that the temporary head of Brazil, Michel Temer, has in the past cooperated with US intelligence and military: he discussed with representatives of Washington the political situation in the country. Although there is no reason to believe that the arrival of Temer to power is in some way connected with it, the publication is reminiscent of other examples where politicians who have been convicted of collaboration with the CIA have come to power with direct or indirect support of the intelligence directorate.

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After 15th March 1951, the Iranian Parliament passed the law on nationalization of the entire oil industry in the country, and attempts to solve the problem through talks failed. US Secretary of state John Dulles and ex-CIA Director Walter Smith developed a plan to overthrow Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and bring to power former interior Minister Fazlollah Zahedi.  The operation was called “Ajax”. 

However, Mosaddegh was able to learn about it, and he decided to act ahead of the curve, intending to remove the Shah from power. He did it, but riots broke out, which, according to some information, was also attended by CIA agents. On the side of the protesters were those who were and remained loyal to the Shah’s military. In the end, Mossadegh’s residence was fired at by tanks, prompting the Prime Minister to give up. After a few days, Shah Pahlavi came back to Iran. He managed to hold on to power for nearly 25 years — in 1979 – when the Governor was ousted by the Islamic revolution.


In 1944 in Guatemala, as a result of the revolution, the government that came to power sought to pursue a more independent policy from Washington. Among other things, the Guatemalan Labour party was permitted to operate — the US had raised fears about the strengthening of Communist sentiment in Latin America. It was also hit with the nationalization of agricultural land, and one of the largest owners was the American United Fruit Company. This also caused discontent in Washington. 

After attempts to exert pressure on the new government, the CIA prepared in 1952 a military coup scenario in the country — Frank Wisner was in charge of the Deputy Director of the administration. In accordance with the plan in Honduras, the “anti-Communist government junta” was formed, which among others included Carlos Salazar and the future President of the country, Castillo Armas. 

In neighboring Honduras armed detachments were formed, and the training of fighters that were engaged as CIA and military personnel of the United States occured. The power stage of the operation began in 1954. Support for the rebels was provided by the U.S. Navy ships blockaded the coast of Guatemala. Unmarked planes dropped propaganda leaflets. 

On 18th June, armed groups crossed the Guatemala-Honduran border. The rebels developed a successful offensive. As a result of military actions, Armas came to power in Guatemala in early August, and deployed repression in the country against Socialists and Communists.


In 1960, after the first elections in the Congo after independence, Patrice Lumumba became Prime Minister, who began to develop relations with the socialist bloc. This caused discontent in Washington. According to some, the plan to eliminate Lumumba began to develop in the CIA. In September, Colonel Mobutu organized a coup that deposed and later killed Lumumba. The circumstances of his death are not entirely known, or how and whether or not the CIA put their plan in motion. In 2013, the British The Telegraph  published evidence that the murder of Lumumba was organized by British intelligence employee Daphne Park.


However, it was not always about support for military coups — some leaders just supplied the CIA with necessary information. The de facto leader of Panama, from 1983 to 1989, Manuel Noriega, actively cooperated with US intelligence from the late 1950’s. He was so active that in the second half of 1960’s he even started to receive a salary from the intelligence agency. However, in 1988 in Washington, it was discovered that Noriega was associated with drug trafficking. In the end he was overthrown as a result of Operation Just Cause, conducted, ironically, by Washington.


The former head of Liberia, Charles Taylor, cooperated with US intelligence agencies. The 2012 edition of the Boston Globe published an article based on an interview with experts and former intelligence officers, stating that since the beginning of 1980’s, Pentagon intelligence and CIA agents worked with Taylor. They claim that at least 48 documents are stored in closed archives that are connected to the Liberian President. Presumably, Taylor, among other things, supplied Washington with information about Muammar Gaddafi.


Yesterday it was reported that there may be condemning links between US intelligence and the new acting President of Brazil Michel Temer. Emails first published on the website WikiLeaks were sent by Temer in the Brazilian city of São Paulo to Miami – the command headquarters of the Armed forces of the United States in the area of Central and South America. 

In this letter, Temer describes the political situation in Brazil as of 2006 — during the presidency of Lula da Silva. The letter mentioned a meeting between Temer and representatives of the American Embassy, during which he shared with them his vision of the political situation in the country at that time. A second letter is dated June 21st, 2006. It talks about one of Temer’s meetings with American diplomats, which was held at the U.S. Embassy in the Brazilian capital. At the meeting they once again discussed the political situation in the country.

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