Coups Inside NATO: A Disturbing History

Exclusive: Turkey’s embattled President Erdogan suspects U.S. sympathy for the failed coup if not outright assistance to the coup plotters, a belief that has some basis in history, writes Jonathan Marshall.

By Jonathan Marshall

The Turkish government’s strong suspicion that Washington sympathized with or covertly backed the recent failed military coup — even if completely unfounded — may seriously damage the Western alliance.

After all, the preamble to the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty emphasizes the determination of the signing countries “to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a message on the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. (Turkish government photo)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a message on the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. (Turkish government photo)

Emphasizing the high political stakes for the alliance, India’s former Ambassador to Turkey M. K. Bhadrakumar recently declared that the “Turkish allegation has no precedent in NATO’s 67-year old history – of one member plotting regime change in another member country through violent means.”

But the assumption that NATO has always before respected peaceful political change within its ranks is false. The historical record — which may fuel Turkish paranoia — suggests that anti-communist solidarity within the alliance has too often taken precedence over the fine democratic sentiments endorsed in NATO’s founding document.

Before this summer’s botched attempt, for example, Turkey previously experienced military coups in 1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997. Comforted by the staunch anti-communism of its military, U.S. officials rarely batted an eye when Turkish officers took charge. In some cases, Washington may have had foreknowledge of the plots.

The 1960 coup was engineered by Colonel Alparslan Türkes, reportedly a liaison officer to the CIA and founder of a NATO-backed “counter-guerrilla” paramilitary organization.

After that coup, which led to mass purges of judges, prosecutors and universities, the New York Times called it “gratifyingly reassuring” that “the new rulers declare that they remain completely loyal to the United Nations and to both NATO and CENTO.”

Following the bloody 1980 coup, a story in the New York Times noted, “Officials in Turkish military circles privately suggested recently that the armed forces would not intervene unless they received prior approval from Washington.”

US-Driven Regime Change

In this article, I examine two other military interventions within the democratic heart of NATO: the Greek military coup of 1967 and the attempted overthrow of the Italian government in 1970.  Both cases offer disturbing evidence of U.S. support.

While official U.S. complicity in the two events remains unproven, even skeptical historians concede the possibility that “unofficial” agents of the U.S. government convinced coup leaders that Washington would welcome the downfall of left-leaning parliamentary parties. Both violent episodes illustrate the dangerous impact of America’s zealous pursuit of narrow ideological ends at the expense of democracy.

Greece, 1967

On April 21, 1967, in the birthplace of Western democracy, right-wing army officers seized the Greek parliament, royal palace, key communications centers and all major political leaders — a total of more than 10,000 people. Apparently following a NATO-designed plan for military control of Greece in the event of an internal security threat, they suspended the constitution, dissolved political parties, established military courts, and set up torture centers that inflicted terrible cruelty on thousands of detainees.

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

Despite condemnation by other European powers, the ruthless Greek junta held onto power until 1974. It fell only after sponsoring a reckless coup against the government of Cyprus, which prompted Turkey to invade and occupy much of the island.

Many if not most Greeks, particularly those on the left, blamed Washington for the 1967 coup. And no wonder: the United States had been intervening in Greek affairs since the late 1940s, starting with the campaign to suppress communist insurgents after World War II. The United States built military bases, brought Greece into NATO, and trained Greece’s military and intelligence forces.

By 1953, U.S. ambassador to Athens John Peurifoy could boast that “U.S. leadership [in Greece] has been respected more highly and followed more unquestioningly than elsewhere in Europe or in most parts of the world. . . If we are able and willing to continue some support for these purposes, through a combination of all the various means and techniques available to us, we shall have no difficulty in maintaining our preeminent position and influence in Greece.”

(A year later, Peurifoy would coordinate a CIA-backed coup against the democratically elected government of Guatemala.)

U.S. influence was clearly waning by 1964, however, when the left-leaning Center Union Party and its prime minister, George Papandreou, scored an electoral victory. Papandreou resigned a year later after a dispute with the country’s conservative king, but he and his fiery son Andreas were poised to win a substantial victory in the May 1967 elections.

Fearing the Left

As one senior American intelligence officer told reporter Laurence Stern, “There was growing concern in our embassy that in an election Papandreou would win and Andreas would become the dominant figure. He had become increasingly anti-American. He was charging openly that Greece had lost her sovereignty to NATO which was an instrument of United States policy. . . . He attacked the United States, KYP [the Greek Central Intelligence Agency], and CIA. . . We were concerned that if Papandreou won, Andreas would be in the driver’s seat for all practical purposes. He would withdraw Greece from NATO [and] evacuate the United States bases . . .”

Andreas Papandreou

Andreas Papandreou

The CIA proposed spending a few hundred thousand dollars on a covert program to help swing the Greek election to more conservative candidates. Although the Agency was at that very time doing much the same thing in countries ranging from Chile to Japan, senior officials in the Johnson administration worried about security risks and rejected the plan.

Meanwhile, the CIA began hearing reports of coup plots by the king and senior military officials to block a left-wing electoral victory. The CIA certainly had the best of sources: the leader of the April coup, Lt. Col. Georgios Papadopoulos, served as liaison officer between the Greek KYP and the CIA, and reportedly had been on the CIA’s payroll since 1952.

Along with senior officials in Washington, the U.S. ambassador opposed a coup, writing, “What we don’t need in NATO now is a Greek military dictatorship.” But not everyone on the “country team” was a team player.

As former embassy political officer Robert Keeley observed, “There is a possibility that one or more lower level people, particularly some Greek-Americans who worked in the intelligence services, both military and civilian, knew about [the coup] in advance, because they were very sympathetic to the Colonels and their approach. These staffers were very conservative, very anti-communist, fearful of the Papandreous regaining power; one might say even anti-democratic in some respects. It is possible that they knew about the Colonels’ plot and . . .  colluded with the Colonels by not passing on information which would have enabled us to predict the coup.”

A Hard-Line CIA Officer

Keeley was almost certainly referring to the Greek-American CIA officer Gust Avrakotos, who “had made it his business to get to know the colonels,” according to George Crile, author of Charlie Wilson’s War. “He drank and whored with them, and they knew from the heart that he shared their ferocious anticommunism.”

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

After the colonels arrested Andreas Papandreou by threatening to put a bullet in the head of his 14-year-old son, the U.S. embassy instructed Avrakotos to tell the military to let Papandreou leave the country. Avrakotos conveyed the message, but added: “Unofficially, as your friend, my advice is to shoot the motherfucker because he’s going to come back to haunt you.”

Crile continued, “For the next seven years, the colonels insisted on dealing with Avrakotos as their principal American contact. Ostensibly he worked for the Department of the Army as a civilian liaison to the Greek military. He moved freely in and out of their offices. He took them out on his boat at night and for picnics and outings on weekends. He was, for all practical purposes, an invisible member of the ruling junta.”

One leading historian of the coup, while denying any official U.S. role, conceded, “Given the lack of evidence on covert activities in Greece, facilitated in part by the CIA’s decision to not unseal its records on this incident, it remains possible that covert operatives, especially rogue agents affiliated with the United States, played some kind of role in the colonels’ coup.”

Moreover, despite its official disapproval, Washington learned to live with military rule. By 1968, the United States resumed military aid to the dictatorship, rationalizing — in the words of Defense Secretary Clark Clifford — that “the obligations imposed on us by the NATO alliance are far more important than the kind of government they have in Greece or what we think of it.” He evidently forgot to read the bit about NATO’s obligation to safeguard freedom and democracy.

And after the election of President Nixon, the Pentagon stepped up secret arms shipments to Greece as relations between the White House and Athens became almost chummy. In the fall of 1968, Nixon’s vice presidential running mate, Greek-American Spiro Agnew, gave a speech lauding the junta and branding its opponents as communist tools.

A crusading Greek journalist later revealed that the KYP had secretly funneled more than half a million dollars in illegal cash to the Nixon-Agnew campaign through Thomas Pappas, a conservative Greek-American businessman and admitted CIA agent. Another sign of the times: as the CIA station chief prepared to leave Athens in 1972, he invited nearly every member of the junta to his farewell party.

Years later, President Bill Clinton did his best to repair the damage to America’s reputation among the millions of Greeks who suffered under the dictatorship. Addressing business and community leaders in Athens in November 1999, Clinton conceded that after the military seized power in 1967, “the United States allowed its interests in prosecuting the Cold War to prevail over its interest — I should say its obligation — to support democracy, which was, after all, the cause for which we fought the Cold War. It is important that we acknowledge that.”

Italy, 1970

Leaders of the Greek coup had strong fascist leanings, and zealously exported their ideology. Among their first international guests were dozens of Italian neo-fascist students and activists. Their liaison officer was Kostas Plevris, a KYP officer and Greek neo-fascist leader.

Some of the returning Italians are suspected of joining ardent terrorists who engaged in a wave of bombings that rocked Italy throughout 1969 and into 1970, killing and wounding dozens of people. Many of those attacks were falsely attributed to anarchists and leftists, as part of a “strategy of tension” to build political support for an authoritarian crackdown on the Left by Italy’s security services.

Junio Valerio Borghese

Junio Valerio Borghese

The strategy culminated on the night of Dec. 7, 1970 with a Greek-inspired coup plot led by Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, a neo-fascist leader. During World War II, Borghese had led an elite commando squad that murdered anti-fascist partisans for Mussolini and the Nazis. He was rescued after the war by a senior American intelligence officer who maintained close relations over the years with Borghese — even after he became honorary president of Italy’s official fascist party.

In 1964 Borghese plotted with senior members of Italian military intelligence to stage a failed coup. In 1969, he took the lead in planning another coup with extreme rightists and several powerful Mafia bosses. He also cultivated sympathizers in the military, including a number of key commanders of the armed forces and intelligence services. Most prominent among them was the head of Italy’s military intelligence agency, General Vito Miceli.

Finally, on “Tora Tora” night, named after the Japanese attack code for Pearl Harbor, Borghese and his confederates assembled hundreds of militants with plans to seize weapons from the Interior Ministry’s armory and descend on Rome.

Aborted Coup

At the last minute, for reasons never explained, the plot was aborted. Borghese fled to Fascist Spain to escape justice. Italian intelligence officials dismissed the affair as a trivial incident, until prosecutors took a closer look and finally arrested General Miceli and an army general, among other participants, in 1974. (Eventually released, Miceli became a member of parliament representing Italy’s fascist party.)

General Alexander Haig, who also served as a senior White House aide under President Nixon and Secretary of State under President Reagan.

General Alexander Haig, who also served as a senior White House aide under President Nixon and Secretary of State under President Reagan.

A confession by one of Borghese’s top aides implicated an American engineer and CIA agent named Hugh Fenwich. According to the aide, Fenwich had close ties to the Republican Party and called President Nixon on the evening of the coup.

He also revealed that an Italian-American businessman, Pier Francesco Talenti, had made his fleet of buses available to the coup participants. Borghese’s aide claimed that Talenti was the chief intermediary between the Nixon White House and the Borghese plotters.

Significantly, just two weeks after the coup attempt, Talenti met with Deputy National Security Adviser Alexander Haig to offer a dire assessment of Italian politics. He stirred up the White House with his warning that the situation in Italy could soon resemble that of Chile — where a Socialist had just been elected president — and that the United States must prevent the Communists from gaining power.

Talenti is something of a mystery man. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1961. He appears to have been a representative in Italy of a major American manufacturing company, Fairbanks-Morse. He developed relations with the CIA (and the American mafia) in the early 1960s.

In the mid-1980s, he popped up in the United States, named in a major scandal implicating members of the Reagan administration, where he worked with “ethnic and minority groups.” In 1996, after losing a long series of legal battles, Talenti sued the Italian government for $5.4 billion to compensate for the loss of his properties stemming from the “trumped up charges” of his involvement in the Borghese coup plot.

Journalist Tim Weiner calls him “an Italian American industrialist with fascist tendencies and a vast family estate in Rome” who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Nixon’s campaigns from wealthy supporters in Italy. There is no question that Talenti knew President Nixon personally and worked “extensively” on his 1968 presidential campaign. He was a guest at a White House dinner in 1971. For the 1972 election, he was a regional chairman — and colleague of co-chairman Thomas Pappas — of the Finance Committee to Re-Elect the President.

Weiner also reports that Talenti engineered the appointment of Graham Martin, a hard-line conservative and former Army colonel, as Nixon’s ambassador to Italy: “Talenti went to see Colonel Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Kissinger’s military aide, to deliver a warning that the socialists were on the verge of taking power in Italy and a proposal that a new American ambassador was needed to counter the left. He named Martin, and his message went right to the top.”

Seeking CIA Support

Kissinger took Talenti’s warnings seriously enough in the fall of 1969 to appoint a special group within the National Security Council to “study the implications for US policy of possible Communist entry of the Italian Government.”

In late 1970, Talenti weighed in again with Haig, proposing that the United States spend $8 million on a covert campaign to undercut the Left. “The U.S. government should not hesitate to resort to corruption in its own interest,” he declared.

The administration’s response, orchestrated by Ambassador Martin and the CIA station chief in Rome, was to spend millions of dollars to back leaders of the conservative Christian Democratic party, and millions more to support far-right politicians and neo-fascist activists. Martin’s covert spending totaled about $10 million.

After the Borghese coup failed, Martin dismissed it as a “childish operation.” However, in a “sealed eyes only” message to Kissinger he acknowledged that “two of the five individuals taken into custody had been in touch with some senior military officers” who worried that their own coup plots, “peripherally connected with Borghese, may now come to light.” He reported that the unnamed officers were considering “accelerating their planning for a military take-over of the government.”

Henry Kissinger, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

Henry Kissinger, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State.

Martin also asked about rumors he was hearing of secret contacts between certain Italian military leaders and the White House. Kissinger responded that his office was getting reports from “high-level” military contacts in Italy and that Talenti had informed the NSC of the military’s “restiveness,” but he added that “no one in the White House has, to my knowledge, done more than listen to these reports.”

Rather than discourage such plotting, Martin actually financed it. In 1972, with apparent approval from both Nixon and Kissinger, he secretly paid $800,000 to General Miceli, the fascist head of Italian military intelligence and admitted colleague of the “Black Prince” Borghese.

According to a fascist member of parliament, Talenti arranged for the money to be passed in turn to the head of Italy’s neo-fascist party, to pressure the Christian Democrats not to move left.

Talenti and Miceli weren’t the only Italian neo-fascists with close connections to the Nixon administration. Seven months after the Borghese coup attempt, the New York Times observed that its most “disquieting facet” was “the implied military participation.” It quoted Luigi Turchi, a fascist deputy and member of the parliamentary defense committee, as saying his party had many supporters “in the army, in the carabinieri, in the police.”

U.S. Links

The story then reported Turchi’s remarkable connections to the United States: “He is one of the few neo-Fascist leaders who has been to the United States. ‘I campaigned for Richard Nixon all over the country,’ he says, ‘and I think helped swing many of the Italo-American votes which were decisive in electing him.’ . . .

“Some of his gestures seem to be copied from Nixon, whose photo, signed with a dedication, is on his wall, next to those of Franco and Perón. Turchi likes Nixon because Turchi is convinced that the Republican party is inclined to do more for Italy than the Democrats — i.e. to block any opening by the Italian Government toward the Communists. Turchi . . . blames Kennedy and the Democrats for permitting the establishment of Center-Left governments in Italy in the early sixties.

“Turchi took an active part in a recent neo-Fascist-sponsored demonstration for solidarity with the armed forces that was called a danger signal by Il Giorno of Milan. ‘One cannot remain different,’ wrote the paper, ‘when one sees two former chiefs of staff of the Democratic Republic side by side with the friends of Borghese in the middle of a crowd which is shouting, ‘We want the colonels.’”

Multiple other strands of evidence suggest that various U.S. representatives winked at anti-communist plotters in Italy during the politically volatile years of the early 1970s.

One such plotter, Count Edgardo Sogno, told in his memoirs of visiting the CIA station chief in Rome in 1974 to give advance notice of an impending coup and gauge Washington’s reaction.

“He answered what I already knew: the United States would have supported any initiative tending to keep the communists out of government,” Sogno wrote.

During a trial of right-wing extremists accused of a terrorist bombing in Milan in 1969, a former head of military counter-intelligence, General Gianadelio Maletti, suggested that U.S. intelligence agents might have provided the explosives, in order to support the “strategy of tension” in Italy.

“The CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left and, for this purpose, it may have made use of rightwing terrorism,” Maletti testified.

Telling Tales

President Jimmy Carter’s popular ambassador to Italy, Richard Gardner, also lent official credence to these stories in his memoir, Mission Italy:

President Richard Nixon, speaking to the nation on Aug. 8, 1974, announcing his decision to resign.

President Richard Nixon, speaking to the nation on Aug. 8, 1974, announcing his decision to resign.

“President Nixon’s resignation in the Watergate scandal . . . severely tarnished the image and prestige of the United States. Revelations that the Lockheed Corporation had bribed Italian government officials to help sell aircraft to the Italian armed forces made matters worse.

“But most serious of all was the widespread perception in Italy that the U.S. Embassy in Rome from 1969 to 1976 during the Nixon and Ford administrations had tried to fight Italian Communism by working with some of the most reactionary elements in Italian political life, sometimes helping them with covert financing.”

Gardner related that his predecessor, Graham Martin, “seemed to believe a Communist takeover of Italy was imminent” and relied for advice on a vehemently anti-communist Mafia financier who was later convicted of bank fraud: “He was also profoundly influenced by an extreme right-wing Republican Party representative in Italy, Pier Talenti. Martin . . . devised a secret program to finance centrist and ultra-right-wing politicians . . . This program was revealed by congressional investigations and further damaged America’s reputation in Italy.”

In an oral history, Gardner similarly noted that Ambassador Martin “poured vast amounts of money into the pockets of right-wing politicians, including the head of the secret services of Italy, a well-known neo-fascist, who was later implicated in a plot to take over the country by force, by somebody named Prince Borghese, a real right-wing nut.

“The other major influence on Graham Martin was a man named Pier Talenti, a great friend of Nixon’s, a Nixon fundraiser, who was an Italian-American who lived in Italy. He was brought to trial by the Italian government for implication in this subversive plot.”

The stories behind U.S. involvement with right-wing military coups and plots in the heart of Western Europe should warn us that a foreign policy based on secret, anti-democratic interventions can corrupt and undermine the very allies we have pledged to defend in the name of democracy.

This history has also left a long-lasting stain on America’s credibility as a champion of freedom. The United States may well pay a heavy political price if our dark history fuels Turkish claims of Washington’s complicity in this summer’s failed military coup.

Jonathan Marshall is author or co-author of five books on international affairs, including The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic (Stanford University Press, 2012). Some of his previous articles for Consortiumnews were “Risky Blowback from Russian Sanctions”; “Neocons Want Regime Change in Iran”; “Saudi Cash Wins France’s Favor”; “The Saudis’ Hurt Feelings”; “Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Bluster”; “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess”; and Hidden Origins of Syria’s Civil War.” ]

31 comments for “Coups Inside NATO: A Disturbing History

  1. July 29, 2016 at 16:44

    A book with extensive research on NATO’s anti communist, pro fascist action in virtually every Western European country prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union is: ” NATO’s secret armies” by Daniele Ganser. Clearly NATO ‘s history has been supporting coups and regime change in ‘allied nations’ from its very inception.

  2. July 28, 2016 at 18:11

    This was most interesting, although my ability to focus on it is impaired by the overly loud, atrocious rock playing in this coffee shop I’m in in Toronto.

    Let’s see what happens in Turkey. I read one article (which I can’t hunt up for readers while I’m on my smart phone) that listed all the ways the attempted coup there could not be US inspired. It wasn’t convincing. So all those soldiers, teachers, judges that the US was infiltrating (exactly how I don’t know) into Turkey for 25 years (according to Sibel Edmonds) was for what purpose? Who could doubt that the US would like to have it’s strong man leader in Turkey? It wants the buffer (for Russia) of Turkey to go down as much as with Ukraine and Syria. As for the Kurds (who should take a lesson from Morsey about dancing with uncle Sam), Erdogan is none to happy to see

  3. Terence Riley
    July 28, 2016 at 12:40

    Though it came up later, in ’78, in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro, I was a tiny bit surprised not to see even a mention of Gladio in an article about Nato. Not to diminish it, it’s a most excellent piece, no question.

    • Jonathan Marshall
      July 28, 2016 at 13:35

      Thanks for your comments. My mention of the “counter-guerrilla” organization in Turkey was a reference to Gladio, as was my hyperlink to Daniele Glanser’s book on that subject. In the interests of keeping things understandable I left a lot out by design, including the whole story of the P2 masonic lodge.

  4. Helen Marshall
    July 28, 2016 at 10:35

    Chilling comment from F.G.Sanford –
    “A short time later, the CIA would participate in the ultimate NATO regime change…the one in Dallas, in 1963.”

    Thanks to Jonathan Marshall for this detailed piece. Sadly, none of it will be reflected in the corporate reporting on the coup.

  5. Erik
    July 28, 2016 at 06:06

    This is a remarkable story of fascism within the US military and intel agencies. Clearly there has been far too much autonomy of those agencies from democratic institutions, and they have attracted fascists who merely use democracy as a cover story for attacks upon democracy. Those are among the greatest dangers of cold war, that the constant trumpeting of foreign security threats is merely a cover for the greatest security threat of all, which is right wing tyranny. These are the dangers of which Aristotle warned.

    Stories like this are essential to breaking the grip of fascism upon democracy, operating as it does within secret agencies, using secretive economic power, conducting secret presidential wars. Those of us who lived through those times, sometimes suspecting but never convinced that the problems ran so deep, can now see the truth.

    I should add that it was the intel agencies of Italy which supplied the fake evidence of WMD in Iraq without stating the source. As I recall it turned out to be be same discredited Chalabi testimony that the CIA had already discarded as an opportunistic fake.

    • Jonathan Marshall
      July 28, 2016 at 13:40

      You are quite right about Italian intelligence and fake reports about Iraq’s alleged nuclear program. Those reports were generated by the military intelligence agency SISMI. There’s a direct connection to the history in my article. From Wikipedia: “In 1977, with Legislative Act n.801, the SISMI was created after a former chief of the SID, Vito Miceli, was arrested for ‘conspiring against the State'” in the Borghese coup.

  6. Curious
    July 28, 2016 at 01:40

    Thank you Mr Marshall for the article on the past coups supported by our ‘leaders’ with tax dollars and the history in Greece and Turkey, which never liked each other I believe. One can’t help but wonder about the present as well. If true, the commercial power was cut off to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and the airspace above was closed. The US planes could not fly in or out of the base, it has been reported. The US has roughly 50 hydrogen nukes stored there, for some reason. A recent aggressive fire surrounded another US air base in Turkey as well is considered deliberately set by those opposing the US.

    Can anyone these days say NATO is on a good path? This Russian aggression dogma in the media has to stop so people can become informed about the realities of more military ventures by NATO. “Out of control” is almost a euphemistic phrase these days regarding our military. Does our president Obama even know what to do with our nuclear arsenal before a potentially crazed and psychotic woman sits in an Oval Office?

    Meanwhile, voluminous arrests in Turkey are happening daily and more newspapers and radio stations are shut down while NATO plays Anaconda War Games on the Russian border with 30,000 troops to celebrate a 75 year anniversary of WW2.

    Mr Marshall, if you know, what in the hell is NATO doing?

  7. Jim Hannan
    July 27, 2016 at 16:43

    Turkey has been an open door for jihadis all over the world to enter Syria. Turkey has been also a major arms dealer for jihadis in Syria, passing on weapons from Eastern Europe. Now the jihadis are striking in Turkey, surprise, surprise. It appears that the US and Turkey are waging war against each other in Kurdish Syria.

    Perhaps some of the Turkish military has decided that the Erdogan support of radical jihadis in Syria is a devil’s deal.

    Daniel Pipes covered the Turkish support in 2014.

    And Daniel Pipes, a Republican foreign policy expert, has just left the Republican Party:

    • Zachary Smith
      July 27, 2016 at 19:13

      From his wiki:

      Daniel Pipes is a neo-conservative Zionist who is director of the Middle East Forum, and a columnist for right-wing newspapers.

      If he left the Republican party, it’s because he wants President Hillary to whip up some more Wars For Israel. Donald Trump can’t be trusted to do that.

      However, I do like your second link where Pipes has some choice stuff to say about Trump.

      First, Trump’s boorish, selfish, puerile, and repulsive character, combined with his prideful ignorance, his off-the-cuff policy making, and his neo-fascistic tendencies…

      Finally, Trump is “an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard” in the words of Republican donor Michael K. Vlock.

      Though I couldn’t agree more, Trump is still a better prospect than neocon nut HRC.

      • Jim Hannan
        July 28, 2016 at 09:29

        Sure, Pipes is a conservative Republican, and supports Israel. So, why is he writing about Turkey supporting ISIS in 2014? My sense is that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel were all funneling arms to jihadis in Syria, including Al Nusra, and lots of the arms probably ended up in ISIS hands. The Guardian wrote about some of the arms sales here:

        Turkey and Israel have been estranged for several years over the Israel boarding of the Turkish flotilla sent to break the Gaza blockade. So, is Pipes using Turkey’s support of ISIS as part of the Turkey-Israel estrangement?

        I haven’t sorted out where Israel stands on the Kurdish forces in Syria. Are they with the US, which views the Kurds as the best force to take on ISIS? Or are they with Turkey, which wants to destroy the Kurdish military in Syria?

        One more question. Trump has vowed to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Shouldn’t Israel and American neo-cons be very happy about that?

      • Jim Hannan
        July 28, 2016 at 10:29

        One more observation about neo-cons. The political leader of the neo-con movement, Dick Cheney, is all Trump. The financial leader of the neo-con movement, and the owner of the largest newspaper in Israel, Sheldon Adelson is all Trump. I imagine he will spend $200 million in this cycle on Trump. The Weekly Standard under Bill Kristol is still eyerolling at Trump, but I expect they will be supporting him by October, as will National Review, Red State and The Resurgent. Probably the only substantive holdouts will be Mitt Romney and the Bush family.

        There will be a few academics like Daniel Pipes that will ditch Trump, but maybe that’s just covering the bet.

      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        July 28, 2016 at 12:40

        Quasi-isolationism and protectionism are among the few things Donald Trump gets right.

    • James lake
      July 28, 2016 at 03:50

      Pipes is a neo con that has supported the types of policies described in this article – not liking Trump is no big deal when iset against the fact that he raised no objection to 40 years of destructive foreign policy.

      Think about that

    • Joe B
      July 28, 2016 at 05:54

      How do you explain Erdogan giving the US the Incirlik air base to bomb ISIL? Aren’t the stories about Erdogan supporting ISIL more likely just propaganda designed to support a coup against him?

      • Jim Hannan
        July 28, 2016 at 09:47

        ISIS is mostly concentrated in western Syria and has not been so involved in the anti Assad fight as many of the other jihadi groups. The real fight is in the populated areas. So, Erdogan gets a little bit of political cover for allowing use of the air force base. Also, the air campaign against ISIS is pretty ineffective, most of the 20,000 or so ISIS soldiers are embedded in civilian areas. There are heavy protocols for when we can use air power, mostly when small military convoys are in transit. Up until recently, ISIS was continuing to sell oil without American military interference.

        • Joe B
          July 29, 2016 at 08:07

          I don’t see evidence there. ISIL is in Eastern Syria. The USG says that it needs Incirlik because it is essential in bombing ISIL. You are claiming that the USG is deliberately waging a campaign so ineffective that ISIL is not even offended that Turkey gives it the base to do so? And that bombers cannot take out tanker convoys? Not very likely.

    • R A FEIBEL
      July 28, 2016 at 12:16


      • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
        July 28, 2016 at 12:38

        Don’t troll. Also, use proper spelling when you write “Bolshevik”, and also use proper punctuation.

  8. Zachary Smith
    July 27, 2016 at 15:52

    I’d mention in passing that US coups outside NATO aren’t a bit uncommon. Perhaps the most surprising one was in Australia in 1975. The CIA didn’t like the prospects of the incoming Prime Minister, and had him removed through an entirely legal coup. Keep that in mind the next time some politician is yammering about the wonders of Democracy.

    Of course there was also the entirely legal internal coup in the US in 2000. The unelected GWB was put into the White House by the Supreme Court. So much for Democracy when the Elites don’t like the results.

    Democracy in Iran, Ukraine, Gaza – bad stuff when the Right People aren’t chosen by the people there.

  9. Jay
    July 27, 2016 at 15:09

    Missing from the list: 2 coup attempts in France in the early 1960s. Some part of the CIA backed at least one of those attempts. This is likely the reason that De Gaulle pulled France out of NATO.

  10. Mark Thomason
    July 27, 2016 at 13:56

    Turkey has named a four star US general as the man they suspect, and said he had $2 billion to spend, and spent it using NATO bases in Turkey. Turks in government believe that.

    It is a huge problem developing, whether it is true or not. All circumstances past and present give it enough credence that it need not be strictly true to cause lasting harm. And it may well be strictly true, since our war hawks in Syria and Libya and Jordan and the South Turkey border are out of control.

  11. F. G. Sanford
    July 27, 2016 at 12:59

    Not mentioned is the back-channel conversation between Charles DeGaulle and Jack Kennedy. Elements of the French Army were staged in the countryside outside Paris awaiting the go-ahead to move against the incumbent head of state when he asked Kennedy if The United States had anything to do with it. Kennedy is purported to have responded, “Certainly not, but I can’t necessarily vouch for the Central Intelligence Agency.” A short time later, the CIA would participate in the ultimate NATO regime change…the one in Dallas, in 1963. There are now rumors to the effect that three of the five Turkish military units which conducted the coup attempt were assigned to NATO Rapid Reaction Corps forces. Given that three former CIA figures factored heavily in lobbying the U.S. Government to grant Fethullah Gulen a green card, figure the odds.

    • July 27, 2016 at 21:49

      Another very important, detailed article from which I learned a lot. Thanks Jonathan. ray

      • Jonathan Marshall
        July 29, 2016 at 19:00

        Thanks, Ray–I’m honored to appear with you on this site.

    • Erik
      July 28, 2016 at 06:23

      F.G. and Ray, with apologies for my naivete, can you or others provide strong factual basis for a CIA or other organization responsibility for the JFK assassination? Not the circumstances of how it occurred or other mere suspect circumstances. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories but am willing to look at good research and hard facts.

      I do not wish to change the subject here from the US backed coups in NATO and elsewhere, just need some links to the most solid research available.

      • F. G. Sanford
        July 28, 2016 at 10:57

        Pat and Mike walked along the way to the pub after spending the day digging a well. It was a lovely afternoon, and they discussed the usual trivialities. Mrs. Cohan’s cow was still missing, and old Mr. Sullivan had still not reconciled the dispute with his neighbor. Rumors about the parish priest simply refused to resolve themselves, and widow Murphy did little to dispel warrantless conjecture. After a lapse in the conversation, Mike says to Pat, “Pat, I killed a tick.”
        Pat: “Well, what do you mean, you killed a tick?”
        Mike: “Sure enough, I killed it. Not a doubt in me mind.”
        Pat: “Now Mike, you’re not telling tall tales again, are you?”
        Mike: “Certainly not, Patty. I killed it, just as sure as I’m standing beside you.”
        Pat: “Well, for the love of Saint Pete, how’d you kill it?”
        Mike: “I stomped it. Just like that. I took me foot, and I stomped it just like that.”
        Pat: “But Mike, are you sure it was dead?”
        Mike: “I’m sure as can be Patty, sure as can be.”
        Pat: “Now, it’s easy to be mistaken, Mike. Can you prove it was a tick?”
        Mike: Sure as the Saints preserve us, Pat. I killed it, and I’ve got the proof.”
        With that, Mike reached into his pocket and produced a gold watch chain.
        Pat: “Well I’ll be damned. You did kill a tick.”

        • Erik
          July 29, 2016 at 18:13

          That dispels warrantless conjecture. Pretty funny, even to the Irish.

        • F. G. Sanford
          July 29, 2016 at 20:55

          Good. Now that I’ve got your attention, I’d suggest James W. Douglass, “JFK and the Unspeakable”. Also helpful is David Talbot, “The Devil’s Chessboard”. Mark Lane made the case pretty well with “Rush to Judgement” and “Plausible Denial”. Jim Garrison wrote a factual text as well as a novel. Garrison, by the way, actually did get a perjury conviction against one of the perpetrators in his struggles, and no legal authority ever successfully discredited his investigation. Ronald Reagan refused to extradite a critical witness, and the Federal Government also refused to honor subpoenas. The FBI bugged Garrison’s office, infiltrated his staff, and stole vital records. Joan Mellen and James DiEugenio are also excellent sources. Lee Harvey Oswald has been proven to have been a CIA, FBI and U.S. Customs asset by indirect testimony: the CIA admitted that it had opened an internal investigation file on Oswald without admitting that those files are ONLY opened on CIA personnel – why else would his tax returns still be classified? Oswald’s paraffin test for rifle fire was NEGATIVE on the day of the assassination; the Dallas police lied at the press conference. Declassified documents have revealed that Clay Shaw alias Clay Bertrand was a “highly paid CIA asset”. William King Harvey and David Atlee Phillips have both been implicated by eyewitness testimony. You can look them up. The Warren report was, in Garrison’s words, “a low fraud”. C.E. 399, the “magic bullet”, showed no break in its copper jacket, yet “mysteriously” left bullet fragments in John Conally’s wrist, as demonstrated on x-rays. Watch old Youtube videos of the immediate press conferences given by the attending physicians. They indicate the fatal bullet entry in the right temple at the hairline. That is consistent with a shot from the front. I can attest personally that, had he been shot from the rear, it would have blown his eyeballs out of the sockets. Kennedy’s corpse had no periorbital deformation or discoloration. Dr. Cyril Wecht, board certified forensic pathologist, would concur. I know, because I attended some of his lectures at University of Pittsburgh. But, if you don’t have time for “conspiracy theory” reading, and would prefer a walk in the park, I suggest watching John Barbour’s “The Garrison Tapes”. Many recordings of Garrison interviews have been edited to make him look like a lunatic. But the ones where you can actually see his lips moving are worth watching. Comedian Mort Sahl, a well educated man, volunteered to assist in the Garrison investigation. He is another good source. The “Mafia did it”, “LBJ did it”, and “The Jews did it” are all red herrings. But, the Mafia was probably peripherally involved. Phillips and Harvey were the brains. The “unidentified fingerprint” in the book depository has been claimed to belong to Mac Wallace, an LBJ operative. The only CERTIFIED latent print analyst who has examined it states it does not belong to Wallace. Some of the most steadfast and dedicated advocates for release of the records and a legitimate investigation include Mark Lane, Joan Mellen, Mort Sahl, John Barbour and Dr. Cyril Wecht. To my knowledge, they are all Jewish. In the immortal words of Sherlock Holmes, that leaves the CIA. Thanks for listening.

      • July 29, 2016 at 16:37

        The best book in my opinion on Jfk’s murder: “JFK and the unspeakable: why he died and why it matters” by James W. Douglass. It is carefully argued, exceedingly well referenced and makes the most sense of anything I have read on this topic?

      • person
        July 29, 2016 at 22:40

        Peter Dale Scott, Deep Politics and the Death of JFK

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