Revealed in the "White House" Diaries
by Stanley Heller
I've been examining Jimmy Carter's "White House Diary". I wanted to see what he felt about the Shah, Israeli collaboration with South Africa, the infamous Brzezinski interview about Afghanistan, and the massacre in Kwangju, Korea. The first matter is of special importance now in the face of charges that the allegedly weak human rights oriented Carter let Iran get taken over by anti-American extremists.
Originally the diary was made up of 5,000 pages of typed entries. The published book is not all the entries, but Carter says of what he did publish he decided "not to revise his original transcript". He does add short paragraphs here and there to add context or to reflect from the vantage point of 2010.
The neo-cons these days are floating the story that the U.S. must stick by its "allies" no matter how tyrannical and should not repeat the mistake of allegedly human rights obsessed Carter who deserted the Shah. In the "Diary" I can't find a shred of evidence backing this notion. In fact Carter not only stood with the Shah to the bitter end, but urged him on when he appeared to be "weakening".
In 1977 he writes about the Shah "He's concerned abut the public image of Iran, very proud of what has been accomplished, and, in my opinion, has done an excellent job. Now, though, he's strong enough to do some overt things on the human rights issue." (November 15)
The next day Carter writes he "talked about the human rights issue. He [the Shah] was quite embarrassed, but shared my concern." The Shah tells him the law makes it illegal to be a communist, and that alleged communists get military trials, but the Shah generously was allowing the accused to have civilian lawyers. Carter adds a 2010 note that the Shah's secret police had just fired into a crowd of demonstrators, killing many.
All through 1978 there were large demonstrations and strikes in Iran. Carter writes, "Iran is running into serious trouble because of strikes preventing shipment of oil to foreign markets. The shah will have to take action soon. [emphasis added - Stanley Heller]" (October 26, 1978)
November 2, 1978 "The shah expressed deep concern about whether to set up an interim government, a military government, or perhaps even to abdicate. We encouraged him to hang firm and count on our backing. [emphasis added]"
Nov. 6, 1978 "Over the weekend, I sent the shah a message that whatever action he took, including setting up a military government, I would support him. We did not want him to abdicate, which he had threatened to do. He is not a strong leader but very doubtful and unsure of himself."
Carter added this note in 2010. "We were in an increasing quandary with respect to the shah. He had been a dependable ally of the six presidents who preceded me, and the revolutionary forces opposing him were completely unpredictable…After much thought and discussion, I decided to give him as much support as possible without directly interfering in the internal affairs of Iran"
December 25, 1978 "We instructed [Ambassador William] Sullivan to tell the shah that if he couldn't form a civilian or military government that would restore peace and reduce bloodshed to consider a regency council- which means he would have to abdicate. He responded fairly well to this suggestion. I asked if he could find asylum in the United States. Sullivan replied affirmatively."
On January 4, 1979 Carter writes that Iranian officers talked of staging a coup and keeping the Shah as head of state. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance "wanted to stop any such move, but I insisted that we retain our relationships with the shah and the military - our only two ties to future sound relationship with Iran…We are sticking with the shah until we see a clear alternative."
Back in the 1977 section Carter adds a 2010 reflection. "This is what I wrote at the time. Later entries will reveal the shah's serious mistakes and fallibilities." This is the sum and substance of Carter criticism of the Shah. Carter never considers what that monster of torture and vanity meant for the people of Iran. Recall at one point Carter tells him to "hang firm". How many Iranians were hung from ceilings as a result of such advice?
Covering Up the Israeli Nuclear Test?
It's ironic from today's perspective of uniform hostility to Carter from the Jewish establishment, but Carter did enormous service for the Israel regime. In his first months in office he created a law making it a crime for a business to obey the Arab states boycott of Israel. (p.44) Seemingly half the diary is about his attempt to broker peace with Egypt. By finally arranging a treaty between Israel and Egypt he eliminated Israel's only real military opponent. But all that is forgotten by today's hyper-Zionists. His authentic sympathies for Palestinian rights shown after he left office have enraged them, particularly his use of the word "apartheid" in a book title when referring to the Occupied Territories,
His diary entries suggest he did the Israeli government another service, help cover up nuclear ties with the murderous South African apartheid regime.
"We have evidence that South Africans are preparing to test a nuclear device" (p.82), Carter writes on August 11, 1977. This issue comes up several times in the diary. Carter's chief concern then was trying to reform apartheid in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa. Ten days later he writes "I received South Africa's commitment not to have a nuclear explosive test". A year later on October 17 he writes "Stan Turner's intelligence briefing was a videotape of the South African nuclear test site episode that showed data collection through satellites, photograph and electronic signal analysis, [and it was ] superb." This was evidently some desert site. No nuclear weapon was ever tested there.
On Sept. 27, 1979 he writes, "There was indication of a nuclear explosion in the region of south Africa - either South Africa, Israel using a ship at sea, or nothing" (p.357) Then he writes on October 26, "At breakfast we went over the South African nuclear explosion. We still don't know who did it." The likelihood of a nuclear explosion was based an intense "double-flash" light pulse recorded by a Vela satellite which had accurately noticed nuclear explosions on 41 prior occasions.
Then on Feb. 27, 1980 he writes, "We have a growing belief among our scientists that the Israelis did indeed conduct a nuclear test explosion in the ocean near the southern end of Africa." This is startling entry. Shortly after the September report from the Vela satellite National Security chief Brzezinski had empowered a panel to see if the Vela had made a mistake.1
The scientific panel in May 1980 reported that the signal was probably not caused by a nuclear explosion, but more likely an artifact of a meteoroid hitting the satellite So what do we make of Carter's February entry? We can speculate that Brzezinski was determined not to embarrass U.S. allies Israel and South Africa and set up a panel to go on a wild goose chase. To the President he told the truth, hence Carter's February entry.
There is no further comment from Carter in the "Diary" about the issue. It apparently didn't occur to Carter to ask Israel what they hell they thought they were doing collaborating with racist South Africa in developing nuclear weapons. Or if it did occur to him he put it aside for the sake of the "peace" he thought he was creating in the Middle East.
Afghanistan - Carter and the Freedom Fighters
In 1998 Zbignew Brzezinski was interviewed by the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur about the growing problem what it called "Islamic fundamentalism". The question came about because Robert Gates, then former CIA director and now Obama's Secretary of Defense, had written in his memoirs that the CIA had aided the mujahdeen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviets invaded.
This is what Brzezinski said. On "July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day I wrote a note to the President that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."
The interviewer asked Brzezinski if he regretted giving weapons to future terrorists. He answered, "It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war."
The Brezezinski interview took place in January 1998 five years after the first World Trade Center bombing.
So what did Jimmy Carter say about all this in his diary? On April 4, 1979 he merely notes that he had CIA briefing about Afghanistan showing the growing strength of dissidents.
But on the same page he adds a 2010 comment that "after leaving office, Rosalynn and I visited Pakistan on a health mission for the Carter Center and the President of Pakistan arranged for them to go to the Khyber Pass. Several thousand Afghan freedom fighters assembled under a large tent to welcome me and express thanks for American assistance."
"Freedom fighters" That was the Carter designation. He even uses it in his index where next to "Afghan rebels" he writes "(freedom fighters)". These freedom lovers were often the same people who threw acid in the faces of girls for the offense of going to school.
Of the decision to send aid to the mujahadden in mid-1979 not a mention, nor is there mention of Brezezinski's July 3 note of warning (or was it encouragement).
No real mention of Afghanistan again until December 27, 1979 when Cater writes that the Soviets were moving forces in Afghanistan which he calls "an extremely serious development".
In a 2010 note Carter recalls an interview with ABC when he was asked if he was surprised by the Soviet invasion. He recalls he responded "Yes". He thought it was "fruitless and counterproductive". No reflection on the Brzezinski claim that he and Carter aided the rebels exactly to provoke that invasion even though the Le Nouvel Observateur interview is now quite notorious.
He apparently still believes in the fatuous idea that the Soviets went into Afghanistan as a first move to conquer Persian Gulf nations. He repeats the notion in a 2010 comment (p.394). He maintains even though since the end of the Soviet Union it's well known that the Soviet invaded Afghanistan because the communist revolution there had so alienated the population that the Soviets wanted to impose more moderate and Islam friendly government in Afghanistan in the vain hope this would satisfy the mujahdeen.
No Regrets about Korea
In the "Diary" Carter talks about Korea frequently in terms of talks between the North and the South, but on August 8, 1980 he tells of efforts to prevent the execution of Kim Dae Jung. Kim was on trial for "sedition" because of his efforts to work for democracy in Korea, then subject to a series of military dictators. Carter in a 2010 note says Kim was a "human rights hero", but does not mention the city Kwangju and thereby hangs a tale, a very embarrassing one for Carter.
In October 1979 the head of the Korea CIA assassinated the then current dictator of Korea. Soon a General Chun took over as dictator. Months later there was a popular revolt against Chun, most seriously in the city of Kwangju which for a time liberated itself. Then in late May 1980 Korean troops overwhelmed the city with perhaps 1,000 to 2,000 civilian deaths and Kim Dae Jung was put on trial for the uprising.
So what was the Carter Administration doing? In a 2002 article in the New York Village Voice Nick Mamatas claimed "As Chun Doo Hwan's paratroopers circled the city of Kwangju and tested its perimeters, a meeting of high-level Carter administration officials, including Warren Christopher and Richard Holbrooke, gave the nod to the coup government to wipe out the rebels. Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski summed it up: "In the short term, support-in the longer term, pressure for political evolution." 2
The U.S. had joint command over South Korean troops. It was the 20th division of the ROK and its Korean Special Forces that savaged Kwangju.
The U.S. maintains this was all the dictator's responsibility, that joint command of Korea forces never restricted Korea from using its troops as they wished. San Francisco University Professor Steven Zunes points out though that "When former South Korean dictator Syngman Rhee made a similar request that his troops be released from U.S. command two decades earlier, President Dwight Eisenhower refused."3
There's no contemporary note from Carter about all this, no reflection about the U.S. role, no regret.
I could go on and on bringing up East Timor or the Philippines for example. Carter wasn't crippled out of undue respect for human rights. He did believe in human rights, but it took back seat to stability, anti-communism, U.S. business interests, loyalty to U.S. "allies" and so on and so forth.
So neo-cons, not to worry! Carter was no wimp. He "manned up" for the Shah, the mujahdeen, Israeli apartheid and the Korean dictator. His general lack of success wasn't due to lack of will, but of popular resistance. Go figure.
1 "According to Seymour Hersh, the idea of referring this detection to an advisory panel was floated before any potential problems with the detection had been noted." (from The Sampson Option quoted by Carey Sublette http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Safrica/Vela.html )
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