First published by WhoWhatWhy
As you watch, perhaps with alarm, as thousands of refugees from Muslim countries make their way through Europe in a seemingly endless parade, you may be wondering if some of them will end up living near you, and how this might affect your life.
If you step back and look at the bigger picture, you will see the situation in reverse: how much the dominating presence of those from the western world has affected the daily lives of people living in Muslim countries.
What the colonial powers have done in Muslim countries is well known. Less well known are the machinations of Allen Dulles and the CIA in one of these colonial powers, France.
Without the knowledge or consent of President John F. Kennedy, Allen Dulles orchestrated the efforts of retired French generals, rightwing French, Nazi sympathizers, and at least one White Russian, to overthrow Charles de Gaulle, who wanted to give Algeria its independence. Dulles et al feared an independent Algeria would go Communist, giving the Soviets a base in Africa.
And there was another reason to hang onto Algeria: its natural resources. According to the US Energy Information Administration, it is “the leading natural gas producer in Africa, the second-largest natural gas supplier to Europe outside of the region, and is among the top three oil producers in Africa.”
We note with great interest that the plot to bring down Charles De Gaulle — the kind of people involved, the role of Allen Dulles, the motive behind it — all bear an eerie similarity to the circumstances surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. But that is another story.
As we have said earlier, Dulles’s job, simply put, was to hijack the US government to benefit the wealthy. And in this fascinating series of excerpts from David Talbot’s new biography on Dulles, we see how his reach extended deeply into the government of France.
WhoWhatWhy Introduction by Milicent Cranor
This is the first of a three-part series of excerpts, from Chapter 15 (“Contempt”) of The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of the American Secret Government. by David Talbot, HarperCollins Publishers, 2015.
PLOTS, PANIC, AND RUMORS OF CIA INVOLVEMENT
It was Cuba that created the first fracture between Kennedy and his national security chain of command. But while the Bay of Pigs was still dominating the front pages, the CIA mucked its way into another international crisis that required the president’s urgent attention. The Cuba invasion has all but erased this second crisis from history. But the strange events that occurred in Paris in April 1961 reinforced the disturbing feeling that President Kennedy was not in control of his own government.
Paris was in turmoil. At dawn on Saturday morning, April 22, a group of retired French generals had seized power in Algiers to block President Charles de Gaulle from settling the long, bloody war for Algerian independence. Rumors quickly spread that the coup plotters were coming next for de Gaulle himself, and that the skies over Paris would soon be filled with battle-hardened paratroopers and French Foreign Legionnaires from Algeria. Gripped by the dying convulsions of its colonial reign, France braced for a calamitous showdown.
After de Gaulle was elected president in 1958, he sought to purge the French government of its CIA-connected elements. Dulles had made heavy inroads into France’s political, cultural, and intelligence circles in the postwar years.
The threat to French democracy was actually even more immediate than feared. On Saturday evening, two units of paratroopers totaling over two thousand men huddled in the Forest of Orleans and the Forest of Rambouillet, not much more than an hour outside Paris. The rebellious paratroopers were poised for the final command to join up with tank units from Rambouillet and converge on the capital, with the aim of seizing the Élysée Palace and other key government posts.
By Sunday, panic was sweeping through Paris. All air traffic was halted over the area, the Metro was shut down, and cinemas were dark. Only the cafés remained open, where Parisians crowded anxiously to swap the latest gossip.