"I think there is no real argument that the historical lesson for the United States in the 20th Century has been the need for continued strong American involvement. I'm one of those individuals who is looking at the emerging debate as to the direction of American foreign policy, and I'm thinking about three writers in particular: Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan's article called for continued American benevolent hegemony as the pole star of American policy - this is the article in Foreign Affairs magazine setting forth a Republican foreign policy on the one hand, and Richard Haass' latest work analyzing the various strands in the foreign policy debate, dismissing the hegemony call, and arguing for the sheriff, the tough sheriff on the beat. Parenthetically, there is a bit of confusion there, because I think he's actually calling for hegemony, and I asked him the question why he dismissed the hegemony argument so readily, and I wasn't particularly convinced by his answer."
--Alberto Mora, August 12, 1997: DIA Interview.
"It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening, it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest."
--Harold Pinter, The Nobel Prize Lecture, December 2005.
To begin with:
The US maintains to this day over a dozen direct dependencies, the largest of which is Puerto Rico. Its military forces are active over most of the globe: at last audit about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence - a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison.
The bulk of this document will deal with what is alternatively referred to as "neo-colonialism", "hegemony", "proxy rule", or "informal empire": roughly, a system of "dual elite" political rule, in which domestic elites (the proxy) receive backing from (are dependent on - to varying degrees) a foreign elite, and in return protect (to varying degrees) the foreign power's interests in the country (security, economic, or domestic political interests).
This is, at least, the framework within which I use the terms - as it is generally accepted by students of history. To take an explanation cited by Ariel Cohen as "One of the more successful attempts made to create a coherent theory of empires" in Russian Imperialism:
"Empire is a relationship, formal or informal, in which one state controls the effective political sovereignty of another political society. It can be achieved by force, by political collaboration, by economic, social, or cultural dependence. Imperialism is simply the process or policy of establishing or maintaining an empire."
--Michael Doyle, Empires
This is a list of the generally disastrous human terms of the practice.
On the other hand it tends to make some people very, very rich, which is what Niall Ferguson refers to when in canting Secretary of State Cordell Hull's reference to "the sane and prosperous condition of the world." Citing GDP growth, even per-capita GPD growth, doesn't indicate better living standards or rising incomes - historians who defend the British empire based on such statistics, Ferguson being one, don't take into account evidence for income and wealth distribution - let alone mass famine and murder - generally indicating that narrow segments of the population saw the benefits of such growth while broad segments suffered. We might further question whether such statistics are adequate to the task of measuring the common wealth when, even in the present, destructive activity is added to the ledger.
As a point of reference formal American imperialism begins (or not - one would have to completely ignore the genocide of the native population, African and Native-American slavery, rapid and continuous expansion of the national borders through war, rapid and continuous expansion of mercantilism through war and the threat of war, the ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples, the mid 1800s mercantilist state established in Nicaragua, etc.) with the acquisition of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War of 1898.
It's a good point to remember how that war started: part hoax, part sensationalized, war mongering "journalism", and of course much talk about the brutality of the enemy and the necessity of our intervention on behalf of the suffering - in this case on behalf of the Cubans and their savage treatment at the hands of the Spanish: much better for them to suffer at our hands.
Old habits die hard.
For the sake of an attempt at brevity, or in recognition of the precedent set by the Nuremberg Tribunal and principles laid out under the UN charter, these notes will mostly focus on post-WWII history - though it would seem imperative to include interventions that fly in the face of the popular misconception that the United States ended its imperial project at the end of the Spanish-American war. There were military involvements during the 1890s by the USG in Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Hawaii, Nicaragua, China, Korea, Panama, Samoa, in extremely brutal labour conflicts within the nation, and a war on working Americans waged by the National Association of Manufacturers that will otherwise go undiscussed.
The Phillipines makes a decent representative example of the US' first official exercise in colonial imperialism and formal empire [*], also referred to as "civilizational imperialism" - a project we're presently repeating.
"Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipe-dream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future."
--Major General Smedley D. Butler, America's Armed Forces: 'In Time of Peace', 1935.
1898-1914: The Phillipines
U.S. Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Smith: "I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better you will please me. I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States." Major Littleton W. T. Waller: How young? Smith: Ten years and up. --Exchange on October 1901, quote from the testimony at Smith's court martial by the New York Evening Journal (May 5, 1902). General Smith, a veteran of the Wounded Knee massacre, was popularly known as "Hell Roaring Jake" or "Howling Wilderness".
The "Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation" of the McKinley presidency in 1899 announced America's intention to be the benevolent dictator over various foreign nations that just happened to all be filled with ruthless, pagan savages.
In a savage conflict America repressed the Filipino independence movement. As in most cases of massacre on the part of the US the number of casualties remains a matter of debate; in this instance 5,000 (of some 120,000 involved) Americans killed with additional casualties later due to disease contracted in the Phillipines, but anywhere between 16,000-20,000 Filipino soldiers and 200,000-600,000 civilian Filipino deaths resulted due to the war, war induced famine, disease, and multiple atrocities, but one would be mistaken to describe the conflict as characterized by brutality. The US continued occupying the Phillipines for another 48 years.
US military involvement in the Phillipines continues to this day, much to the advantage of foreign investors, who continue to maintain economic hegemony. US troops may not enjoy their stay quite as much as the last time, nor as the first time.
US indirectly rules Panama through a surrogate proxy after managing its secession from Columbia.
1904-1978: Dominican Republic
In 1904 the USG takes control of Dominican customs houses by force to collect on international debts, shortly thereafter signing a treaty, with the DR essentially at gun point, ratifying the debt relationship.
Between 1916 and 1924 the US occupies and rules the Dominican Republic. Shortly thereafter General Rafael Trujillo takes control of the country with the National Guard that was created and put under his control by the USG before its exit. During the 30s Trujillo wiped out some 30,000 Dominicans and Haitians in an effort to make his side of the island 'more white'. Trujillo received US backing until the mid 1950s, when he was finally placed under economic sanctions for attempting to assassinate the president of Venezuela. A few years later the USG began supporting the conservative opposition to overthrow him, successfully assassinating him in 1961, out of fear that the liberal Constitutionalist opposition would get to it first. Trujillo's son Ramfi was escorted out of the country by the US military.
In 1963 USG-backed militants removed the recently elected president of the Dominican Republic, Juan Bosch - a centrist liberal - to "prevent another Cuba." Two years later Lyndon Johnson sent 22,000 US Marines to land on the island and take control of the country for 17 months after falling sugar prices and political conflict stirred an uprising against the new regime of Donald Reid Cabral. The Marines assist in suppressing the rebellion, killing over 4,000 Dominicans and solidifying conservative control over the country, leading to the reinstatement of Trujillo-front-man turned Washington-front-man Joaquin Balaguer, who dragged the country into a nightmare of political violence, electoral fraud, and death squad activity that, by and large, eliminated any possible political opposition to the regime - minus one or two times when Balaguer's masters in Washington yanked his leash for the cameras. The USG continued lavishing military support onto the regime throughout the waves of terror.
US occupies and administers Haiti for 19 years.
A collection of Nation articles on the occupation of Haiti.Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940
A sort of de-facto American colonial holding during the mid 19th century - per the East India Company model of a private corporation taking control of a foreign nation with state assistance - US Marines occupy Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933, after which the USG arms, trains, and otherwise props up the barbarous Somoza dictatorship, which remains in power until the Sandinista revolution of 1979.
1917-1920: Russian Civil War
The "cold" war begins with the Allied intervention in Russia and backing of the White armies.
1936: Objective history ends. Doubt being the prerogative of one who seeks truth,
The Federal Housing Administration - a mortgage insurance program that helped millions of American families to develop their own property, accumulate capital, and lift them into the middle-class - became an effective state-mandated ghettoization program under blankly racist standards that prevented black neighborhoods and families from receiving the development assistance that their taxes otherwise helped pay for.
Likewise, housing deeds included 'restrictive covenants' that prohibited blacks from occupying homes in white neighborhoods, until a 1948 Supreme Court ruling was implemented in 1950 that ruled such contracts unconstitutional. Similar policies excluded most black workers from Social Security coverage and agricultural assistance programs.
These policies reinforced the status quo on the ground - the racist business practices of the dominate culture - lifting white America even further above its black counterpart while encouraging urban decay and racial segregation. In terms of home ownership the gap between white and black home ownership jumped by 5.5% during the life of the program and left cities highly polarized between underdeveloped inner-city black neighborhoods and highly developed white suburbs. The black home ownership rate doesn't reach the white rate of 1900 until 1970. Fair housing legislation passed in 1968 but subsequent court rulings have shown that individual acts of similar discrimination continued well into the present.
1940: The McCollum Memo.
In which President Roosevelt's plan to provoke a Japanese attack is outlined.
1945-1974: Greece, Questioning the Cold War.
"Fuck your parliament and your constitution."
--President Lyndon Johnson to the Greek Ambassador, 1965.The USG creates the Greek secret police (the KYP) and backs military coups in 1949, 1967 and 1973. Dictatorships ruled during the periods of 1949-1952 and 1967-1974.
One can cite the essential brutality of the first US-backed dictatorship in Greece as beyond excessive considering the US's ostensible goals of simple containment of Communist expansion (and I am not in a position to deny that there were Communists seeking control, rather the opposite), but since then USG involvement in Greece has demonstrated, if anything, that no element of democratic rule not in strict alliance with US interests was permissible. As far as Greece is concerned the values of democracy, self-rule, and human rights in US foreign policy don't hold much water.
One explanation is that the creation and continued support for Greek dictatorship was in response to the 1948 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, fueling fears in the US government of Soviet plots. We defer to the US government as to the reality of such fears:
The Soviet crackdown on Czechoslovakia in 1948 therefore flowed logically from the inauguration of the Marshall Plan program, and was confidently predicted by United States government observers six months in advance of the event.
It is clear from the above that the sudden consolidation of Communist power in Czechoslovakia in 1948 was not a sign of any "new Soviet aggressiveness" and had nothing to do with any Soviet decision to launch its military forces against the West.
--George Kennan; Report to the US Dept of State from American Embassy in Moscow, September 8, 1952
Even if one granted that the USG's initial zealotry immediately after WWII to widespread misconceptions that often prevailed in policy making it's hard to be so generous regarding the 1967 coup. As Kennan comments in the Moscow Embassy report, "The attempt to portray the outside world as menacing, whether or nor it actually was so at any given moment, has been part of the stock in trade of Soviet rule."
The same might as well be said of American rule. Such is essentially described in the same document about public statements made by officials in favor of the formation of NATO. Both states exacerbated public fears of the other, misleading and exploiting the domestic populations, and inevitably increasing the likelihood that those same fears would be realized - quite beyond the point where if such fears were realized human life could easily be extinguished.
The most obvious question is whether defense against Communist dictatorship (i.e. the "promotion of democracy") required outright and unquestioned support for proto-facist dictatorships - a highly dubious assumption, and an expensive one in this instance, costing some 150,000 lives.
Point and click to read the ff:
1945-1960s: China. Tibet. Taiwan.
China and the USSR being the "second world" direct intervention is limited in the post-war period, despite their being the ostensible "enemy." Mao, like numerous other Communist leaders, was a close ally during the WWII, and far more effective in organizing resistance to the Japanese than Chiang Kai-Shek because - to paint with a broad brush - Marxist euphemisms played better with peasant serfs long repressed by Chiang's army than reactionary feudal-nationalist doctrine.
During the post-war assemblage of the UN China was officially inducted, but the USG officially recognized Kai-Shek's brutal dictatorship in Taiwan as the legitimate government of China (US sponsorship of Kai-Shek lasted for decades, and was the reason for China's UNSC vote in favor of the Korean war), as compared to Mao's insane dictatorship in China. According to at least one source Kai-Shek's US-supported attempts to remain in power cost some 18 million lives, on par with Mao's campaigns to remain in power after the revolution, excluding the famines he unknowingly presided over.
In an attempt to discredit Mao's China the US funnels covert economic aid and directs reforms in Taiwan, working with Kai-Shek's son Chiang Ching-kuo, instituting land reform and providing guidance in modern farming techniques and technology while heralding it as an example of the "free market." The successful development program, which lasted for about ten years, was then used as propaganda, absurdly, for market liberalization elsewhere in the third world - though the US continued to overthrow governments that attempted to institute similar land reforms, as they were indicative of "Communist sympathies" and "Soviet direction".
Amid this diplomatic rivalry between Taiwan and China the US and China were vying over Tibet, with the Chinese-incited Marxist rebellion stirring under the Tibetian aristocracy/priest order and the CIA organizing and funding counter-revolutionary groups to compete with competing Red groups, having no better idea to sell, let alone any idea how to intervene productively in the madness swallowing China and, through it, Tibet. It doesn't seem unlikely that the USG would have instead supported the 1950 invasion of Tibet had Chinese Nationalists - who had already made failed efforts to re-aquire Tibet - won the civil war. No stone among the remaining empires to be left unturned or uncontested. So it goes.
Two perspectives on Tibet: Chinese dissident Wang Lixiong, and a response by Tibetan historian Tsering Shakya.
CIA Dope Calypso
1945-1952: South Korean Occupation, Cheju Island, the Korean War
The USG, with Japanese and South Korean collaborators (under Syngman Rhee - a Korean-American chosen by Chiang Kai Shek to preside over South Korea - courtesy Washington DC), slaughtered one third of the population of Cheju Island in anti-communist purges during the occupation of South Korea from 1945 to 1949. The repression of the population by US, ROK, and Japanese forces purged anywhere between 100,000 and 800,000 'suspected leftists' in the civilian population.
Among other things the anti-communist policy of the USG and the cooperation against the formation of an independent, unified Korea by both Soviets and Americans lead to the North Korean invasion on June 25th, 1950. During the war the USG deliberately targetted civillians caught in the war path, and with some 4 million casualties between all players in the war well over half were civilian casualties.
After the war the anti-Communist doctrine of the USG and Taiwanese governments lead to forced "voluntary" repatriation, where Chinese POWs were terrorized and tortured if they volunteered for repatriation to mainland China.
"Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. ...
In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague, and for the Far East, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."
--George Kennan, A Review of Current Trends in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1948.
The historical record suggests that Kennan - for all his somewhat more sound advice on East Asia: the warning of over-extension and admittance of US political failure (meaning the simple inability to offer an alternative to Communism that had any popular appeal, despite the existence of numerous alternatives that would undermine Soviet influence but not, per the stated goal, maintain economic disparities) - was largely ignored except on this particular point, as "our unsound commitments" to China continued in Taiwan for many decades.
At least until 1979 when the Chinese government was finally formally recognized and given - in what I suppose would be considered sound commitment - backing in the Chinese invasion of Vietnam. The USG has continued "interfering in the internal affairs" of the Phillipines up to the present by propping up one cooperative despot after another, and directly assisting in the repression of internal rebellions, Furthermore the USG more than overstretched itself in Vietnam. The USG did, however, manage dealing in "straight power concepts" to a surreal and terrible degree, and has had little discernible trouble maintaining its "position of disparity."
1945-1994: Vietnam: "Remember! Only you can prevent forests."
"nobody ever told us they were human"
--Lt. Calley, My Lai hearings. 'Calley Pleads for Understanding', New York Times, March 31, p. 1
We might begin with the CIA's orchestration in 1952 of a dramatic terrorist bombing in the center of Saigon that was blamed on communist forces to stir American rage against Agent 19, creating political support for the US to become the primary financier of the French war in Vietnam until the US takes the entire project over in 1961, when Kennedy sends in the first US ground advisers, who almost immediately begin taking over the fighting for a corrupt Diem regime. Similar incidents, such as the Gulf of Tonkin, are repeated to generate support for ramping up the scale of American intervention.
In a campaign that is probably best described as institutionalized genocide some 1 million Vietnamese combatants and 2-4,000,000 South East Asian civilians (DRV statistics, including Laos and Cambodia) were killed during this US stage of the war (estimated anywhere between 10-20% of the population, or proportionately 27 million Americans), with over half the Vietnamese casualties inflicted in South Vietnam, the ostensible protectorate of the United States.
Likewise the US managed to kill some 17,000 US troops - one third of all US casualties were reportedly caused by American-deployed landmines and cluster ordinace. The CIA's Phoenix program lead to the extra-judicial assassinations of some 20-40,000 civilians alone - or "suspected Communists", never mind the hundreds of thousands that were subjected to brutal interrogations and internment in American re-education camps. Military intelligence programs differed little in their essential brutality, including torture by field telephone.
In violation of international law, among other things, the US utilized chemical warfare (Sarin per operation Tailwind is largely discredited, VX perhaps remains a possibility, and massive amounts of toxins - the carcinogen Agent Orange comes to mind - were dumped into the Vietnamese ecosystem, defoliating vast swathes of the country) and scorched earth policies which afflicted not only US and Vietnamese soldiers but caused massive civilian casualties and harm that continue to this day, as unexploded ordnance and damage to the gene pool caused by chemical agents take their slow toll.
The main thrust of this violence was directed towards South Vietnam, who we were purportedly there to protect, or whatever it is we were purportedly doing; protecting America from Vietnam, I suppose, against their plan to sail over in rafts and crush us with sheer numbers. To have Michael Lind tell it I'm supposed to believe that the Vietcong's refusal to surrender makes them responsible for the victims of US invasion. So far as Soviet involvement is concerned Ilia Gaiduk argues that Russia was partly responsible for the war due to their lack of actual involvement, however that works.
US involvement in Vietnam increased neighboring alliances with the Soviets and forced the Vietnamese into a position of dependency on China and the USSR (they had, after WWII, sought alliances and support from the US to preserve their independence from the French and the Chinese - the latter position eventually lead to their alliances with the Soviets). The Sino-Soviet split in 1960 resulted in China becoming a US ally after the end of the war in 1975, at which point Vietnam turned even further to the Soviets for support against the traditional Chinese hegemony over the region.
The US paid for the French campaign between 1945 to 1954 before taking it over directly, beginning a US phase in the Vietnam wars that lasted until 1975. After the end of direct US involvement in Vietnam the US continued waging the conflict for almost two decades afterward. In 1979 China invaded Vietnam with US backing when the USG deployed the carrier Constellation to the Gulf of Tonkin to deter a Soviet response, and gave diplomatic and political backing for the Chinese action - to "teach the ex-colony a lesson" for deposing the pro-Chinese, genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. During the invasion the Chinese destroyed the dikes and canals that formed key components to agrarian production and with them much of the country's rice reserves, inducing food shortages exacerbated at the same time by the US-led blockade on the country that, incidentally, lasted until 1994.
In 1986 Nguyen Van Linh, former leader of the Vietcong, took control of the CP and perused market policies and attempted to re-integrated Vietnam into the world economic system. The latter was prevented by successive administrations, which continued the embargo and blocked Western access to - to quote Eisenhower - "the specific value of a locality in its production of materials that the world needs": tin, tungsten, rubber plantations, "and so on".
This curious justification for the war was self-fulfilling: when a population elected a communist (Ho Chi Minh with 90% of the vote (an early result that was never called into question) who was extremely friendly towards - and a former operative of - the US, the response was to wage an invasion until, against impossible odds, the population expelled the invader. After the war, which was - by Eisenhower's own lame admission - in part to secure access to raw materials, the response of the invaders was to turn around and block access to those materials with no discernible rational goal (to "teach Vietnam a lesson"?) for 25 years. The pathology of blind anti-Communism prevented a Western response that quite easily could have curbed a Communist regime's worst excesses and defects by working with a country and its elected leaders that were incredibly pro-American, and surprisingly still are.
To prevent Communist atrocities - as the justification for the war was argued even as it was waged - was clearly no long term commitment. During the normalization process of the early 1990s the subject of human rights was conspicuously absent, as before and as after. The familiar justifications of spreading humane values such as liberty, justice, and life with military force were entirely absent from post-war relations, when they might have been perused in a nonviolent manner.
Thusly there is the generally acknowledged fact that "In the years since we lost the war, we have won it." In consideration that the French had already bailed on the war as a hopeless enterprise in the mid 50s, that the British told Washington in 1954 that "None of us in London believe that intervention in Indochina can do anything" (Eden to Dulles, April 25th, refusing Eisenhower's request for British support of the US-French war) and made further efforts to end the war in 1967. Our allies were by and large opposed to the war. The only realistic conclusion is that the war, the deaths of millions upon millions of innocents and the ensuing rise of repressive security states throughout the region due to meaningless destructive games amongst imperial powers, was never in any way justified.
Whoever can sort out the logic behind this insanity wins a cookie.
The US never paid reparations to Vietnam - let alone Cambodia or Laos - although the Paris Agreement Nixon signed in 1973 specified in Article 21 $3.3 billion in reconstruction aid for the DRV.
As Gabriel Kolko described the post-war relationship in 1982:
To state ... that Vietnam wishes to be dependent on Soviet aid ignores entirely its intensive efforts during 1976-1978 to establish economic ties with the West via loans, aid, and investments - efforts it has not abandoned. Its present dependence on the USSR is the consequence of a conscious US and Chinese policy which Assistant Secretary of State John H. Holdridge summed up last June 8: "It is important to keep the Vietnamese isolated politically and economically, and there is agreement on that score."
Agent 19 has yet to receive commendations from the US for his resistance against the Japanese during World War II.
"About the war in Vietnam, all I have to say is [...inaudible...] and that's all I have to say about the war in Vietnam."
Point and click to read the ff:
- Bertrand Russell's International War Crimes Tribunal on Vietnam, 1967.
- Tiger Force: Buried Secrets, Brutal Truths
- Dellums House Committee Hearings on War Crimes in Vietnam, 1971.
- Winter Soldier Investigation, 1971, or "When We Were Psychos"
- THE COLLAPSE OF THE ARMED FORCES, Col. Robert D. Heinl, Jr. 1971. Armed Forces Journal.
- The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition
- Vietnam declassification project
- NSA materials on the Pentagon Papers, related links from the VVA and Anthony Russo's website.
- 1,000 combat veterans gone public.
- Dissing Vietnam
- MIA Facts
- Hanoi Jane
- The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam
- The Disquieted American
1945-Present: Projection of American Nuclear Power
After taking control of the Phillipines during WWII the US disarms the largest Filipino anti-Japanese guerrilla movement, the Hukbalahap, and installs Manuel Roxas, a Japanese collaborator that General MacArthur pardoned, to run the new government. Roxas' government issues an amnesty for collaborators, bans peasant political organizing, refuses to seat opposition congressmen, and directs a campaign of repression throughout the country.
Formal independence is granted to the Phillipines shortly thereafter, with provisions for a large and perpetual American military presence and special privileges for American business. Roxas' failed policies, however, lead to the resurgence of the Huk movement.
Roxas and his successor Quirino continue those same policies, using US aid primarily to enrich themselves and wage US supported violence to suppress the Huk rebellion. The USG begins supporting Ramon Magsaysay by 1950, who, put into power by American Colonel Lansdale, manages to use large quantities of economic aid and political reforms, including land reform, to undermine the primary grievances of the Huk movement, which eventually subsides.
However, Magsaysay and his successors fail to implement long term reforms that could resolve the country's problems and extreme poverty, leading later to further popular unrest, a new insurgency, and another US supported strongman and kleptocrat by the name of Ferdinand Marcos.
1946-1996: Marshall Islands.
Nuclear testing during Operations Crossroads, Sandstone, Greenhouse, Ivy, Castle, Redwing, and Hardtack involved over 60 known atomic and hydrogen bomb tests at Enewetak and Bikini. The testing involved USG imposed exile for thousands of islanders to neighboring atolls, hundreds of whom suffered from radiation poisoning and other exposure related diseases, and dozens committed suicide amidst the derelict conditions of their displacement.
The USG could have decided to do anything to avoid this constant string of fiascoes at little relative expense (how's an army-engineered ocean-side community in So Cal on a cushy government stipend sound, while we nuke your motherland?): it chose to do nothing.
Also affected by radiation poisoning were Japanese fishermen on a boat called the Lucky Dragon - in part inspiring the Non-Proliferation Treaty between the US and the Soviet Union six years later - and a number of US military personnel.
The IEER has apparently estimated the excess deaths from atmospheric testing on all sides and related fallout between 1940-2000 to be 430,000.
Memorandum for Mr. Herter, remembering Nagasaki.
General Li Mi retreats with his army of Chinese nationalists into Burma during Chinese civil war. The US, supporting retreating KMT forces elsewhere, also backs Li Mi's army, which continues to make incursions into China.
1948-1976: Congressional Pike Report. Italy.
The Pike Report, as leaked uncensored to the Village Voice and thus abandoned by the House in embarrassment (the Church Committee was the parallel intelligence review in the Senate), revealed that the since 1948 the USG spent over $65 million dollars (including some Marshall Plan aid) interfering in Italian elections, joining Moscow in support of European anti-communism, namely neo-facists and known terrorists.
Interference in Italy included destroying [search for "Federico Romero", also discussed here] the anti-facist resistance that had organized powerful unions and worker committees in its fight against Germany, coming to dominate northern Italy shortly after WWII, threatening the old order, and so the USG reaction. Anti-left violence continued well beyond World War Two, into the 70s, with CIA backing for the Gladio [*]. Gladio operations were formed throughout Western Europe, for example in Norway (exposed in '78 when an associated arms cache was discovered), which included the operation to track suspected communists as part of the intelligence service.
Similar actions were taken against anti-nazi resistance groups in other liberated territories, for example in Germany, where an average of $6 million was spent supporting the Nazi intelligence network of General Reinhard Gehlen until he was replaced by the CIA in 1954. Related support for Nazis, including giving them safe harbor in the US, was the basis for Operation Paperclip.
Point and click to read the ff:
- Italy and the Cold War [pdf]
- The Guardian: Terrorists 'helped by CIA' to stop rise of left in Italy.
- The Pavelic Papers: the "Ratline", US support for Nazi war criminals.
Elected APRA government overthrown by Legion of Merit award winner and "CIA pawn" Manuel Odria.
CIA agent Miles Copeland manipulated elections prior to the CIA backing a military coup against the elected government of Syria, establishing Colonel Al-Zaim's military dictatorship who was promised de facto recognition by the USG. CIA assists in repression of political opposition.
Organizational and material support for Ukrainian resistance movement.
After the war in Thailand - the only state in Southeast Asia to support the Japanese war against the allies - the US supports the Thai military (some $2 billion from 1949-1969), leading to Phibun Songkhram requiring dictatorial control after a brief exile to Japan in 1949. With a cooperative military junta in total control of Thailand the US was able to use it as a major base of operations from which to mount its attacks on neighboring Southeast Asian countries throughout its involvement in the Vietnam wars.
USG later supports a military coup in 1976, precipitated by the Thammasat Massacre (carried out by forces that had previously been trained by the CIA) and followed by arrests of over 10,000 students, academics, politicians, and labor activists.
The US role in Thailand has been described in detail by the CIA agent that lead the Thailand counter-insurgency program to new heights,
1950: Puerto Rico
Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.
The US and UK send teams of "free Albanians" to infiltrate and establish paramilitary organizations within Albania to topple Enver Hoxha. The missions are compromised by Kim Philby, a Soviet asset at the head of the British operation [*].
Backing for Polish Freedom and Independence Movement.
1950s-1970s: United States
USG performs chemical and biological weapons tests on US citizens in 235 US cities.
US supports Franco's facist, anti-Semitic dictatorship in Spain which had been responsible executing some 40,000 political prisoners after defeating Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s, during which he executed some 100,000.
President Truman begrudgingly begins dealing with Franco in 1950, sending him some $62 million in aid. Eisenhower sends him $1.5 billion. Successive US administrations are openly supportive of Franco's regime until his death in 1975.
Coup overthrows elected government of Carlos Prio Socorras. Fulgencio Batista's ruthless regime and his secret police force, the Buro de Represion Actividades Communistas (BRAC) - created by the CIA in 1956 - tortures and kills thousands with US assistance.
Before January 1959, Cuba's economy was dominated by US interests, which owned 40% of the sugar production, including seven of the ten largest estates, 90% of the telephone and electricity utilities, the oil refineries, most of the mining industry, and some of the banks.
--Oxfam International, Going Against the Grain: Agricultural Crisis and Transformation
1952-1992: South Korea
After the Korean war the USG re-installs and backs the autocracy of Syngman Rhee until 1960, when the CIA flies Rhee and $20 million in government funds to Hawaii to protect him from the population. Chang Myong is then elected for an unnaturally brief nine-month term, when in 1961 further unrest and the USG supported military coup and dictatorship of Japanese collaborator and suspected commie General Park Chung He overthrows Chang's Second Republic.
Elected to office in 1963, Park later declares martial law in 1972, suspending democracy indefinitely. He also creates the KCIA, an organization 370,000 strong by its third year of existence, the head of which shot Park in the head in 1979. See: Koreagate.
With Chung He's timely passing the South Korean government nevertheless remains on Washington's leash, with another military coup in 1980 by General Chun Doo Hwan, and in 1980 the USG - under Carter - authorized his massacre at Kwangju of pro-democracy activists . The following year Reagan was honoring Doo Hwan for his "commitment to freedom".
South Korean democracy finally takes on some semblance of reality in 1992. General Doo Hwan and his successor Roe Tae Woo were later convicted for mutiny and high treason.
1953: Costa Rica
Attempted overthrow of Jose Figueres.
The nationalist parliament in Iran nationalizes British oil concessions that were reaping 88% of the profits from the Iranian oil industry. It had offered the British 25% of the profits, rather than 88%, and the British responded by imposing a blockade on Iran and freezing Iranian assets. British embassies are closed, and so the British make proposals to Truman to intervene.
Truman, whose administration considered Prime Minister and Time 'Man of the Year' Mohammed Mossadegh a nationalist and an anti-communist, rejects the proposal, believing the enlargement of the middle-class made possible by the liberal oil nationalization would protect Iran from communism.
When Eisenhower takes office the British repeat the proposal, but Ike's Sec. of State John Foster Dulles and the Director of Plans in the CIA Allen Dulles happen to be partners in the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, which coincidentally is the legal counsel for Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Eisenhower is sold a trumped up communist story (also trumped up in the press by the CIA, as was common: see MOCKINGBIRD) and sends Kermit Roosevelt to the American Embassy in Iran to foment a coup as part of Operation AJAX and overthrow Iran's Prime Minister and liquidate the elected Iranian parliament.
The underlying Cold War justification was that because Mossadegh was supported by, among others, the communist Tudeh Party, which had supported Mossadegh's social reforms when resisted by conservative clerics, and so Mossadegh must therefore be Communust: this 'logic', of course, wasn't.
The declassified CIA records suggest the opposite: it's apparent that Mossadegh preconditioned a spring 1953 contract with Count Della Zonca (an Italian hauling Iranian oil) on a guarantee that no oil be sold to the Eastern bloc, and with most of the oil continuing to be sold through AIOC the British would effectively have control over the rest of it - essentially an anti-communist contract.
The CIA cable on March 31st, 1953 says quite plainly that the "Communists did not create the crisis nor are they playing a significant role in its outcome." Hence a CIA directed plot was necessary to deepen the crisis, improving the insignificant Communist position, and thus make it appear necessary to disband all democratic institutions in favor of years of state violence and terror against anyone who would resist the Shah.
The Shah's dictatorship introduces one of the more totalitarian regimes of the third world, but the British oil concessions became a largely American oil consortium and the day was won for Democracy: the Shah's SAVAK police (organized by US intelligence) proceeded to brutalize, repress, divide, isolate, and torture the Iranian population for a quarter of a century until he was exiled in 1979 by Khomeini's Islamic Republic, which did more of the same, supported in turn by tons of US arms, initially funnelled through Israel, via Carter and Reagans' "illegal-arms-for-CIA-operatives" and "illegal-arms-for-an-illegal-war-in-Nicaragua" deals.
The support of the Shah helped polarize much of Iranian society against the West. Relations, which began to warm in the 90s, have otherwise remained antagonistic. The recent hex cast upon Iran by George the II probably isn't helping.
This is a suitable place to interject a discussion on why oil matters, and why, if we want the oil, we don't just go and take it.
Point and click to read the ff:
- The October Surprise, "Then there are the inexplicable arms sales to Iran after the Reagan administration took over, which some journalists have estimated to be worth several billion dollars", with Kevin Phillips.
- The Seized CIA Documents
- PBS timeline of US-Iran relations.
- National Security Archives: the Iran Coup
- Two reports on CIA training SAVAK in torture.
- Lifting the Veil
- Human Rights Watch - Iran
1953: Segue: explosion of the first Russian hydrogen bomb; De-stalinization begins; the McCarthy Era
With varying degress of success liberalization programs are undertaken in Soviet Russia and its satellites to undo the worst of the persisting crimes of Stalin's regime. Most, but not all, political prisoners are rehabilitated, religious freedoms expand, and the use of torture decreases tremendously.
In 1956 Krushchev delivers a limited but accurate enough condemnation of Stalin and Lysenko to the Party. Military suppression of protests against the state and people's movements, vast state censorship, partocracy, militarism, Soviet economic hegemony, and other forms of control for the most part continue - i.e. the political life of citizens begins to bear - lacking in violent purges and religious intolerance, torture, famine, and personality cults - more resemblance to that in the US than in China. After 1964 and Brezhnev's rise to power the decline in repression reverses somewhat, and cultural and political dissidence meets with forceful "damage control".
Around the same time in the United States a concerted propaganda campaign is waged to whip up anti-communist hysteria, causing a purge of much of the State Department as numerous diplomats and experts are accused baselessly of 'communist sympathies', to be replaced by comparatively uninformed, ideological wing-bats who go on a rampage across the globe in search of enemies to destroy.
The effects of McCarthyism on foreign policy makers prolonged a relatively quick and painless three month war on the Korean peninsula when accepting an armistice would have been seen as "soft on communism," and turned it into a three year long massacre that killed millions. Similarly it turn discussion of Vietnam from one of French colonialism to one of "communist expansionism", leading to the deaths of millions. Etc. etc.
"We have created a more humanitarian, less costly strategy, to be more compatible with the democratic system. We instituted civil affairs [in 1982] which provides development for 70 percent of the population, while we kill 30 percent. Before, the strategy was to kill 100 percent."
--General Héctor Gramajo, 1980s Guatemalan Minister of Defense, interview with Harvard International Review, cited here
United Fruit Co., aka Chiquita Banana, and the CIA lobby the Eisenhower administration to overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz, who attempted to institute land reforms that threatened United Fruit's extortion of Guatemalan agriculture, and expanded on the ideal of democracy to end disenfranchisement of communist sympathizers at the table of government.
The Eisenhower administration and CIA, apparently in confusion about what democracy means, promptly organized a botched assassination attempt on Arbenz, trained and armed a military regime to take over, and lent military assistance to the counter-revolution. The ensuing civil war lasted 40 years and left some 160,000 dead and 40,000 "disappeared" (in 1999 there was some light cast on the fate of the disappeared).
"The social and economic programs of the elected government met the aspirations" of labor and the peasantry, and "inspired the loyalty and conformed to the self-interest of most politically conscious Guatemalans. Worse still, the government of Guatemala had "become an increasing threat to the stability of Honduras and El Salvador. Its agrarian reform is a powerful propaganda weapon; its broad social program of aiding the workers and peasants in a victorious struggle against the upper classes and large foreign enterprises has a strong appeal to the populations of Central American neighbors where similar conditions prevail." So therefore a military solution was necessary. It went on for 40 years, and its left the same culture of terror as in Central American neighbors.
--Chomsky, summarizing internal US documents discussing the communist threat in Guatemala, Kiva Auditorium, NM. A similar quote from the linked essay by Streeter is attributed to the State Department, discussing regional stability for Honduras and El Salvador; quote attributed citation by Gjeijeses, Shattered Hope, p 152.
CIA veteran Ralph McGee has compiled a list of non-classified reports of CIA activities in Guatemala, with the CIA Seal of Approval. A talk of his is available at montclair.edu in which he discusses briefly the CIA's recruitment of rejects from the NFL. John Stockwell has given the same sort of testimony about Angola.
In addition to death squad activity, executions, rape, and torture, US government suppression of the murder of an American, etc., US backed goons engaged in scorched earth campaigns. While US military aid was halted in 1990, the CIA continued its own funding for another 5 years until reports in the US press made the funding public.
Guatemalan suffering continues to this day:
UN Truth Commission on Guatemala: "during the period from 1981 to 1983 these acts descended to the level of genocide directed against elements of the country's indigenous Mayan population".
Point and click to read the ff:
- Human Rights Watch - Guatemala
- Amnesty Int. - Guatemala
- National Security Archive - Guatemala: Corroborating US documents declassified under FOIA.
- NSA - US-Guatemalan policy documents: including a 1982 accusation by the U.S. Embassy that Amnesty International, the Washington Office on Latin America, the Network in Solidarity with Guatemala and the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission are supporting Guatemalan Communism because of their reports on human rights abuses in Guatemala - which have since been confirmed by declassified documents.
- Guatemalan Baby Organ Farming: the Myth and Legend and the indication of the "general mood"
US military aid to Pakistan helps reinforce the military's position in society and assists it in seizing power in 1958. Overconfident in the strength of its US supported military, Pakistan blunders into a war with India in the mid 60s. This and shifts in alignment towards China result in LBJ issuing an arms embargo on Pak and India in 1965, resulting in a cease-fire. The embargo weakens shortly there-after, and under Nixon military aid resumes.
1956-Present: The US government strikes back: COINTELPRO; Operation CHAOS,
Of roughly 20,000 people investigated by the FBI solely on the basis of their political views between 1956-1971, about 10 to 15% were the targets of active counterintelligence measures per se. Taking counterintelligence in its broadest sense, to include spreading false information, it's estimated that about two-thirds were COINTELPRO targets. Most targets were never suspected of committing any crime.
--COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story
Such interventions are not without precedent in Hoover's administration, such as the Palmer raids.
It's important to note that the FBI assisted right-wing hate groups in carrying out bombings, shootings, murder, and other assorted manifestations of violence against activist groups, as exemplified by the siege at Pine Ridge, South Dakota (1973-76) and the Greensboro Massacre (1979).
The CIA was utilized for the same ends, spying on the student movement, collecting information on some 300,000 Americans, distributing LSD to unwitting participants, American and foreign, as part of MKULTRA (leading in one case to the 1953 death of Dr. Frank Olson). It included enticing heroin addicts to use the drug in return for heroin (part of the long history of CIA involvement with the drug trade) and testing it on "unwitting subjects in social situations". All records pertaining to MKULTRA were destroyed by the order of CIA director Richard Helms in 1973, so what these findings from the Church Committee entail exactly we'll never fully know.
Operation MOCKINGBIRD is a well documented program in which the CIA made (and continues to make) infiltration into domestic media organizations, as well as creating front organizations poising as media groups, giving the intelligence community a high level of influence and occasional instances of direct control in the "free press." This is what democracies do in lieu of having direct state control over media, and one can readily observe that it's a far more effective policy in guiding public opinion and covering up state secrets, since the citizen is left unaware that any influence is being exerted, or if he is he is left unaware of when.
Of course, since these activities are never verified by the government until decades after they happen anybody claiming that such activities continue are easily labelled as cranks, as was the case for most instances of covert activity listed in this document - such is to be expected, and I make no claims that such activity continues, but it's a safe assumption. And god forbid, they even have their hands in the establishment left, whatever one makes of that, the argument is that it keeps them "anti-conspiracist" - a position I would argue is also in keeping with simple rational behavior, by virtue of occam's razor.
Likewise, the CIA has entered into a similar relationship with academics.
Government intelligence services in general often being conspicuous, rotten fucks, leading rational, sane people into the bowels of paranoia when government secrecy prevents the public from knowing the full extent and details of operations that targeted US citizens, leaving fear, manufactured or not, to fully disembowel the credibility of people who have reasonable questions but choose instead to fill the gaps in themselves with mind-wasting conjecture.
A related segue to this discussion is to address the chamber of horrors that can be the US prison system, just consider George Hansen and "diesel therapy , who blames the abuse on "government tyranny and liberal treachery".
It's almost enough to suggest that the US government has been involved in a conspiracy to promote the spread of conspiracy theory.
Point and click to read the ff:
Average of $750,000/year paid personally to King Hussein. After disclosure of payments in 1976 USG claims payments ceased.
CIA organizes one coup a year between 57 and 65. Then it bombs the fuck out of Laos for the next decade. Left behind were some 500,000 corpses, and unexploded bomblets from cluster bombing that kill or maim hundreds to thousands a year.
- Over 87,000 square miles of Laos countryside remains infested by unexploded ordinance and landmines as of 2002, :
- Laos is mainly affected by unexploded ordnance (UXO) dating back to the Indochina War, especially the period from 1964 to 1973, when it is estimated that more than two million tons of ordnance were dropped on Laos.
- Fifteen of the country.s eighteen provinces are significantly affected by UXO; the most heavily contaminated provinces are Savannakhet, Xieng Khouang, Saravane and Khammouane.
- Over 85 percent of the population lives in rural areas, and UXO seriously constrains the livelihood and food security of large sections of the population.
--International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Laos Country Report, 2003.
The US government made little or no effort to help with ordnance clearing projects until 1996.
US supports rule of the Duvalier dictatorships in Haiti, which assassinates 40-60,000 political opponents. Rule was transferred from Francois Duvalier to his son Jean-Claude in 1971, who now resides in France
The UK and US governments approve a plan to stage fake incidents to excuse invasions by neighboring pro-Western Arab countries, in an effort to install a government that "would probably need to rely first upon repressive measures and arbitrary exercise of power".
The plan is abandoned after Syria's neighbors refuse to go along with the project.
CIA funds election campaign of Camille Chamoun, quoted from the NYT, 3/31/1997:
In Lebanon in 1957, the CIA supported Christian parties with U.S. government money and donations by American oil companies that wanted to insure a friendly government in Lebanon, a pivotal Middle Eastern country. Wilbur Crane Eveland, a CIA officer, later described driving his gold and white DeSoto onto the grounds of President Camille Chamoun's residence in Beirut and delivering political payoffs.
"Throughout the elections, I traveled regularly to the presidential palace with a briefcase full of Lebanese pounds, then returned late at night to the embassy with an empty twin case" to be replenished with CIA money, Eveland wrote in "Ropes of Sand" in 1980, a history of American policy failures in the Middle East.
Shortly thereafter 14,000 marines occupy Lebanon to repress dissidents opposing Chamoun's government, intervening in a small civil war to prop up Chamoun.
Continuing an old feud, that being that Cuba is United States territory and not Cuban, the USG has continued intervening on it's own behalf in Cuba. With the overthrow of the US imposed and supported Batista dictatorship the CIA starts directing bombing raids from US soil, manned by exiled Cubans, against Cuba. The Cuban government sought redress in the UN in 1960, and the CIA bungled attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro 6 times between 1961 and 1963.
The US ordered Britain not to provide arms to Cuba, forcing it to eventually seek aid from the Soviet Union, providing a pretext for further intervention. Direct support for sabatoge and terror attacks continue until 1966, including the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation, strafing attacks on beach-side resorts, contamination of agricultural imports, and even attacks on British cargo ships.
In 1969 Nixon restarted the terror campaign, directing greater aid from the CIA and allowing exile groups to carry out attacks on Cuban targets from US soil with impunity, leading eventually to the bombing of a Cuban airliner, killing 73 people. These operations continue up until the present, with the FBI arresting Cuban infiltrators of US-based exile groups that engage in anti-Cuban terrorism: after being told about their presence by Cuban counter-terrorism officials in an effort to cooperate in anti-terror campaign
s, such as those instigated by Bay of Pigs veteran Luis Posada Carriles.
US embargos, continuing long past the end of the cold war, strangle the Cuban economy and deprive all but the highest American elites of fine Cuban cigars. To be fair to Cuba - and it's unlikely that this has much to do with Castro's administrative "genius" - it rates somewhere around 3rd or 4th in the Western hemisphere on basic human development indicators, its infant mortality rate is in fact lower than that of the United States. On human rights it's useful to compare notes on Cuba versus the United States and the top recipient in the hemisphere of US military aid, Columbia, before trying to explain or justify USG policy against Cuba as a response to Castro's human rights abuses.
According to a book by ex-CIA agent Philip Agee, the CIA staged a Communist takeover of Ecuador before backing a military coup, ousting elected President J. M. Velasco Ibarra, and again in 1963 the government of Carlos Julio Arosemena. Agee now lives in Cuba and is accused of being a "KGB shill", which all around is probably better for the health than staying in the US and being a CIA target.
CIA assists Turkish Military Intelligence (MIT) in designing plans for mass arrests and repression of political opposition from 1960-69. In 1971 the CIA assists a military coup, and the plans are carried out, leading to the arrests and torture of 4,000 "suspects" in a single night.
Shortly after the Congo wins its independence from the brutal rule of Begium [*] - which received support from the USG - the USG assists in assassination attempts of the newly elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba (including one attempt via a viral agent, delivery courtesy Sidney Gottlieb), bringing the former European colony into the US "sphere of dominance" under the USG backed reign of Joseph Mobutu Sese-Seko.
As an informal colony of a troika between Belgium (for prestige), France (for trade), and the US (resource exploitation and supporting reactionary militants in neighboring states), the backers of Mobutus regime set about some 37 years of supporting a brutal despot and kleptomaniac, leaving the Congo drownd in $12 billion of international debt with no means to repay it - international propping of the regime continued well beyond IMF advisor Erwin Blumenthal's blasting open of the kleptocracy in 1982 and the IMF's and World Bank's continued support of it because of Western dominance in those organizations. Funds supplied by Western kickbacks and aid were used by Mobutu to bribe off select military, familial, and regional elites in order to maintain his position in the country.
After his rise to power Mobutu proceeded to rape and brutalize the country and its citizens. Replaced by Laurent Kabila and then his son Joseph Kabila, things still aren't looking any better. Part of a general juggling and inadvertent discombobulation of African "nations" (artificial constructs based on the generally arbitrary borders established and afterwards maintained by exiting colonial powers) between world powers the Soviet role was "largely rhetorical". Saner imperial powers might have entered into a Non-Circus-Ring Pact.
In 1964 the CIA provided air support for Mobutu, Cyril Adoula, and Moise Tshombe in Katanga, against Lumumba supporters in Stanleyville.
During the 1970s the USG and France organized military support for Mobutu during rebel invasions from Angola into Shaba.
Whatever finger-waving one might direct upon various outside actors, the IMF and WB institutions that are subsidiaries to Western interests, the problems of a corrupt and repressive state supported by them, and a helpless, repressed, and disorganized society, one has to admit that "the disaster had its roots in a history of extraordinary outside interference. ... Zaire's free fall was generated not by one man but thousands of compliant collaborators, at home and abroad." (Foreign Affairs, 2001)
In a region inunduated with US arms, torn over competition for cashcow exports to the West, three to five million people have been raped or slaughtered in the Congo War since 1998. While US administrations are waging one war after another on grounds of "humanitarian intervention" (Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the invasion of Iraq) they've done nothing about the Congo War besides pour weapons into the project (including training and aiding the militaries of contributing parties, such as Uganda and Rwanda). Life doesn't mean much when the loss of it serves the nation's commercial interests.
1961: Diego Garcia
Referred to today as "Camp Justice" by the Pentagon, this small island paradise in the Indian ocean was "sanitized" (ethnically cleansed) of its civilian population - their pet dogs gassed to death - by the British Empire and the American military. It is now home to one of the largest American forward bases in the world.
CIA engages in a campaign to keep Joao Goulart from achieving control of Congress.
Shortly after independence from Britain - long delayed by US pressure - the CIA organizes overthrow of the elected president Cheddi Jagan. The US backs nationalists in future elections, beginning 28 years of increasingly militant rule by the People's National Congress party until Jagan won the election of 1992 with US support, in the country's first monitored elections: meaning the US has been choosing the winner of Guyana's elections for some 40 years.
The dictatorship of a poor man's Nazi, Alfredo Stroessner, receives $146 million in US aid, never receiving condemnations for its human rights abuses, the genocide of the indigenous Ache, drug trafficking and open arms policy for ex Nazis until the 1980s. The condemnation shortly preceded a 1988 coup. Stroessner took exile in Brazil.
Starting in 1962 the CIA begins interfering in Chilean elections, turning in 1964 to incubation of the military junta that in 1973 put Augusto Pinochet into power after a CIA backed overthrow of Salvador Allende (having failed to buy his opponents elections and a failed coup attempt in 1970, among others). Allende's government was replaced by a military dictatorship that suppressed and brutalized the country until 1990, with full USG knowledge and complicity, and included assistance in the murder of political opponents.
"Allende then proceeded towards strongly socialist policies based on his electoral victory, including a prices freeze, an increase in wages, nationalization of the coal and steel industries, nationalization of the main foreign copper firms, and of 60% of the private banks (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p127; Hudson 1994). Almost 500 firms would be nationalized (Hudson 1994). Workers often took the initiative, occupying the offices of foreign firms such as ITT and Ford until they were nationalized - this led to a partial financial blockade by the U.S., as well as the withholding of loans from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p127)."
--James Ferguson, The Struggle for Democracy: Chile and Argentina
The USG was supporting "anti-communist" factions in Chile as early as 1950. CIA activities received significant funding from the business community (allegedly Pepsi, from what I've read).
The AFL-CIO was also involved, continuing its long history of working against foreign labor unions. In addition to everything else, the State Department concluded that the CIA might have had "an unfortunate part" in the death of 30-year old American journalist Charles Horman, who had unwittingly recieved sensitive information about the US role in the coup from a US Navy Engineer.
Congressional Hinchey Report; Church committee report on Chile.
National Security Archive - Chile; CIA Activities in Chile
1962-1989: South Africa
Until the anti-apartheid movement managed to change US policy through congressional pressure in the late 80s - a policy change forcefully resisted by Reagan by veto (e.g. the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act in 1986), the rhetoric of "constructive engagement", and through the isolation of African states critical of the South African regime - South African apartheid formulated in 1948 received strong backing from Washington, making South Africa a defacto client state over the course of the Cold War.
At the same time Washington was intermitently supporting different "alternatives" to the ANC, which also received occasional US funding, in attempts to build an anti-apartheid movement that would take its orders from Washington, regardless of whether this search meant delaying the end of apartheid indefinitely (thankyou Hubert Humphrey). A similar but shorter-lived situation existed in Rhodesia.
The South African regime used its generous assistance from Washington to support incursions into neighboring states against independent governments, targetting - among others - Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, Seychelles ^, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
1963-1979: Iraq *
The "Health Alteration Committee", a CIA assassination program, sends the disobedient Iraqi dictator Abdel Karim Kassem - who came to power in 1958 overthrowing the British puppet Nuri Said and then helped found OPEC - a poisoned handkerchief. Upon that attempt's failure the CIA stages a coup supporting the Baath Party, ushering in a wave of bloodbaths against lists of leftists and communists provided by the CIA, as well as slaughter of the Kurds, and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Turkomans, and Shi'ites - all with solid USG backing.
The CIA backs another coup in 1968 putting Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr into power, leading directly to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in 1979.
The CIA control over Hussein dates back to 1959.
Point and click to read the ff:
A right wing coup with ties to the USG forestalls an election in which Juan Jose Arevalo was favored to win.
CIA organizes a right-wing coup of the Brazilian republic. The resulting dictatorship suppressed, censored, and tortured the opposition, the suspected opposition, everybody else, and it's economic policies drove the per capita GNP to one of the lowest in Latin American, in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
"The systematic use of torture was also condoned if not encouraged by U.S. AID officials.
A common torture routine consisted of a preliminary beating by a flat wooden paddle with holes drilled through it called a palmatoria. This would be followed by a more concentrated application of electric wires to the genitals designed to elicit information from the victim. If this method failed, the prisoner was subjected to another round with the palmatoria -- often for six hours at a time.46 Today, Brazil's terror technology has advanced beyond the electric prod and the wooden paddle. Testimony from political prisoners verified by the Brazilian College of Lawyers lists among the newest inventions a refrigerated cubicle called a geladeira. Nude prisoners are boxed in the geladeira for several days at a time and frequently doused with ice-cold water. All the time, loudspeakers emit deafening sounds. One prisoner described this as a "machine to drive people crazy."
Brazil has been more or less in the back pocket of US interests before and since, and makes a clear example of how US interests are protected by keeping peoples and governments in line, be it by hook or crook. The 2002 election of the liberal canidate Luiz Lula to the presidency demonstrates how foreign economic pressures are put to bear in the form of self-fulfilling prophecies: "For months international investment banks have been downgrading Brazil's government bonds, saying that a Lula presidency would likely lead to a default. This caused the collapse of the real, which has led to rising prices for all imports, including oil, and a spike in interest rates."
National Security Archives: the Brazil coup -->
22 Panamanian students shot for raising a Panamanian flag in the canal zone.
USG backs repressive dictatorship of Hastings Kamuzu Banda.
Acting through the US client state in Brazil the USG works to influence Uruguay's elections with initimidation of the voters and candidates amidst US supported violence, militant repression and increased use of torture as part of the counterinsurgency program.
1965-1987: Phillipines - the Democratizing Virtues of "Constitutional Authoritarianism"
USG supports rule of Ferdinand Marcos , the exemplar of "crony capitalism." Elected in 1965 and 1969, Marcos takes advantage of terrorist bombings (some of which were carried out by his government) in 1972 and seizes dictatorial power. He was praised by US leaders for his democratic virtues until his downfall in 1986, when he was exiled to California.
The new Aquino government is also supported by the US, and uses "counter-insurgency" death squads - organized under Marcos with CIA assistance - to purge opposition to the new government, which fails to make significant economic reforms.
USG supports the Suharto regime's authoritarian grab for power under the auspices of a Communist plot during Indonesia's independence movement (which it acquired from Portugal) and assists in the murder of over 500,000 civilians.
Green Berets intervene to support client state. Arms and advisers sent to implement a counter-insurgency program.
FYI, we may have a pro-Western coup in Ghana soon. Certain key military and police figures have been planning one for some time, and Ghana's deteriorating economic condition may provide the spark.
The plotters are keeping us briefed, and State thinks we're more on the inside than the British. While we're not directly involved (I'm told), we and other Western countries (including France) have been helping to set up the situation by ignoring Nkrumah's pleas for economic aid.
--Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, May 27, 1965.
When Kwame Nkrumah publishes his book Neo-Colonialism, predicting that the US and other foreign powers would continue to cynically interfere in African affairs, the US reacts harshly by cancelling aid it had promised and noting that the USG "could not now foresee all consequences of book but that these would 'undoubtedly become evident in due course.'" Such an "attack of this nature" - that is a relatively accurate written work of non-fiction - by a "Head of State" was "unacceptable". One simply cannot feel free to write a book critical of US policy if one runs a third world country.
Four months later the CIA backs a coup against Kwame Nkrumah, the first in a long and troubled history, during which the country is ravaged by ensuing IMF structural adjustment policies, giving Western companies a monopoly over Ghana's large gold deposits, among other pillaged resources.
1967: Bolivia; Assassination of Ernesto Guevara
1967: Detroit, Michigan
43 killed in confrontation between blacks and US military forces.
1968: El Salvador
Gen. José Alberto Medrano, who is on the payroll of the CIA, organizes the ORDEN and ANSESAL paramilitary forces, the precursors to El Salvador's proliferation of death squads.
1968: United States
21,000 soldiers are deployed to US cities after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Overthrow of the elected government by the military dictatorship of School of Americas graduate Major General Juan Valesco Alvarado, initiating military rule for seven years. Alvarado's junta ousted Belaunde Terry, who was resistant to nationalizing oil production and had devalued the Sol by over forty percent. Alvarado's leftist junta immediately nationalized oil production in 1968, but allowed foreign investors back in after 1971 under somewhat, for Peru, more generous contracts. The USG had been providing training to Peruvian security forces for some time, similar in content to that elsewhere. At the same time, throughout much of the 1970s, Peru was the leading recipient of Soviet arms in South America.
After the reinstatement of democracy in 1980 the USG involved itself under the auspices of the drug war, during which it likely targetted Peru with biological and chemical warfare programs.
Alberto Fujimori was president between 1990 to 2000, and the CIA was delivering $1 million a year to his intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos to fight drug trafficking, knowing at the time that Montesinos was in bed with narcotraffickers, and helping him rig elections to keep Fujimori in office. The USG has provided military helicopters and advisors to the Peruvian military, amid reports from human rights groups that the military was engaged in serious human rights abuses including disappearances, torture, and rape.
Fujimori suspended democratic rule early in his first term and engaged in a violent, often indiscriminate but successful crack down against a resurgent Shining Path and Tupac Amaru. He used the suspension of democracy to enforce economic policies that plunged Peru deeper into poverty (minus an opulent minority of Peruvian and Western business men) in one of the most thorough examples of 'shock therapy' in Latin America of the time. The SP is a brutal neo-Marxist/Leninist guerilla organization responsible for the murders of about 11,000 people, including a large number of "bourgeoisie" leftists.
As part of the counter-insurgency Fujimori's security services formed the Grupo Colina, headed by a former SOA graduate that was an officer in a Honduras death squad. Grupo Colina engaged in numerous atrocities against civillians and contributed to the dramatic rise of human rights abuses, many targetting political opponents and journalists. Caught between a minority militant left and a dictatoral militant right: everybody else, particularly indigenous peoples living in oil rich areas.
Fujimori is now in exile in Japan. Montesinos was caught on the run through Venezuela and extradited to Peru, where he was convicted of usurptation.
NSA - Peru and the Montesinos.
1969-1973: US Bombs Fuck out of Cambodia.
"Anything that flies on anything that moves" --Henry Kissinger, channeling Jacob H. Smith while relaying orders for a "massive bombing campaign in Cambodia"."The fact is that the United States dropped three times the quantity of explosives on Cambodia between 1970 and 1973 than it had dropped on Japan for the duration of World War II. Between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of high explosives rained down on Cambodia; that is more than one billion pounds. This is equivalent to some 15,400 pounds of explosives for every square mile of Cambodian territory. Considering that probably less than 25 percent of the total area of Cambodia was bombed at one time or another, the actual explosive force per area would be at least four times this level."
--The Rise and Demise of Democractic Kampuchea, Craig Etcheson
American support for the ouster of Sihanouk (viewed by the rural populace as the father of the country), in a coup by General Lon Nol and the subsequent invasion of Cambodia by U.S. troops in April 1970 prompted a backlash that strengthened support for the insurgent Khmer Rouge (KR) guerrillas.
--Phil Robertson, Foreign Policy in Focus, December 1997.
The CIA estimated that the US bombing campaign killed some 600,000 Cambodians, but between four years of US bombing, the Khmer's self-immolation of the country from 1975-1979, the 1979 Vietnam invasion, and a mass famine induced by the destruction of farm land, cluster bombs effectively mining tracts of countryside (even now a continuing problem, with over 400 casualties from unexeploded ordnance in 2002), the flood of refugees fleeing from US bombing to urban centers that could not sustain the population, and later a US-led blockade after 1979 (except for the KR, which the US "tilted" towards), nobody really knows how many died to what.
International Committee to Ban Landmines, Cambodia Country Report 2003
USG covers for Mexican government's human rights abuses during their dirty war.
1971: Pakistan East and West, or 'Don't squeeze Yahya' [*] [*]
The principal features of this ruthless oppression were the indiscriminate killing of civilians, including women and children; the attempt to exterminate or drive out of the country a large part of the Hindu population; the arrest, torture, and killing of Awami League activists, students, professional and business men and other potential leaders among the Bengalis; the raping of women, the destruction of villages and towns; and the looting of property. All this was done on a scale which was difficult to comprehend.
--International Commission of Jurists, The Events in East Pakistan
In December 1970, elections held in East and West Pakistan (at the time a single nation where East Pakistan, some 1,000 miles from its counterpart, was ruled by the west - now Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively) result in a legislative majority for an East Pakistani nationalist party. The military dictator who chose to hold the elections and enact democratic reform in the first place, General Yahya Khan, suspends the election results. Resulting protests in East Pakistan lead to a rampage of violence by Khan's West Pakistani dominated military against the Awami League party and the Bengalese population in general.
In the resulting genocide * * somewhere between 500,000 to 3 million East Pakistanis are slaughtered, raped, and tortured over the course of 9 months. President Nixon - against the advice of US diplomats and State Department officials who described the situation as genocide in the Blood Telegram to the White House - refuses to react to the campaign, or rather, reacts by supporting the perpetrators.
An arms "embargo" was issued (by congress? it's unclear) shortly after the onslaught began, on March 25th, but the embargo only applied to the issue of new licenses. Spare parts, ammunition, and other 'non-lethal' aid are continued, and through legal loopholes and third party allies, the US military aid continues to flow throughout much of the atrocities The US ships some $15 million in military aid to Yahya Khan's government during the campaign, making it the only country in the world to continue support in the crisis by mid-year.
When the India-Pak conflict steps up in December Pakistan is further assisted in the procurement of, among other things, American fighter planes via Iran, and Jordan sent a squandron of 10 F-104As. While this was in response to rising tensions between India and Pakistan, the rising tensions were themselves created by events in East Pakistan, thus making any aid against India implicitly material and moral support for the continuation of atrocities.
Nixon and Kissinger, in the midst of perusing talks with China through Pakistan (alternative channels had also been opened in Romania, and later Paris), act in every possible way to support Yahya. China, arguably as complicit a supporter of the campaign as Washington, promised aid but never delivered. No condemnation is ever issued over Yahya's policies in East Pakistan, and little to no effort is made to negotiate an end to the atrocities.
Amid all this some ten million East Pakistani refugees had flooded into India en mass by December of 1971. On December 3rd, after months of mounting tensions, Pakistani air attacks on Indian bases resulted in India's two week invasion of East Pakistan in December 1971 to end the destabalizing campaign of genocide ('civilian invasion', as India referred to it in the UN), weaken Pakistan, and to prevent the formation of an overly radicalized and independent East Pakistan. During the invasion the US sends the nuclear sub, USS Enterprise, into the Bay of Bengal to intimidate India, and went so far as to offer China a green light to invade India.
When the UN finally takes up the issue of the events after the Indian intervention India makes appeals against the atrocities being perpetrated by the Pak army - the invasion effectively ends the atrocities and results in the repatriation of almost all East Pakistani refugees within a year. The Whitehouse response, and much of the rest of the world's, was to condemn India's 'aggression'.
After independence the new Bengalese government is torn by inter-faction fighting and military coups - revenge campaigns, property seizures and other conflicts take a heavy toll (up to 150,000) on the non-Bengali population (primarily Bihari), who were perceived as and in many cases were collaborating with the Pak army. Population transfer programs under the New Delhi Agreement in 1973 results in Pakistan's recognition of Bangladesh in 1974, but Pakistan, with domestic problems of its own, is slow to repatriate the Bihari population. As of 1999 some 200,000 were living in 66 refugee camps within Bangladesh [see: Rupture in South Asia, pdf].
Point and click the ff to read:
- ICJ - The Events in East Pakistan, 1971.
- NSA - The U.S. and the South Asian Crisis.
- NSA - Bejing-Washington Back-Channel.
- Guinness World Records and 3 million dead.
- Newsweek, 1971.
British/Israeli/American backed coup of Idi Amin, "Amin repudiated Obote's nonaligned foreign policy, and his government was quickly recognized by Israel, Britain, and the United States". In early 1972 Amin reverses his alignment however, kicking out Israeli advisers and receiving support from the Soviets and Libya. After breaking relations with the Soviets in 1976 over their intervention in Agola Amin became increasingly isolated, with only Libya and the PLO offering assistance against the 1978 Tanzania invasion, with 1,000 Ugandan exiles, that send him into exile in early 1979.
Amin's rule was brutal, ethnically cleansing Uganda's ~60,000 ethnic Asians, killing as many as 250,000 Ugandan citizens, and collapsing the economy.
School of Americas graduate General Hugo Banzer Suarez leads a bloody coup in 1971 and installs a military dictatorship with strong US backing - receiving more US military aid in his first year than Bolivia had received in the previous 12. In 1974 he begins a campaign of repression against labor leaders, leftist politicians, and Catholic aid workers who were attempting to aid Indians the regime had dispossessed. He retains intermittent power through numerous plots, counter-plots campaigns of repression, coalition governments, democratic facades, and fools errands until a year prior to his death in 2002.
USG backs overthrow of Philippine republic.
Overthrow of the elected government by the military dictatorship of School of the Americas graduate Major General Guillermo Rodriguez, initiating military rule for seven years.
US directs Iranian marine invasion in support of the Sultan, quelling the anti-monarchist Dhofar rebellion.
1973-Present: The "War on Drugs"
The effect on foreign nations, the biological, biochemical, and chemical warfare programs, CIA involvement in funding death squad activity with trafficking proceeds - never mind dousing members of the general population with LSD, and other fall out from the war on drugs is dealt with intermittently elsewhere. At home the drug war policy of the past 40 years has become largely a matter of controlling sectors of the domestic population, primarily black men:
In an apparent effort to make China look good, the US has thrown behind bars about 500,000 drug "offenders" out of political expediency. A full third of the population has used illegal drugs, and presumably belong in there with them, but overwhelmingly young blacks have the highest rates of incarceration. 300 million US citizens make up about 5% of the world's population, and it's 2,000,000 inmates make up about 25% of the world's imprisoned population, with another 4,000,000 citizens on probation. In comparison, China with a population of 1.3 billion people has 1.5 million inmates and an estimated 230,000 in laogai 're-education camps' - together approximately one fifth the incarceration rate of the world's greatest democracy.
About a quarter of all robbery, burglary, and larceny offenses were committed to obtain drugs. About 25% of the Federal prison population is put to forced labor, compensated at less than a dollar an hour. Many Americans have sought asylum in Canada, calling into question facile arguments about why nobody is trying to get out of this country.
Like most people I'd like to see an end to the crack trade and a reasonable drug policy with respect to marijuana and other relatively harmless, none-to-low addiction, entertaining substances, with social programs that focus on rehabilitation, stress responsible drug use and provide accurate, non-fear propaganda laden information, and national programs that focus on blocking the importation of illegal narcotics. Actually, I would have assumed that this is what a "war on drugs" would have originally entailed.
The past 30 years of policy have been completely the opposite: non-rehabilitative treatment, invading foreign countries to destroy local agriculture, manipulating agriculture prices to drive out foreign competition and push third world farmers into drug production, funding, arming, and cooperating with narco-traffickers abroad, and using profits off drug traffic to fund covert operations. Sort of makes the sincerity of the anti-drug warriors sound a little disingenuous.
I think I'm paraphrasing Bill Maher when I point out that we're deforesting South America because we can't kick our cocaine habit.
Point and click to read the ff:
- International Centre for Prison Studies.
- The Prison Industrial Complex - 1998
- The Control Unit.
- Compiled statistics on drug offender inmate population
- FEDERAL PRISON POPULATION OVER TIME/DRUG OFFENDERS (BOP facilities only)
- DoJ: Fact sheet on drug related crime.
Failing to bring about a subservient government by meddling in elections and political repression, the USG supports the military in their power grab. I've read that the new government had the highest percentage of the population imprisoned for political reasons in the world.
USG provides financial and military assistance to Mohammed Duad. While actively competing for influence in Afghanistan since the 1950s with economic assistance, the USG had refrained from providing military assistance without a signature on an anti-Communism pact - US policy being antagonistic to non-aligned nations. This begins the USG's long history of involvement in Afghanistan.
1974: South Dakota
US armed forces lay siege on Lakotas at Wounded Knee.
1970s, mid to late: "The Intelligence Reform Era".
This is where the US government, after some of the extent of past activities is revealed to the public, sends up a wall of salvos hailing reform, rehabilitation, and a new era in US benevolence. It reflected a renewed dedication to "plausible deniability".
Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy - 1997
Longtime bigwhig and hotshot bureaucrat Frank Carlucci - later to be Deputy Director of the CIA under Carter and Secretary of Defense under Reagan - begins a stint as Ambassador to Portugal immediately after the 1974 revolution, which came about due to shifts in military demographics away from the aristocracy towards working class conscripts, who were then being sent off to fight anti-colonial rebellions in Africa (Angola, Mozambique, et. al.). Since World War II the USG had intermittently supported the repressive, colonialist regime - particularly under Nixon.
When the Movement of the Armed Forces (MFA), consisting mostly of mid-rank officers who had no interest in dying for somebody else's colonial enterprise, lead a coup, the old government surrendered to the relatively conservative General Spinola. The US was initially unworried by these developments, until Spinola appointed General Vasco dos Santos Goncalves, who was a member of Portugal's Communist Party, as his replacement.
The USG government then begins supporting more conservative liberal-socialist groups within the MFA, leading to strong electoral victories in elections that are held during 1975 and 1976.
No death squads or mass murders of "suspected leftists", Portugal remained within the "Western sphere" and became a typical liberal-capitalist state, with the economic disparities of the old system left intact. It could have easily happened, if Kissinger got his way.
Given the alternatives, or the lack of them, one might agree with Ambassador Robert Hunter:
I don't know if you remember, Frank, when I worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy and we visited Lisbon in November 1974 and, when we came back - against the opposition of certain people in a certain administration - the Senator got $50 million for Portugal. Frank Carlucci was then sent out there to keep the lid on. But he took the lid off and helped produce democracy rather than a fall into communism in Portugal. I'm not so sure, Frank, that everybody's really thanked you as much as they need to do so, but Portugal is a free and democratic nation to a great extent because of this gentleman sitting here, to promote the aspirations of peoples for democracy.
--Challenges and Threats to Democracy, Preview of the Seoul Conference on The Community of Democracies, 2002.
Carlucci is now Chairman of the Carlyle Group, because "former U.S. Secretaries of Defense get their calls returned everywhere on the planet, especially when they've got multibillion dollar funds at their disposal".
Point and click to read the ff:
- Portugal - The Impossible Revolution?, by Phil Mailer.
- WORKER INSURGENCY AND STATIST CONTAINMENT IN PORTUGAL AND SPAIN, 1974-1977, by Loren Goldner.
The dismissal of the Whitlam government by the UK appointed Governor-General John Kerr was apparently encouraged by the involvement of the CIA to prevent Australian involvement in the UK-USA global surveillance network, which was later compromised by Christopher Boyce who became disillusioned by the Agency after learning how it had meddled in Australian politics.
The CIA's activities incubated not only the manipulation and overthrow of the elected government of one of our closest allies, but infiltrations into trade unions as well.
In 1975 the USG collaborated with South Africa in its invasion of Angola, and in response Castro sent 30,000 Cuban troops to assist Angola without informing the Soviets.
After 1976 the CIA continues assisting South African backed nationalist rebels of FNLA and UNITA, fueling a conflict against the internationally recognized Angolan government of the MPLA. Covert aid increases dramatically after 1985, with over $50 million being delivered in 1989. At the same time American oil companies are in Angola being protected by Cuban troops. The USG supported violence resulted in over 100,000 deaths - mostly civilian by 1989, and amidst cease-fire agreements continued to support UNITA's efforts to prolong the conflict.
1975-1999: East Timor: the Indonesian Invasion
USG supports Suharto's killing spree of hundreds of thousands of East Timorese, exterminating somewhere on the order of one third of the population in one of the most thorough acts of genocide committed in recent history. Expansive trade relations, military aid, and the sale of arms to Indonesia continued unabated until 1999, and in 2002 began anew.
- NSA documentation of US approval and support for the invasion.
- Rep. Bernie Sanders' 1985 statement on Indonesia.
- East Timor Action Network
In 1974 Spain began the process of decolonization in its holdings in Western Sahara and Northern Morocco, Arabs colonies on the Atlantic coast of Africa, promising them independence. Under pressure from the US, which was concerned about a left-leaning independence movement, Spain bowed out of the question, allowing the Moroccan monarch to invade and recolonize West Sahara. In violation of international law, but with the strong support of the United States, Morocco has occupied West Sahara for nearly thirty years, and has the sardines to prove it.
Point and click to read the ff:
- HRW: KEEPING IT SECRET THE UNITED NATIONS OPERATION IN THE WESTERN SAHARA.
- Western Sahara Online.
- Occupation and expropriation: Baker smells oil.
1976: Operation CONDOR
The USG cooperates in what is, essentially, an international conspiracy among dictatorships the US originally assisted to power in South America to eradicate the remaining Latin American left by any means necessary. Some of the highly successful results of the campaign follow - it also involved democides by contributing nations that took place within France, Portugal, and the US.
NSA Archives: Operation CONDOR
Plan CONDOR, Part Deux
CIA backs unsuccessful military coup against Michael Manley in 1976. Related activity leaves some 750 dead. Destabilizing trade measures and interference in elections leads to Manley's defeat in 1980. Manley returns to office in 1989 after he adopts Washington Consensus approved economic programs.
Known for using rape as an instrument of war, the use of child soldiers, and assorted bloody atrocities, Renamo invades Mozambique, starting a civil war (1976-1992) that killed some 1 million, primarily civilians, and some 5 million were displaced.
The USG indirectly supported Renamo through the US-supported Rhodesian apartheid regime of the late 70s that originally formed the organization, and when Mugabe took control and ended support for Renamo South Africa took over assistance programs, rapidly growing the organization and escalating attacks on Mozambique. This continued relatively unabated until publicity of Remano's brutality moved Washington to put pressure behind the 1984 Komati Treaty, a largely unsuccessful attempt to curb South African destabilization of Mozambique, which continued covertly. Remano received vocal support and financial assistance from numerous Western conservative establishment figures (e.g. Jesse Helms, Jack Kemp, Bob Dole, Pat Robertson) and organizations (e.g. the Heritage Foundation - which hosted Renamo's Washington Office - and the Scaife fund). Many intelligence establishment figures were also tied to Renamo.
South Africa was never named a "state sponsor of terrorism", even after Renamo was charged with genocide by Reagan's state department, after the destabilization campaign had helped bring about a shift in Mozambique's political alliances towards the West.
Under the Ford administration Argentina's military dictatorship, involved in wide ranging human rights abuses that were ignored by Washington, received on the order of $30 million a year in military aid. Congress and president Carter ended military support in 1978. This was reversed by Reagan in 1981 and was ended again in 1982, after Argentina's generals invaded the Falklands, a British colony. After the war and the consequential downfall of the military junta the USG obstructed efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, using them later to train and mobilize the Honduras military and the contras - both groups implicated in gross abuses of human rights. The USG withheld extensive information relating to the fate of the disappeared until 2002.
The Argentine junta murdered some 20-30,000 persons.
Point and click to read the ff:
- Human Right's Watch: Argentina and the US Role
- Ford Motors linked to Dirty War
- The Vatican Role
- Report by F.A. Harris, Human Rights Officer in the Argentine Embassy.
- NSA Archives: Argentina's Dirty War
- NSA Archives: Kissinger's green light
1977-1978: Ethiopia; Somalia; the Ogaden Swap
The Ethiopian monarch and founder of Rasta Haile Selassie had been strongly supported by the USG since 1953, when defense pacts were signed giving the US access to Kagnew, an ex-British military base. In return the USG supplied massive arms shipments to the Ethiopian monarch who was engaged in suppressing resistance movements in Eritrea, where Muslim groups opposed Ethiopian hegemony over the region. Earlier the UN had guarunteed Eritrea autonomy as part of a federalized Ethiopia, but when Selassie took direct control over the region in 1962 Muslim segments of the population with ties to Somalia began a full scale civil conflict.
Selassie's brutal policies to maintain control over Eritrea lead to a massive refuge crisis, and to fund the conflict turned to cash-crop agriculture, creating a famine that killed over 100,000. His policies also created a highly disaffected middle class and officer corps in the military that turned against him, with a military coup taking place in 1974 by an authoritarian leftist group called the Derg, eventually lead by Major Mengistu Haile Mariam (one of 4,000 Ethiopian troops and 20-some Derg members who had received advanced training in the US). The USG maintained ties and continued supplying arms to the new regime, selling $35 million in arms in 1974 and 1975 - essentially backing the coup - citing the "arms imbalance in the region" and Soviet influence in the Horn of Africa (South Yemen and Somalia, among others, were highly dependent on Soviet aid).
When the Soviet client Siad Barre in Somalia invaded the Ogaden in 1977 - a region it laid claims to (along with northern Kenya and Eritrea) because much of the local populations were ethnically Somali due to irrational map drawing by the old colonial powers - the Soviets began supplying the Derg with massive military assistance to resist the attack. Soviet and Cuban assistance to a country under foreign attack, of course, demonstrated another "rising wave of Soviet aggression", though Soviet support for brutal, aggressive regimes in the region by then was old hat.
The US, while also delivering arms to Ethiopia, had not supplied enough to keep Mengistu content, and the dictator turned to the Soviets for aid entirely, and soon was awash in Soviet arms and Cuban troops. The Somali regime, catching wind of this, kicked Soviet advisers and diplomats out of the country and appealed to the US for assistance. While Carter told Zbigniew Brzezinksi to "move in every possible way to get Somalia to be our friend", official US policy - to avoid greater Soviet-US tension and save face with African governments opposed to the Somali invasion - did not overtly support the Ogaden land grab, remaining officially neutral while moving in every other possible way, with numerous Washington allies - including Iran, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - delivering aid to Somalia.
The Soviets supported Mengistu's murderous regime and the 'Red Terror' in exchange for those same British-built military bases, Mengistu became a loyal client until he fell from power in 1991 - though in the regime's dying days during the collapse of the Soviet bloc Israel moved to prop Mengistu up because he was jolly good at suppressing Islam.
Once Somalia exited the Ogaden region the US propped up the increasingly murderous Somali regime in exchange for Soviet-built military bases near Berbera. Siad Barre became a loyal client until he fell from power in 1991. The US finally left Somalia after Barre's ouster. Along with the end of Somalia's usefulness to Cold War geopolitics came an end to US food aid, which the country was highly dependent on because of Barre's policies, which not two years later lead to the US going back in.
The super powers had swapped bed fellows to protect sea lanes, nobody was at all interested in "freedom", "democracy", "independence", "socialism", or much of anything besides making a particularly backwards part of the world less pleasant, a lot more famine ridden, and everybody was worser for the wear.
USG supports Daniel arap Moi's 24 year construction of a single-party state in Kenya.
1978-?: US Supports the Khmer Rouge.
Invaded by Vietnam in 1979, the genocidal "communist" Khmer Rouge regime of Cambodia - allied with the Sihanoukist National Army (ANS) and Son Sann's Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF) - almost immediately began receiving assistance from the US government and was recognized by the UN (under US pressure) as a legitimate member of a fictional coalition government of Cambodia. Humanitarian aide organizations were pressured by the US into providing assistance to Khmer Rouge guerrillas using refugee camps as bases of operation while the rest of the country was placed under a blockade in the midst of a mass famine.
In 1989 the US congress passed a bill prohibiting lethal aid to Pol Pot, long held up as evidence for the evil of Communism. Curiously it rarely is seen as evidence of the utter, abject failure of US foreign policy. In response to the Congressional ban, the Whitehouse began directing arms shipments to the Khmer Rouge through Singapore.
July 3, 1979-1989: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Operation CYCLONE
Former Carter administration Secretary of State claims that US created the 'Soviet Vietnam':
According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
--Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur
He goes on, "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" The answer to that question, in terms of American security, by now should be obvious.
Among other testimony is CIA Director Robert Gates ('91-93) who made a similar claim in his 1996 memoirs, saying that the US started aiding the mujahideen 6 months prior to the Soviet invasion. These details make some rewriting of the historical record of the Soviet invasion necessary: usually it is explained as an exercise of the Breshnev doctrine in response to the Iranian revolution creating an additional independent power in the region that threatened to break away southern Soviet Republics in central asia. US support for such elements in Afghanistan would give some credence to Soviet claims of "armed interference from the outside" [see: M. Hassan Kakar, The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982. Why Did the Soviet Union Invade?]: many of those the US was supporting in the mujahideen were 'Arab afghans' from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and elsewhere.
What is known is that shortly thereafter the Soviets invade Afghanistan at the request of a puppet government - which never really invited the 100,000+ Soviet troops, and the USG begins a massive campaign of support and organization for the Mujaheddin resistance. Aid was funneled through US allies in Saudi Arabia and the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), whom funneled support to to the most radical Sunni-Islamist fighters it could find, known as the Mujahideen.
An Islamist Afghan student movement organized, harbored, and supported by the ISI takes control of Afghanistan as the Taliban by 1995 after a viscous civil war between various Mujahideen factions that destroyed most of what was left of the country. The conflict spilled over from Afghanistan into terror attacks in the USSR and India, among others, by US and Arab funded terrorists.
1979: Greensboro Massacre.
Sudan's internal division between a Muslim north and traditionalist/pagan/Christian south - cause of numerous civil wars and internal strife - is a situation inherited from the Sudan's colonial history as part of the British Empire. Britain's Southern Policy, creating and enforcing the isolation and evangelism in the South lasted into the 1950s. This has been the underlying cause of subsequent Sudanese civil wars, the latest beginning in 1983 and continuing to the present, with millions of associated casualties.
US involvement for the most part begins in 1979 - after Jafaar Nimeiry, the head of state, broke relations with the Soviets and shortly after Chevron became the first to discover oil in the Sudan. That year the USG begins drastically increasing it's military sales and aid to the Sudan, peaking at $100 million in 1982.
Jafaar had ended the previous, brutal civil war between Israeli-supported Southern rebels and the Soviet supported central government in 1972 with the Addis Ababa accords, which had guaranteed the South autonomy. The Israeli-supported rebel movement Anya-Nya would also play a role in Idi Amin's Western-backed Ugandan coup in 1971.
With the discovery of oil deposits in the South and US might backing him up Jafaar begins weakening the basis for the peace accords, dividing the autonomous South into 3 regions and redrawing borders to annex oil deposits into the North, as well as projects to redirect the Nile river's water resources to irrigation projects in the same. This move is accompanied by a hard shift to the Islamist right in the early 80s, and Jafaar declares shari'a law over the Sudan and revokes Southern autonomy in 1983, re-igniting the civil war. Chevron, facing stiff resistance from Southern militant groups such as the SPLA - supported by the Soviet client in Ethiopia - had failed to develop the fields fully, and after numerous attacks suspended the project in 1984.
The US remains the largest supplier of military equipment to the Islamist Sudanese government during the 1980s, supplying some $120 million in military arms and equipment between 1983 and 1988, along with additional arms from friendly Arab clients. Military aid is finally suspended by acts of congress in 1990, after a coup in 1989 cancels planned peace talks. Shortly thereafter, in 1992, Chevron sells it's Sudanese oil concessions.
In the mid to late 90s the US would again involve itself, with the Clinton administration - supported by congress and the Christian right - beginning a policy of US support for the SPLA in the mid to late 90s with political, humanitarian, non-lethal - and according to some lethal - military support. Curiously the Evangelical George W. Bush shifted policy away from this, pressured, presumably, by commercial interests - e.g. oil and gum arabic.
Institute for Policy Research & Development - Sudan
1979-1990: Nicaragua, "The Threat of a Good Example."
Continuing a long history of intervening in Latin American affairs, the USG begins waging a secret war against the Sandinistas in 1979 after the overthrow of the oppressive Somoza regime. The phrase "threat of a good example" comes from the title of a 1985 Oxfam report by Dianna Melrose, which outlined the successes of the Sandinista government in addressing the problems of Nicaragua's poor majority. Nicaragua was immediately put under economic embargo by the USG, as it pressures the IMF and World Bank to halt or limit loans.
The 80s contra war is part of a long list of transgressions against Nicaraguan sovereignty. The contras, trained and supported by the USG, tortured, mutilated, raped, robbed, and otherwise abused Nicaraguan civillians during a reign of terror that was illegally funded through US arms sales to Iran and hooking Americans on cocaine, ironically serving to assist the murderous ayatollahs in Iran who came to power in the first place due to 35 years of US-assisted oppression and an explosion in drug-related violence in the US. Ex-CIA analyst David MacMichael testified before the World Court that the CIA had repeatedly tried to fabricate evidence of Soviet arms supplies.
The Sandinistas engaged in their own crimes against humanity over the course of the conflict - the forced assimilation (the precursor program to later hostilities), exploitation, persecution, and mass expulsion of the native Miskito population. While a crime against humanity on it's own merits this has little to do with the initiation of hostilities by the US government against Nicaragua, as they started long before violence began on the Miskito coast (until 1981 indigenous groups were represented in the Council of State), and in fact offered up a facile justification for the Sandinistas to make efforts to control the area for fear of CIA recruitment of the indigenous population and resources into the contra struggle - as the CIA did to every one of Nicaragua's neighbors.
It's relatively rare that defenders of the contra war on these grounds will mention the greater crimes against indigenous populations taking place at the same time by governments supported by the USG, namely El Salvador and Guatemala. As mentioned under the first Guatemala entry the activities there between 1981 and 1983 were classified as genocide by the UN Truth Commission.
Of the three the Sandinistas' attempts to resolve the Nicaragua/Miskito conflict was "the only serious effort at peace in Central America" made. Likewise not only the Sandinistas were attacking Miskitos, but in Honduras and Costa Rica they were in turn attacked by contra forces, as the indigenous were no more interested in being assimilated into the CIA than they were in a Marxist inspired third world state. Reagan, Otto Reich, and their Samoza puppets were not defenders of indigenous rights by any measure. Niether was Red Lobster. The US war against Nicaragua left it one of the poorest countries in the world.
"Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch" --FDR
Point and Click to read:
- Silber v. Chomsky, Contra Debate.
- US Nicaragua Relations.
- Buying Nicaragua in 1990.
- Democracy and the Sandinistas.
1980s: Iran-Contra; the CIA and the Crack Trade
Democracy: \De*moc"ra*cy\, n 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. 2. My ass.
"The Iran/contra investigation will not end the kind of abuse of power that it addressed any more than the Watergate investigation did. The criminality in both affairs did not arise primarily out of ordinary venality or greed, although some of those charged were driven by both. Instead, the crimes committed in Iran/contra were motivated by the desire of persons in high office to pursue controversial policies and goals even when the pursuit of those policies and goals was inhibited or restricted by executive orders, statutes or the constitutional system of checks and balances."
--Final Report of the Independent Counsel on Iran/Contra
Persuing economic relations with Eastern European countries on the basis of distance from Soviet foreign policy, Romania becomes a leading beneficiary of US trade relations through Most Favored Nation status, until 1988. By far the leading human rights abuser in Eastern Europe, the dictatoral Nicholas Ceausescu was the darling of Washington, and the last Eastern European regime to dissolve during the dissolution of the Soviet block, in one of the most violent struggles to take place in an otherwise largely peaceful process of liberation. Along with most of the rest of Eastern Europe Romania is now chained to IMF policies, and their deleterious effects.
Maurice Bishop overthrown by US backed coup.
1980: Guyana. Fun with FOIA.
Inconclusive ties to CIA in the assassination of Walter Rodney, opposition leader to Forbes Burnham. Other allegations of electoral interference, weirdness related to Jim Jones, the usual economic exploitation, and unreported CIA operations.
Foreign Relations of the United States 1961-1963 Volume XII.
1980-1992: El Salvador
The US backs the Salvadorian junta's power grab and subsequent reign of terror with massive military aid and training, and without dealing at any point with the underlying causes of the violence. El Salvador becomes a top recipient of US aid globally as death squad activity proliferates. There are numbers of political assassinations, including the deaths of American aid workers, and between 78-81 some 35,000 civillians are murdered. One of the most heinous military organizations was the Atlacatl Battalion. By the end of the civil war in 1992 this number rises to 75,000, with over a quarter of the population internally displaced or in other countries as refugees, the total figure for US military aid is $6 billion.
Claims of Soviet interference and backing for the marxist FMLN were short on evidence and tall on tales.
"People are not just killed by death squads in El Salvador; they are decapitated and then their heads are placed on pikes and used to dot the landscape. Men are not just disemboweled by the Salvadoran Treasury Police; their severed genitalia are stuffed into their mouths. Salvadoran women are not just raped by the National Guard; their wombs are cut from their bodies and used to cover their faces. It is not enough to kill children; they are dragged over barbed wire until the flesh falls from their bones while parents are forced to watch. The aesthetics of terror in El Salvador is religious."
--Father Daniel Santiago
Point and click to read:
- National Security Archive - El Salvador
- The Woerner Report
- CARECEN Companion to Salvadoran History
- El Salvador After 1979: Forces in the Conflict. Major Charles O. Skipper, USMC, 2 April 1984
1980-1989: Liberia 
Shortly after Samuel Doe's overthrow of a Liberian government ruled by a colonialist oligarchy (descended from freed US slaves - alternatively supported and exploited by the US) he becomes the recipient of $500 million in US support between 1980 and '85 despite gross human rights abuses and the creation of a military police state, almost double the total US assistance Liberia received between 1962 and 1980.
During the 80s the US uses Liberia as a staging area for attacks on Libya in Reagan's attempts to overthrow Qaddafi, and provides a glut of US arms that preface the seven year anti-Doe insurgency in which hundreds of thousands were massacred and some 800,000 became refugees and another million become internally displaced. During the carnage the US blocked UN peace-keeping initiatives, refusing to contribute anything to peace-making efforts until 1993.
1980-1988: The Gulf War, Genocide of the Kurds
US intervenes on behalf of Iraq in Iran-Iraq war. The US was supplying Iran with weapons through Iran-Contra, and provided chemical weapons and other military support to Iraq, as well as having assisted the Iraq military in the use and targetting of chemical weapons [*].
This including increasing supplies of chemical and biological agents well after reports of chemical weapon attacks against civillian Kurds in northern Iraq and against Iranian troops in the Gulf War. The first reaction was to deny the accounts. The second reaction was to declare an response to the attacks as "premature". The third response was to sharply escalate the delivery of arms and chemical and biological agents.
After the Senate unanimously passed the "Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988", which would have cut Iraq off from US loans, military, non-military assistance, credits, credit guarantees, items subject to export controls, and U.S. imports of Iraqi oil the Reagan administration worked to kill the bill in the House, successfully prevented its passage and drastically escalated arms shipments to Saddam to help put down a Kurdish insurgency. The US government, as 1983 State Department memos show, knew that Iraq was acquiring chemical weapons from Western firms, including the US, and it had confirmed that Iraq was using those same chemical weapons in the Iraq-Iran war since October 1982 and against Kurdish 'insurgents' since mid-1983.
With public denunciations of CW use in 1984 came efforts to strengthen the relationship with Saddam, the USG would "improve bilateral relations, at a pace of Iraq's choosing" regardless of CW use. Up until the 1991 invasion of Kuwait the US continued selling chemical and biological weapons to Iraq, and had assisted in their deployment up until the end of the Iraq-Iran war until its end in 1988.
UNSC denunciations, in the form of non-binding Presidential statements, of the use of chemical weapons were voted against by the US in 1986. No resolution was attempted because of veto threats. Even after international banks had cut off Iraq in 1989 due to attacks on Kurdish populations the USG issued NSD 26 mandating closer links with Iraq and $1 billion in agricultural loan guarantees, dozens of arms and technology shipments were authorized.
Directives issued by the Iraqi government in June 1987, according to Human Rights Watch, "lay out, in the most explicit detail, a prohibition on all human life in designated areas of the Kurdish countryside, covering more than 1,000 villages, to be applied through a shoot-to-kill order for which no subsequent higher authorization is required."
Between 1975 and April 23rd, 1989 hundreds of thousands of Kurds had been slaughtered by the Ba'ath regime. In 2003 there was finally an official response, when US support for Saddam's late 80s campaign of genocide was used to justify the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Point and click to read:
- NSA - Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein.
- US Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990
- HRW - GENOCIDE IN IRAQ.
Turkey becomes a long-running top recipient of US foreign military aid shortly after the 1980 coup, upon which time the new regime passes several laws banning cultural and literary expression of Kurdish identity: the Kurdish language becomes illegal, as were Kurdish broadcasts, publications, and other means of cultural expression - everything down to Kurdish first names (until August 2002, when such restrictions began being lifted with some relationship to reality under European pressure, though still not much).
Out from under the harsh state repression a Kurdish separatist movement forms in 1984, which the Turkish government duly attempts to wipe out with violence. Throughout the conflict, which by any standard is an explicit campaign of outright cultural genocide, Turkey remains a top recipient of US military support. In fact military aid escalates through the counter-insurgency campaign, in which some of the most brutal tactics are largely dependent on lethal resources generously delivered by the USG.
The war against Kurdish society and the PKK forcibly evacuated anywhere between 500,000 to 2,000,000 Kurds and killed over 30,000; Turkish military razed entire villages as part of the force evacuation program, burning nearly all Kurdish villages in southeast Turkey to the ground by the end of the campaign. Uncritical, unconditional support for Turkey continued despite ongoing political repression and numerous human rights abuses, including the use of torture, "virginity exams", and racist governmental policies.
The PKK in the meantime has the onerous distinction of being considered freedom fighters when in Iraq and terrorists when in Turkey, demonstrating once again Western politicians' inability to just call an indigenous nationalist movement an indigenous nationalist movement.
After the capture of the PKK's top leader the conflict diminished in intensity, but the conflict remains largely unsettled in terms of general Turkish repression of the Kurdish population.
Human Rights Watch: Turkey: Weapons Transfers and Violations of International Law, 1995
Two Libyan jets shot down in 1981. Evidence of CIA involvement dates back to the early 70s and extends into the late 90s.
1982-84 marines expel PLO and back Phalangists and Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions.
US supports the regime of Hissene Habre, including CIA paramilitary support during the coup. His secret police slaughtered some 40,000 and tortured as many as 300,000 others.
Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt stages successful coup in Guatemala, Reagan increases military aid.
1982-1983: Surinam ^
CIA allegedly organizes unsuccessful coup attempts against Colonel Desi Bouterse under authorization from President Reagan (such authorization was testified to before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees by William Casey). In 1983 Netherlands security agencies uncover a plot by Florida based groups - often CIA assets for targetting Cuba - to invade the country.
US trainee Oscar Mejía Víctores replaces General Montt in another coup.
This is an interesting, somewhat unique case of US intervention, primarily because of the combined factors involving:
- a) what appeared to be an actual Communist coup
- b) in a country receiving aid, both before and after, from Cuba (as well as from Britain - they were assisting Grenada in the construction of Grenada's first airport, to boost tourism, and which after the invasion the US later assisted in finishing (for tourism))
- c) Army and Marine forces were deployed in a much-hyped, non-secret invasion without an accompanying entourage of journalists and d) the casualties altogether numbered under 500.
The liberal government under Bishop had been blacked out from aid and economically by the US, and when Bishop was assassinated in a nearly bloodless coup the US government fabricated a PR blitz to facilitate an overthrow of the new government and installment of another more in line with US interests.
The US pressures Honduras into hosting and training Nicaraguan contras in return for aid money. By 1985 President Suazo Cordova is receiving on the order of $230 million a year from his US partners. Death squad activity and human rights abuses drastically increased shortly after.
NSA - Honduras.
Air strikes against Libya, meant as a reprisal for Qaddafi's support of "terrorism" (one should ignore US "non-lethal" support for Libyan exile groups waging terrorism against Libya and the American attacks from 1981 to 1984) and as a limited implementation of plans to overthrow Qaddafi developed by the CIA under Reagan's direction in 1985 (dropped when the plans were leaked to the Washington Post) [*].
The US begins channeling increasing amounts of military aid into Haiti, supporting the represssive military and the failing Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship. The Duvaliers' brutal regimes had been supported by the US since it came to power in 1957, it was responsible for some 40-60,000 deaths through the death squads, known as the Tonton Macoutes. The CIA, at the same time, begins pouring an equal amount of money into elections backing military candidates until congress passes a hold on this in the late 1980s, and in 1990 a Catholic priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristides, is elected to the presidency. His term is cut short by a military coup later that same year and Aristides lives in exile until he is able to return with "assistance" from the US.
With friends like us how can it go wrong? The CIA formed FRAPH in the early 1990s, a paramilitary death squad headed by Emmanuel Constant that launched a terror campaign against Artistide's supporters.
Facing domestic opposition against the coup the Clinton administration began making motions against the military dictatorship, culminating in UN authorization of a military intervention and threats to use force, all the while supplying the military junta with oil in contradiction to its own Presidential Directives and with General Raoul Cedras - the coup leader - still on the CIA's payroll. The eventual change in policy hinged largely on ousted President Aristide's promises to enact the economic policies of his Washington backed opponent in the 1991 election, Marc Bazin. Cedras responded to the threats of force and loss of US support by issuing a letter to former President Jimmy Carter requesting negotiations. In the accords Cedras agreed to step down, and the military invasion became a peacekeeping mission to return Aristide to his broken nation.
Numerous human rights abusers from the military leadership (General Raoul Cedras, General Prosper Avril, Colonel Carl Dorelian, and Emmanuel Constant) took exile in the US after Artistide's re-instatement. These men have never been extradited.
Haiti still faces harsh penalties, including the full embargo that helped topple the elected government in 2004.
Unlike the highly laudable open-arms policy towards Cuban refugees, Haitian refugees - with the apparent exception of those suspected of crimes against humanity - are sent back, to stay and suffer under the violence of whatever government has lately been appointed by the "international community." Preventing Haitian refugees from reaching the Florida coast is one of the overriding goals of US policy towards the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
1987: Fiji ^
Suspected CIA organization of coup against Timoci Bavadra, who attempted to ban nuclear vessels from Fiji ports.
Army assists raids in cocaine producing regions, with ineffective results.
1988-1989: Panama [*]
In 1988 the USG places an embargo on Panama, after the DEA indicts the US client Noriega on drug trafficking charges. Bush sends 26,000 US troops to invade Panama, killing thousands of Panamanians before capturing a CIA-employee of 30 odd years and bringing him to Florida to stand trial. Of all the charges brought only one took place after 1984, and the US government had known he was involved in the drug trade since 1972.
After years of helping Noriega steal elections despite his well-known abuses, this explanation for his removal does not suffice, nor is it explained as a response to violence against Americans, except as an indication of Noriega's recent unwillingness to follow US orders, in part concerning the canal. His being a thug, and a relatively minor one, was exaggerated to raise public support for the invasion - that the worst human rights abuses were committed by US trained forces is never mentioned.
Regardless of US motivation the intervention may well have been justified, as would operations to oust the US-assisted dictators in El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, etc., all of whom had far worse records of drug trafficking and/or human rights abuse. These having had hand-picked US agents committing the atrocities, no such operations occurred.
Since at least 1988 the US has been fucking with Columbia's internal politics and backing state sponsored and paramilitary violence, well beyond it's legal involvement in the "war on drugs" or anything justifying the rape of another South American country, considering the military we're supporting is part of the drug racket and that the people profiting the most off the trade, both in arms and drugs, are Americans.
The violence between FARC and the Columbian military/paramilitary has pushed Columbia's inhabitants deep into poverty, causing cocoa production to explode as farmers move away from what is now unsustainable crop development, exacerbated further by US scorched earth polices, carried out by DynCorp . Caught in the middle of the violence are various Columbian autonomous municipalities.
According to the UN there are some 720,000 refugees in Columbia, and many have spilled over into neighboring nations.
" In Colombia, it is well known that those who profit the most from the drug trade are members of the armed forces, the police, government officials, and the "big businessmen" of the urban centers. The FARC taxes coca, a far cry from trafficking. The FARC also taxes gas, peanuts and furniture.
Coca also is the only crop left that keeps the campesinos' heads above water. The peasant who grows standard crops will have an average annual income of around $250 a year. With coca, they can feed a family on $2,000 a year. These are not robber barons. ...
After reflection on my two decades plus of service, I am convinced that I only served the richest one percent of my country."
--Master Sgt. Stan Goff, Special Forces: My Life in the Army
American involvement in Columbia is increasing drastically, supporting President Uribe - who just so happens to be a member of the notorious narco-trafficking Mendellin Cartel.
NSA documents on illegal US involvement in Columbia.
Chomsky's post-Cold War continuity thesis: US Foreign Policy in Columbia.
Another two Libyan jets shot down.
US provides air support against coup.
The US makes little effort and takes little interest in mitigating the Afghan civil war in the aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal.
Fueling Afghanistan's Civil War
1990: Segue: Collapse of the Soviet Union
What might so obviously be considered one of the bright spots in 20th century history probably deserves some reflection, for example, Russian President Vladmir Putin's statement in April of 2005 that:
"First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory. The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself."
It would probably be safer to say that it was the events subsequent to the collapse - guided primarily by American economic advisers - that were tragic.
1991: Gulf War II - The Empire Strikes Back.
"Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world's economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality."
--Dick Cheney, Speech before the Institute of Petroleum Autumn Lunch, 1999
Saddam Hussein was poster-child for the "Our Kind of Guy" militant dictators club, and was supported by the US throughout his numerous violations of human rights, chemical and biological weapons use against Kurds, and numerous other travesties of justice. He invades western-oil-producing ally Kuwait over a border and debt dispute left over from the US fueled Iran-Iraq war, conflicting with the interests of American big-business and initiating in retaliation the usual disinformation campaign (read: Official Government Lies; Wag the Dog) to fuel support for a war that resulted in some 200,000 Iraqi dead and buried. Allied casualties were initially low, but side effects from unknown causes related to the war have affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of veterans since the end of the war.
Despite a perfectly valid justification (that being then US client state Iraq's aggression that was green lighted by the US - see: April Glaspie) pursuit of the war involved the usual list of infractions in targetting civillian infrastructure and blocking humanitarian supplies through the embargo. Otherwise it can be seen as the inevitable outcome of past US policy in the region: unequivocal support for Iraq through worse atrocities than its Kuwaiti invasion, and including funding the provision to Iraq of the fourth largest standing army in the world prior to the Gulf War.
On the plus side the Gulf War lead to a great degree of autonomy for Kurds in northern Iraq, but when Bush called upon Shi'ites in the south to revolt he left them hanging out to dry, because he wanted a military dictatorship, not a democracy. This went so far as to deny rebelling Iraqi officers the use of captured Iraqi equipment.
The Defense Department fully predicted serious humanitarian consequences for the civilian population due to the sanctions imposed during the war and then the bombing campaign, and did nothing to remedy the situation - stating during the beginning of the war that "conditions are favorable for communicable disease outbreaks, particularly in major urban areas affected by coalition bombing", and further that "FULL DEGRADATION OF THE WATER TREATMENT SYSTEM PROBABLY WILL TAKE AT LEAST ANOTHER 6 MONTHS" [jan 1991]. It was successfully degraded.
- The DoD Intelligence Collection
- HRW - The 1991 Uprising in Iraq And Its Aftermath
- U.S. Diplomatic and Commercial Relationships with Iraq, 1980 - 2 August 1990
- US firms that sold weapons to Iraq.
- American Gulf War Veterans Association: 300,000 of 700,000 Gulf War Vets suffer from war
- related illnesses, and many are dying at a rate 10 times higher than other service members.
- Dear Mr. President
1991: Kuwait, or "Liberate this!"
Kuwaiti monarchy restored to throne by US, ensuing repression of pro-democracy forces and suspected Iraqi collaborators.
1991-2003: Iraq Sanctions, Disarmament, and Bombing
Following the Gulf War the US advances through the UN the most severe sanctions program in history and initiates a similarly unique decade-long bombing campaign. Between the war, bombing and sanctions the US has sent a once-modern nation back to the dark ages. The campaign of indiscriminate destruction wiped out 90% of the water supplies and has been responsible for deaths of some 100,000 to 600,000 children under the age of 5, never-mind other mounting casualties and suffering among the civilian population, and making them dependent upon the state for survival. Two directors of the UN humanitarian program in Iraq, Dennis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, resigned in protest of the destruction of civilian life wreaked by the sanctions regime.
Because of such "efforts" Hussein's grip on southern Iraq, if anything, tightened.
A much touted Iraqi defector, Saddam's son-in-law Hussein Kamel, reported in 1995 that shortly after the Gulf War Iraq destroyed its unconventional weapons. Few actual weapons were found by UNSCOM, no actual chemical weapons were found that the Iraqi government didn't lead inspectors to, and there certainly wasn't anything like the Whitehouse claimed in 2003. Despite Iraqi maneuvering both the IAEA and UNSCOM were highly successful in destroying bits and pieces of potential weapons programs, preventing the constitution of weapons programs, and to a lesser extent verifying that much of Iraq's armaments had been unilaterally destroyed by Iraq. Confounding efforts to disarm Iraq was the US policy that sanctions be conditional on regime change, rather than disarmament per the UN mandate, and on top of that was using inspections for that purpose.
Hussein Kamel's testimony.
- NSA: Iraq and WMD
- US Bombing Watch
- UN 661 Committee - US Malfeasence: search the raw data.
- Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq
- The Secret Behind the Sanctions: How the U.S. Intentionally Destroyed Iraq's Water Supply
1991-?: De-Industrialization of Russia
More a sin of omission but US economists played a part in developing the reform plan that more or less knocked the Russian economy back to 1916: Jeffrey Sachs v. Joe Stiglitz on alternatives to 'shock therapy'.
There are a number of prevailing narratives about international involvement in the Balkans that are difficult to sort out, all are convincingly wrong and few spread the blame as generously as it ought to be. One of the few notable exceptions is Burg & Shoup. Relevant to following policy planning is noting continued Washington support for mujahideen through the 90s, continuing from the Afghan-Soviet conflict, that becomes so key to future US policy when the same groups turned increasingly against the master:
During 1992-95, the Pentagon helped with the movement of thousands of mujahideen and other Islamic elements from Central Asia, even some Turks, into Europe to fight alongside Bosnian Muslims against the Serbs.
"It was very important in the rise of mujahideen forces and in the emergence of current cross-border Islamic terrorist groups who think nothing of moving from state to state in the search of outlets for their jihadi mission. In moving to Bosnia, Islamic fighters were transported from the caves of Afghanistan and the Middle East into Europe; from an outdated battleground of the Cold War to the major world conflict of the day; from being yesterday's men to fighting alongside the West's favored side in the clash of the Balkans. If Western intervention in Afghanistan created the mujahideen, Western intervention in Bosnia appears to have globalized it."
This is a quotation from a Dutch government report after investigations, prepared by Professor C Wiebes of Amsterdam University, into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, entitled "Intelligence and the War in Bosnia", published in April 2002.
--K Gajendra Singh, Asia Times, Nov 22, 2003
What I Learned from the War, 1999.
1991-Present: Yugoslavia; the Balkans
Shortly after the dissolution of the USSR Yugoslavia follows suit.In the shift away from Communism Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Macedonia all elect democratic coallition or nationalist parties to office. Serbia and Montenegro retain Communist parties that are largely nationalist in character. In 1989 Slobodan Milosevic becomes President of Serbia and undermines the autonomy of both Kosovo and Vojvodina, where Albanian and
Hungarian majorities had been granted limited self-rule under Marshall Tito, the Communist leader that had gerrymandering the large Serbian population into separate federated republics to limit their influence.
The undermining of local autonomy and Milosevic's authoritarian rule lead Slovenia and Croatia to both declare independence from Yugoslavia on June 25th, 1991. Rising violence increases in scale until Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina are embroiled in a bitter war, with Serbia attempting to hold Yugoslavia together under Serbian control with the Serb dominated
Federation of Yugoslavian Republics (FYR) army and later making calls for a "Greater Serbia", in which he wished to bring ethnic Serbians in other states back under the rule of the Serbian government. Because state boundaries lacked a strong correlation to ethnic boundaries many of the actors persued ethnic cleansing campaigns, which abounded in often gruesome efforts to create nice, ethnically defined nation states.
Tragic mishandling by US/UN security forces resulted in instances of mass slaughter such as
Srebrenica, easily preventable were there more concern on the part of governments involved in peacekeeping and peace brokering. The proverbial canned worms, and apparently great for
war-game scenarios. This is all usually touted as something along the lines of the
'inevitable outcome of historic ethnic tensions given the collapse of the former Soviet Union' which had a great deal to do with it: primarily in the sense that historic tensions that had been seemingly erased under Tito's thumb were rekindled in the name of new, fierce nationalisms whose adherents proceeded to rip the place apart: that is to say, 'historic tensions' made for easy propaganda campaigns by nationalist leaders to slander their neighbors and generally piss people off. The violence was otherwise the result of entirely new forces that happened
to be occupying old borders.
Historic tensions played important propaganda roles. The mass murders of WWII carried out by the Croatian Ustashe were often used to drum up hate against Croatia, and later there was a viscious demonization of the Serbian "enemy" by virtue of their atrocities. To quote one State Department official regarding the 1999 Kosovo campaign, "the demonization of Milosevic is necessary to maintain the air attacks".
Making a case that every ethnic group involved was guilty of some kind of atrocity at some point or another is the easy part - as this document may demonstrate. Blaming a single player in the wars for the violence is probably unrealistic. Milosevic's policy for a 'Greater Serbia' to re-integrate Serbian minorities into Serbia (which evolved in response to alleged persecution of minority Serbs among the separate states of the FYR) and the Croatian strongmans Tudjman's similar 'Greater Croatia' politics, combined with control of Tito's army and US/European support respectively, does leave us with the old truism that with great power comes great culpability.
US and Western European policies were inconsistent and arguably lead to the conditions that
created the war, giving pretext for NATO intervention to establish control over the Balkans after the demise of the USSR. The usual "strategic interests" in the region can be trotted out easily enough to suggest why outside actors may have wanted to exacerbate conditions for the breakup of Yugoslavia, but I have yet to see a convincing case that these considerations influenced policy. There had been long-term pursual by AMBO and others to secure access to the pipeline corridor between Europe and the Caspian and Black sea basins, and protect
other foreign economic interests.
Fallout from having permanent bases established in the region inevitably lead to US businessmen moving in for the kill - militaries open markets, but the effect isn't necessarily the cause. The IMF and World Bank policies that exacerbated tensions were much like those everywhere else in poor regions of the world - that is, exploitative and problematic, the idea that such organizations were willfully attempting to break up Yugoslavia is something else, they coincided on the issue but determining intent is difficult.
There's also the concern for the stability of Eastern Europe - of growing strategic interest as a whole to a West that looks at it as a prime source for cheap resources and labor; as well as the political enterprising and continual game of finding new justifications for peacetime militarism.
Partnership for Rackets
An interesting account and rejoinder, and rejoinder^2
at Kuro5hin demonstrates how completely arse-bucketed sorting out what actually happened is, in case my own sorting fails to do so, which I assuredly will as I find myself incapable of making
any conclusions. Making factual statements is usually hard enough. The problem is obvious enough: I need to get my ass off the computer and make a trip to the library.
1992: Los Angeles, California.
Rodney King verdict; Army and marine forces deployed against uprising.
1992-1994: Somalia, or "Defense Contractor Job Security"
CIA officials privately concede that the U.S. military may have killed from 7,000 to 10,000 Somalis during its engagement.
--Charles William Maynes, Foreign Policy no. 68, 1995.
Depending on who you talk to it may have been for humanitarian assistance, the hunt for black gold (the suggestion here being that big oil wanted a stable Somalia for commercial reasons, which doesn't negate the humanitarian cause; also big oil has these kinds of claims everywhere. I have a hard time seeing oil interests would have a serious impact on policy unless the oil has already been found - such as in the Caspian basin), geopolitics (something more or less refuted by military command, who are in turn refuted by the US military presence in Somalia from 1980 to 1991, and Ethiopia prior to that), or more likely an ill-fated combination of propaganda, politics, the arms trade, and military budget security (humanitarian assistance on up and up in polls and legitimizes $275 billion in military spending; famine already on the wane at the date of force deployment; history of US/USSR juggling Ethiopia and Somalia combined with the debt crisis imposed by the international community leads to national implosion and civil war that created the necessity of humanitarian assistance in the first place, etc etc).
Whatever the remaining likelihood of good intentions in our intervention in Somalia the possibility of a positive role for the US to play in such operations has been consistently undermined by the foolish imperative in US foreign policy - were we were to take its self-appointed role as "do-gooder" seriously - that any threat, minor as they might be, be crushed with overwhelming force.
During a US initiated mission (which had not been cleared through the UN) to capture General Mohammed Farah Aideed 18 US Rangers under US command were killed, 34 American troops during the entire engagement, leading to the US withdrawal from the UN mission to Somalia in 1994. The UN, of course, was blamed.
6-10,000 casualties, 5 months. Washington Post, Washington, Dec 8
US and France support military coup that overthrows Algeria's first elected government (the Islamic Salvation Front). The coup spurs an insurgency, and in the resulting conflct some 100,000 civillians are killed.
1993: Waco: "Crush Satan, Crush Satan".
1993-Present: Central Asia - The New Friendly Dictators
"I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian."
--Dick Cheney, 1998
Beginning in 1993 with Kazakhstan the US begins pumping military and economic aid to numerous dictatorships in and around Central Asia, effectively - with cooperative assistance from Russia that has the same effect - stabilizing tyrannical dictatorships, mostly left overs from the Soviet era. The unconditional aid, unlinked to human rights or democratization reforms with exceptions such as assistance for anti-nuclear proliferation projects, increases year by year through the late 90s as violent repression of dissent and religious prosecution continue unabated - the purpose of the aid being for exactly that: to keep the former Soviet Republics in Moscow's orbit (now a partner in Western-dominated international systems) and from forming ties with neighboring independent regimes in Iran and Afghanistan, with whom the largely Muslim inhabitants have far more in common.
After 2001 and the 'war on terror' assistance takes a dramatic leap, with Uzbekistan - one of the worst of the lot - receiving in 2004 the total amount of military assistance it had between 1994 and 2001. The Uzbeki state received on the order of $500 million in total US funding in 2003, some $79 million of which is earmarked for torture as a routine investigation technique: "People have less freedom here than under Brezhnev. The irony is that the US Republican party is supporting the remnants of Brezhnevism as part of their fight against Islamic extremism."
Such aid effectively divorces any ties of common interest between the population and the state, allowing regimes to ruthlessly crack down with impunity and with little fear of popular overthrow. Development aid meant to build what is loosely called 'civil society' and other "democratization" programs are rendered meaningless by the bribes necessary to allow such programs access to the country - as well as often being mere accessories to narrow US interests, such as most NED funding for "party building" campaigns.
Depending on the size of the bribes necessary to compel leaders to allow access - entirely a regime-by-regime consideration - such that similar Western engagement in Georgia assisted in the overthrow of a corrupt regime, replaced with one more oriented towards the West. The idea that engagement had delivered such a success by itself is misleading: Washington had also withdrawn its support for the regime itself preceding the coup, even while backing utterly fraudulent elections in Azerbaijan around the same time, as the present tyranny in charge there maintains satisfactory levels of subservience to Washington - which is the critical factor in Washington's decision-making Various brands of analysis, including the WSJ which hardly differs from this narrative, are available here.
The following links to human rights reports for 2003 and lists the 2004 budget appropriations for military training and financing, along with total amounts of overt military aid between 1991-2001, to some of the regimes in question - longstanding allied tyrannies such as Pakistan are not included:
- Azerbaijan: $900K training; $2.5M financing.
- Kazakhstan: $1.2M training; $3M financing; $12M, 1993-2001.
- Kyrgyzstan: $1.2M training; $6M financing; $10M, 1994-2001.
- Tajikistan: $400K training; $700K financing.
- Turkmenistan: $450K training; $700K financing; $4.6M , 1994-2001.
- Uzbekistan: $1.6M training; $10M financing; $11M, 1995-2001.
The aid is accompanied by the slight rustling sound of human rights reforms, but with no progress to show for it the aid levels continue rising. Ostensibly this is part of an anti-terror campaign, but in effect US military assistance and boondoggle economic loans from the WB/IMF racket serve to legitamize and prop up the regime, sever the regime's ties to the population by making them independent of popular support, never-mind granting the regime greater capabilities for repressing its population with state terror. This is just trading tyranny for tyranny, rather than making some sort of progress. The result is rising anger towards US policies that will likely increase the terrorist threat such support is meant, ostensibly, to prevent.
The US and global democracy: the test case of Central Asia, Malika Kenjaboeva 2003.
Crushing Dissent: Repression, Violence and Azerbaijan's Elections.
British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray, speech before Freedom House.
The US unilaterally prevents UN intervention and refuses to act itself, even minimally, during the Rwandan genocide of some 75% of the Tutsi population, which - unlike in the past when genocidal violence occurred between Tutsi and Hutu in Burundi 20 odd years earlier - was possible and largely supported by many other governments.
USG trains and uncritically supports Croatian military forces, under the tyrant Franjo Trudjman, during the ethnic cleansing of some 200,000 ethnic Serbian civillians from the southern province of Krajina in Operation Storm and Operation Flash, slaughtering thousands of the elderly too weak to flee the area and destroying the bulk of Serbian villages - a campaign that possibly involved US air support.
"We did not think that kind of attack could do anything other than create a lot of refugees and cause a humanitarian problem. On the other hand, it always had the prospect of simplifying matters."
--Secretary of State Warren Christopher, quoted by Tim Judah, 1998.
The New American: Why Kosovo? Why not Krajina?
"Crash! boom! flash! .... For the past two weeks, the sounds of bombing have brought smiles to Sarajevans. The bombs are being dropped not by their enemies but by their protectors: the United States, France, Britain and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)."
--Time for Kids, Waging War To Make Peace, 9/15/95
Dyncorp and MPRI are US defense contractors who were hired by the US during the Balkan crisis to evade restrictions imposed on the use of US military:
"In Bosnia, employees of DynCorp were found to be operating a sex-slave ring of young women who were held for prostitution after their passports were confiscated. ....
In Croatia, MPRI was brought in to provide border monitors in the early 1990's. Then, in 1994, as the United States grew concerned about the poor quality of the Croatian forces and their ability to maintain regional stability, it turned to MPRI. A United Nations arms embargo in 1991, approved by the United States, prohibited the sale of weapons or the providing of training to any warring party in the Balkans. But the Pentagon referred MPRI to Croatia's defense minister, who hired the company to train its forces.
In 1995, MPRI started doing so, teaching the fledgling army military tactics that MPRI executives had developed while on active duty commanding the gulf war invasion. Several months later, armed with this new training, the Croatian army began Operation Storm, one of the bloodiest episodes of "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, an event that also reshaped the military balance in the region.
The operation drove more than 100,000 Serbs from their homes in a four-day assault. Investigators for the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague found that the Croatian army carried out summary executions and indiscriminately shelled civilians. "In a widespread and systematic matter, Croatian troops committed murder and other inhumane acts," investigators said in their report. Several Croatian generals in charge of the operation have been indicted for war crimes and are being sought for trial."
-- New York Times (13/10/2002)
1995-Present: Mexico: Chiapas, Mexico
US trained and funded death squads to terrorize indigenous population of Chiapas, part of continued centuries long violence against indigenous Americans by the US government and its client states. Through various means the US has supported Mexico's 'low-intensity' war on the ELZN.
"Never before has a single soil sample prompted an act of war against a sovereign state."
--Milt BeardenUS Cruise Missile strikes against an alleged chemical weapons factory turns out to be the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant responsible for the manufacture of over half of Sudan's drug production, producing medicines at 20 percent of world market prices. The strike killed at least one and injured others. Independent investigation of the site was blocked by the US, and with Sudan already under sanctions the loss of available medical supplies had detrimental effects on health in the region causing an explosion in otherwise easily treatable diseases, the full extent of the human cost is impossible to ascertain because of the US prevention of independent investigations.
There are widespread reports that before and after the attack that Sudan repeatedly offered to assist the US in counter-terrorism efforts and offered files on Bin Laden (who was in Sudan until 1996). The US ignored these offers, apparently up until the 9/11 WTC and Pentagon attacks.
Casey/Chomsky debate on effects of the bombing, et. al.
The World Court ruling finds the US in violation of international law for the Reagan administration's support of the contra war in Nicaragua. The US disregards the ruling out of hand, despite having recognized the court's authority at its inception; further proving the hypocrisy in the US stance towards the rule of law, never-mind the hypocrisy of constant rhetoric about freedom, democracy, and of all things "justice".
Similar rulings and condemnations of US actions in Nicaragua were levied by both the UN Security Council (except for a US veto) and General Assembly (minus the US, Israel and El Salvador).
1998-Present: Indonesia/East Timor (continued)
March 1999: Kosovo. 78 days of Airstrikes: Give War a Chance.
In Kosovo, Kosovar Albanians, lead by Ibrahim Rugova, pursued non-violent resistance to Serb rejection of Kosovar autonomy up until their exclusion from the US-lead Dayton accords, which discredited Rugova's non-violent tactics and lead to the rise of the KLA, a previously unpopular and violent extremist group founded in 1991 (possibly supported by US and German intelligence services, see Operation ROOTS). The KLA began attacking Serb targets, leading to predictably harsh retalliation by Serb forces. In 1990 Kosovars had voted overwhelmingly to declare their independence - forming Rugova's clandestine government - and later, in 1992, abstained from voting in the Yugoslav election, leading to the re-election of Milosevic and guarunteeing continued repression by the FYR. Through all of this, until the KLA rose out of the ashes of Rugova's government, while the USG essentially ignored Milosevic's violent repression of non-violent democratic movements.
The NATO intervention in 1999 was the result of a massive state-led propaganda campaign, where the crimes being committed the year previous to the bombing campaign were exaggerated a hundred fold, the crimes themselves deriving in part from Western unresponsiveness to the large pacifist movement that had - previous to its exclusion from the 1995 Dayton accords - been preventing violent factions from gaining wide support from the population but could not prevent eventual NATO support for the violent factions. In the demonization game inconvenient facts were wiped off the slate, an obvious example would be the massive numbers of Serbian refugees - who prior to the NATO campaign were the largest refugee population in the FYR according to NYT correspondent David Binder (Mediterranean Quarterly, Spring 1996).
UN Resolution 1203, passed in 1998, demanded that the FRY and KLA comply with previous resolutions and called for mutual ceasefires. Abstaining UNSC members Russia and China did not consider 1203 to authorize the use of force and had threatened to veto any resolution that would do so. NATO members asserted otherwise, though the resolution says absolutely nothing with regard to the use of force by outside parties.
Subsequent negotiations over the Rambouillet accords in early 1999 broke down over NATO demands (in Appendix B) that required freedom of movement for NATO forces and immunity from legal prosecution throughout the entirety of the FRY - essentially demanding a surrender of FRY sovereignty never demanded by the appropriate body, the UNSC, or agreeable to the conflicting parties. Shortly thereafter bombing strikes were intiated to 'prevent a humanitarian catastrophe'.
The single crime listed in the indictment of Milosevic that occurred previous to the bombing campaign itself was the massacre of 45 residents of Racak, Kosovo. After the bombing campaign had begun in March, to ostensibly prevent further atrocities, atrocities escalated dramatically. In March there was an estimated 450,000 internally displaced ethnic Albanians inside the country - a number resulting from intercene violence between the KLA and FRY. When the NATO bombing began these numbers quickly swelled as 750,000 refugees fled the country and an additional 250,000 people were internally displace.
The allied commander Wesley Clark stated three days into the campaign that the dramatic intensification of ethnic cleansing that was underway "was entirely predictable at this stage", contradicting the expressed intent to prevent further atrocity and effacing any possible humanitarian purpose the intervention may have had. Numerous others (CIA Director George Tenet, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D. Alema, military officials, human rights organizations, etc.) had made similar warnings prior to the bombing campaign.
Before the campaign began, of course, there was little evidence for the existence of any humanitarian intent. Looking at USG policies during the same time period elsewhere in the world suggests that, if anything, the opposite is the case. Far worse atrocities occurred in Rwanda where Clinton obstructed any attempt by the UN to intervene, the US-lead sanctions on Iraq were still eating away at Iraqi society from the inside out, and likewise East Timor (where the long awaited response that finally occurred, after many delays, with minimal effort was late by over 25 years) - where the US again obstructed efforts to prevent atrocity, despite the ease with which it could have done so - and Turkey and Israel and Columbia, where in all three cases equal or worse tragedies were occurring with the active support of the US government.
Pursuing the bombing campaign lead to the removal of humanitarian organiations - international observation and relief workers - that put some restraints on Serb forces: their removal was officially denounced by the Serbian government. After the 4th week of bombing NATO ran out of military targets and held a conference in which it was decided to engage targets in the FYR and generally expand the bombing to civillian infrastructure [a timeline of indiscriminate bombing]: The bombing of electric and water facilities, factories, residential districts, broadcasting stations, area bombing, and the use of cluster bombs and depleted uranium.
From a report by the Independent International Commission on Kosovo the NATO bombing resulted in the following:
"59 bridges (seven on the Danube), nine major highways (including Belgrade-Nis or Belgrade-Zagreb), and seven airports were destroyed. Most of the main telecommunications transmitters were damaged, two thirds of the main industrial plants were nearly destroyed. According to NATO, 70% of the electricity production capacity and 80% of the oil refinery capacity was knocked out."
The conditions for ceasing the bombing campaign was not a cease fire to end the atrocities but the unnegotiated surrender of Milosevic, hence the continuation of the bombing regardless of Milosevic's proposition for a ceasefire in late March, which came a week after the bombing began - just as Clinton had predicted before the campaign and contradicting the IICK's and others' similar claims that "After four weeks of bombing, the Yugoslav leadership still would not respond to negotiation proposals."
The result of the campaign has been the placement of more or less permanent US military bases, such as Camp Bondsteel [*], placed throughout the region, yet "some Western diplomatic sources scoff at the idea of Kosovo having any real strategic value." One strategic value, as many commentators noted, was by doing something it maintained a technically defunct organization's existence - which having no enemy set to invade Western Europe must find new reasons for existence - i.e. NATO and its "credibility".
NATO bombs "killed about 1,200 civilians - or one civilian for every 10 tons dropped", a ratio "remarkably similar to that of ... Vietnam". Like Vietnam unexploded ordinance from over 1300 cluster bombs will produce further casualties for years down the road. The bombing campaign, an atrocity itself, increased "predictably" the ongoing atrocity of Serbian counter-insurgency operations in Kosovo to the scale of ethnic cleansing. Regardless of whatever good intentions might have vocalized, in human terms the Kosovo intervention was an abject and utter failure. The situation since the bombing hasn't improved, in fact, it's gotten much worse.
The ouster of Misolevic in 2000 is often attributed to the Kosovo intervention, but the 41 million dollars the US funnelled into the election campaign of his opponent in the 2000 elections probably had a lot more to do with it.
2001-Present: Haiti [* *]
Beginning in 2001 the USG begins working to weaken and topple the elected government (the 'tyrannical dictatorship of a failed state', if you rely on American journalism) of Haiti by severing all aid to the government, but continuing to materially support the elite "opposition" parties (one of which is lead by American businessman Andre Apaid) and quite possibly funnelling American arms to allied ex-junta members through the Dominican Republic.
The ex-junta had originally been trained, organized, and funded by US intelligence services and had killed thousands of Haitians during their four years of rule in the early 90s - their founder, Emmanuel Constant, continues to reside protected in the US. The former dictator they had been trained to replace, Jean-Claude Duvalier, himself resides in France.
In February of 2004, after years of political wrangling groups with ties to the Haitian junta of the early 90s begin an armed revolt in Northern Haiti, and with cooperation from the US military enable a coup against the elected president.
In deference to their dedication to Haitian democracy the foreign governments that assisted in the coup (France, Canada, the US, etc) actually appointed a complete foreigner to help select the new Prime Minister.
A Very Multilateral Coup
10/2001-Present: US campaign in Afghanistan. You Too Can Make a Desert and Call It Peace.
"Every principle needs a vanguard to carry it forward and [to] put up with heavy tasks and enormous sacrifices. This vanguard constitutes the strong foundation (al qaeda al-sulbah) for the expected society."
--Abdullah Azzam, quoted by Jason Burke, What is Al Qaeda.
Last time I checked there were as many as 3,000 direct casualties, a number based off press clippings collected by Marc Herold, though others have since made similar estimates. This number is a) probably wrong, b) even wildly inaccurate, as it is c) probably an undercount. Tallies based of limited sets of confirmed incidents give totals of around 1500. Presumably alongside the WTC monument for the thousands of innocents killed on 9/11 there won't be any burdensome mention of thousands of innocents killed in the American attack on Afghanistan.
At the time of the attack the risks of indirect casulaties among the estimated 1-2 milllion additional civillians endangered because of US actions (never mind the circumstances of some 5 million at risk before the campaign put at even graver risk) were high, and conservative estimates of indirect casualties come to around 20,000, for obvious enough reasons. The campaign put US support behind equally viscious allies, and ensured a steady trickle of post-war casualties due to unexploded ordinance resulting from the use of ordnance otherwise banned by international treaty that the US continues to refuse to sign.
Taliban proposals to extradite Bin Laden provided evidence implicating him in the attacks were summarily disregarded. Also, granting the Taliban's ruthlessness, the forces standing in line for control of Afghanistan in their absence didn't provide much of a mock-up for an available, peaceful, freedom loving replacement (a situation guaranteed by past US incubation of 'Islamofacism' in Afghanistan). Such proposals were not unique, as the Taliban had previously offered to extradite Bin Laden before the 1998 US cruise-missile strikes. Reasons to believe extradition was a possibility are not implausible, it was even reported that the ISI supported extradition, wishing to neutralize Bin Laden rather than threaten the Taliban regime.
Security concerns have been at odds with US interests in Afghanistan since oil was discovered in the Caspian, leading to hesitancy in dealing with terrorist networks left there by the US after the Soviet-Afghan war.
The US had been courting the Taliban for a pipeline deal (as recently as August 2nd 2001, though of course no mention is made about oil in the official statement), a deal that finally got underway immediately after the invasion. Afghanistan may very well be otherwise resource rich due to 20 years of war-stunted exploration. Threats of military force against the Taliban had reportedly been made over the course of such discussions because of their unwillingness to cooperate on the pipeline project, and prior to 9-11 plans were in the works to topple the Taliban regime. Such behavior is often encouraged by US planners, and helps explain the plans to back the Northern Alliance (a group of warlords with as deplorable a human rights record as the Taliban) against the Taliban.
"a route through Afghanistan appears to be the best option with the fewest technical obstacles. It is the shortest route to the sea and has relatively favorable terrain for a pipeline. The route through Afghanistan is the one that would bring Central Asian oil closest to Asian markets and thus would be the cheapest in terms of transporting the oil.
--Testimony by John J. Maresca VP, International Relations Unocal Corporation To House Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia And The Pacific, Feb 12, 1998
According to Mohammad Alim Razim, Afghan minister for Mines and Industries, Unocal will be building the pipeline - an effort to make the contract look more attractive - Unocal denies any further involvement, sticking to their 1999 withdrawal from the project. Psychic fifth-graders aside, oil interests were obviously a factor in US policy towards Afghanistan and the rest of Central Asia before the attacks, but I fail to see a direct connection between the invasion itself and said pipeline.
The state of Afghanistan devolved as it had because the US shat on the country and flooded the country with US-armed fanatics in the first place, then continuing to exacerbate the country's problems long after the Soviet-Afghan campaign had ended (as mentioned previously the US continued arms sales to Afghan parties in the civil conflict throughout the 90s).
The list of fanatic madmen brought to power by the US included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar - still problematic for both the USG and Afghans, as compared to the rest of the warlords that are problematic merely for Afghans - who in 1994 butchered 4,000 and wounded another 21,000 residents in his seige of Kabul. Nevermind our Islamist education program, and gross negligence in counter-terrorism in the 90s and during the early W. Bush administration - and increasingly the late Bush administration - such as ignored intelligence offers by Sudan under Clinton's watch, and the ongoing lack of response to problems with the Pakistan's intelligence outfit the ISI that spearheaded the CIA program to develop a fanatic international anti-American terrorist network.
While counter-terrorism funding increased from $2 billion in 1990 to $12 billion in 2000, middle-east counter-terrorism programs in the CIA were weak and little effort was apparently made to strengthen them significantly [* Atlantic Monthly, 8/01]. Niether was airport security stepped up as often requested [* Village Voice, 5/16/02]. According to the NYT (5/18/02): "The F.B.I. had been aware for several years that Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network were training pilots in the United States and elsewhere around the world". If indeed protecting Americans from terrorism was a major priority for the US government one would expect at the same time that they would have beefed up domestic security - they didn't.
Terrorism certainly wasn't enough of a priority to divert funding from ballistic missile programs towards prevention: (NYT, 5/17/02) "As late as Sept. 9, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld threatened a presidential veto when the Senate proposed to divert $600 million to counter-terrorism from ballistic missile defense." But they did have plans to topple the Taliban, the order for their design coinciding with failures to schmooze the Taliban into a pipeline deal. We would perhaps suggest that the framework behind pre-9/11 strike plans against the Taliban were drafted in relation to some priority greater than counter-terrorism.
In terms of anti-terrorism a strong case can be made that the Afghanistan campaign has been an abject failure, even disregarding the massive terrorism the campaign itself involved, as is usually required. According to senior government officials, quoted by the NYT "Classified investigations of the Qaeda threat now under way at the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have concluded that the war in Afghanistan failed to diminish the threat to the United States". Thus far attempts to gather intelligence about, target and destroy the Al-Qaeda organization appears to have failed to achieve much besides confusing the bejeezus out of US officials, nevermind that The Evil One remains at large.
Progress on human rights issues and "liberation" have been slow to inconsequential. The post-Taliban situation for women has so far "in large measure rendered women's participation in public life almost impossible", according to HRW, which is a far cry from the propaganda efforts by the US government about bringing the gravy train of liberty to Afghanistan. Reports on human rights violations as of mid-2003 are even more devastating.
Peter Dale Scott, 9/11 in Historical Perspective, July 22, 2005. (point & click the following to read):
- Afghanistan, Spring 2005
- Bullying the Loya Jirga
- The Mess in Afghanistan, 1/2004.
- Human Rights Watch - Afghanistan
- RAWA - homepage of the most oppressed women in the world: reports from Afghanistan.
- The Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline: A Timeline
- Wikipedia - US Attack on Afghanistan.
- "By pure good fortune, the US government now exercises strategic control over almost all the world's major oil producing regions and oil transport corridors."
- UN says Afghan Environment Fucked, Human Rights Fucked Royally.
- Christina Lamb in Kabul
- Fisk on the situation in Afghanistan 11/20/2002 [real player]
- Unverified report from Pravada of 40 US MIAs in Afghanistan, no idea.
- Afghanistan: No Greenbacks For Peace
- After the bombing, war continues.
- War Zones for Dummies.
- War Zones for Profit.
- Afghan War Faltering, says Joint Chiefs.
- A report on ongoing problems with international aid efforts in Afghanistan.
- Losing Control, and Despite lofty talk, aid is nowhere to be seen outside Kabul.
Weber, a power player in GOP political circles who retired from Congress in 1993, has served as chairman of the board for the obscure but influential National Endowment for Democracy since January 2001. The NED, a private nonprofit agency, was founded in the early Eighties with the express goal of fostering democratic ideals abroad...In all, some $877,000 in NED funds has been distributed in Venezuela in the past year. Most of those funds were funneled to opposition movements by the four NED affiliates, including the International Republican Institute (IRI).
The day after Chavez's removal, IRI President George Folsom--an advisor to former President George H.W. Bush--issued a statement praising the coup, saying, "The Venezuelan people rose up to defend democracy in their country." Defending it against the 60% of the people who voted for Chavez, not once but twice?
--Mike Mosedale, 5/15/02 City Pages, Minneapolis - St, Paul
Who knows what to make of this one yet, but there are reports that the CIA and the AFL-CIO were involved, and the substance of it so far appears the same as in the past (it wouldn't be very suprising considering Otto Juan Reich is assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, resuming his old post) with the free press playing their part once again. Greg Palast gives this one a brief execution and covers an interesting class of "democracies".
An "update" from the Economist.
The AP's Foreign Desk.
AfroCubaWeb's article archive on the coup - links to numerous articles before the coup predicting the same from indicators among US planners.
2002-Present: Iraq - 'The attack has been spectacular.'
"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
"The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me as I look back is that it was a political war. We had politicians making military decisions.
--George W. Bush, Meet the Press, 2/8/2004
US invades Iraq ostensibly to find WMD and a host of other cynical lies, but essentially to maintain American hegemony over the region without depending on Saudi Arabia. Thusly making it one of America's first ass-backwards capitulations to the demands of Al Qaeda. The first results of the decision were to step up the bombings of command and control structure in mid-2002. Saddams' documented use of chemical weapons, particularly against Kurdish civilians was used repeatedly as justification for the war: yet since the US ended material support for Hussein after the 1991 Gulf War the government's own documents point out that there have been no documented uses of chemical warfare "against his own people".
The argument on humanitarian grounds, with possible exceptions made for ongoing campaigns against the Marsh Arabs, falls apart when considering the following things:
- a) the largely undiscussed effect a major war would have on the population at large;
- b) an unnecessary march into Baghdad and Sunni areas where Saddam has broader support, when the problem is solved in Kurdish areas - who had autonomy thanks to US intervention - and the real problem is in the Shi'ite south;
- c) the lack of an ongoing campaign of genocide that would justify such an intervention;
- d) the likelihood that removing economic sanctions while reinforcing the arms embargo would have been sufficient to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi masses; and
- e) the well documented but undiscussed total lack of post-war planning that would be necessary for successful humanitarian intervention, as well as the lack of broad international support that is always, likewise, a necessary component of such missions.
'Humanitarian' justification regarding Saddam's use of torture and the police state were rendered meaningless when compared to US allies in the region and elsewhere - Saudi Arabia would only be the most obvious example, Israel, Columbia, Uzbekistan, and Egypt all offer up similar examples of the dedication to human rights - which the US uses to bypass its own laws and torture suspected criminals: perhaps Canada should invade the US to end its use of torture.
Regarding the Marsh Arabs specifically, after a year of occupation many joined with the Muqtada al-Sadr's followers and began fighting "coalition" forces. They are now being killed by US forces for the same reasons they were once being killed by Saddam's. End of argument: there was no humanitarian intervention, no planning for one, and judging from the actions of those accountable no interest in one.
The threat to the outside world was a nuclear arsenal, which weapons inspections had by all accounts successfully prevented the construction of. Saddam had requested the inspection teams unconditional return in September 2002. He was brushed off by the US. There were no "stockpiles" of any illegal weapons, UN reports suggested accounting errors and had no evidence that weapons stockpiles existed.
The US engages in direct colonial rule over a foreign nation for the first time since granting Hawaii statehood in the 50s. Child mortality rates, three months after taking Baghdad, actually manage to rise under US administration. As of October 2003 oil production still hasn't reached pre-war levels. Electrity is extremely unstable. A little over a year after the war started the best estimates we have is that the war caused a massive upsurge in death rates, childhood malnutrition increases by 50%, and violent death becomes a major health risk.
- The Future of Iraq Project: not so much.
- Iraq's Weapons - Claims and Evaluations
- Iraq Warcrimes Tribunal
The Administration says: WMD, Democracy, and Al Qaeda.
- what i heard about iraq
- Iraq on the Record.
- The End of Saddam's Torture State.
- The Abu Ghraib Files.
- A history of the Iraq war, told entirely in lies.
- Iraq and "Free" Trade.
- Bush's Desolate Imperium.
- Findings of the Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence on Iraq's Weapons of
- Mass Destruction.
- Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division.
Present: The New Colonialism - US Military Cities Abroad
It's not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department's annual "Base Structure Report" for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic U.S. military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and HAS another 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories. Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least $113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases -- surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries -- and an estimated $591,519.8 million to replace all of them.
The military high command deploys to our overseas bases some 253,288 uniformed personnel, plus an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employs an additional 44,446 locally hired foreigners. The Pentagon claims that these bases contain 44,870 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and that it leases 4,844 more.
These numbers, although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally. The 2003 Base Status Report fails to mention, for instance, any garrisons in Kosovo -- even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999 and maintained ever since by Kellogg, Brown & Root. The Report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, and Uzbekistan, although the U.S. military has established colossal base structures throughout the so-called arc of instability in the two-and-a-half years since 9/11.
For Okinawa, the southernmost island of Japan, which has been an American military colony for the past 58 years, the report deceptively lists only one Marine base, Camp Butler, when in fact Okinawa "hosts" ten Marine Corps bases, including Marine Corps Air Station Futenma occupying 1,186 acres in the center of that modest-sized island's second largest city. (Manhattan's Central Park, by contrast, is only 843 acres.)
The Pentagon similarly fails to note all of the $5-billion-worth of military and espionage installations in Britain, which have long been conveniently disguised as Royal Air Force bases. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases in other people's countries, but no one -- possibly not even the Pentagon -- knows the exact number for sure, although it has been distinctly on the rise in recent years.
--Chalmers Johnson, America's Empire of Bases, 2004
Because Thomas Cooper was convicted of a felony on January 30th, 2007 he was excluded from the 2000 voter rolls.
Why My Dog Is Not a Humanist
1944-Present: The US government tries to erase its own history.
Not only by controlling the manifolds of public/academic/media access to government agencies but by outright destruction of its own historical documents. The demands of national security require that certain agencies are not held accountable for their actions for some finite length of time, but a nation is only damaged by wiping out its past.
In 1994 it was revealed that in August 1974, the Joint Chiefs of Staff destroyed all the minutes and transcripts of their meetings going back to 1947, and in 1978 essentially stopped keeping any such records.
The State Department's own historians hired to review the declassification process have been duly outraged by such policies. Dr. Warrant Cohen resigned as chairman of HADCOM in 1989 because of these distortions of US policy on 1950s Iran.
Despite the advances made since the enactment of the FOIA, on Nov 1, 2001 President Bush issued an executive order to seal all presidential records since 1980. This policy of aboveboard secrecy merely serves to disinform the public and allows the US government to continue carrying out it's own acts of terror with impunity.
Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy
1950-Present: The IMF, World Bank, GATS, FTAA, NAFTA, WTO, etc.
Free trade: the fact that they're the only international agreements the US is interested in alone should tell you something about them.
The US, which may be the last "hegemon", has taken the lead on behalf of the agenda of transnational elite. The World Bank estimates that by the early 1980's, intra-firm trade within the largest 350 transnational corporations contributed about 40% of global trade. The nation-state is increasingly becoming obsolete as the unit of analysis. Though economy and decision-making interacts, the 'independent' variable which ultimately counts is the economic globalization.
--William. I. Robinson, Promoting Polyarchy - Globalization, US Intervention and Hegemony, 1996
Evil Bad: (point and click to read)
- Corporate Inversions
- Export Processing "Zones" Documents:
- FTAA - Third Draft.
- NSA Archives: NAFTA's Secret Tribunals
- WSSD [7M, pdf]
- GATS Documents [links to pdfs]
- WTO, Working Party on Domestic Regulation [html]
The US voting record in the UN:
In the court of world opinion the US, with Israel, stands as the vast minority, so far as the UN means anything. One can verify that the stance against human rights has continued with the State Department, the US voting against or abstaining from 16 of the 24 adopted resolutions at the 55th session of the Commission on Human Rights, well ahead of the pack. It shouldn't be terribly surprising, however absurd it was (and it was, much like our voting record), that the US was ousted from the commission.
A military history for all US military interventions is provided in detail by the FAS. They also have a large body of work on arms sales monitoring that is key to this discussion:
U.S.-origin weapons find their way into conflicts the world over. The United States supplied arms or military technology to more than 92% of the conflicts under way in 1999. The costs to the families and communities afflicted by this violence is immeasurable. But to most arms dealers, the profit accumulated outweighs the lives lost. In the 1990's, over 65% of world arms deliveries were sold or given to developing nations, where lingering conflicts or societal violence can scare away potential investors.
--FAS, Introduction to Arms Sales
It was largely the Senior Bush and then president Clinton that catapulted the US into domination of the global arms market. In 1988 we had a 25% share, by 1994 that share was over 50%, and that number has kept rising since. I understand that this is partly due to an overall decrease in the international arms trade - which makes the subject indicative of US attitudes towards internationally cooperative policies that would contribute in some way towards real reductions in arms.
School of the Americas: Now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - an old dog with a new name.
Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians.
School alumni include: 48 out of 69 Salvadoran military members cited in the U.N. Truth Commission's report on El Salvador for involvement in human rights violations (including 19 of 27 military members implicated in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests),2 and more than 100 Colombian military officers alleged to be responsible for human rights violations by a 1992 report issued by several human rights organizations.3 School graduates have also included several Peruvian military officers linked to the July 1992 killings of nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University, and included several Honduran officers linked to a clandestine military force known as Battalion 316 responsible for disappearances in the early 1980s.4
--U.S. Army School of Americas: Background and Congressional Concerns
Andrew Bacevich expresses clearly a view that is increasingly encountered in mainstream American commentary, acknowledging for better or worse, a new imperial role for the United States: "..the question that Americans can no longer afford to dodge&emdash;is not whether the United States has become an imperial power. The question is what sort of empire they intend theirs to be." [Andrew J. Bacevich, American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002)244] Bacevich ends his book by stressing the importance of this acknowledgement of empire, insisting that concealing such an imperial reality will lead to "..not just the demise of the American empire but great danger for what used to be known as the American republic."
--Richard Falk, Will the Empire Be Fascist?
English rule in India is not bad because it is English, but because no race has yet appeared sufficiently strong in character to resist the temptations which come with irresponsible power.
--William Jennings Bryan; British Rule in India, New York Journal, 1899.
There's a fine line of difference between playing global hegemon and playing empire, but it's an important distinction. Though the phrase "benevolent hegemony" is as vulgar an oxymoron as is possible, if the USG allowed the exercise of its dominance over other nations to diffuse into a more democratic structures it doesn't follow that China or Russia would be able to swoop in and dominate those nations as though the US wasn't there. That was something of the promise of the UN beyond it's being a tool for inter-hegemon management, and it's still there if we want it, waiting for phrases like "cooperative security" and "globalization" to be injected with some meaning for real people.
There are always those dipsetic bores that shrug and issue forth such fatalistic banalities as "history is cruel", "mankind is inhuman", or "rape is like the weather". We should remember that history is filled with great romances, that to be human is to love, and that most days the weather is really quite nice and ought not be anthropomorphized by such brutal language.
the above material being my notes on American foreign policy and relevant 20th century history, comments, suggestions, and the like about errors, contentions, or affirment can be mailed to buermann[at]isp[d0t]nwu[dot]edu. All materials linked to, quoted from, and disabused of their appropriate context within the context of fair use, without permission from authors, organizations, or appropriate government agencies, foreign or domestic, all rights presumably reserved by the original authors.
Original material in the present document may be copied, distributed, and altered as prescribed by the Open Content License (OPL),
josh buermann © 2002,2003, 2004, 2005
Related timelines: (point and click to read)
- CCR: The Complete 9/11 Timeline
- US Foreign Policy in the Periphery: 30 case studies.
- PeaceWorks: Backgrounder on the current crisis
- The Acts of Democracies, 1945-Present.
- US Uses of Force 1870-1995 [pdf].
- US Crimes in Africa.
- CIA Death Squad Timeline compiled by Ralph McGehee.
- US Interventions in the Middle East - A Timeline.
- McGehee: CIA Death Squad Timeline
- A list of covert US operations, prepared by "Tom Gervasi of the Center for Military Research and Analysis in 1984".
- FAS: Coldwar and US Military Interventions.
- Zmag: Timeline of US Policy in the Middle East, US military interventions.
- Blum: US Assassination Plots. Read a full, non-objective accounting of disservices to the nation: Killing Hope. I haven't yet.
- American Peace
- US Intervention in the Middle East
- US Labor Timeline
- Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 - 1993
- imperial stats
Further resources: (point and click to read)
- American Studies Resources.
- 1975 Congressional Church Interim Report.
- Cold War International History Project.
The history of the American invasion of Haiti is only additional evidence that the United States is among those Powers in whose international dealings democracy and freedom are mere words, and human lives negligible in face of racial snobbery, political chicane, and money.
--Herbert J. Seligmann, "The Conquest of Haiti", The Nation, 1920.
END OF CURRENT POST
Among the current 538 published posts in my blog, I consider the following listed post-links and the RECTO READER as essential introduction about us native (indio)/ Malay Filipinos. The list is therefore always presented at the bottom of each newly issued post. Point-and-click at each item to open and read.