Peace process surges further ahead

There is “great rejoicing at the nation’s capital”. So says the morning’s paper.

The enemy’s fleet has been annihilated.

Mothers are delighted because other mothers have lost sons just like their own;

Wives and daughters smile at the thought of new-made widows and orphans;

Strong men are full of glee because other strong men are either slain or doomed to rot alive in torments;

Small boys are delirious with pride and joy as they fancy themselves thrusting swords into soft flesh, and burning and laying waste such homes as they themselves inhabit;

Another capital is cast down with mourning and humiliation just in proportion as ours is raised up, and that is the very spice of our triumph…

This is life–this is patriotism–this is rapture!

But we–what are we, men or devils? and our Christian capital–what is it but an outpost of Hell?

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Gaza leader’s death a coup for Israel
Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
The Sydney Morning Herald
(Telegraph, London; Guardian News & Media; Los Angeles Times)
January 3, 2009

“ISRAEL killed a senior Hamas commander, Nizar Rayan, with two laser-guided bombs that destroyed his home. Witnesses described Mr Rayan’s body being thrown out of the house in Jabaliya by the force of the explosions. Other family members also died in the blast, but there were conflicting accounts, with one saying that he was killed with four wives and two daughters, while another said he died with two wives and seven children. Mr Rayan’s death represents a coup in the eyes of Israel as he was one of their most hardline opponents and had called for suicide bomb attacks to restart…”

Oddly, “Officials warned Hamas had acquired dozens of Iranian-made Fajr-3 missiles, raising fears the nuclear warheads at Dimona, 30km east of Beersheba, had fallen within the Islamic militants’ sights” (Nuclear fear drives Israel’s hard line, Abraham Rabinovich, Jerusalem, The Australian, January 3, 2009); odd, because the Israeli state maintains the fiction that it may not have such weapons; further, Israel refuses Dimona be inspected by the IAEA. Nor is the Israeli state a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Weapons of Mass Destruction? What Weapons of Mass Destruction?

In the meantime, as Silverchair once sang, There’s people crying / There’s people dying / But someone’s taken it all, yeah.

Civilians suffer in densely populated Gaza, Taghreed El-Khodary, International Herald Tribune, January 1, 2009 | Harm to civilians during the fighting in Gaza and Southern Israel : Reports from Israeli human rights groups

Siege of Gaza
Cameron Stewart, Associate editor
The Australian
January 3, 2009

“THE magnitude of the gamble by Israel in launching a bloody military assault against the Gaza Strip and its trapped Palestinians is becoming more obvious by the day, although the conflict began well for Israel, militarily and politically. The cabinet, led by caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and the Israeli Defence Force succeeded in taking the militant Hamas party by surprise. The IDF pulverised Hamas targets in more than 500 aerial bombing raids in the six days since hostilities began. On Thursday, Israeli bombs killed a top Hamas leader, Nizar Rayyan, whose extremism was such that he allowed his son to become a suicide bomber…”

The real goal of the slaughter in Gaza
Jonathan Cook
The Electronic Intifada
January 1, 2009
Official Apathy: The Gaza Ghetto and Western Cant
Tariq Ali
December 30, 2008
Barack Obama on Siege, Killings in Gaza
Joshua Frank
The Palestine Chronicle
December 28, 2008

See also : The Guardian on Israel and the Palestinian territories

‘Anarchists’ block entrance to IAF base in protest of Gaza strikes
Ofri Ilani
January 2, 2009

Twenty-one members of the “Anarchists Against the Wall” group were arrested Friday morning after they blocked the entrance to the Sde Dov Israel Air Force base in North Tel Aviv.

The protestors, wearing white masks and covered in fake blood, laid on the street and played dead.

They said they were arrested after they left the road and were on the sidewalk.

Ayala, one of the protestors, said that the protest was meant to “show IAF pilots the results of their actions in Gaza. From thousands of feet in the air, a pilot who aims and presses a button can ignore, forget, or be unable to fathom that at that moment he killed innocent people. We came here to remind them of this.”

Also on Friday, clashes broke out between police and Israeli Arabs rock-throwers protesting the IAF raids in Gaza. In Tiberias on Thursday, some 15 youths burned tires and a Palestinian flag, in support of the operation in Gaza.

Kill for peace : “Operation Cast Lead”, December 28, 2008 | For Reasons of (Israeli) State (Policy), July 25, 2008 | Israel, Jews, the state, anarchism…, May 22, 2008 | For reasons of state #6,322, March 7, 2008…

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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16 Responses to Peace process surges further ahead

  1. Jamie R says:

    Did you write that initial quote? I can’t source it. Anyways…

    But we–what are we, men or devils? and our Christian capital–what is it but an outpost of Hell?

    Okay going to go beyond the theory of anarchism and back to nation-states and faiths and groups here…

    Bush is, still, a dull man, and a foolish one, political theorists call the government force, and that force is embodied in the metaphorical image of the sword, and Jesus warned that those who pick up the sword will die by it, which seems to be playing out with the Bush Administration’s longevity of its legacy. But that quote above, Evangelicals, particularly in the American South, continue to remain the most staunch supporters, outside the Jewish community itself, of Israel, and it doesn’t take a Michael Moore to recognise that while Muslims hit New York City on 9/11, they missed the engine of real support of Israel, which is not ‘Hymie Town’ as Jesse Jackson put it, but rather the Churches that dot the South where some Southerners also cheered those attacks as ‘death to the yankees’ (they see the Civil War as half-time). Surprisingly in the battle for Worldly Power, there are many things both Muslims and Christians have in common, which also goes for the most conservative Jews of Jewry who believe the only way out is through the Moral Laws their ancestors wrote down. Sadly, all tend to be seduced by force, varying degrees of violence mind you, but the modern world has seen more people killed by government than ever before in human history, so from where does real terror spring?

  2. @ndy says:

    Ernest Crosby, “War and Hell”, 1898. Written at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.

    Do not think that Jesus came to send peace upon earth: he came not to send peace, but the sword.

    The US is a very religious society. The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey Reveals a Fluid and Diverse Pattern of Faith, February 25, 2008, is neat. As for the influence of the Christian fundamentalists, it could be the Republicans’ undoing.

    I think that the attacks on 9/11 were directed at the key, symbolic elements of the US military and economic system — the Pentagon and the WTC — rather than at Jews or Christians as such.

    The rest I’ll let go through to the keeper.

  3. Jamie R says:

    Do not think that Jesus came to send peace upon earth: he came not to send peace, but the sword.

    Once again, context is everything, I could misquote many people by ignoring the context in which it is written, so, allow me:

    (Matthew 10: 34-41)

    34″Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
    ” ‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
    a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law –
    36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'[a]

    37″Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

    40″He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.

    So we see from this Jesus meant? The sword in terms of dividing his followers from those who would refuse such a difficult path. He did not mean fighting, since I could cite verses where he condemned his own followers for attempting such a path to victory. Jesus chose true martyrdom, he begged his followers to do the same at the hands of intolerance.

  4. Jamie R says:

    I think that the attacks on 9/11 were directed at the key, symbolic elements of the US military and economic system — the Pentagon and the WTC — rather than at Jews or Christians as such.

    It was a historical event and it was much more than just terrorism in world history, it was aimed at things in this day and age that more than Muslims were angry about, and that’s why it could represent popular appeal. I understand Bin Laden’s move, he’s not dumb, and he’s not just a bad guy, plenty of bad guys in this world, he’s not the biggest one, and he was a good guy against the Atheist Soviets for the religious-inclined in the 80s – for opposing communism and succeeding he was a hero. This is a guy that has earnt his credibility among those who feel underpowered against a current world system that has overpowered us.

  5. @ndy says:

    “So we see from this Jesus meant?”

    I’m going to destroy your family?

    Yeah, the attacks were historic.

      Chomsky: The horrendous terrorist attacks on Tuesday are something quite new in world affairs, not in their scale and character, but in the target. For the US, this is the first time since the War of 1812 that its national territory has been under attack, even threat.

    US imperialism does affect lots of people: hundreds of millions. Insofar as the terrorist attacks were seen as being a blow against empire, then I suppose they were welcomed. As far as I’m aware, it did very little to undermine US power except, perhaps, on the terrain of the spectacle.

    Bin Laden is rich, and clever. He also has a small but very devoted following. On the other hand, he’s one of a number of demagogues, and commands one of many competing sects. His ability to fight the Communists in Afghanistan, like that of many others, was highly dependent on US support.

    911 as chickens coming home to roost is not the most inappropriate metaphor.

    Interviewing Chomsky
    Radio B92, Belgrade
    September 18, 2001

    Q: Why do you think these attacks happened?

    Chomksy: To answer the question we must first identify the perpetrators of the crimes. It is generally assumed, plausibly, that their origin is the Middle East region, and that the attacks probably trace back to the Osama Bin Laden network, a widespread and complex organization, doubtless inspired by Bin Laden but not necessarily acting under his control. Let us assume that this is true. Then to answer your question a sensible person would try to ascertain Bin Laden’s views, and the sentiments of the large reservoir of supporters he has throughout the region. About all of this, we have a great deal of information. Bin Laden has been interviewed extensively over the years by highly reliable Middle East specialists, notably the most eminent correspondent in the region, Robert Fisk (London _Independent_), who has intimate knowledge of the entire region and direct experience over decades. A Saudi Arabian millionaire, Bin Laden became a militant Islamic leader in the war to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. He was one of the many religious fundamentalist extremists recruited, armed, and financed by the CIA and their allies in Pakistani intelligence to cause maximal harm to the Russians — quite possibly delaying their withdrawal, many analysts suspect — though whether he personally happened to have direct contact with the CIA is unclear, and not particularly important. Not surprisingly, the CIA preferred the most fanatic and cruel fighters they could mobilize. The end result was to “destroy a moderate regime and create a fanatical one, from groups recklessly financed by the Americans” (_London Times_ correspondent Simon Jenkins, also a specialist on the region). These “Afghanis” as they are called (many, like Bin Laden, not from Afghanistan) carried out terror operations across the border in Russia, but they terminated these after Russia withdrew. Their war was not against Russia, which they despise, but against the Russian occupation and Russia’s crimes against Muslims.

    The “Afghanis” did not terminate their activities, however. They joined Bosnian Muslim forces in the Balkan Wars; the US did not object, just as it tolerated Iranian support for them, for complex reasons that we need not pursue here, apart from noting that concern for the grim fate of the Bosnians was not prominent among them. The “Afghanis” are also fighting the Russians in Chechnya, and, quite possibly, are involved in carrying out terrorist attacks in Moscow and elsewhere in Russian territory. Bin Laden and his “Afghanis” turned against the US in 1990 when they established permanent bases in Saudi Arabia — from his point of view, a counterpart to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, but far more significant because of Saudi Arabia’s special status as the guardian of the holiest shrines.

    Bin Laden is also bitterly opposed to the corrupt and repressive regimes of the region, which he regards as “un-Islamic,” including the Saudi Arabian regime, the most extreme Islamic fundamentalist regime in the world, apart from the Taliban, and a close US ally since its origins. Bin Laden despises the US for its support of these regimes. Like others in the region, he is also outraged by long-standing US support for Israel’s brutal military occupation, now in its 35th year: Washington’s decisive diplomatic, military, and economic intervention in support of the killings, the harsh and destructive siege over many years, the daily humiliation to which Palestinians are subjected, the expanding settlements designed to break the occupied territories into Bantustan-like cantons and take control of the resources, the gross violation of the Geneva Conventions, and other actions that are recognized as crimes throughout most of the world, apart from the US, which has prime responsibility for them. And like others, he contrasts Washington’s dedicated support for these crimes with the decade-long US-British assault against the civilian population of Iraq, which has devastated the society and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths while strengthening Saddam Hussein — who was a favored friend and ally of the US and Britain right through his worst atrocities, including the gassing of the Kurds, as people of the region also remember well, even if Westerners prefer to forget the facts. These sentiments are very widely shared. The _Wall Street Journal_ (Sept. 14) published a survey of opinions of wealthy and privileged Muslims in the Gulf region (bankers, professionals, businessmen with close links to the U.S.). They expressed much the same views: resentment of the U.S. policies of supporting Israeli crimes and blocking the international consensus on a diplomatic settlement for many years while devastating Iraqi civilian society, supporting harsh and repressive anti-democratic regimes throughout the region, and imposing barriers against economic development by “propping up oppressive regimes.” Among the great majority of people suffering deep poverty and oppression, similar sentiments are far more bitter, and are the source of the fury and despair that has led to suicide bombings, as commonly understood by those who are interested in the facts.

    The U.S., and much of the West, prefers a more comforting story. To quote the lead analysis in the _New York Times_ (Sept. 16), the perpetrators acted out of “hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage.” U.S. actions are irrelevant, and therefore need not even be mentioned (Serge Schmemann). This is a convenient picture, and the general stance is not unfamiliar in intellectual history; in fact, it is close to the norm. It happens to be completely at variance with everything we know, but has all the merits of self-adulation and uncritical support for power.

    It is also widely recognized that Bin Laden and others like him are praying for “a great assault on Muslim states,” which will cause “fanatics to flock to his cause” (Jenkins, and many others.). That too is familiar. The escalating cycle of violence is typically welcomed by the harshest and most brutal elements on both sides, a fact evident enough from the recent history of the Balkans, to cite only one of many cases.

    Q: What consequences will they have on US inner policy and to the American self reception?

    Chomsky: US policy has already been officially announced. The world is being offered a “stark choice”: join us, or “face the certain prospect of death and destruction.” Congress has authorized the use of force against any individuals or countries the President determines to be involved in the attacks, a doctrine that every supporter regards as ultra-criminal. That is easily demonstrated. Simply ask how the same people would have reacted if Nicaragua had adopted this doctrine after the U.S. had rejected the orders of the World Court to terminate its “unlawful use of force” against Nicaragua and had vetoed a Security Council resolution calling on all states to observe international law. And that terrorist attack was far more severe and destructive even than this atrocity.

    As for how these matters are perceived here, that is far more complex. One should bear in mind that the media and the intellectual elites generally have their particular agendas. Furthermore, the answer to this question is, in significant measure, a matter of decision: as in many other cases, with sufficient dedication and energy, efforts to stimulate fanaticism, blind hatred, and submission to authority can be reversed. We all know that very well.

    Q: Do you expect U.S. to profoundly change their policy to the rest of the world?

    Chomsky: The initial response was to call for intensifying the policies that led to the fury and resentment that provides the background of support for the terrorist attack, and to pursue more intensively the agenda of the most hard line elements of the leadership: increased militarization, domestic regimentation, attack on social programs. That is all to be expected. Again, terror attacks, and the escalating cycle of violence they often engender, tend to reinforce the authority and prestige of the most harsh and repressive elements of a society. But there is nothing inevitable about submission to this course.

    Q: After the first shock, came fear of what the U.S. answer is going to be. Are you afraid, too?

    Chomsky: Every sane person should be afraid of the likely reaction — the one that has already been announced, the one that probably answers Bin Laden’s prayers. It is highly likely to escalate the cycle of violence, in the familiar way, but in this case on a far greater scale.

    The U.S. has already demanded that Pakistan terminate the food and other supplies that are keeping at least some of the starving and suffering people of Afghanistan alive. If that demand is implemented, unknown numbers of people who have not the remotest connection to terrorism will die, possibly millions. Let me repeat: the U.S. has demanded that Pakistan kill possibly millions of people who are themselves victims of the Taliban. This has nothing to do even with revenge. It is at a far lower moral level even than that. The significance is heightened by the fact that this is mentioned in passing, with no comment, and probably will hardly be noticed. We can learn a great deal about the moral level of the reigning intellectual culture of the West by observing the reaction to this demand. I think we can be reasonably confident that if the American population had the slightest idea of what is being done in their name, they would be utterly appalled. It would be instructive to seek historical precedents.

    If Pakistan does not agree to this and other U.S. demands, it may come under direct attack as well — with unknown consequences. If Pakistan does submit to U.S. demands, it is not impossible that the government will be overthrown by forces much like the Taliban — who in this case will have nuclear weapons. That could have an effect throughout the region, including the oil producing states. At this point we are considering the possibility of a war that may destroy much of human society.

    Even without pursuing such possibilities, the likelihood is that an attack on Afghans will have pretty much the effect that most analysts expect: it will enlist great numbers of others to support of Bin Laden, as he hopes. Even if he is killed, it will make little difference. His voice will be heard on cassettes that are distributed throughout the Islamic world, and he is likely to be revered as a martyr, inspiring others. It is worth bearing in mind that one suicide bombing — a truck driven into a U.S. military base — drove the world’s major military force out of Lebanon 20 years ago. The opportunities for such attacks are endless. And suicide attacks are very hard to prevent.

    Q: “The world will never be the same after 11.09.01”. Do you think so?

    Chomsky: The horrendous terrorist attacks on Tuesday are something quite new in world affairs, not in their scale and character, but in the target. For the US, this is the first time since the War of 1812 that its national territory has been under attack, even threat. Its colonies have been attacked, but not the national territory itself. During these years the US virtually exterminated the indigenous population, conquered half of Mexico, intervened violently in the surrounding region, conquered Hawaii and the Philippines (killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos), and in the past half century particularly, extended its resort to force throughout much of the world. The number of victims is colossal. For the first time, the guns have been directed the other way. The same is true, even more dramatically, of Europe. Europe has suffered murderous destruction, but from internal wars, meanwhile conquering much of the world with extreme brutality. It has not been under attack by its victims outside, with rare exceptions (the IRA in England, for example). It is therefore natural that NATO should rally to the support of the US; hundreds of years of imperial violence have an enormous impact on the
    intellectual and moral culture.

    It is correct to say that this is a novel event in world history, not because of the scale of the atrocity — regrettably — but because of the target. How the West chooses to react is a matter of supreme importance. If the rich and powerful choose to keep to their traditions of hundreds of years and resort to extreme violence, they will contribute to the escalation of a cycle of violence, in a familiar dynamic, with long-term consequences that could be awesome. Of course, that is by no means inevitable. An aroused public within the more free and democratic societies can direct policies towards a much more humane and honorable course.

  6. Jamie R says:

    My take is: Enter a chaotic and dysfunctional world, and it will not be resolved, but it will likely stretch out and come back on you.

    The USA was an isolationatist power right up to the time when it instituted a central bank (1913), which would prevent the ‘we the people’ part from stopping its actions, since it was made private and skirted around this bit in the Constitution: “The Congress shall have power … to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.” They skirted around it by saying the Congress handed over that power to the Federal Reserve. I’m sure if Americans were given a direct vote on it with two-thirds to pass like our Republic vote, it wouldn’t have passed. And since the Fed has obviously failed to fix the standard of weights and measures for one thing, it has become a beast out of anyone’s control.

    The central bank act alone led to more and more foreign intervention no longer just based on trade issues like the Barbary Pirates of North Africa in the early 19th century, and America was supposed to be a refuge from the conflicts and wars of Europe but by the end of WWII it was rebuilding Europe after more complicated and bloody disputes among the nations and monarchies there.

    See Ron Paul for what happens when an American attempts to go up against the powers that be with an outstanding record of principles, personal character, and nothing but what’s written in the Constitution to stand on. I saw him on CNN once when the Republican Primaries were still hot and they had manipulated his audio to go up and down like a crackpot. You just can’t win against that sort of power. You have to wait for it to collapse, but nuclear weapons muddy the future of such things, and there will come a point when those nukes advance beyond nation-states into private hands. Just a matter of time.

    I, personally, don’t like where the future is headed. But it is the path we’re on, science and technology is neutral, it is us humans that can use it for good or evil.

  7. Jamie R says:

    US imperialism does affect lots of people: hundreds of millions.

    A quick point here, the other powers that be are imperialist too, and would arguably be worse with US-style power. A Hugo Chavez run South America, Putin-run Russia or China would censor the internet and jail activists that run afoul of them if Google and Microsoft answered to them, and Muslims would impose taxes on Non-Muslims and segregrate society based on religion if they got their way – we don’t know what they’d do with nuclear weapons as Pakistan isn’t the greatest guide, but the future there could change at any point into a stricter Islamic-run one.

  8. @ndy says:

    “The USA was an isolationatist power right up to the time when it instituted a central bank (1913)…”

    I’m not so sure about that. That is, if by ‘isolationist’ you mean that the US state pursued a foreign policy which ruled out intervening in the affairs of other sovereign states. For example, prior to the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913, the US government sent US troops into:

      Argentina in 1890;
      Chile and Haiti in 1891;
      Hawaii in 1893 (while also annexing the kingdom);
      Nicaragua in 1894;
      China and Korea in 1894/5/6;
      Panama in 1895;
      Nicaragua in 1896;
      China in 1898–1900 (The Boxer Rebellion);
      The Philippines in 1898 (in which the US seized control of the country from the Spanish state following a war in which 100s of 1,000s of Filipin(a/o)s were killed;
      Cuba in 1898 (also seized from Spain, and in which the US still retains a naval base, now home to a notorious torture camp for prisoners of war);
      Puerto Rico in 1898 (control over which the US state still retains);
      Guam in 1898 (also stolen from the Spanish; still a US naval base)
      Nicaragua in 1898;
      Samoa in 1899;
      Nicaragua in 1899;
      Panama in 1901;
      Honduras in 1903;
      Dominican Republic in 1903/4;
      Korea in 1904/5;
      Cuba in 1906;
      Nicaragua and Honduras in 1907;
      Panama in 1908;
      Nicaragua in 1910;
      Honduras in 1911;
      China in 1911;
      Cuba in 1912;
      Panama in 1912;
      Honduras in 1912;
      Nicaragua in 1912 and so on and so forth.

    I’ve not referred to an earlier history, or the fact that the US, like Australia, was originally a British colony, and that the establishment and expansion of this colony required the large-scale extermination of its indigenous populations.

    I’m not sure what you think is the relationship between the Federal Reserve Act and US imperialism, or why, precisely, 1913 was a turning point, and the passage of this Act “led to more and more foreign intervention no longer just based on trade issues”; I’m also unsure what you think imperialism is, how it relates to trade, and what other issues might motivate a state to pursue an ‘imperialist’ foreign policy.

    I don’t really care all that much what “America was supposed to be”; I’d rather examine what happened before comparing this to official rhetoric. I don’t agree that WWII may be characterised as being about “complicated and bloody disputes among the nations and monarchies there”, but maybe I’m reading too much into your statement. For what it’s worth, I think that the US role in European reconstruction was complicated, but its broad economic and political framework may be understood by examining the official record (US planning documents).

    Finally, and briefly:

    Ron Paul is a wanker;
    the US has a long and fascinating history of political struggle, involving millions of its citizens, and constituting a much worthier subject of study;
    the possibility of a dirty bomb exploding in the US grows by the day, and nothing the US authorities are doing is making this awful fate any less likely;
    the rest I’ll discuss later.

  9. Jamie R says:

    America had a policy of non-entangling alliances, not absolute isolation, obviously they did trade all around the world, so by definition, that is not being ‘isolated’, all they cared about was protecting their own interests, not complicated relationships telling other nations how to arrange their affairs based on the forces of US treasure and military might.

    and that the establishment and expansion of this colony required the large-scale extermination of its indigenous populations.

    You make it sound like they were sent to ovens like the Jews, the world has a long and proud history of empires, maybe you should get acquainted with the thousands of years of documented human history and look beyond Europe to see that it is the same everywhere you go, it has just been their time the last thousand or so. Some empires become more advanced than others, some cultures, no, many historical cultures, have died out! That is how it has been and how it will continue to be, because that is, duh, human nature, if it wasn’t then history wouldn’t be so littered with story after story, every place you go.

    In this world might makes right. It’s not me stating my opinion or me stating something controversial. It has always been what it is. And in this world that might belongs to the West for now. But it will come to pass like all the others did. I believe we’re in such a time of transition, arguably to an alliance of Russia, China, South America, and, possibly, Iran.

    Ron Paul is a wanker

    Always willing to hear why, if you heard him on foreign policy he was going to withdraw the American Empire from the world, well over 150 bases of troops, back inside the USA. He was going to abolish most of the powers of the CIA, his intentions though, are to get rid of it, same goes for the central bank. And for many condemning American interventionism such a thing was music to their ears.

  10. Jamie R says:

    I don’t agree that WWII may be characterised as being about “complicated and bloody disputes among the nations and monarchies there”

    You might want to read about World War I and how it unfolded first. You don’t get World War II without WWI. To understand WWI there is enough history of disputes and wars in Europe to make your head spin for days.

    I’m not sure what you think is the relationship between the Federal Reserve Act and US imperialism

    It is financially-based imperialism, which if you look at how America’s problems have brought down all the other economies – which should bring about social upheaval in all of them – you can see it at work. What we’re seeing is a dollar-collapse which was brought about by the Federal Reserve, and it was responsible – briefly when history is looked back upon – for taking over the world, financially.

  11. Jamie R says:

    If you’re interested, Ron Paul has released a statement on the Gaza invasion:

  12. @ndy says:

    “America had a policy of non-entangling alliances, not absolute isolation, obviously they did trade all around the world, so by definition, that is not being ‘isolated’, all they cared about was protecting their own interests, not complicated relationships telling other nations how to arrange their affairs based on the forces of US treasure and military might.”

    OK. You appear to contradict yourself. One the one hand, you define ‘isolation’ as a refusal on the part of the US Government to sign formal alliances with other sovereign powers. On the other, you concede that the US state was concerned with protecting its interests abroad, only not to the extent of using financial or military might. In the context of US force, this is clearly not the case. As I demonstrated above, prior to 1913 and the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, the US Government sent troops into foreign territories on numerous occasions in order to protect its ‘national interests’ (it did so internally as well). As for US diplomacy during the period prior to 1913, I’m no expert, but it’s worth recalling the Monroe Doctrine (1823), which, while couched in terms of limiting European influence, essentially declared that the Americas were US property.

    See also : Noam Chomsky, Humanitarian Imperialism: The New Doctrine of Imperial Right, Monthly Review, September 2008.

    More later…

  13. @ndy says:
      You make it sound like they were sent to ovens like the Jews, the world has a long and proud history of empires, maybe you should get acquainted with the thousands of years of documented human history and look beyond Europe to see that it is the same everywhere you go, it has just been their time the last thousand or so. Some empires become more advanced than others, some cultures, no, many historical cultures, have died out! That is how it has been and how it will continue to be, because that is, duh, human nature, if it wasn’t then history wouldn’t be so littered with story after story, every place you go.

    If you interpret genocide to mean mass gassings, then yeah, I guess I do make it sound like colonisation is a Nazi device. But really, that’s just how it ‘sounds’ to you. The history of genocidal conquest is, obviously, long and complicated. The Bible, for example, contains all sortsa stories of mass murder and frequent Godly invocations to conduct genocidal campaigns on behalf of He Who Must Be Obeyed (Midianites, Amorites, Ethiopians, et cetera et cetera et cetera).

    In any case, believe it or not, I have examined world history outside of the confines of ‘post-Enlightenment’ Europe, and I am fully aware of the fact that empires come, and empires go. Or to put it another way: Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes.

    Nevertheless, human beings have been around a lot longer than a few thousand years, and for most of the species’ existence, empire has been absent. Thus Australia (we’re standing in it) has been occupied by human beings for anywhere from 10 to 80,000 years; empire emerged only 200 years ago as a foreign imposition. For further disco, see: ‘The Original Affluent Society’ by Marshall Sahlins.

    Regarding the relationship between the twentieth-century Holocaust (Shoah) and earlier European adventures, see also Sven Lindqvist’s rather excellent Exterminate All The Brutes. Review by David A. James:

    The Ester Republic
    (‘the national rag of the people’s republic of independent ester’)
    Vol.3, No. 5, May/June 2001

    “You already know enough. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.”

    With these words Sven Lindqvist both opens and closes Exterminate all the Brutes, a meditation on nineteenth-century European colonialism and the genocide that followed in its wake. Lindqvist, a Swede who grew up during World War Two, has been haunted his entire adult life by the words that form the title of his book. Drawn from Joseph Conrad’s 1898 classic Heart of Darkness, they form, in Lindqvist’s view, the essence of Europe’s attitude toward those subjugated in the expansion of national empires. In a book that is part travelogue, part history, and part literary criticism, the author heads deep into the Sahara Desert for a personal encounter with the underside of Europe’s era of world dominion.

    Armed with suddenly advancing technology in weaponry, the European powers and America were, in the late nineteenth century, suddenly able to assert their will over native peoples to an extent previously unheard of. Lindqvist tells a story of wholesale violence and destruction, and of those who found themselves in the way of European progress and who paid for this misfortune with their lives and their cultures. Without moral restraint, and with little more than a whimper of protest back home, Europeans engaged in a scorched-earth policy across the continents, leaving millions of corpses behind them. Believing themselves chosen by God to rule the world, they took without asking, and destroyed even those who attempted to cooperate. All this was done in the interest of “opening up markets” (how familiar these words sound).

    In science, Lindqvist notes, Europeans found further justification for their racism. Though much of what Charles Darwin discovered was initially shunned, the notion that superior species should displace inferior ones fit nicely into the ideology of imperialism. In European and American circles it became fashionable to believe that whites were the superior race, and many proclaimed it a favor to other races that they were slowly but efficiently being killed off. They had, in European eyes, outlived their usefulness. Even Darwin accepted this notion, according to Lindqvist, though to his credit he did express dismay at the treatment of South American Indians by the Spanish.

    Turning to Conrad, a fierce critic of imperialism, Lindqvist demonstrates how the Heart of Darkness character of Kurtz, who deep in the Congo engages in complete and uncontrolled carnage, represents Europe of the time. Rare among his fellow countrymen, Conrad understood the utter immorality of what England and the Great Powers were doing. Another critic, notes Lindqvist, was H.G. Wells, whose science fiction classic War of the Worlds was a thinly disguised commentary on colonialism. The invading Martians kill the residents of London indiscriminately, the British victims lacking the technology to fight back—a situation identical to that in Africa where the British mowed down everyone in their path.

    The ultimate theme of this book is Lindqvist’s belief that the Holocaust was not truly unique in European history, but rather was the culmination of European policy towards outsiders. For Hitler, fueled by anti-Semitism, the Jews were in the way of his plans for expansion. And like the Africans, Aborigines, and Native Americans before them, they needed to be eliminated. As Lindqvist puts it, “Auschwitz was the modern industrial application of a policy of extermination on which European world domination had long since rested.” The policy was only seen as a horror when it was applied to other Europeans.

    Today, little has changed. Even if we won’t admit it, we all know the sort of oppression on which our economic system rests. Lindqvist reminds us “(j)ust as educated Frenchmen in the 1950s and 1960s knew what their troops were up to in Vietnam and Algeria. Just as educated Russians in the 1980s knew what their troops did in Afghanistan, and educated South Africans and Americans during the same period knew what their “auxiliaries” were doing in Mozambique and Central America respectively. Just as educated Europeans today know how children die when the whip of debt whistles over poor countries. It is not knowledge that is lacking. The educated general public has always known what outrages have been committed and are being committed in the name of Progress, Civilization, Socialism, Democracy, and the Market… Everywhere in the world where knowledge is being suppressed, knowledge that, if it were made known, would shatter our image of the world and force us to question ourselves—everywhere there, Heart of Darkness is being enacted.”

    Lindqvist has studied history well. Few authors are able to apply its lessons to present realities with such force and moral conviction. This brief and highly disturbing book deserves a far wider audience than it has thus far received.

    Regarding the nature of being human, duh to you too.

    It’s often said that a stateless society might work if everyone were angels, but due to the perversity of human nature some hierarchy is necessary to keep people in line. It would be truer to say that if everyone were angels the present system might work tolerably well (bureaucrats would function honestly, capitalists would refrain from socially harmful ventures even if they were profitable). It is precisely because people are not angels that it’s necessary to eliminate the setup that enables some of them to become very efficient devils. Lock a hundred people in a small room with only one air hole and they will claw each other to death to get to it. Let them out and they may manifest a rather different nature. As one of the May 1968 graffiti put it, “Man is neither Rousseau’s noble savage nor the Church’s depraved sinner. He is violent when oppressed, gentle when free.”

    Others contend that, whatever the ultimate causes may be, people are now so screwed up that they need to be psychologically or spiritually healed before they can even conceive of creating a liberated society. In his later years Wilhelm Reich came to feel that an “emotional plague” was so firmly embedded in the population that it would take generations of healthily raised children before people would become capable of a libertarian social transformation; and that meanwhile one should avoid confronting the system head-on since this would stir up a hornet’s nest of ignorant popular reaction.

    Irrational popular tendencies do sometimes call for discretion. But powerful though they may be, they are not irresistible forces. They contain their own contradictions. Clinging to some absolute authority is not necessarily a sign of faith in authority; it may be a desperate attempt to overcome one’s increasing doubts (the convulsive tightening of a slipping grip). People who join gangs or reactionary groups, or who get caught up in religious cults or patriotic hysteria, are also seeking a sense of liberation, connection, purpose, participation, empowerment. As Reich himself showed, fascism gives a particularly vigorous and dramatic expression to these basic aspirations, which is why it often has a deeper appeal than the vacillations, compromises and hypocrisies of liberalism and leftism.

    In the long run the only way to defeat reaction is to present more forthright expressions of these aspirations, and more authentic opportunities to fulfill them. When basic issues are forced into the open, irrationalities that flourished under the cover of psychological repression tend to be weakened, like disease germs exposed to sunlight and fresh air. In any case, even if we don’t prevail, there is at least some satisfaction in fighting for what we really believe, rather than being defeated in a posture of hesitancy and hypocrisy.

    There are limits on how far one can liberate oneself (or raise liberated children) within a sick society. But if Reich was right to note that psychologically repressed people are less capable of envisioning social liberation, he failed to realize how much the process of social revolt can be psychologically liberating. (French psychiatrists are said to have complained about a significant drop in the number of their customers in the aftermath of May 1968!)

    The notion of total democracy raises the specter of a “tyranny of the majority.” Majorities can be ignorant and bigoted, there’s no getting around it. The only real solution is to confront and attempt to overcome that ignorance and bigotry. Keeping the masses in the dark (relying on liberal judges to protect civil liberties or liberal legislators to sneak through progressive reforms) only leads to popular backlashes when sensitive issues eventually do come to the surface.

    Examined more closely, however, most instances of majority oppression of minorities turn out to be due not to majority rule, but to disguised minority rule in which the ruling elite plays on whatever racial or cultural antagonisms there may be in order to turn the exploited masses’ frustrations against each other. When people get real power over their own lives they will have more interesting things to do than to persecute minorities.

    So many potential abuses or disasters are evoked at any suggestion of a nonhierarchical society that it would be impossible to answer them all. People who resignedly accept a system that condemns millions of their fellow human beings to death every year in wars and famines, and millions of others to prison and torture, suddenly let their imagination and their indignation run wild at the thought that in a self-managed society there might be some abuses, some violence or coercion or injustice, or even merely some temporary inconvenience. They forget that it is not up to a new social system to solve all our problems; it merely has to deal with them better than the present system does — not a very big order.

    If history followed the complacent opinions of official commentators, there would never have been any revolutions. In any given situation there are always plenty of ideologists ready to declare that no radical change is possible. If the economy is functioning well, they will claim that revolution depends on economic crises; if there is an economic crisis, others will just as confidently declare that revolution is impossible because people are too busy worrying about making ends meet. The former types, surprised by the May 1968 revolt, tried to retrospectively uncover the invisible crisis that their ideology insists must have been there. The latter contend that the situationist perspective has been refuted by the worsened economic conditions since that time.

    Actually, the situationists simply noted that the widespread achievement of capitalist abundance had demonstrated that guaranteed survival was no substitute for real life. The periodic ups and downs of the economy have no bearing on that conclusion. The fact that a few people at the top have recently managed to siphon off a yet larger portion of the social wealth, driving increasing numbers of people into the streets and terrorizing the rest of the population lest they succumb to the same fate, makes the feasibility of a postscarcity society less evident; but the material prerequisites are still present.

    The economic crises held up as evidence that we need to “lower our expectations” are actually caused by over-production and lack of work. The ultimate absurdity of the present system is that unemployment is seen as a problem, with potentially labor-saving technologies being directed toward creating new jobs to replace the old ones they render unnecessary. The problem is not that so many people don’t have jobs, but that so many people still do. We need to raise our expectations, not lower them.

  14. Jamie R says:

    OK. You appear to contradict yourself. One the one hand, you define ‘isolation’ as a refusal on the part of the US Government to sign formal alliances with other sovereign powers. On the other, you concede that the US state was concerned with protecting its interests abroad, only not to the extent of using financial or military might.

    The term ‘isolationist power’ has been used historically to cite what the United States was compared to the world, check what has been written by scholars greater than me, in the 19th century it was deemed this up until WWI in the early 20th century.

    Obviously using the term isolationist means you can nit-pick away, but the US wasn’t involved in rebuilding Europe the Middle East or Asia, so I think you get what I mean, and then you’ll get why it was an oft-used term for the USA prior to WWI.

  15. Jamie R says:

    Nevertheless, human beings have been around a lot longer than a few thousand years, and for most of the species’ existence, empire has been absent.

    If you ask me, a lack of technology to travel (Age of Discovery in Europe) would be the most-telling reason why humans didn’t conquer other humans (for instance Islam in the early days only conquered where it could reach by land), but if you talk to feminists, they’ll lambast you about the cavemen and what they did to women, they subjugated them! (That’s all they could reach apart from food back then and it’s what they wanted, they didn’t know about money.)

    Thus Australia (we’re standing in it) has been occupied by human beings for anywhere from 10 to 80,000 years; empire emerged only 200 years ago as a foreign imposition.

    Well first, I’m sitting in it (you can roll your eyes now I thought it was worth a lame joke), but I will refute this and say it emerged as a growth in technology and science from the Enlightenment period. Because that very growth is going to be responsible, in the future, for further genocides, this time much more precision-guided due to the technology.

    I’ve never agreed with what the Unabomber did, but I do agree that religion has existed for thousands of years and not wiped humans out, but it’s technology under the guidance of modern science that can wipe this world out ten times over. The Unabomber argued that his bombings were extreme but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization. That large-scale organisation and databasing of every human alive… you could imagine what a Stalin or Hitler would be capable of with it. So the Unabomber: just another nutter, or a misguided prophet?

  16. @ndy says:


    On the use of the term ‘isolationist’ to describe US foreign policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: yeah, I know the term is used; I dispute its accuracy. That is, I disagree with the conventional wisdom that US foreign policy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was truly ‘isolationist’. Apart from demonstrating that little people who live in little countries matter little, I think the term describes a period of declining European power (especially British) and an ascendant US. The breaking up of old empires created new territories within which new empires could emerge.

    “…but the US wasn’t involved in rebuilding Europe the Middle East or Asia”: dunno what this means.

    Regarding empire, technology and travel: I think history is a lot more complicated, and so too the origins of class society and the state.

    Re British Empire: I’m not sure we’re reading from the same book, let alone the same page. My point was simple: for a very very very long time, ‘Australia’ was inhabited by people who did not construct a government, state or empire. This would tend to suggest, as does history generally, that human life is certainly possible, if not necessarily desirable, in the absence of such social institutions.

    Re Unabomber: Um, OK…

    US wars of aggression and intervention
    William Blum

    The engine of American foreign policy has been fuelled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but by the necessity to serve other imperatives:

    1) to make the world safe for American corporations;
    2) to enhance the financial statements of defence contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of Congress;
    3) to prevent the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;
    4) to extend political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a “great power”.

    All of this in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.

    The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period. Among these were the following:

    From China to Cambodia

    China 1945-49: The US intervened in a civil war, taking the side of Chiang Kai-shek against the communists, even though the latter had been a much closer ally of the United States in the world war. The US used defeated Japanese soldiers to fight for its side. The communists forced Chiang to flee to Taiwan in 1949.

    Italy 1947-48: Using every trick in the book, the US interfered in the elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power legally and fairly.

    This perversion of democracy was done in the name of “saving democracy” in Italy. The Communists lost.

    For the next few decades, the CIA, along with US corporations, continued to intervene in Italian elections, pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars and much psychological warfare to block the spectre that was haunting Europe.

    Greece 1947-49: Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left which had fought the Nazis courageously.

    The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a new internal security agency, KYP. Before long, KYP was carrying out all the endearing practices of secret police everywhere, including systematic torture.

    Philippines 1945-53: US military fought against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders.

    After the war, the US continued its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as President, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

    South Korea 1945-53: After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favour of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments.

    Albania 1949-53: US and Britain tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the communist government and install a new one that would have been pro-Western and composed largely of monarchists and collaborators with Italian fascists and Nazis.

    Germany 1950s: The CIA orchestrated a wide-ranging campaign of sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks, and psychological warfare against East Germany. This was one of the factors which led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.

    Iran 1953: Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint US and British operation. Mossadegh had been elected to his position by a large majority of parliament, but he had made the fateful mistake of spearheading the movement to nationalise a British-owned oil company, the sole oil company operating in Iran.

    The coup restored the Shah to absolute power and began a period of 25 years of repression and torture, with the oil industry being restored to foreign ownership, as follows: Britain and the US, each 40 per cent, other nations 20 per cent.

    Guatemala 1953-1990s: A CIA-organised coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of death-squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling well over 100,000 victims — indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century.

    Arbenz had nationalised the US firm, United Fruit Company, which had extremely close ties to the American power elite.

    As justification for the coup, Washington declared that Guatemala had been on the verge of a Soviet takeover, when in fact the USSR had so little interest in the country that it didn’t even maintain diplomatic relations with it.

    The real problem in the eyes of Washington, in addition to United Fruit, was the danger of Guatemala’s social democracy spreading to other countries in Latin America.

    Middle East 1956-58: The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States “is prepared to use armed forces to assist” any Middle East country “requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism”.

    The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the Middle East and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, “communist”.

    In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian Government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to US-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome Middle-East nationalism.

    Indonesia 1957-58: Sukarno, like Nasser, was the kind of Third World leader the United States could not abide. He took neutralism in the Cold War seriously, making trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well).

    He nationalised many private holdings of the Dutch, the former colonial power. And he refused to crack down on the Indonesian Communist Party, which was walking the legal, peaceful road and making impressive gains electorally.

    Such policies could easily give other Third World leaders “wrong ideas”.

    Thus it was that the CIA began throwing money into the elections, plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phoney sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the Government. Sukarno survived it all.

    British Guyana, 1953-64: For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader from occupying his office.

    Cheddi Jagan was another Third World leader who tried to remain neutral and independent. He was elected three times.

    Although a leftist — more so than Sukarno or Arbenz — his policies in office were not revolutionary. But he was still a marked man, for he represented Washington’s greatest fear: building a society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model.

    Using a wide variety of tactics — from general strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms, the US and Britain finally forced Jagan out in 1964.

    John F Kennedy had given a direct order for him to be outed as, presumably, had Eisenhower.

    One of the better-off countries in the region under Jagan, Guyana, by the 1980s, became one of the poorest. Its principal export became people.

    Vietnam, 1950-73: The slippery slope began by siding with the French, the former colonisers and collaborators with the Japanese, and against Ho Chi Minh and his followers who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American.

    Ho Chi Minh had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America’s help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. All his entreaties were ignored.

    For he was some kind of communist. Twenty-three years, and more than a million dead, later, the United States withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Most people say that the US lost the war.

    But by destroying Vietnam to its core, and poisoning the earth and the gene pool for generations, Washington had in fact achieved its main purpose: preventing what might have been the rise of a good development option for Asia. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist.

    Cambodia 1955-73: Prince Sihanouk was yet another leader who did not fancy being an American client. After many years of hostility towards his regime, including assassination plots and the infamous Nixon/Kissinger secret “carpet bombings” of 1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Sihanouk in a coup in 1970.

    This was all that was needed to impel Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces to enter the fray. Five years later, they took power.

    But five years of American bombing had caused Cambodia’s traditional economy to vanish. The old Cambodia had been destroyed forever.

    Incredibly, the Khmer Rouge were to inflict even greater misery upon this unhappy land. To add to the irony, the United States supported Pol Pot, militarily and diplomatically, after the subsequent defeat of the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese.

    From the Congo to Greece

    The Congo/Zaire 1960-65: In June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became the Congo’s first Prime Minister after independence from Belgium. But Belgium retained its vast mineral wealth in Katanga province and prominent Eisenhower administration officials had financial ties to the same wealth.

    Lumumba, at Independence Day ceremonies before a host of foreign dignitaries, called for the nation’s economic as well as its political liberation, and recounted a list of injustices against the natives by the white owners of the country.

    The poor man was obviously a “communist”. The poor man was obviously doomed. Eleven days later, Katanga province seceded.

    In September, Lumumba was dismissed by the President at the instigation of the United States and in January 1961 he was assassinated at the express request of Dwight Eisenhower.

    There followed several years of civil conflict and chaos and the rise to power of Mobutu Sese Seko, a man not a stranger to the CIA. Mobutu went on to rule the country for more than 30 years, with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers.

    The Zairian people lived in abject poverty despite the country’s plentiful natural wealth, while Mobutu became a multi-billionaire.

    Brazil 1961-64: President Joao Goulart was guilty of the usual crimes. He took an independent stand in foreign policy, resuming relations with socialist countries and opposing sanctions against Cuba.

    His administration passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinationals could transmit outside the country; a subsidiary of ITT was nationalised; he promoted economic and social reforms.

    US Attorney-General Robert Kennedy was uneasy about Goulart allowing “communists” to hold positions in government agencies. Yet the man was no radical.

    He was a millionaire land-owner and a Catholic. That, however, was not enough to save him. In 1964, he was overthrown in a military coup that had deep, covert American involvement.

    The official Washington line was … yes, it’s unfortunate that democracy has been overthrown in Brazil … but, still, the country has been saved from communism.

    For the next 15 years, all the features of military dictatorship which Latin America has come to know were instituted: Congress was shut down, political opposition was reduced to virtual extinction, habeas corpus for “political crimes” was suspended, criticism of the President was forbidden by law.

    Trade unions were taken over by government, mounting protests were met by police and military firing into crowds, peasants’ homes were burned down, priests were brutalised.

    Disappearances, death squads, a remarkable degree of depravity, torture … the government had a name for its program: the “moral rehabilitation” of Brazil.

    Washington was very pleased. Brazil broke relations with Cuba and became one of the United States’ most reliable allies in Latin America.

    Dominican Republic, 1963-66: In February 1963, Juan Bosch took office as the first democratically elected President of the Dominican Republic since 1924. Here at last was John F Kennedy’s liberal anti-communist, to counter the charge that the US supported only military dictatorships.

    Bosch’s government was to be the long sought “showcase of democracy” that would put the lie to Fidel Castro.

    Bosch was true to his beliefs. He called for land reform; low-rent housing; modest nationalisation of business; and foreign investment provided it was not excessively exploitative of the country.

    A number of American officials and Congressmen expressed their discomfort with Bosch’s plans, as well as his stance of independence from the United States.

    Land reform and nationalisation are always touchy issues in Washington, the stuff that “creeping socialism” is made of. In several quarters of the US press Bosch was red-baited.

    In September, the military boots marched. Bosch was out. The United States, which could discourage a military coup in Latin America with a frown, did nothing.

    Nineteen months later, a revolt broke out which promised to put the exiled Bosch back into power. The United States sent 23,000 troops to help crush it.

    Cuba 1959 to present: Fidel Castro came to power at the beginning of 1959. A US National Security Council meeting of March 10, 1959 included on its agenda the feasibility of bringing “another government to power in Cuba”.

    There followed 40 years of terrorist attacks, bombings, full-scale military invasion, sanctions, embargoes, isolation, assassinations … Cuba had carried out The Unforgivable Revolution, a very serious threat of setting a “good example” in Latin America.

    Indonesia 1965: A complex series of events, involving a supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points, resulted in the removal of President Sukarno from power and his replacement by General Suharto.

    The massacre that began immediately — of communists, communist sympathisers, suspected communists, suspected communist sympathisers, and none of the above — was called by the New York Times “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history”.

    The estimates of the number killed in the course of a few years begin at half a million and go above a million.

    It was later learned that the US Embassy had compiled lists of “communist” operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres, as many as 5,000 names, and turned them over to the army, which then hunted those persons down and killed them.

    The Americans would then check off the names of those who had been killed or captured. “It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands”, said one US diplomat.

    “But that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.”

    Chile, 1964-73: Salvador Allende was the worst possible scenario for a Washington imperialist. He could imagine only one thing worse than a Marxist in power — an elected Marxist in power, who honoured the constitution, and became increasingly popular.

    This shook the very foundation stones upon which the anti-communist tower was built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that “communists” can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorising and brainwashing the population.

    After sabotaging Allende’s electoral endeavour in 1964, the CIA and the rest of the American foreign policy machine failed to do so in 1970, despite their best efforts.

    Over the next three years they left no stone unturned in their attempt to destabilise the Allende Government, paying particular attention to building up military hostility.

    Finally, in September 1973, the military overthrew the Government. Allende died in the process.

    Thus it was that they closed the country to the outside world for a week, while the tanks rolled and the soldiers broke down doors; the stadiums rang with the sounds of execution and the bodies piled up along the streets and floated in the river.

    The torture centres opened for business; subversive books were thrown to the bonfires; soldiers slit the trouser legs of women, shouting that “In Chile women wear dresses!”; the poor returned to their natural state; and the men of the world in Washington and in the halls of international finance opened up their cheque-books.

    In the end, more than 3,000 had been executed, thousands more tortured or disappeared.

    Greece 1964-74: The military coup took place in April 1967, just two days before the campaign for national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as Prime Minister.

    Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections.

    The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece.

    The 1967 coup was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month.

    This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a “communist takeover”.

    Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory.

    However, it was torture, usually in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States, which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare.

    James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote in December 1969: “Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid.

    “He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance: `You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the US. You can’t fight us, we are Americans.'”

    From East Timor to Yugoslavia

    East Timor, 1975 to present: In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, and which had proclaimed its independence after Portugal had relinquished control of it.

    The invasion was launched the day after US President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia after giving President Suharto permission to use American arms which, under US law, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia was Washington’s most valuable tool in Southeast Asia.

    Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000.

    The United States consistently supported Indonesia’s claim to East Timor (unlike the UN and the EU), and downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree.

    At the same time the US supplied Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry out the job.

    Nicaragua 1978-89: When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978, it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast — “another Cuba”.

    Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms.

    Under Reagan, violence was the method of choice. For eight terribly long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington’s proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza’s vicious National Guardsmen and other supporters of the dictator.

    It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the government, burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbours, bombing and strafing. These were Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters”.

    There would be no revolution in Nicaragua.

    Grenada 1979-84: What would drive the most powerful nation in the world to invade a country of 110,000?

    Maurice Bishop and his followers had taken power in a 1979 coup. Although their actual policies were not as revolutionary as Castro’s, public appearances by the Grenadian leaders in other countries of the region met with great enthusiasm.

    Washington was again driven by its fear of “another Cuba”. US destabilisation tactics against the Bishop Government began soon after the coup and continued until 1983, featuring numerous acts of disinformation and dirty tricks.

    The US invasion in October 1983 met minimal resistance, although the US suffered 135 killed or wounded; there were also some 400 Grenadian casualties, and 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.

    What conceivable human purpose these people died for has not been revealed. At the end of 1984, a questionable election was held. It was won by a man supported by the Reagan administration.

    One year later, the human rights organisation, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, reported that Grenada’s new US-trained police force and counter-insurgency forces had acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, and abuse of authority, and were eroding civil rights.

    In April 1989, the government issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, the Prime Minister suspended parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called “an increasingly authoritarian style”.

    Libya 1981-89: Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity. He would have to be punished.

    US planes shot down two Libyan planes in what Libya regarded as its air space. The US also dropped bombs on the country, killing at least 40 people, including Qaddafi’s daughter.

    There were other attempts to assassinate the man, operations to overthrow him, a major disinformation campaign, economic sanctions, and blaming Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence.

    Panama, 1989: Washington’s mad bombers strike again. December 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City wiped out, 15,000 people left homeless.

    Counting several days of ground fighting against Panamanian forces, 500-something dead was the official body count (what the US and the new US-installed Panamanian Government admitted to).

    Other sources, with no less evidence, insisted that thousands had died; 3,000-something wounded. Twenty-three Americans dead, 324 wounded.

    Question from reporter: “Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?”

    George Bush: “Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it.”

    Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was not the only motive for the attack.

    Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if they re-elected the Sandinistas.

    Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force, even after the very recent dissolution of the “Soviet threat”.

    The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega’s drug trafficking, which Washington had known about for years and had not been at all bothered by.

    Iraq 1990s: Relentless bombing for more than 40 days and nights, against one of the most advanced nations in the Middle East, devastating its ancient and modern capital city.

    177 million pounds of bombs falling on the people of Iraq, the most concentrated aerial onslaught in the history of the world; using depleted uranium weapons and incinerating people, causing cancer.

    Chemical and biological weapon storages and oil facilities blasted, poisoning the atmosphere to a degree perhaps never matched anywhere; soldiers buried alive, deliberately.

    The infrastructure destroyed, with a terrible effect on health; sanctions continued to this day multiplying the health problems; perhaps a million children dead by now from all of these things, even more adults.

    Iraq was the strongest military power amongst the Arab states. This may have been their crime.

    Noam Chomsky has written: “It’s been a leading, driving doctrine of US foreign policy since the 1940s that the vast and unparalleled energy resources of the Gulf region will be effectively dominated by the United States and its clients and, crucially, that no independent, indigenous force will be permitted to have a substantial influence on the administration of oil production and price.”

    Afghanistan 1979-92: Everyone knows of the unbelievable repression of women in Afghanistan, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists, even before the Taliban.

    But how many people know that during the late 1970s and most of the 1980s,
    Afghanistan had a government committed to bringing the incredibly backward nation into the 20th century, including giving women equal rights?

    What happened, however, is that the United States poured billions of dollars into waging a terrible war against this government, simply because it was supported by the Soviet Union.

    Prior to this, CIA operations had knowingly increased the probability of a Soviet intervention, which is what occurred. In the end, the United States won, and the women, and the rest of Afghanistan, lost.

    More than a million dead, three million disabled, five million refugees, in total about half the population.

    El Salvador, 1980-92: Salvador’s dissidents tried to work within the system. But with US support, the government made that impossible, using repeated electoral fraud and murdering hundreds of protesters and strikers. In 1980, the dissidents took to the gun, and civil war.

    Officially, the US military presence in El Salvador was limited to an advisory capacity. In actuality, military and CIA personnel played a more active role on a continuous basis.

    About 20 Americans were killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas, and considerable evidence surfaced of a US role in the ground fighting as well.

    The war came to an official end in 1992; 75,000 civilian deaths and the US Treasury depleted by US$6 billion.

    Meaningful social change has been largely thwarted. A handful of the wealthy still own the country, the poor remain as ever, and dissidents still have to fear right-wing death squads.

    Haiti, 1987-94: The US supported the Duvalier family dictatorship for 30 years, then opposed the reformist priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile, the CIA was working intimately with death squads, torturers and drug traffickers.

    With this as background, the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend — because of all their rhetoric about “democracy” — that they supported Aristide’s return to power in Haiti after he had been ousted in a 1991 military coup.

    After delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help the poor at the expense of the rich, and that he would stick closely to free-market economics.

    This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving literally starvation wages.

    Yugoslavia, 1999: The United States set about bombing the country back to a pre-industrial era. It would like the world to believe that its intervention was motivated only by “humanitarian” impulses.

    Perhaps the above history of US interventions, can help one decide how much weight to place on this claim.

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