A coup d'état is a the overthrow of a government. This is usually overt, but may also be covert (for example, the assassination of JFK, which was officially blamed on a "lone nut"). Generally it is violent, but sometimes it may involve lawyers rather than soldiers (e.g. the 1975 Australian coup d'état, a "constitutional coup").
This phrase is mostly applied by the Western commercially-controlled media to small nations in Africa, Asia or South America which undergo a sudden, forceful change of power (for example an assassination of one leader by elements within the military). Western governments are more often the sponsors than the victims of such events.
Power struggles are usually much more complex events that the commercially-controlled media has time or inclination to communicate. The official narrative about "coups d'état" is systematically oversimplified as a means of obscuring connections to subjects of domestic political significance. The story that "developed" nation states do not tend to have such events misses the facts that in such nations:
- Modern coups are more stealthy (e.g. using of deep events such as false flag attacks); and crucially
- Overt power structures such as the national government are often to a large degree subservient to the deep state
Most of the US Efforts to Suppress Democracy since 1945 were carried out secretly, and while the broad outline is often clear early on, the precise date and location of their genesis often remains a matter of debate years or decades after the fact. For an example, some 60 years after the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, the CIA admitted responsibility - but the idea was probably cooked up by the Seven Sisters.
This page will focus on coups in "developed' countries, which receive little attention from the commercially-controlled media and are routinely omitted from the official narrative. Did you ever hear, for example, of the 1933 Business Plot, a planned military coup in the USA foiled by the integrity of General Smedley Butler?
- Full article: Australia/1975 coup d'état
- Full article: Australia/1975 coup d'état
In 1972, Gough Whitlam became the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. He moved quickly and independently, to abolish royal patronage, move Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, support “zones of peace” and oppose the testing of nuclear weapons. He always saw his 1975 dismissal from office by the governor-general of Australia, Sir John Kerr (referred to by CIA agents as "our man Kerr") as a "constitutional coup d'état". 
- Full article: Clockwork Orange
- Full article: Clockwork Orange
Peter Wright wrote that he was confronted by two of his MI5 colleagues who told him: "Wilson's a bloody menace and it's about time the public knew the truth", and "We'll have him out, this time we'll have him out" and that an MI5 plan to leak damaging information about Wilson was approved by "up to thirty officers". The plan was a 'carbon copy' of the Zinoviev Letter which helped destabilise the first Labour Government in 1924; as the 1974 election approached, MI5 would leak selected details of the intelligence about Labour leaders, especially Wilson, to 'sympathetic' journalists, using their press and the trade union contacts to spread around the idea that Wilson was considered a security risk. The matter was to be raised in Parliament for 'maximum effect'. However Wright declined to let them see the files on Wilson and the plan was never carried out.
In July 1987, Labour MP, Ken Livingstone used his maiden speech to raise the allegations of a former Army press officer, Colin Wallace, that the Army press office in Northern Ireland had been used in the 1970s as part of a smear campaign against Harold Wilson and other British and Irish politicians, codenamed Clockwork Orange.
The Business Plot was a coup which was planned in the 1930s but never carried out. Since 1945, the most obvious coup d'état in the USA was the JFK Assassination. The next coup was Watergate, disguised as a political scandal. 9/11 has been termed a coup, but this is something of a misnomer, since it was not a change of leadership.
Chris Hedges said that since Ronald Reagan the US has undergone a "corporate coup d'état in slow motion". Amy Baker Benjamin concurs that the USA "was taken over by a group of people with a policy coup. Wolfowitz and Cheney and Rumsfeld and you could name a half dozen other collaborators from the Project for the New American Century. Why General Clark – an unimpeachable witness – was not questioned by the Security Council during its Libya deliberations is a supreme mystery." Kurt Vonnegut also concurred: "I myself feel that our country... might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable".
Mark Gorton, however, rejects the notion of a "coup", understands the last few decades of US political developments instead as a consolidation of the power of the cabal that carried out the JFK Assassination and the Watergate coups.
- For example, see the 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup d'état attempt.
- Document:Australia - The Forgotten Coup
- Peter Wright, Spycatcher (William Heinemann, 1987), Ibid, p. 369.
- http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/othelem/chron/ch87.htm Chronology of the Conflict 1987
- The Ford Presidency & Watergate, KPFA
- Document:To Wreck A State - The New International Crime by Amy Baker Benjamin
- Document:The Political Dominance of The Cabal
|Algiers putsch of 1961||“An insurrectionary power has established itself in Algeria by a military pronunciamento... This power has an appearance: a quartet of retired generals. It has a reality: a group of officers, partisan, ambitious and fanatical. This group and this quartet possess an expedient and limited knowledge of things. But they only see and understand the Nation and the world distorted by their delirium. Their enterprise leads directly towards a national disaster ... I forbid any Frenchman, and first of all any soldier, to execute a single one of their orders ... In the face of the misfortune which hangs over the country and the threat to the Republic, having taken advice from the Constitutional Council, the Prime Minister, the president of the Senate, the president of the National Assembly, I have decided to invoke article 16 of the Constitution [on the state of emergency and full special powers given to the head of state in case of a crisis]. Starting from this day, I will take, directly if the need arises, the measures which seem to me demanded by circumstances ... Frenchwomen, Frenchmen! Help me!<a href="#cite_note-13"></a>”||Charles de Gaulle||1961|
|Wesley Clark||“And what happened in 9/11 is we didn’t have a strategy, we didn’t have bipartisan agreement, we didn’t have American understanding of it and we had instead a policy coup in this country, a coup, a policy coup. Some hard nosed people took over the direction of American policy and they never bothered to inform the rest of us.”||Wesley Clark||2007|
|US/Foreign policy||“Anybody who believes that a country's internal democracy is the determining factor in whether the West decides to move for violent regime change in that country, is a complete idiot. Any journalist or politician who makes that claim is more likely to be a complete charlatan than a complete idiot. In recent years, possession of hydrocarbon reserves is very obviously a major factor in western regime change actions.”||Craig Murray||January 2019|
|Document:Coordinating Regime Change in Iran and Venezuela||diplomatic communication||25 August 2010||Trowbridge Ford||Iran and Venezuela, prime candidates for regime change|