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Friday, September 14, 2007
As defined by the National Security Act of 1947, covert action is defined as "[a]n activity of activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly."

Covert actions encompass many types of activities (2). They range from non-violent to violent as well as having an associated level of plausible deniability. As one may guess the more violence involved, the less plausible deniability or less covert the action will become. Typically seen as a third option (2), covert actions have benefited as well as plagued the United States government for some time now.

A perfect example of a covert action (at the time) is the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat aimed at replacing a nationalist regime with one of a more pro-Western nature. The more pro-Western attitude came from one Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Also an aim was to keep communists from receiving too much power within the Iranian government and to consolidate power of a man (Shah Pahlavi) that the CIA allegedly had contempt for (1). Such is politics I suppose.

At any rate, the plan was initially hatched by the British in 1952 and not thought a good idea by the Truman administration. Come 1953 and the entrance of the Eisenhower administration, the idea was again broached and this time the United States took an active role due to the growing concerns of possession of oil as well as an apparent rise in the age old spectre that is communism. This operation was code-named AJAX (the official title is TP-AJAX). The British had a vested interest in Iran and her oil for quite some time prior to the planned coup.

The long and short of it is this: Britain occupied Iran during WWII in order to protect supply routes to the Soviet Union (at the time they were our allies) and had an interest in maintaining the oil fields. A huge proponent of instead nationalizing the oil industry was a crybaby known as Dr. Mosaddeq (elected Prime Minister). In 1951 Iran's parliament voted to do just that (1).

Shortly thereafter in 1953 and according to legend, an Iranian general approached the American Embassy in Tehran speaking about a plan to lead an army-driven coup. General Fazlollah Zahedi was that man. Around this time things began to heat up a bit in that Mossadeq's support and power began to fall apart. Also of note is that the Tudeh, or Iranian Communist Party came to activity around this time. Fear a la Red Scare style was bothering Washington DC (and for good reason) so they began to put their plan of using the shah of Iran and General Zahedi into action. It was the shah's family who 32 years earlier has overthrown the government in a coup of their own and took power. He was a sure fit.

The shah was to essentially "fire" the Prime Minister for being incompetent (he did this on his own) and replace him with the General who was anti-communist. The plan didn't work right off the bat and the shah fled Iran to Italy. After a bit of time the shah came back to Iran and did fire the Prime Minister. The coup was successful this time...but not before a bit of tradecraft manifested in the form of misinformation was used. In order to persuade the shah to come back and perform the coup, both British and American officers had a document drawn up at a meeting in Cyprus stating that Britain and the US "consider the oil question secondary" (History of Iran: A Short account of 1953 Coup). This wasn't the case as a direct outcome of the 1953 coup is now called the British Petroleum Company, or BP.

Also behind the scenes were assets of both Britain and the United States operating within Iran. True to the spy style and even though described as allies Britain and the United States were keeping their espionage distance; we didn't trust them and they didn't trust us in this case. Neither side would disclose their assets and share all the intel available.

All in all the coup was a success but there has been some blow back in the form of dissent of the Iranian people. It is still widely believed by some Iranians that today's United States is responsible for their faltering economy and general welfare. I am not so sure that the United States owns BP though...end sarcasm. In 2000, Secretary of State Madelein Albright actually apologized to "the Iranian people" for the United States' role in the coup. This coup was beneficial for western oil companies as well as the quelling of a communist threat. You know, apologizing for something that was an alleged covert action kind of negates the purpose of keeping it covert doesn't it? Thanks Madam Secretary.

It is unfortunate that a country such as Iran with all it's natural beauty and people more than willing to punch the Ayatollah in the face can't handle its own destiny and these actions have to occur. My guess is that they will continue to dissent and the "leadership" will be held accountable for the oppression of its own people. Piss off Ahmadinejad and Khomeini, you moonbat psychos.


1. "History of Iran: A Short account of 1953 Coup." Iran Chamber Society. Iran Chamber Society. 12 Jun 2007 .

2. Lowenthal, Markm. Intelligence From Secrets to Policy. 3rd. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2006.

3. Congress, The. "National Security Act of 1947 (UNCLASSIFIED)." United States Intelligence Community. 26 JUL 1947. 12 Jun 2007 .

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