Our Empire; Documents Part 7
Korea, 1945-53. After World War II, the United States suppressed popular progressive organizations, who had been allies in the war—at times with brutal force—in favour of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. 127
W. Blum, Rogue State; A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Monroe, Me., Common Courage Press, 2000.
Laos, 1957_73 The Laotian left, led by the Pathet Lao, tried to effect social change peacefully, making significant electoral gains and taking part in coalition governments. But the United States would have none of that. The CIA and the State Department, through force, bribery and other pressures, engineered coups in 1958, 1959 and 1960. Eventually, the only option left for the Pathet Lao was armed force. The CIA created its famous Annee Clandesdine—totalling 30,000, from every cornier of Asia—to do battle, while the US Air Force, between 1965 and 1973, rained down more than two million tons of bombs upon the people of Laos. 136
W. Blum, Rogue State; A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Monroe, Me., Common Courage Press, 2000.
The April 1986 American bombing of Libya took the lives of scores of people and wounded another hundred or so. The dead included Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi's young daughter all of Qaddafi's other seven children as well as his wife were hospitalized, suffering from shock and various injuries. A year later, 65 claims were filed with the White House and the Department of Defense under the Federal Tort Claims Act and the Foreign Claims Act, on behalf of those killed or injured. The claimants, who were asking for up to $5 million for each wrongful death, included Libyans, Greeks, Egyptians, Yugoslavs and Lebanese.9 Before long, the number of claimants reached to about 340, but none of their claims got anywhere in the American judicial system, with the Supreme Court declining to hear the case.230
W. Blum, Rogue State; A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Monroe, Me., Common Courage Press, 2000.
These desires, however, conflict with the needs of NAFTA and other components of the globalized economy, which want the Zapatistas out of certain areas—or at least not claiming ownership to the land—for various reasons, oil and other natural resources being amongst them, as well as the decidedly bad example being set for other Mexican and Central American peasants. NAFTA's plans call for the "subsistence" agriculture long practiced by the indigenous l people to be "modernized"; i.e., to produce "high-profit" export crops, such as rubber and lumber. 161
After the First World War the spoils of the collapsed Turkish Empire were divided up between Britain and France. Britain got control of the whole Gulf region, and ran it by carving out little states round each of its ports. The dominant local families were installed as "legitimate" monarchies—subject to the British Empire. When the British drew up the borders in 1922, creating Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, their main aim was to prevent the new state of Iraq from having access to the Gulf which could enable it to threaten British dominance. That is why the state of Kuwait was established. The border between Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia was drawn up in a tent in the desert by Sir Percy Cox, the British High Commissioner in Baghdad.
Harold Dickson, the British military attache in the region recalled how it was done. Cox summoned to his tent Ibn Saud, the first ruler of Saudi Arabia. "It was astonishing to see him being reprimanded like a naughty schoolboy by His Majesty's high commissioner and being told sharpIy that he, Sir Percy Cox, would himself decide on the type and general line of the frontier. This ended the impasse. Ibn Saud almost broke down and pathetically remarked that Sir Percy was his father and mother who made him and raised him from nothing to the position he held and that he would surrender half his kingdom, nay the whole, if Sir Percy ordered."
In this way the British established the al-Sabahs to watch over British interests. Kuwait remained a British protectorate—a colony—until 1961…Britain's top four favourite families made up two thirds of- the cabinet, and one third of the directorships of the country's largest companies…lt is estimated that the al-Sabahs have $100 billion worth of foreign assets and investments. In return for its role in the Middle East, the West was prepared to overlook the human rights record of Kuwait.
George Bush and Bob Hawke originally claim to be sending to defend Saudi Arabia from the brutality of an Iraqi invasion. But one look at Saudi Arabia shows they are happy to go along with the most brutal of regimes as long as it defends their interests. Saudi Arabia covers four fifths of the Arabian peninsula and holds a quarter of the world's oil reserves. As a consequence its rulers have long enjoyed US backing…
The ruling dynasty of over 4.()00 princes has only survived through being propped up by Western powers keen to secure oil supplies… In May 1951 Iran's nationalist prime minister, Dr Mohammed Mussadeq, nationalised the country's oilfields. Anglo-lranian responded by stopping all production and Britain blockaded Iran's exports. The British cabinet discussed using force to steal the fields back. But the US. keen to get its companies' hands on lranian oil. refused to back a British invasion. Instead the British and the US colluded in a coup to bring Mussadeq down in August 1953.
The plan was drawn up by the British Secret Service and executed by the CIA. The US pumped $250 million into the Shah's state in the following three years. It made him the world's largest importer of arms and a loyal policeman of Western interests.
By 1967 British companies' share of Middle Eastern oil had shrunk to 29 percent. The US oil giants now controlled 59 percent. By this time some of that enormous wealth was reaching Arab hands. But the overwhelming majority of Arab people continued to live in abject poverty. Their rulers simply lined their own pockets and built formidable armies to protect their rule.
The strategy of the Western powers ensured the bulk of the Arabian peninsula stayed under the control of reactionary monarchies. The rulers of Saudi Arabia held out against any kind of elected assembly. They have been content to live off their oil revenues, and to maintain a state in which more than half the population are illiterate and one in ten children die before their first birthday. In order to defend their oil supplies in the Gulf, Western powers have backed a state formed on the basis of the expulsion of the Palestinians from their land. But Palestine was once a nation in its own right. For over a thousand years, until the turn of the century, Palestine was populated overwhelmingly by Arabs, mostly Musiim, some Christian. A few thousand Jews lived beside them in peace. That peace was shattered, as a wave of anti-semism swept through Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Millions of Jews fled the pogroms (anti-Jewish massacres) incited by the Tsars in Russia. Most went to the USA and Canada. A smaller number, 120,000, went to Palestine. They were encouraged to adopt Zionism; the idea that anti-semitism would always exist and therefore it was necessary to set up an exclusively Jewish state. At the end of the First World War Brittish forces took control of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire. Palestine then had a population of over a million Arabs and 56,000 Jews. The British promised to grant independence to the Arabs, but secretly negotiated and promised support for "a nationaI homeland for the Jews" in Palestine. A bitter and bloody conflict followed, with the Palestinians facing an alliance of the British and the Zionist settlers. Arab peasants were evicted from their land. They were not allowed to work as labourers on settler-owned land or sell their products at settler markets. The Palestinians resisted. They staged a massive general strike in 1936 against the British for their betrayal of the promises of independence. It lasted six months and was followed by two years of uprising and civil war. The British responded with brutal repression. One third of all the troops in the British Empire were deployed Palestine. The RAF bombed village after village. in others the British army simply shot every tenth villager. The colonial authorities estimated that 2,000 Arabs were killed and several hundred hung after being condemned by military courts. Palestine was finally partitioned by the United Nations in 1947. The UN promised "justice" for both Arabs and Jews. Jewish settlers still owned only 6 percent of the land and made up 30 percent of the population. Nevertheless, the UN gave them 55 percent of Palestine. But even this wasn't enough for the Zionists. They set about expanding the borders of the proposed state of Israel. They drove another 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and seized over 80 percent of the land.
Their methods were savage. In April 1948 the village of Deir Yassin was razed to the ground. Of its 400 inhabitants perhaps 50 survived. Eyewitnesses from the Red Cross reported the bodies of children mutiIated by hand grenades. This notorious massacre was carried out by Irgun militia controlled by Menachim Begin, a future Israeli prime minister. "There had been 400 people in this village", noted Jaques de Reynier of the International Red Cross. "About 50 had escaped. All the rest had been deliberately massacred in cold blood." Begin described the impact of the slaughter: "Arabs throughout the country started to flee for their lives."
…When a ceasefire was agreed in 1949, Palestine no longer existed. To seal the process, Israel created the "law of return" which permits any Jew to return" to their "homeland" but keeps Palestinians out. Today Zionists present the terror campaign in the 1940s as a "war of independence" in which a small number of Jews faced the combined might of the Arab states in the region. But tragically the Palestinians were left to fight alone. For the first six months of the fighting Arab rulers did nothing. As the war began Zionist leader Golda Meir was in secret negotiations with King Abdullah of Jordan about carving up the remains of Palestine. The areas that were not annexed by the Zionists were taken by other Arab rulers. Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt took Gaza. But Israeli ambitions did not end here. Once more m 1967 the Israelis expanded their borders by occupying the Gaza strip and the West Bank.
Over 300,000 Palestinians fled as a result. Of these 145,000 were refugees uprooted for the second time. Until 1967 around half the Palestinian people lived within the borders of the old Palestine. After 1967 the majority were outside. None of the proposed peace settlements today even question the sanctity of Israel's 1967 borders. Then in 1982 Begin launched a full scale military invasion of Lebanon. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were slaughtered as their refugee camps and then West Beirut were bombed to rubble and overrun. Hospitals were hit with cluster and phosphorous bombs, not by accident but repeatedly. Teenage and adult Palestinian males were blindfolded, bound and taken to an internment camp. Eight years later some are still held hostage by Israel's client militia in southern Lebanon. The climax of the massacre came with the systematic slaughter of unarmed Palestinians in Beirut's Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. The United States, which had supported Israel throughout the invasion, stood alone alongside Israel at the United Nations in refusing to condemn the massacre…
Between 1978 and 1982 Israel received 48 percent of all US military aid worldwide, and 35 percent of all US economic aid. American politicians claim they support Israel because of the pressure of the Jewish lobby inside the US. In fact they listen to the lobby only because of the role Israel plays as the US's watchdog in the Middle East. Pp. 5, 11, 12, 13, 21, 22, 23.
The UN Charter says, its function was not to defend human rights, freedom, democracy and the right to self-determination. Rather it was to act as a fig leaf for the superpowers as they tried to police the world. From day one resolutions passed in the General Assembly of all member nations have been worthless rhetoric unless they were backed by the superpowers sitting on the UN Security Council. The UN could operate only when the United States needed it—for example in the Korean War, the Suez Crisis and now in the Gulf. Without US blessing nothing happened. So 15 years of UN sanctions against the racist regime in Rhodesia achieved nothing, nor did hundreds of UN resolutions condemning Israel's occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. pp 25.
R. Bollard, No Blood For Oil, International Socialist Organisation, (undated; c 2001.)
"Following the end of the US led war on Iraq in 1991, the Kurds in the north…rose up against Saddam. Baghdad brutally suppressed the uprisings, using massive aerial bombardments. US president Bush declared Saddam’s savagery as an ‘internal matter.’"
"In the northern ‘safe’ zone the Turkish government has regularly bombed Kurds without the US lifting a finger…The US has refused to use its enormous influence to end the growing military cooperation between Turkey and Israel, a direct aim of which is to crush the Kurdish national movement."
"In early 1995, Turkey attacked Kurdish bases inside Iraq with 35,000 troops, using US supplied weapons, warplanes and tanks….US supplied arms was a violation of international law..
…re US hypocrisy;…The US claims that "…their objectivity is to protect the Kurds, but the US and its Western allies did not say anything, and did nothing when Iraq. Political and economic interests lie behind every move the US has made so far…" "US policy in the Middle East is aimed at ensuring that no country, especially one that attempts to determine its own course or rally anti-imperialist opposition, is strong enough to challenge US dominance of the region or threaten Washington’s closest allies, most importantly Izrael, Turkey and the dictatorial sheikdoms of the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia."
The US turned a blind eye to Saddam’s human rights violations, including several horrible chemical attacks on the Kurdish people in 1988. This was because the US saw the 1979 Iranian revolution that overthrew the brutal pro-US shah as the greater threat to its interests."
Source not recorded.
In I982, we organized an invasion force to try to overthrow the government
of Nicaragua, much along the pattern by which we successfully overthrew
the government of its neighbour, Guatemala, not so many years ago.
Kwitney, J., Endless Enemies, 1986. 405.
Nicaragua, 1978~90. When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast—"another Cuba". Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms. Under Reagan violence was the method of choice. For eight terribly long years, people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington's proxy army the Contras, formed from Somoza's vicious National Guardsmen and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the government burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbours, bombing and strafing. These were the charming gentlemen Ronald Reagan liked to call "freedom fighters". 148
Twenty years ago the United States launched a war against Nicaragua. That was a terrible war. Tens of thousands of people died. The country was practically destroyed. Nicaragua did not respond by setting off bombs in Washington. They went to the World Court with a case, the World Court ruled in their favour and ordered the United States to stop its "unlawful use of force" (that means international terrorism) and pay substantial reparations. Well, the United States responded by dismissing the court with contempt and immediately escalated the attack. At that point Nicaragua went to the UN Security council which voted a resolution calling on all states to obey international law. They didn't mention anyone, but everyone knew they meant the United States. Well, the United States vetoed it. Nicaragua then went to the General Assembly which, two years in a row passed a similar resolution with only the United States and Israel opposed.
From: "C. G. Estabrook" <email@example.com>Wed, 10 Oct 2001 11:01:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Is there a nonviolent response to September 11?
'In Nicaragua, dictator Somoza has been kept in power by the brutal National Guard which operates as both an army and a policing force. The National Guard has had more U.S. training than any other military or police force in the hemisphere on a per capita basis.'
F. M. Lappe and J. Collins, Food First, 1977, 438.
The resignation of the President of Nicaragua, General Somoza, marks the end of a 46-year family dynasty that was installed and sustained and finally undermined with the help of the United States. The Somoza family owned 30% of the land that could be tilled in Nicaragua. Over the years, secured in power by unswerving loyalty to Washington, the Somoza family was able to turn Nicaragua into its personal fiefdom, growing enormously rich, while smothering all opposition in the name of fighting communism.
'Somoza empire; aided and abetted by the U.S.', Sydney Morning Herald, 17th July, 1979.
US efforts to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua constitutes one of the clearest and most disturbing instances of sustained terrorism. The US. helped to install and maintain the Somaza regime for 46 years, (the Somoza family ended up with 30% of the country's farmland.
Sydney Morning Herald, 17th July, 1979.)
The Contras were organised by the CIA to attack the Nicaraguan government. "…the documentation of the murder of civilians as standard operating procedure of the Contras was already massive in 1984.27 Former CIA director Stansfield Turner stated to a House subcommittee that US support for the Contras "…would have to be characterised as terrorism…"
A.George, 1991b, In A George, Western State Terrorism, p. 72. For further detail on the Nicaraguan case see D. Melrose, Nicaragua: The Threat of a Good Example, Oxfam, 1985, N. Chomsky, Turning the Tide, South End/Pluto, 1985, P. Kornbluh, Nicaragua;The Price of Intervention, Institute for Policy Studies, 1987, H. Sklar, Washington's War on Nicaragua, South End, 1989.
The Contras are a true proxy army, one that has killed thousands of civilians (the war's death toll as of early 1989 was over 29,000, more than half of them civilians), caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of peasants, and severely damaged the Nicaraguan economy.26 In June 1986, the International Court of Justice ruled that the US's actions were illegal… Congress expressed its concern over the ruling by voting a couple of weeks later for Reagan's $100 million military aid package to the Contras. The administration reaffirmed its belief in the rule of law by vetoing a UN Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law (11-1, with three abstentions) and by voting against a General Assembly resolution calling for compliance with the Court's rulings (passed 94-3…) p. 83.
A George, The Discipline of Terrorology, In In A. George, Western State Terrorism, Polity, 1991, p. 82-83.
The Nicaraguan Contras were organized by the CIA out of the remnants of Somoza's National Guard. In 1988, with US support, the leadership of the Contras was given over to Colonel Enrique Bermudez, a long-time leader of the National Guard. This did not cause the US mass media to question the "democratic" aim of the "resistance." Shultz's assertion that "The contras in Nicaragua do not blow up school buses or hold mass executions of civilians" will surely go down in history as a classic Big Lie, as the documentation of the murder of civilians as standard operating procedure of the Contras was already massive in l984. See Reed Brody, Contra Terror in Nicaragua (South End, 1985), for 145 sworn affidavits on Contra atrocities against civilians, and other materials. See also Americas Watch's reports on human rights in Nicaragua, which support the same conclusion.
On the long-term terrorist assault on Cuba, see Warren Hinckle and William Turner, The Fish is Red (Harper & Row, 1981); on the attacks on Angola and Mozambique, Hanlon, Beggar Your Neighbors; on the issue more generally, Herman, The Real Terror Network, pp. 62-82, and William Blum, The CIA: A Forgotten History, (Zed Books, 1986), passim.
Former CIA director Stansfield Turner testified before the House Subcommittee on Western Hemispheric Affairs on April 16, 1985, that US organization and support of the Contras would "have to be characterized as terrorism, as state-sponsored terrorism" (quoted in Peter Kornbluh, "The | Covert War," in Thomas Walker (ed.), Reagan Versus the Sandinstas (Westview Press, 1987), p 27).
E. S. Herman and G O'Sullivan, "Terrorism" as Ideology and Cultural Industry, Ch. 3 in A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991p. 70.
When a Contra supply plane was shot down in October 1986 with an American mercenary on board, it became impossible to suppress the evidence of illegal CIA supply flights to the proxy forces. The Iran- Contra hearings ensued, focusing much attention on these topics.
A. George, Introduction to In A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991, p 15.
To select virtually at random from the many cases deemed unworthy of notice, on November 21, 1987, 150 Contras attacked two villages in the southern province of Rio San Juan with 88-mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, killing six children and six adults and injuring 30 others. Even cooperatives of religious pacifists who refused to bear arms were destroyed by the US terrorist forces. In El Salvador too, the army attacks cooperatives, killing, raping, and abducting DK members.
The decision of the International Court of Justice in June 1986 condemning the United States for the "unlawful use of force" and illegal economic warfare was dismissed as an irrelevant pronouncement by a "hostile forum" (New York Times). Little notice was taken when the US vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law and voted against General Assembly resolutions to the same effect (with Israel and El Salvador in 1986; with Israel alone in 1987). The guiding principle, it appears, is that the US is a lawless terrorist state and this is right and just, whatever the world may think, whatever international institutions may declare. p 16.The contra war easily qualifies as "state-sponsored terrorism," as former CIA director Stansfield Turner testified before Congress in April, 1985. p 16.
George, Introduction to In A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991.
"ln Nicaragua the US proxy forces left a trail of murder, torture, rape, mutilation, kidnapping, and destruction, but were impeded , because civilians had an army to defend them. No comparable problems arose in the US client states, where the main terrorist force attacking the civilian population is the army and other state security forces. In El Salvador, tens of thousands were slaughtered in what Archbishop Rivera y Damas in October 1980, shortly after the operations moved into high gear, described as "a war of extermination and genocide against a defenceless civilian population." This exercise in state terror sought "to destroy the people's organizations fighting to defend their fundamental human rights," as Archbishop Oscar Romero warned shortly before his assassination, while vainly pleading with President Carter not to send aid to the armed forces who, he continued, "know only how to repress the people and defend the interests of the Salvadorean oligarchy."'7 The goals were largely achieved during the Reagan administration, which escalated the savagery of the assault against the population to new heights.
A. George, Introduction to In A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991, p 20-21.
The World Court call for an end to the "unlawful use of force" by voting $100 million of military aid to the US proxy forces in Nicaragua.
From N. Chomsky, International Terrorism; Image and Reality, Ch. 2 in . George, Introduction A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991, 27.
( After outlining the conventional view Chomsky puts the alternative position, i.e., that) … both the supply of terrorist activity and the demand for publicity regarding terrorism can be explained mainly in terms of Western interests and policy, not by the actions and plans of the "terrorists." In this version, the primary terrorism is Western in origin, displayed, for example, in the operations of the South African government in its repressions at home and in Namibia, and its cross-border attacks directly or through proxy terrorist forces in Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Kenya, and Zimbabwe; in Israeli policy on the West Bank, and its Iron Fist attacks and sponsorship of the South Lebanese army in Lebanon; and in the US organization and support of the Contras and a terrorist army in El Salvador.
N. Chomsky, International Terrorism; Image and Reality, Ch. 2 in . George, Introduction A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991, p. 16.(Source uncertain; ??Could be from Herman and O'Sullivan, same book.)
History will record that in the 1980s South Africa and the United States jointly waged a terrible but almost invisible war against the innocent peoples of Southern Africa. The war, it will be remembered, engulfed much of the subcontinent and was of almost unprecedented barbarity.
It is certain that this war, whose effects will be felt for decades to come will be bitterly remembered, not just in Africa, but in the entire world. The war has already left terrible scars: a million and a half or more dead, millions displaced from their homes, whole economies in ruins, and/ millions facing starvation and disease.
South Africa has been attacking the front-line states, using every means available to undermine and weaken them. What is not recognized is that the United States Government has played a key role in assisting South Africa. US actions, of course, have been carefully veiled. And when they have been public, they have been carried out under a barrage of propaganda which has apparently succeeded in misleading even the public at home. ..… careful investigation could have uncovered the whole, ugly secret alliance between the US and South Africa; an alliance which, after all, has been fairly visible since Kissinger's National Security Study Memorandum on Southern Africa was made public in 1974.The fact is, however, that journalists, academics, Congressmen, and many others have steadfastly refused to look carefully at the issue.
The South Africans "…launched attacks in mid 1980. The US saw radical change in South Africa as a threat to its interests. The US wanted change there but only gradual change compatible with Western interests." 222
The Reagan administration collaborated with the South Africans ",.. in a policy of covert war against whole populations…". 233.
A select list of US actions is given on pp 235-238, including diplomatic pressure, and threats to withdraw aid. There were 1.5 million deaths related to the war. It is clear, though, that the United States played an important role in Southern Africa during the 1980s, not in "bringing peace," but in making war… the Reagan administration provided money, arms, logistical support, and probably training to UNITA and the MNR …the Reagan administration more or less openly declared a "covert" war on Angola from the beginning of 1986. 245
In the absence of active assistance from the United States, South Africa would not have been able to press as far as it has against the front-line states. It would not have been able, with "plausible deniability," to unleash large surrogate forces against Angola, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. It would never have been able openly to use its airforce and its army as it has. And it might even have had to use economic pressure and its own special forces much more sparingly.
The Reagan administration, therefore, was in part responsible for the death and destruction which has taken place in Southern Africa. 246
During the early 1980s, officials in the front-line states, officials from international aid organizations, a few diplomats, and some commentators repeatedly denounced "South African aggression" in Southern Africa. Yet their denunciations had very little effect: certainly they did not stop South Africa. The reason for this was that South Africa had a powerful patron and partner in the United States, which. was actively helping it to wage unconventional war against the front-line states. 246
"The Reagan Doctrine and the Destabilization of Southern Africa", Sean Gervasi and Sybil Wong, Ch. 9 in A. George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, 1991, p.52.
Under siege by the United States and its Contra proxy army for several years, Nicaragua filed suit in 1984 in the World Court (International Court of Justice), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, located in The Hague, Netherlands, for relief from the constant onslaught, which included mining its harbours. The Court ruled in 1986 that the US was in violation of international law for a host of reasons, stated that Washington "is under a duty immediately ° cease and to refrain from all such acts [of hostility]" and "is under an obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury".
Anticipating the suit, the Reagan administration had done the decent and right thing: it announced, on April 6, 1984, three days before Nicaragua's filing, that the US would not recognize the World Court's jurisdiction in matters concerning Central America for a two-year period.
For several years following the American invasion of 1989, with its highly destructive bombing and ground combat, many individual Panamanians tried in various ways to receive compensation for the death or injury of themselves or family members, or the wreckage of their homes or businesses. But their legal claims and suits were met by an implacable US government. 230.
Panama, 1989…Less than two weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United I States showed its joy that a new era of world peace was now possible by invading Panama, as Washington's mad bombers struck again. On December 20, 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City was wiped out; 15,000 people were left homeless. Counting several days of ground fighting between US and Panamanian forces, 500'something natives dead was the official body count—i.e., what the United States and the new US-installed Panamanian government admitted to. Other sources, examining more evidence, concluded that thousands had died. Additionally, some 3,000 Panamanians were wounded, 23 Americans died, and 324 were wounded.
Question from reporter: "Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?" George Bush: "Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it." Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was hardly a major motive for the attack. Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if they re-elected the Sandinistas. Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force despite the very recent ~ dissolution of the "Soviet threat". The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega's drug trafficking, which Washington had known about for years and had not been at all bothered by. And they could easily have gotten their hands on the man without wreaking such terrible devastation upon the Panamanian people. 154-5.
For more than a decade the US has provided Peru with an unending stream of military advisers and trainers, Navy Seals and Green Berets, all manner of arms and equipment, surveillance flights, radar stations in the Andes, whatever—all to one of the most dictatorial and repressive regimes in the Western Hemisphere, condemned by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch/Americas and State Department Human Rights reports for its medieval prisons, routine torture and other human-rights violations, led by an autocrat named Alberto Fujimori. 160.
Peru, 1965…The US military set up "a miniature Fort Bragg" in the Peruvian jungle and proceeded to wipe out several guerrilla groups, which had arisen in response to the deep~seated poverty of the Peruvian masses. 129(??)
Philippines, 1970s-199Os . Another scenario of poverty, social injustice, death squads, torture, etc. Ieading to wide ranging protest and armed resistance...time once again for the US military and CIA to come to the aid of the government in suppressing such movements. In 1987 it was revealed that the Reagan administration had approved a $10 million, two- year plan for increased CIA involvement in the counter-insurgency campaign. The CIA undertook large~scale psychological warfare operations and US military advisers routinely accompanied Philippine troops during their manoeuvers. The Philippines has long bee the most strategic location for US war-making in Asia… 149
Philippines, 1945-53 The US military fought against the leftist Huk forces even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders in the world war. After the war, the US organized Philippine armed forces to continue the fight against the Huks, finally defeating them and their reform movement. The CIA interfered grossly in elections, installing a series of puppets as president, culminating in the long dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, for whom torture was la spicialite de la maison~ (see Elections chapter). 127
The CIA collaborated closely with South African intelligence, one of ~the principal focuses being the African National Congress, the leading anti-apartheid organization which had been banned and exiled. The Agency cooperated in suppressing internal dissent, provided specific warnings of planned attacks by the ANC and information about ANC members residing in neighboring countries; on at least one occasion, in Mozambique in 1981, this led to South Africa sending an assassination squad to wipe out the fingered individuals.
The CIA was also responsible for the capture of ANC leader Nelson Mandela. Additionally, for a number of years in the 1970s and 1980s, the US supported South Africa in the UN, and the CIA violated the UN's arms embargo against South Africa (of which the US was a declared supporter by covertly providing the country with weapons and supporting its efforts to militarily determine the political makeup of Southern Africa. 144.
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, President George Bush personally telephoned the black South African leader to tell him that all Americans were "rejoicing at his release."
This was the same Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for most 28 years because the CIA tipped off South African authorities as to where they could find him. On June 10, 1990, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reported that an unidentified, retired US intelligence officer had revealed that within hours of Mandela's arrest, Paul Eckel, then a senior CIA operative, had told him: "We have turned Mandela over to the South African security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would ft be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be. They have picked him up. It is one of our greatest coups." 215.
After Mandelas release, the White House was asked if Bush would apologize to the South African for the reported US involvement in his arrest at an upcoming meeting between the two men. In this situation, a categorical denial by the White House of any American involvement in the arrest would have. been de rigueur. However, pi spokesman Marlin Fitzwater replied: "This happened during the Kennedy administration...don't beat me up for what the Kennedy people did." 216.
South Yemen, 1979-84. Partly to cater to the wishes of next-door Saudi Arabia, and partly as Cold-War reflex, the US supported paramilitary forces in South Yemen to undermine the government, which was perceived as the proverbial "Soviet satellite", as opposed to North Yemen, which was seen to be the proverbial "pro-Western" good guys. 150
The El-Shifa pharmaceutical plant had raised Sudanese medicinal self sufficiency from less than five percent to more than 50 percent, while producing about 90 percent of the drugs used to treat the most deadly illnesses in this desperately poor country. But on August 20, 1998, the United States saw fit to send more than a dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles screaming into the plant, in an instant depriving the people of Sudan of their achievement. Based on a covertly acquired soil sample' Washington claimed that the plant was producing chemical weapons. 231.
Suriname, 1982-4. A plot was hatched by the United States to overthrow the government because it allegedly was falling into "the Cuban orbit". It was to be an invasion by some 300 men, half US and South American and half Surinamese. The CIA had actually informed Congress of its plan to use a paramilitary force, which President Reagan had authorized. Congress was not enthused, but William Casey and his CIA cowboys went ahead with their planning anyway, and were induced to call it off only after the scheme was discovered by the internal security agency of the Netherlands, the former colonial power in Suriname when it was known as Dutch Guiana. 152
Washington had been actively supporting Turkey and Indonesia for years in their mailed fist military suppressions, and helped Croatia carry out, and then cover up, its ethnic cleansing of the Krajina Serbs in 1995.86 Turkey, in fact, had nearly threatened to veto the NATO decision that it could act on Kosovo unless Ankara was assured that this policy could never be applied to Turkey's treatment of Kurds. 164
Washington policymakers, however, have long reserved the unrestrained right; to pour large amounts of money into elections of other countries (including those which also prohibit foreign contributions) and taint the electoral system in numerous other ways, as we shall see below.
US acquiescence in Turkish treatment of the Kurds. The US claimed that it intervened to help the Kurds, but it gave tacit approval for the Turkish treatment. Washington has "…supported the Ankara regime’s brutal war against the Kurds in southern Turkey."
Uruguay, 1969-72 … The 1960s was the era of the Tupamaros, perhaps the cleverest, most resourceful, most sophisticated, least violent, Robin-Hood-like urban guerrillas the world has ever seen. They were too good to be allowed to endure. A team of American experts arrived, to supply the police with all the arms, vehicles, communications gear, etc. they needed, to train them in assassination and explosives techniques, to teach methods of interrogation cum torture, to set up an intelligence service cum death squad. It was all-out war against the Tupamaros and any suspected sympathizers. The Tupamaros lost. 142
"In Vietnam selected Vietnamese troops were organised into terror squads."
M. McClintock, 1991, "American doctrine and counterinsurgent state terror", in A George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, Cambridge, Polity, 1991, p. 133.
"…indiscriminate killing of civilians was a central part of a 'counterinsurgency war' in which 20,000 civilians were systematically assassinated under the CIA's Operation Phoenix Program…" Pilger says this operation was the model for the later terror carried out in Chile and Nicaragua.
Five days later, President Nixon sent a message to the Prime Minister of North Vietnam in which he stipulated the following: "(1) The Government of the United States of America will contribute to postwar reconstruction in North Vietnam without any political conditions. (2) Preliminary United States studies indicate that the appropriate programs for the United States contribution - -postwar reconstruction of $3.25 billion of grant aid over 5 years."5 Nothing of the promised reconstruction aid was ever paid. Or ever will be. However—deep breath here—Vietnam has been compensating the United States. In 1997 it began to pay off about $145 million ~in debts left by the defeated South Vietnamese government for American food and infrastructure aid. Thus, Hanoi is reimbursing the United States for part of the cost of the war waged against it. 229.
The Green Berets taught its members who were slated for duty in ~ t Vietnam in the 1960s how to use torture as part of an interrogation.
The notorious Operation Phoenix, set up by the CIA to wipe out the Vietcong infrastructure, subjected suspects to torture. In violation of the Geneva Convention, the US turned prisoners over to their South Vietnamese allies in full knowledge that they would be tortured, American military personnel often being present during the torture. W. Blum, Rogue State; A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Monroe, Me., Common Courage Press, 2000, p. 52
Perhaps the strangest aspect of the we conflict is the collective amnesia that appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this "ethnic cleansing". In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it, born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing. 165.
The Congo/Zaire, 1966~65, 1977-78.
In June 196Q Patrice Lumumba—legally and peacefully—became the Congo's first prime minister after independence from Belgium. At Independence Day ceremonies before a host of foreign dignitaries, Lumumba called for the nation's economic as well as its political liberation, recounting a list of injustices against the natives by the white owners of the country. The man was obviously a "communist". And obviously doomed, particularly since Belgium retained its vast mineral wealth in Katanga province, and prominent Eisenhower administration officials had financial ties to the same wealth. Eleven days later, Katanga seceded; in September Lumumba was dismissed by the president at the instigation of the United States; and in January 1961 he was assassinated, with CIA involvement, after Eisenhower had requested that Lumumba should depart from this life. There followed several years of civil conflict and chaos and the rise to power in 1965 of Mobutu Sese Seko, a man not a stranger to the CIA. Mobutu went on to rule the country (which he renamed Zaire) for more than 30 years, with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers. The Zairian people lived in abject poverty despite the country's extraordinary natural wealth, while Mobutu became a multibillionaire. In both 1977 and 1978, the Carter administration rushed extensive military aid to Zaire, including airlifting Moroccan troops, to help Mobutu quell rebel uprisings and remain in power. President George Bush was later to remark that Mobutu was "our best friend in Africa". 137-8
The democratic experiment had no example in Africa,…so perhaps the sorriest and the most unnecessary, blight on the record of this new era, is that the precedent for it all, the very first coup in postcolonial African history, the very first political assassination, and the very first junking of a legally constituted democratic system, all took place in a major country, and were all instigated by the United States of America.
But the riches … copper, cobalt, and diamond exports … The wealth is being stolen and squandered by a combination of American, European, and Zairian exploiters acting with neither the consent of the Zairian people nor their best interests in mind. P. 100.
The point is that' the government of Zaire is not communist or Soviet-influenced. Nor is it independent. It is one of ours. And the people who make U.S. foreign policy, and the people who elect them, cannot escape the moral or practical responsibility for what that policy does. P.106.
CIA people, from director Allen Dulles on down, thought that Lumumba threatened all Africa, even the world. They couldn't wait to bump him off. For blind arrogance, the most strident Leninists in the Kremlin couldn't take a backseat to these Washington policymakers. Richard Bissell, the CIA's deputy director for plans, recalled later, "The Agency had put top priority, probably, on a range of different methods of getting rid of Lumumba in the sense of either destroying him physically, incapacitating him, or eliminating his political influence."
At first, the U.S. embassy in Kinshasa (then Leopoldville) was a little more restrained. It reported to Washington when Lumumba visited the U.S. on July 6, 1960, "Lumumba is an opportunist and not a communist. His final decision as to which camp he will eventually belong will not be made by him but rather will be imposed upon him by outside forces." But by August 17, even Ambassador Claire Timberlake was recommending that the U.S. instigate a coup to remove Lumumba, though the ambassador didn't specifically recommend killing him.
As for-the men who ran the U.S. government, Under Secretary of State C. Douglas Dillon told the Church Committee that the National Security Council, including President Eisenhower, believed that Lumumba was a "very difficult if not impossible person to deal with, and was dangerous to the peace and safety of the world." How far beyond the dreams of a barefoot jungle postal clerk in 1956, that in a few short years he would be dangerous to the peace and safety of the world! The perception seems insane, particularly coming from the National Security Council, which really does have the power to end all human life within hours;
At the National Security Council, he (Eisenhower) responded to Dulles's announcement with an implicit or explicit order for Lumumba's forceful removal, by assassination if necessary. The exact words weren't recorded. Robert Johnson, NSC staff member from 1951 to 1962, testified before the Church Committee that Eisenhower's words "came across to me as an order for the assassination of Lumumba.... There was no discussion; the meeting simply moved on. I remember my sense of that moment quite clearly because the president's statement came as a great shock to me."
The day after Eisenhower talked to the National Security Council, CIA deputy director Richard Bissell cabled station chief Devlin to go ahead and replace by force the legally constituted government of the Congo — a nation with which the United States was not at war and had no cause to be. 62.
The fledgling Congolese leaders, so desperately needing an example to follow, were being instructed by the world's leading proponent of liberty and democracy on how a political system ought to work: you kill your legally elected rivals and seize power.
This obviously coordinated plot was almost certainly American origin. Though Mrs. Kalb’s cables contain no smoking-gun-type admissions of U.S. responsibility, she reports from other sources that the army takeover was financed by Western governments. Two State Department officials who worked intensely on Congo-Zaire policy have said that the U.S. designed the September 4 coup and selected Mobutu for the job. The State Department's official document, "Analytical Chronology of the Congo Crises," tacitly admits this. The document refers to a plan "to bring about the overthrow of Lumumba and install a pro-Western government." Then it says, "operations under this plan were gradually put into effect by the CIA.
Ambassador Timberlake was exuberant at the collapse of Congolese democracy. ….. and he accurately forecast that the next day Mobutu would kick the Soviet and other East bloc embassies out of the Congo. p.63.
The US sent a hit man, but Lamumba was killed by others. p. 69.
In faraway Lebanon, U.S. marines were patrolling the streets, and occasionally dying. The newspapers said the marines were there to put an end to twenty-five years of bloody civil war, so Lebanon could "get back on its feet" and start a democracy. Nobody seemed to remember that Lebanon's twenty-five years of civil war began when the CIA sabotaged a democracy that was already in place. In I957, the CIA had helped rig an election to load the Lebanese government with Christians, who it believed would better serve American interests. P.3.
In fact, if you analyze Zaire's $6.5 billion in debt, you find that almost none of it arises from anything that much benefited the Zairian people, who are being slowly starved to pay it off. 18
What is happening here is obvious. The bankers have gotten Zaire in hock up to that country's maximum ability to repay, and they are keeping it there.
Every year or so the bankers meet to determine how much more money can be squeezed out of that far-off, pathetic land where most of them personally dread to go. (If occasionally they must, they will conduct their business from
the Intercontinental Hotel and get out. Paris is nicer.)
Zaire is not alone in this. The major banks have actually held weekly or monthly "country meetings," where experts at the home office figure out the maximum debt capacity of each overseas country. Loan officers around the empire are then instructed by cable to persuade the governments to borrow up to that capacity. At the height of this activity, during the 1970s, before most countries reached their capacities, bank officers were paid bonuses .and were promoted, based on how much debt they could sign up. Since the major banks were privy to the same basic information, they were after the same debt capacity. Vice-presidents assigned to foreign offices competed fiercely to find enticing projects to lend on. This still goes on when new capacity is found. Former bank officers and Third World government economists, in interviews, describe the competition in such countries as Indonesia, Brazil, and even Sri Lanka as frenzied at times. p. 18.
Many thousands of Zairians work on plantations owned by big multinational companies, like Unilever, raising coffee, palm oil, sugar, or rubber. For this they are paid $IO to $I3 a month. That is $I20 to $I56 a year. Their wives and children who don't work on the plantation can garden to fill the family table. But generally, workers must promise the plantation-owner that they won't sap their energies raising cash crops. p. 36.
Some menials at the huge Unilever palm oil plantation at Lokutu, about
I20 miles into the bush west of Kisangani, get only $7 a month. Of the 50,000 Zairians Unilever says it employs, about 5,000 work at Lokutu. From their salaries, the company deducts several dollars a month for living quarters.
This means that in cash, menials may get as little as $4 a month, and farmers x $7 to $IO a month. The quarters consist of a 6-by-7-foot room for a single man, a bit more if the employee has a wife and children and can prove they’re his.
… Lumumba's "removal must be an urgent and prime objective," Dulles cabled. He authorized Devlin not only to stage a coup, but to take even more aggressive action if it can remain covert… 65
J. Kwitney, Endless Enemies, Penguin, 1986.
On the US self concept … "The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere." Madeleine Albright, 1992. "For the world trusts us with power, and the world is right. They trust us to be fair, and restrained. They trust us to be on the side of decency. They trust us to do what's right." George Bush, 1993. When I came into office, I was determined that our country would go into the 21st century still the world's greatest force for peace and freedom, for democracy and security and prosperity.Bill Clinton, 1996. Frontpiece: Most Americans find it difficult in the extreme to accept the proposition that terrorist acts against the United States can be viewed as revenge for Washington's policies abroad. They believe that the US is targeted because of its freedom, its democracy, its wealth. ..We were attacked not for our vices, but for our virtues." Ix. Finally, we have President Clinton: "Americans are targets of terrorism, in part, because we act to advance peace and democracy and because we stand united against terrorism."
W. Blum, Rogue State; A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, Monroe, Me., Common Courage Press, 2000, p.1.
13. SOME REFERENCES.
There is an extensive literature documenting themes dealt within the above sections. See for example the overviews by
A George, Ed., Western State Terrorism, Cambridge, Polity, 1991.
J. Kwitney, Endless Enemies, Penguin , 1986.
E. S. Herman, The Real Terror Network, Southend Press, 1982,
W. Blum, The CIA; A Forgotten History, London, Zed Books, 1986,
N. Chomsky, Pirates and Emperors, International Terrorism in the Real World, Claremont Research and Publications, 1986,
A. Cockburn, Corruptions of Empire,
N. Chomsky and E. S. Herman, (1979), The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism, Sydney, Hale and Iremonger.
N. Chomsky, The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (South End/Pluto Press, 1983).
E. S. Herman, The Terrorism Industry; The Experts and Institutions That Shape Our View of Terror, Pantheon, 1989.
R. Falk, Revolutionaries and Functionaries; The Dual Face of Terrorism, Dutton, 1988.
J. Galton, On the Causes of Terrorism and Their Removal, IFDA Dossier, 66, July-Aug, 1988, 29-42.