Anti-United Nations (UN) Protests – Dallas (1963)

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US Ambassador to the UN Adlai Stevenson Attacked by Angry Crowds

President John F Kennedy was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963, whilst driving in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas. This tragic incident is well-known and the subject of intense ongoing investigation. What I find interesting is how the true extent of hate-filled, racist and ‘insane’ public opinion in this area has been air-brushed out of the common historical narrative. This seems strange for a country that prides itself on ‘free speech’, and odd that White supremacist opinions be struck from the public record, when such opinions are common-place in the USA. White racism (and the fascism that generates) is just as strong in the US today as it was in 1963. What many do not realise is that President Kennedy was very unpopular throughout the rightwing State of Texas, and that threats against his life were routine.

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President Kennedy was portrayed as a ‘liberal’ who sided with African-Americans in the ‘Civil Rights’ debate, and was opposed to ‘White’ racism. He was also perceived as being ‘leftwing’, and too soft upon ‘Communism’ in general, and the Soviet Union in particular. Travelling through Dallas was a gamble for President Kennedy. There was no doubt that he was unpopular with the crowds, but his wife – Jackie – being a Southern women – for some reason retained a certain and wide-spread popularity amongst these people. Indeed, her popularity was evident even on the day of her husband’s murder.

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On October 24th, 1963, just under a month before Kennedy’s fateful visit to Texas, Adlai Stevenson – the US ambassador to the United Nations – gave a speech in Dallas celebrating the UN inspired ‘World Peace Day’. Stevenson was jeered and immediately set-upon by a rabid crowd of protestors, with some spitting on him, whilst others pelted him with eggs. At one point police had to intercede to protect Stevenson as he was struck about the head with a billboard. This crowd of people represented a certain type of citizen in the US that view the world through a rightwing, religiously inspired mythology that is ‘fascistic’ in nature, and opposed to all notions of world peace, and any ideas of internationalism. What is strange about this protest is that it is clear that the UN – headquartered as it is in New York – has always been a mouthpiece for US foreign policy. Although the UN refers to itself as ‘independent’, it is obvious that UN policy mirrors US policy. The mind-set of these people in the US is so ignorant that they are willing to attack their own ‘capitalistic’ institutions – accusing those who represent their best interests in the world of  being ‘treasonous’ and practising ‘betrayal’. Following this display of blatant rightwingism, President Kennedy was advised to by-pass Texas (even by FDR jr and his wife), but Kennedy was of the opinion that he was everyone’s President and that he had a duty to meet the people there.

Reference:

These Few Precious Days – The Final Year of Jack and Jackie: By Christopher Anderson, Robson Press, (2013), Pages 287-288

When Pakistan Invaded Laos for the US (c. 1958-1961)

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Mohammed Ayub Khan (1907-1974) was a British (Sandhurst) educated military officer who served in the (British) Indian Army during WWII, but who subsequently chose to change his allegiance to the newly British created (Muslim) State of Pakistan following Indian Independence in 1947. In 1958, he (and a number of military co-conspirators), over-threw the democratically elected government of Pakistan – and Mohammed Ayub Khan had himself briefly declared the ‘eighth’ Prime Minister of Pakistan – before settling on the more permnent post of the ‘second’ President of Pakistan (a post he held until 1969), and assumed all effective governmental control of the country. It is stated that his totalitarian (and openly ‘anti-Soviet’) rule eventually led to the loss of East Pakistan (which subsequently became Bangladesh following a popular uprising in 1971).  However, between 1958 and 1961, Mohammed Ayub Khan authorised the deployment of 5,000 Pakistani troops in an invasion of Laos, in support of the USA’s anti-Communist foreign policy in the region (a policy that would lead to the Vietnam War). It seems incredible to believe that an Asian man – whose ethnicity had been the historical victim of a brutal and racist Western imperialism – would side with exactly the same ideology emanating from the USA, and use Asian soldiers to oppress another Asian ethnicity as a punishment for pursuing its own self-determination and freedom from the tyranny of colonisation. Despite this bizarre example of White imperialists using Asian people to pursue policies that are not in their own best interests, the Laotian people did eventually achieve their Communist Revolution in 1975. Ironically, today the USA pursues a ruthless anti-Muslim strategy that centres around racial demonisation against such countries as Pakistan – which are now depicted throughout Western media as hot-beds of Islamic extremism, Islamo-fascism, and anti-Western terrorism. (A mythology compounded by the apparent fact that America’s enemy number 1 – the former CIA Operative Osama Bin Laden – had been hiding out there, in a secure compound for years). Christopher Andersen – in his 2013 book entitled ‘These Few Precious Days – The Final Year of Jack with Jackie’ – states (on page 122) that so grateful was President John F Kennedy for Mohammed Ayub Khan’s 5,000 Pakistani troop deployment in Laos (at a time when the CIA was over-stretched planning and carry-out its anti-Communist ‘Bay of Pigs’ fiasco in Cuba), that he ordered the White House Staff to arrange a ‘special’ candle-lit dinner evening, not in the White House itself, but rather on the lawn of Mount Vernon. Not only was this a logistical nightmare (apparently over-come by the organising skills of Jackie Kennedy), but it was the first time that a foreign guest would be fed dinner outside the White House itself. Thousands of White House Staff and Security personnel had to arrange for the transport of everything – including generators, a marching band, the press corps and a full orchestra – to the site, and co-ordinate the entire evening, which eventually unfolded successfully. As an indication of the bourgeois excess on display at the time, (and probably a light-hearted allusion to Mohammed Ayub Khan’s undemocratic means of seizing power in Pakistan), the marching band finished its display by aiming its rifles and firing blanks at the press corps – a pre-arranged stunt that saw the press corps raise a ‘White Flag’ in surrender.

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