2006.04.26: April 26, 2006: Headlines: COS - Niger: History: Propaganda: Intelligence Issues: Scoop: An Interview with Niger RPCV David N. Gibbs on Cold War Propaganda

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Intelligence Issues: 2006.04.26: April 26, 2006: Headlines: COS - Niger: History: Propaganda: Intelligence Issues: Scoop: An Interview with Niger RPCV David N. Gibbs on Cold War Propaganda

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An Interview with Niger RPCV David N. Gibbs on Cold War Propaganda

An Interview with Niger RPCV David N. Gibbs on Cold War Propaganda

"It is also worth mentioning, in passing, that US officials from this era also were interested in high culture for its propaganda value. If you read the book, Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War: Books , there's a lot about the CIA's promotion of jazz and modern art in Europe during the Cold War. This was very sophisticated propaganda. The idea was that jazz had a widespread popularity in urban areas during the 50s, especially in western Europe. It was also viewed as politically progressive music in some circles, including some Communist circles. It was produced by the oppressed people of the United States, mostly Black, etc. And US officials saw an opportunity to show something that was authentically American and would be received in a positive way, thus advantageous in winning the Cold War. "

An Interview with Niger RPCV David N. Gibbs on Cold War Propaganda

Deeper Into Dillon-Euphronios Nexus With Historian David N. Gibbs

By Suzan Mazur

I first met University of Arizona political science professor David N. Gibbs about a year ago while researching a story about the Patrice Lumumba matrix. Dr. Gibbs spent a couple of years in Africa in the Peace Corps (Niger, 1979-1980) where his fascination with US-Africa political intrigues began.

After receiving a BA in political science from George Washington University and MA in Government from Georgetown University, Gibbs pursued the subject for his MIT PhD thesis: "Private Interests and International Conflict: A Case Study of U.S. Intervention in the Congo". It soon grew into a book, The Political Economy of Third World Intervention : Mines, Money, and U.S. Policy in the Congo Crisis .

Among the many important articles he has produced is the "Guide to Using Declassified Documents", which also discusses FOIA requests. Gibbs is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant and others. He has written extensively on US foreign policy in subSaharan Africa, Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia. Gibbs is finishing a new book, to be titled, The Myth of Humanitarian Intervention: America, Europe and the Collapse of Yugoslavia, 1990-2001.
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On his University of Arizona web page he shares the following student evaluation of a course he taught in Spring 2004 called "What is Politics?":

"I believe that the university should check into David Gibbs. He is an anti-American communist who hates America and is trying to brainwash young people into thinking America sucks. He needs to go and live in a Third World country to appreciate what he has here. Have him investigated by the FBI. FBI has been contacted."


Author, University of Arizona History and Political Science Professor David N. Gibbs

Our interview follows.

[Excerpt]

David Gibbs: Yes, I do. To abuse the Rockefeller Foundation's supposedly humanitarian activities as a subterfuge for looting art for the Met or any other museum would be an extreme case of conflict of interest.

It is also worth mentioning, in passing, that US officials from this era also were interested in high culture for its propaganda value. If you read the book, Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War: Books , there's a lot about the CIA's promotion of jazz and modern art in Europe during the Cold War. This was very sophisticated propaganda.

The idea was that jazz had a widespread popularity in urban areas during the 50s, especially in western Europe. It was also viewed as politically progressive music in some circles, including some Communist circles. It was produced by the oppressed people of the United States, mostly Black, etc. And US officials saw an opportunity to show something that was authentically American and would be received in a positive way, thus advantageous in winning the Cold War.

Suzan Mazur: In retrospect, I think the "American couture" fashion shows I modeled in in the Arabian/Persian Gulf in 1976 celebrating America's bicentennial actually fall into this category. [ Scoop: Suzan Mazur: John Deuss - The Manhattan projects]We were invited by the Pahlevis and Al Sabahs to present America's best designer collections at a time when the Gulf was just opening up. We did shows at the Royal Tehran Hilton - later headquarters for the Iranian Revolution - and appeared on Iranian national television. In Kuwait we presented before an audience at the American Embassy as well as at the Kuwait Equestrian Club, which I revisited covering the Gulf War; it served briefly as Joint Information Bureau headquarters.

Former CIA Director Richard Helms was US Ambassador to Iran at the time and he attended our fashion gala at the Hilton, the proceeds of which went to the Queen mother's favorite children's charity. We also know from the Iran Contra investigation that Helms was planning to go into the fashion business with associates in Iran.

David Gibbs: This fits in rather nicely with the overall picture of the Cold War, whereby the US sought to export American culture as an instrument of foreign policy. This generally worked well in Europe. However, the idea of western-style fashion shows in Iran and the Gulf most likely had a counterproductive effect. I can't imagine the general population of Iran viewing American couture shows in a positive light, and the whole thing probably worked to the advantage of Khomeini and the revolutionaries.

Suzan Mazur: In your book you quote Harold Lasswell, "Often the phrase "national interest" is used when what is meant is that a certain bank wants the State Department to do something." You pick up on Douglas Dillon's trail post WWII in relation to the mineral-rich Congo, when he is Ike's Under Secretary. And you note the bond issue, already mentioned, which Dillon, Read floated for the colonial government. Are we talking about a conflict of interest?

David Gibbs: Of course. Public officials often have extensive ties to private corporations through previous employment and family ties. Because of these revolving door connections, officials are biased; they then advance specific private interests with which they are personally associated, often in ways that have little to do with national security or any reasonable definition of public interest. In general, this is not illegal. As a general point, revolving door relationships constitute one of the main sources of corporate power in Washington.

With regard to Dillon's role in the Congo -- basically, Dillon's family investment bank had a long-standing positive relationship with colonial interests in the Congo and that probably did bias him in favor of those interests. I believe that during the Congo crisis, these business ties influenced his policymaking in favor of the Katanga secession.

Suzan Mazur: What was Dillon's view of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo's first democratically elected leader, later assassinated?

David Gibbs: In the Senate hearings in the 1970s, Dillon acknowledged that he was quite negative on Lumumba. He certainly was part of the policy that was across the board anti-Lumumba.

Whether he was involved in the actual plot to assassinate him or not, I don't know. I haven't seen anything on that. But certainly, he was a key player in the policy that led to Lumumba's downfall and ultimately to his death.

Suzan Mazur: And that would have involved the situation regarding Congo's copper-rich Katanga province? What was his position on Katanga?

David Gibbs: Dillon's position was, "Don't close the door on Katanga." Officially US policy was opposed to Katanga secession and view it as illegal. I don't think any country in the world recognized it as officially independent. Under the table, however, the Eisenhower administration was backing Katanga secession.

Suzan Mazur: What about Belgium?

David Gibbs: I don't believe Belgium actually had an embassy there or formally recognized it. Informally many countries recognized it, de facto. But for public purposes, the US clearly opposed the secession. And some I think naive historians looked at the public record and still argue that the Eisenhower administration was hostile to a Katanga secession, which was not the case.

The CIA was working with French intelligence to ferry Fouga Magisters, French fighter planes to a nascent air force for the mercenary-directed army of Katanga. The CIA used South Sea Airways to transport the planes. And by 1961, as I note in my book, several hundred White mercenaries - including former SS soldiers and Italian Fascists - also served in the Katangese gendarmerie.

Suzan Mazur: Did Dillon ever recover the $15 million his company loaned the Congo?

David Gibbs: Yes he did, in 1961 I believe, in the early part of the Kennedy Administration. The Congo central government had defaulted on all of its loans to creditors shortly after independence. Documents I found and mentioned in my book said that one - and only one - creditor was repaid. That was Dillon, Read and Company. There were, of course, political reasons for it. Dillon was a key member of the Kennedy foreign policy apparatus and the Congolese realized that they had to appease him.





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Story Source: Scoop

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