Externally orchestrated coups from Venezuela to Turkey
Information that the attempted coup in Turkey on July 15th was arranged by the former commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell, is not a sensation. This is a quite logical and natural fact depicting the methods of American geopolitical supremacy in various parts of the world.
If we delve into the modern history of these conflicts, then we see everywhere a noticeable direct or indirect involvement of Washington. In one case, the potential conspirators were prepared directly in the United States on military bases under the pretext of various courses, organizations, or for creating potential staff in the country that has become an object of interest for the White House.
Let us bring forth a few examples.
Cursed by resources and Washington’s intervention
The notion of “resource curse” is tied to Africa, as the term was used to describe the operations of transnational corporations and Western countries which adopted neocolonial methods for governing the region. However, military interventions have also occurred at times when there is a clear connection between local warlords and the Pentagon.
In late October 2014, the West African country of Burkina Faso experienced riots which led to the resignation of Blaise Compaore, the dictator in power since 1987 after he had organized the murder of national leader Thomas Sankara known as the African Che Guevara, and had usurped supreme authority. Some have called these events the logical continuation of a long-standing, institutional political crisis which had prevailed in the country for many years, while others say that this was simply a coup organized by the military. After all, representatives of the armed forces joined the transitional government and took full responsibility for state management.
At first glance, it may seem that a junta-style regime is quite typical for African countries. However, the individual who stood at the head of the government has been the object of many questions, raised by both supporters of democracy and military experts. Colonel Isaac Zidane, who led the transitional government, is known for having passed courses in the United States on counter-terrorism at the MacDill US Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
In 2012, when he held the rank of major, he made a two-week visit to the US. Later, during the same year, he participated in a five-day course on military intelligence in Botswana which was also funded by the United States.
Research Director of the US Army College Steven Metz describes this situation in the following way: “This issue has a long and emotional history. During the Cold War, the US military and political leaders generally took the position that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ Sometimes, this meant influxes of friendly foreign officers who neglected human rights and were prone to corruption, or prepared to intervene in politics. As a result, some not very pleasant foreign students passed through the US professional military education system.”
Professor Metz further tries to justify himself by adding that Zida did not pass training with American personnel at a military academy where attention is paid to human rights along with military professionalism, but only took two short courses focused on applied skills in intelligence and counter-terrorism. And of course he says that the US should or could be more selective in the construction of military partnerships with other countries.
But the problem is that these relations have a strategic dimension and appear to be part of the Pentagon's plan to establish its influence either directly, through the organization of military bases, or by trained agents such as Zida.
Mali would also be a good example, where a similar incident also happened. In March 2012, Mali faced an organized military coup led by the army of Captain Amadou Sanogo’s who took part in a half-dozen military courses in the United States. The result was the overthrow of the democratically elected government and the country’s continued sinking into chaos. Even though Islamists and the rebels were able to capture most of the country, due to the destruction of North African security (there was a revolution in Egypt, the color revolution in Tunisia and Muammar Qaddafi’s murder in Libya), Amadou Sanogo was arrested only 18 months later. Most likely, this is only because he could not stop the Tuaregs in the North who boasted hordes of Libyan weapons and could not fulfill his obligations to Washington. Due to the US’ indeterminacy, even “Flintlock 2012”, large-scale military maneuvers scheduled to be held in the country together with European and regional countries, had to be canceled. However, Washington continued to provide financial assistance for the implementation of various programs in the country and pledged $140 million immediately after the coup.
It should be noted that Mali has also figures in US plans to establish military control. A key element in special operations with the US intelligence base in this country were turboprop aircraft disguised as private ones. They are equipped with invisible system of sensors that can record full-motion video, track infrared rays, monitor radio and cell phone signals, and refuel on isolated airstrips, which enhances the effectiveness of the flight range by thousands of kilometers. It is obvious that the USA could not afford to lose such opportunities and have initiated another humanitarian intervention, and therefore shifted all the dirty work onto France.
It is necessary to take into account the geostrategic position of Burkina Faso. The country is bordered by Nigeria which is home to the active Boko Haram group, and a number of other countries where al-Qaeda cells have found shelter in the Islamic Maghreb. This situation is actively toyed with by Washington which justifies the deployment of its network of military and intelligence bases in the region within the framework of Africa Command (Africom) and through secret programs. Several years ago, the Pentagon initiated a new level of relations with Burkina Faso to monitor the periphery of the Sahara and the jungle along the equator.
Then an agreement was reached and it was decided that a key center of the US espionage network would be the capital of Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou. As part of a secret surveillance program code-named Creek Sand, dozens of American soldiers and contractors arrived in Ouagadougou to build a small base on the territory of the international airport. From there, reconnaissance planes come to Mali, Mauritania and the Sahara where they conducted intelligence activities. In addition to a few dozen US soldiers attached to the US Embassy in the country, Burkina Faso also hosts representatives of American special forces. The exact number of them is unknown.
There are also nuances connected to natural resources. Among other things, Burkina Faso is a promising producer of mineral resources and the fourth country on the African continent for gold mining.
Latin America: Operation Condor-2
Even though US influence in Latin American countries has been weakened on account of the political reconfiguration of a number of states, the US constantly attempts to restore its influence including through agents in local militaries.
During the Cold War, a military training center under the name “School of the Americas” (opened in the Panama Canal zone in 1946, moved to the USA in 1984) was used for these purposes: it graduated numerous Latin American dictators. In 2000, it was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, although the objective remains the same: recruiting military and police personnel from Central and South America.
The failed coup in Ecuador in October 2010 was directly linked to the work of this institution. In addition, the White House worked according to the standard scheme, using non-governmental organizations and diplomatic channels in an attempt to assassinate Rafael Correa arranged by the Air Force and police officers who had previously been trained in the United States. It is worth recalling that similar plots were used before in other countries in the region which changed their courses from being pro-American to multipolar. In April 2002, a group of Venezuelan military officials attempted to remove Hugo Chavez, but the mobilization of the masses prevented the coup plan from being realized. In February 2009, the Venezuelan opposition and former military officials accused of committing terrorist acts in Caracas tried to repeat this attempt.
Obviously, the USA has its own methods for involving military personnel in its plans in Asian and European countries, including Russia. How else can we explain the fact that some military cadre, having sworn allegiance to the USSR, willingly went over to the enemy side?
A typical example might be the work of a branch of the Carnegie Endowment in Moscow whose director is former officer Dmitri Trenin, who once participated in negotiations on nuclear disarmament and fled to work at the NATO Defense College in Rome after the collapse of the Soviet Union. If Dmitri Trenin is an obvious agent of American influence, then determining latent (or dormant as they say in US intelligence structures) agents is difficult.
We can also recall the recent revolution in Ukraine when the military under Viktor Yanukovych declared that it would not interfere in the conflict on the Maidan only to then, after his violent overthrow, begin to murder civilians in the South-East of the country. It is obvious that long-term cooperation with NATO and the United States led to the creation of such a fifth column within the Ministry of Defense.
The Italian sociologist Vilfredo Pareto offered a theoretical model to explain the reasons for the implementation of coups and revolutions. According to him, along with the state elite, there is always a parallel counter-elite waiting for the right moment to ascend to power in one way or another. Sometimes, external forces can help to strengthen this counter-elite and, at the right time, support or even initiate its activity. Over the past 60 years, the artificial nurturing of such forces has been routine work for the US State Department. The failed coup in Turkey once again reminded the world of this undemocratic method.