Archive for May, 2009

American Christian Corporate Gospel

May 26, 2009

                                                                                                          AMERICAN CHRISTIAN CORPORATE GOSPEL

Gospel:  Prosperity

Highest Spiritual Value: Wealth

Doctrine (Known as “Word of Faith”): God rewards one’s faith almost always in the form of abundance of wealth

Theology: Consecration of Wallets

Misson Statement: “Give generously and you will receive generously from God”

(The hitch with the mission statement is: why do corporate gospel preachers NOT receive generously from God directly? Why do they expect generous gifts from human beings, and ask their audience to “expect generous rewards from God”?)

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American Dream

May 26, 2009

                                                                                                                                AMERICAN DREAM

                                                                                                                                  High Consumption

                                                                                                                             Compulsive Acquisition

                                                                                                                                  Instant Gratification

Gospel of Mammon

May 21, 2009

The Gospel of Mammon

Unrestrained corporate greed-based capitalism has also entered religion. The “faith statement”: “IN GOD WE TRUST” on the “Mighty” Dollar, and the prayer: “Bow your heads and drop to your knees, brothers and sisters! Feel the power of the Holy Dollar coursing through your being as you humbly offer your prayers, exaltations and gratitude to Mighty Mammon!”, though ironic, reflect the reality, that is, the mammonization of God and religion. The “gospel entrepreneurs” with their claims of unhindered direct access to God craftily unite God and Mammon with their make-rich-quick “good news”. These “gospel entrepreneurs”, particularly megachurches and televangelists, subscribe to corporate standards of operation with wealth as the highest “spiritual” value, and prosperity as their gospel. They advocate marketing approach to Christ and Christian religion and give optimistic messages intended to “make people feel good about themselves”. Their philosophy is to make the church as uninterfering and entertaining as possible in order to attract more “customers” into the “spiritual corporate company”. Their doctrine, known as Word of faith, is essentially that God rewards one’s faith almost always in the form of an abundance of wealth. They keep reminding the members the law of reciprocity: “give generously and you will receive generously from God”. Consecration of wallets is their theology. This “spiritual culture” is not only in step with the corporate greed culture around, but also funneling crores of dollars annually into the coffers of these “spiritual corporate companies”.

The number of God’s millionaires is on the raise. The owners of the Megachurches and televangelists “receive” enormous salaries.  For example, an American televangelist, who visits India every year to proclaim “the power of the Word of faith” and has a $9 crore-a-year turnover from the “corporate gospel business”, was “paid” an annual salary of $9,00,000 and her husband, the Ministries’ Board vice president, $4,50,000 in 2002 and 2003. After the criticisms, she currently receives an annual salary of $2,50,000. Although the law in America states that the tax-exempt religious property “cannot be held for private or corporate profit,” according to a report, among other personal benefits reaped from the “corporate gospel ministry”, the evangelist of the God of mammon has a $20 lakh house and receives a separate $5 lakh annual housing allowance (apart from the utilities and maintenance bills paid by the ministries), is provided with free personal use of a $1 crore corporate jet and luxury cars including $1,07,000 silver-gray Mercedes Sedan, and authorized to use a fund of $7,90,000 “at their discretion”. This “gospel entrepreneur” also receives a portion of the $30 lakh a year in royalties earned from books and tapes sold (even though in reality it was the employees who help in writing). The board consists of the evangelist, her spouse, their children, and friends. The list of the ministry’s personal property worth nearly $57 lakhs of furniture, artwork, glassware, and the latest equipment and machinery includes: $49,000 conference table with six chairs, $11,000 clock, $1,05,000 boat, $42,200 worth of ten vases, and a $5,700 porcelain crucifixion. Of the $9 crore annual “profits” from the “gospel business” the ministry spends 10% on charitable works around the world, including India.  

Observer reports about another popular American televangelist to whom the combination of Ministry and Mammon has provided with a net worth estimated at between $20 crores and $100 crores. It gives an example of the way he raised money for a “noble cause” in Africa. Through an emotional fundraising drive on his TV station (this Christian television network is also popular in India), the evangelist raised several crore dollars for his tax-free charitable trust. It is said that he gave $70 lakhs to alleviate the misery of refugees fleeing genocide in Rwanda. More interesting is the way the funds were used in Africa. He bought planes to shuttle medical supplies in and out of the refugee camp in Goma, Congo (previously called Zaire). However, an investigative reporter discovered that over a six-month period, except for one medical flight, the planes were used to supply equipment for a diamond mining operation at a distance from Goma. It was found that he actually flew on one plane ferrying equipment to his mines. The spokesperson of his Ministries countered the criticism that by diverting the planes for diamond mining, the evangelist was actually carrying out God’s work. He further told that the planes proved unfit for supplying medicine, and so the evangelist used them for the diamond hunt which, if successful, would have freed the people of the Congo from lives of starvation and poverty.

Thus, Christian ministry has become a corporate business with the owners of these spiritual corporate companies becoming wealthy on the pretext of serving the poor and the needy. The God of mammon obscures the God of Jesus Christ, and the gospel of greed the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

 

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part VIII

 

Torture

One year and three months after US President G.W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 depicted Saddam Hussein as an embodiment of evil – “Iraqi refugees tell us how forced confessions are obtained – by torturing children while their parents are made to watch. International human rights groups have catalogued other methods used in the torture chambers of Iraq: electric shock, burning with hot irons, dripping acid on the skin, mutilation with electric drills, cutting out tongues, and rape. If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning” – the Abu Ghraib scandal broke out in April of 2004.

The horrific and inhuman treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of the US military and the CIA interrogators revealed the nature of the American system of peace and freedom. The shocking torture photographs of Iraqi prisoners were chilling: a pyramid of unclothed prisoners, a naked detainee cowering in front of snarling dogs, captives wearing punitive hoods, American soldiers grinning over Iraqi dead bodies, and the thumbs-up sign. Salon obtained a DVD containing the material, which includes a CID (the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command) investigation report written on June 6, 2004 by Special Agent James E. Seigmund. The report includes the following summary of the material:

“A review of all the computer media submitted to this office revealed a total of 1,325 images of suspected detainee abuse, 93 video files of suspected detainee abuse, 660 images of adult pornography, 546 images of suspected dead Iraqi detainees, 29 images of soldiers in simulated sexual acts, 20 images of a soldier with a Swastika drawn between his eyes, 37 images of Military Working dogs being used in abuse of detainees and 125 images of questionable acts.”

According to the CID investigation report, all the photographs and videos were taken between October 18, 2003 and December 30, 2003. Some of the CID documents refer to CIA personnel as interrogators of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

The behavior of the American torturers is appalling and shocking. Rather than being ashamed of their inhuman conduct, the torturers took photos and videos of their despicable treatment of the Iraqi prisoners as souvenirs. They commemorated their sadistic cruelty with a visual record. The Americans were not at all troubled by their sadism as expressed by a photo where an Army sergeant was completing his official paperwork next to a hooded and naked Iraqi prisoner. The torture carried out by the Americans in Iraq was routine. As Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of HRW, says, “The brazenness with which these (American) soldiers conducted themselves, snapping photographs and flashing the ‘thumbs-up’ sign as they abused prisoners, suggests they felt they had nothing to hide from their superiors.” The prisoners’ abuse in Iraq under the US custody is a violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which prohibit “outrages upon the personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” against any detainee. Mistreatment that amounts to “torture or inhuman treatment” is a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions or a war crime. 

The Abu Ghraib photos also reveal that the heinous abuse of Iraqi prisoners under the US custody led to Iraqi deaths. The CID investigation report included 546 images of dead Iraqi detainees. An Abu Ghraib photo shows a dead body packed in ice. The dead person was Mandel al Jamadi, who was a “ghost detainee”. In violation of the Geneva Conventions, the US held a number of Iraqis secretly without any record. The ghost detainee operation was run in the Intelligence Wing of the prison. According to this operation, “The CIA would covertly deliver prisoners, interrogate them and remove them. The Army would house the detainees in the intelligence wing – with no official record of their existence – and military police would take them to and from CIA interrogations.” Jamadi was first captured in Iraq and abused by the American military Special Forces. He was then handed over to the CIA for interrogation at Abu Ghraib. Jamadi died there on November 4, 2003. The military investigators declared his death a homicide. But according to the Army autopsy, Jamadi died as a result of “blunt force injuries complicated by compromised respiration.”

The torture by the Americans has also included families of Iraqi prisoners. The torturers indulged in torturing children of the prisoners in order to make the prisoners “talk”. Army Spc. Samuel Provance, a whistle blower of the US military abuse, alleged that the US interrogators “broke” Hamid Zabar, an Iraqi General, by abusing his 16-year old son. When they failed to make Zabar “talk” even after 14 hours of interrogation, the frustrated interrogators stripped his son naked, doused him with mud and water. Then, the American interrogators drove him around in a truck in a January night, and made his father watch his son suffering. Provance told: “During the interrogation, they could not get him to talk. They said, ‘OK, we are going to let you see your son.’ They allowed him to see his son in this shivering, freezing, naked state…That just totally broke his heart and that is when he said, ‘I’ll tell you what you want to know.’”

The American sadistic cruelty in Iraq known to the world is only a tip of the iceberg. Major General Antonio Taguba, who led the first military investigation into human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, said that the material not yet publicly disclosed or mentioned in subsequent trials included a video showing “a male American soldier in uniform sodomising a female detainee”. The first wave of images that Taguba received also included images of sexual humiliation between a father and his son.

The systemic torture of Iraqi prisoners by the Americans was confirmed by the testimony of Army Captain Ian Fishback and two sergeants from the 82nd Airborne Division. In September 2005 they wrote to ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and told the Human Rights Watch that they witnessed torture of prisoners near Fallujah, Iraq, in 2003 and early 2004. Some of the same tactics depicted in the Abu Ghraib photos were used. The death of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush in 2003 in US custody in northern Iraq, adds to the list of the US torture victims. Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr., an Army Interrogator, bound him, stuffed him in a sleeping bag, and then sat on Mowhoush’s chest in an effort to get information about the Iraqi insurgency. As a result, the Iraqi general suffocated and died. Another confirmation of torture of Iraqis by the American crusaders comes from Tony Lagouranis, a specialist in a military intelligence battalion. He interrogated prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Al Asad Airfield and other places in Iraq from January through December of 2004. He said that coercive techniques, including the use of dogs, waterboarding and prolonged stress positions, were employed on the detainees. The prisoners held at Al Asad Airfield, about 110 miles northwest of Baghdad, were shackled and hung from an upright bed frame welded to the wall in a room in an airplane hanger. Lagouranis confessed, “I started realizing that most of the prisoners were innocent…We were torturing people for no reason.”

The torture of Iraqi prisoners under the US custody is in compliance with torture policies authorized by the American officials. Mary McCarthy, a CIA Deputy Inspector General, realized that the CIA had not only conducted abusive interrogations but also policies that authorized treatment that was cruel, inhumane or degrading. According to the HRW, Iraqi prisoners’ abuse in US custody in Iraq is systemic, routine and authorized. HRW further notes that the detainees routinely faced severe beatings, sleep deprivation and other abuses during 2003-2005.

Some of the torture techniques implemented by the Americans in Iraq are in violation of Geneva Conventions. On September 25, 2008 before the Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Capitol Hill, Air Force Instructor and Iraq veteran Colonel Steven Kleinman testified that “he witnessed a deliberate program of what he called “punishment” against Iraqi prisoners.” According to him, “forced nudity, sleep deprivation and painful shackling were all used against those who wouldn’t cooperate with US interrogators.” These techniques are “the same as those taught in a Pentagon program to prepare US service members for what they would experience under foreign captors who don’t respect the Geneva Conventions.” The Pentagon’s program is called Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE). The physical and psychological pressures used in SERE resistance training include: sensory deprivation, sleep disruption, stress positions, waterboarding and slapping. The Joint Personal Recovery Agency (JPRA) manual talks about “coercive pressures” like keeping the lights on always, and treating a person (enemy) like an animal.

However, Kleinman failed to report that the torture programs implemented by the CIA and the US Military Intelligence in Iraq and elsewhere are the decades-long programs developed by these two agencies. McCoy says that the Abu Ghraib photos of prisoners in hooding, stress positions, extreme intimidation with ferocious dogs and sexual humiliation reveal the psychological and physical torture that the CIA has been employing for years. Realizing that the psychological torture produces better results than the physical torture, the CIA in 1950s and 1960s was involved in a program called Mkultra. As a result, “(f)rom 1950 to 1962, the CIA became involved in torture through a massive mind-control effort, with psychological warfare and secret research into human consciousness that reached a cost of a billion dollars annually—a veritable Manhattan Project of the mind.” The PSYWAR methods developed in Mkultra have been “refined” as described in the CIA’s torture manual KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation and the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983 (HRE). The methods described in these two documents include: forced drugging, hooding, sexual humiliation, extended sensory deprivation, prolonged interrogation, environmental and dietary manipulation, beatings, stress positions and other methods of “self-inflicted pain.” Kleinman informed that he witnessed an Iraqi prisoner forced to kneel beneath a spotlight and repeatedly hit across the face with every answer he gave, and the interrogators were baffled when he tried to stop the beating.

The documents released in June of 2008 by the Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) confirm that the top officials in Washington have approved the methods used in SERE resistance training to be used on prisoners under US custody. The SASC released a new set of documents that throw additional light on the origins of US torture policies. Mark Mazzetti reports: “The documents provide new details about the still-murky early months of the C.I.A.’s detention program, when the agency began using a set of harsh interrogation techniques weeks before the Justice Department issued a written legal opinion in August 2002 authorizing their use. Congressional investigators have long tried to determine exactly who authorized these techniques before legal opinion was completed.”

It is now evident that the top officials of the Bush administration not only discussed in the White House about torturing “enemy combatants”, but also gave a formal legal authority to use torture methods on them.

The US’ Justice

When the Abu Ghraib torture and killing came to light the Bush administration blamed low-ranking soldiers. The administration ignored high ranking officials and those in Washington, who not only authorized torture but also gave orders. This has generated severe criticism from human rights groups. Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of the HRW, said, “It is clear that the United States has not taken the issue of prisoner abuse seriously enough.”

The American soldiers, who were convicted by US military courts, were given lenient sentences. The military jury at Fort Carson in Colorado that heard murder charges against Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer (who tortured and killed Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush in 2003) delivered a shocking verdict — a sentence amounting to a slap on the wrist. Lynndie England, a 23-year old reservist who was photographed giving a thumbs-up sign in front of naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib, was sentenced for three years. Sgt. Michael J. Smith, 24-year old Army dog handler, was sentenced for six months. Prosecutors said that Smith let his unmuzzled black Belgian shepherd bark and lunge at cowering Iraqis for his own amusement. The defense argued that Smith was following orders to soften up prisoners for interrogation. Smith was unrepentant when he addressed the jury shortly after he was convicted. He said, “Soldiers are not supposed to be soft and cuddly.” Smith also regretted for not getting his orders from higher officials in writing.

Therefore, the divinely commissioned mission of bringing peace and freedom to Iraq by God’s chosen country has degenerated into a repugnant monstrosity. The self-proclaimed liberators have been involved in oppressing and terrorizing Iraqis. They have taken savage pleasure in inflicting pain, and killing innocent and defenseless Iraqi men, women and children. The American crusaders have not only commemorated their sadistic cruelty with a visual record, but also eulogized it. The US sponsored terrorism, mythified as “holy, legal and legitimate” to bring peace and freedom, has led to the slaughter of innocent Iraqi men, women and children. John Pilger wrote: “The scale of death caused by the British and U.S. governments may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, making it the biggest single act of mass murder of the late 20th century and the 21st century.” The death and destruction caused by the US in Iraq is nothing but celebration of American bloodthirsty god in a holocaust of innocent human flesh and blood.

Thus, the myth of the US being the protector and promoter of peace and freedom has been exposed. It recently showed up in the newly launched Global Peace Index’s (GPI) ranking of 121 countries in 2007 and 140 countries in 2008. Not surprisingly, the US was ranked 96 in 2007 and 98 in 2008.

Conclusion

American imperial power has mythified imperial violence as “holy, legal and legitimate” to promote and protect peace and freedom by exterminating evil. This violence is sacred violence. Because it is claimed to be divinely mandated to fulfill the sacred mission of defeating evil, and bringing peace and freedom. The persuasive power of this myth promoted by the imperial power may be seen in overwhelming public unanimity to the “holy, legal and legitimate” slaughter of innocent people and destruction of other countries’ political, civil and economic structures. International wars cease to recur, because independent nations cease to exist. For they are provinces of an all embracing empire. They no longer pose any challenge or threat to the hegemony of the imperial power. The American imperial power celebrated these conditions as peace and freedom.

 In the process of establishing the imperial system of peace and freedom, the imperial power destroys the voice and language of its victim(s). It perpetuates its story about the victim and its genocidal violence against the victim. Therefore, the myth of the imperial system of peace and freedom needs to be disclosed, redeeming the language and reconstructing the “shattered voice” of the victim.

 

 

 

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part VII

 

Reality Check

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (eleventh edition), “reality check” means “something that clarifies or serves as a reminder of reality often by correcting a misconception.” The post-US invasion of Iraq scenario clarifies the claims of the US about the “preventive war” against Iraq as its divine mission against a “cruel” dictator and his “evil” regime, and to liberate the “oppressed people of Iraq” (G.W. Bush in the State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003, declared: “we are called to defend the safety of our people and the hopes of all mankind… Tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation”). The US “preventive war” against Iraq was presented as a conflict between good and evil and to purge Iraq of evil.

The US’ Plans to Turn Iraq into a Colony

The real motives of the US are unfolding as the death and destruction continue in Iraq. A combination of a long-term military presence in Iraq and US direct control of Iraqi oil is at the horizon. For the US, it is important that Iraq is under its control as a colony, because Iraq contains the second largest oil reserves in the world. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), “Iraq holds more than 112 billion barrels of oil – the world’s second largest proven reserves. Iraq also contains 110 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and is a focal point for regional and international security issues.”

In November 2007, US President G.W. Bush and Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed a “Declaration of Principles,” which is a preliminary US-Iraq political, economic and security agreement. The purpose of this Declaration of Principles is to establish “cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and security fields.” The Declaration left open the possibility of an indefinite long-term US military presence in Iraq to “protect” the sovereignty of Iraq. Long-term military presence in Iraq was a motive of the US occupation of Iraq. On April 20, 2003 The New York Times reported that the US is “planning long-term military relationships with Iraq”. The “security agreement” is nothing but a plan to convert a sovereign country into a permanent colony establishing a permanent American military base. This agreement also gives legal immunity to American soldiers and mercenaries like Blackwater. They can also carry out raids on Iraqi homes without the permission of the Iraqi government, and arrest Iraqi citizens. Khalaf al-Alyan, a member of parliament from the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF), told Iraqi media (Voices of Iraq) that “The Iraqi-U.S. agreement contains several items that impinge upon the sovereignty of Iraq, including the right of the U.S. forces in Iraq to attack any nation and raid any Iraqi house and arrest people without prior permission from the Iraqi government”.

The Declaration also contains a reference to the economy of Iraq, which means its oil resources. It states that the economy must be open to foreign investment, “especially American investments.” Control of Iraqi oil was a motive of the US “preventive war” against Iraq. This was confirmed by the documents released under the Freedom of Information Act from a National Energy Task Force chaired by Dick Cheney in early 2001. Cheney’s Energy Task Force authored a variety of documents relating to the oil industries of Iraq, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. The document Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts, dated March 5, 2001, includes a table listing 30 countries which have interests in Iraq’s oil industry. The document also includes the names of companies that have interests, the oil fields with which those interests are associated, as well as the status of those interests. The documents include a map of Iraq’s oil fields with markings for “super giant” oil fields of 5 billion barrels or more, other oilfields, fields “earmarked for production sharing,” oil pipelines, operational refineries, and tanker terminals.

After the occupation of Iraq, the US designed the Iraqi Oil Law and made the passage of this law as a benchmark for the Iraqi government to fulfill. This law changes the existing nationalized oil system to a privatized system in which potentially two-thirds of all of Iraq’s oil could be owned by foreign oil companies, and they could control the production with as long as thirty-year contracts. Under the proposed law, Iraq’s immense oil reserves would not only be opened to foreign oil exploration, but the executives of the transnational oil companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil, British Petroleum and other Western oil giants would actually be on the Board of Directors of the new Federal Oil and Gas Council that would control all of Iraq’s reserves. Iraq’s own national oil company would become just another competitor. The new law would grant the Federal Oil and Gas Council virtually all power to develop policies and plans for undeveloped oil fields, and to review and change all exploration and production contracts. Under the production-sharing agreements provided for in the law, companies would not come under the jurisdiction of Iraqi courts in the event of a dispute, nor go to the general auditor. G.W. Bush, who boasted in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003 that the “free” American people “know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation”, drafted the Iraqi Oil Law in secret, undemocratically and under its military occupation.

The new $600 million American embassy in the “Green Zone” in Baghdad explains the real intentions of the US. This is the largest embassy in the world, occupying 104 acres with 21 buildings and facilities. It has its own electricity and water systems. It will eventually house a US staff of 5000. Ironically, this is housed in Saddam Hussein’s former palace, indicating that the Iraqi dictator is replaced by an imperial power.

The US Use of Nuclear and Chemical Weapons in Iraq

In order to protect and promote the imperial system of peace and freedom, the US has developed the doctrine of “preventive war”. According to this, it can attack first with “the full force and might of the United States military” (as Bush declared in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003) any country or people it deems a “threat” to its national security. Enemy is usually someone or a country that challenges the American imperial system of peace and freedom. The use of “full force and might” of the US includes the possibility of employing nuclear weapons. Edward M. Kennedy, Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, deplored:
Notion of a first-strike use in Iraq carries the seed of world disaster. A dangerous world just grew more dangerous. Reports that the administration is contemplating the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in Iraq should set off alarm bells that this could not only be the wrong war at the wrong time, but it could quickly spin out of control. Initiating the use of nuclear weapons would make a conflict with Iraq potentially catastrophic...The reports of a preemptive nuclear strike are consistent with the extreme views outlined a year ago in President Bush's Nuclear Posture Review and with the administration's disdain for long-standing norms of international behavior. According to these reports, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has directed the U.S. Strategic Command to develop plans for employing nuclear weapons in a wide range of new missions, including possible use in Iraq to destroy underground bunkers. Using the nation's nuclear arsenal in this unprecedented way would be the most fateful decision since the nuclear attack on Hiroshima. Even contemplating the first-strike use of nuclear weapons under current circumstances and against a nonnuclear nation dangerously blurs the crucial and historical distinction between conventional and nuclear arms. In the case of Iraq, it is preposterous.

 It has been reported that the US has used chemical weapons in Iraq. In the March of 2005 edition of Field Artillery, a magazine published by the US Army, officers from the 2nd Infantry’s Fire Support Element boasted about their role in the attack on Falluja in November of 2004:

“WP (White Phosphorus) proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE (high explosive). We fired ‘shake and bake’ missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out.”

 The usage of white phosphorus by the US on the people was confirmed by a reporter embedded with the Marines in the April of 2004 siege of Falluja. This reporter narrated: “”‘Gun up!’ Millikin yelled … grabbing a white phosphorus round from a nearby ammo can and holding it over the tube. ‘Fire!’ Bogert yelled, as Millikin dropped it. The boom kicked dust around the pit as they ran through the drill again and again, sending a mixture of burning white phosphorus and high explosives they call ‘shake’n’bake’ into… buildings where insurgents have been spotted all week.”

White phosphorus can be legally used to illuminate the battlefield or to produce smoke screen to hide troop movements from the enemy. It is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for “Military purposes… not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare.” However, it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be “any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm”.

After denying it at first, the Pentagon admitted in November of 2005 that white phosphorous was used in Fallujah. In addition, depleted uranium munitions, which contain low-level radioactive waste, were used heavily in Fallujah. The Pentagon admitted to having used 1200 tons of depleted uranium in Iraq. The effect of the usage of this “special weaponry” by the US is showing on babies born in Fallujah. Many thousands of illnesses, deformities and deaths among infants are reported. What G.W. Bush accused Saddam in his State of the Union address in January 28, 2003, – “The dictator who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages-leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured” – Bush himself is doing to the people of Iraq. This proves that the US is capable of using its weapons of mass destruction on people and is a threat to the peace, freedom and security of people and the sovereign countries in which they live. 

The US’ Brutality

The self-proclaimed “civilized” country (US) that has boasted to be God’s chosen instrument to bring peace and freedom to the “oppressed” Iraqis, has brought death and destruction. The country that has been “liberated” from the bondage of the Iraqi “dictator” is experiencing the “fruits” of the American imperial system of peace and freedom.

Since the US led violence against the Iraqi people in March of 2003, the death and displacement of the owners of the land are increasing at an alarming rate. According to reports, over one million Iraqis died. At least 4.6 million Iraqis are displaced, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). By the end of 2007, about 2.4 millions are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and about 2 million have become refugees just in Syria and Jordan. In other words, many have become homeless in their own land, while others have been driven from their land into other countries resulting in homelessness. The US and its allies have destroyed civilian infrastructure and services, including health care and education. Child malnutrition in Iraq has increased from 19% in 2003 to 28% in 2007. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 800000 Iraqi children are unable to go to school and only 40% of children can access safe drinking water. Due to the US violent invasion of Iraq “a large number of children, estimated in the tens of thousands, have lost parents, siblings and other family members to violence.” It reports that “childhood in Iraq is more precarious than ever” and “living with so much anxiety and loss has taken a heavy toll on children’s psychological and social well-being. Many are war-weary, unable to sleep or concentrate at school.” Thus, an entire generation of Iraqi children have been terrorized and traumatized. 

Along with death and destruction, prisons are mushrooming in Iraq under the US occupation. These have become centers of detention of defenseless men, women and children without charges and without due legal process. They have also become centers of psychological and physical torture in violation of international laws. According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW) there are about 21,000 prisoners held in Iraq by the US forces. It reports:

The detainees – all Iraqis, save for a small number of foreigners – are effectively denied their basic right not to be held indefinitely without charge or trial. Many are young men rounded up in mass, arbitrary arrests…On average detainees remain in custody for more than 300 days, according to MNF (US-led Multinational Force-Iraq) figures as of May (2008). The detainees divided between a remote prison near Basra and a smaller one near Baghdad’s airport, have little access to relatives, who in many cases cannot afford to visit or fear reprisal.

HRW further comments that these prisoners have “no meaningful access to legal counsel and no judicial review – both of which detainees are entitled to under international law.” It notes that “There are 360 children among the detainees, down from 500 in May (2008). Many have been held for months and some for more than a year.”

Kidnapping

Kidnapping of suspects and their families is a method employed by the US “liberating” forces in Iraq. Corporal Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader of the US brutality at Abu Ghraib prison, told investigators that the US military routinely kidnapped family members to force “suspects” to surrender. However, he did not specify who was involved in kidnapping Iraqis, as a broad range of the US forces were operating at Abu Ghraib, including the CIA and Special Operations troops. According to a memorandum among the documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through the Freedom of Information Act, Special Operations troops, working with an elite unit called Task Force 6-26 (TF), allegedly abducted a 28-year old wife of a “suspected” Iraqi in Tarmiya, Iraq, on May 9, 2004. The memorandum, a formal complaint titled “Report of Violations of the Geneva Conventions,” was filed in June of 2004 by a 14-year veteran Intelligence Officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. In the memorandum the officer described what had happened when he took part in a raid on an Iraqi “suspect’s” house in Tarmiya: “During the pre-operation brief it was recommended by TF personnel that if the wife were present, she be detained and held in order to leverage the primary target’s surrender.” When the Americans raided the house, they found the wife of the Iraqi “suspect”. The officer noted, “The 28-year-old woman had three young children at the house, one being as young as six months and still nursing,” and she was held in prison for two days.

Killing and Rape

The Iraqi resistance to the US occupation has brought brutality out of the US “liberators”. They have been killing not only Iraqis who are zealously resisting the occupation of their land, but also Iraqi men, women, children and the old, who are defenseless and had no capacity to cause harm.

The cold blooded massacre of 24 innocent, defenseless men, women and children in Haditha on November 19, 2005 has epitomized the US troops’ deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians. This was described as an act of terror and President G.W. Bush’s My Lai. This massacre came to light in March of 2006, when Time reported about it. Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas was killed in the early morning of November 19, 2005 by a roadside explosive device. In the hours that followed, Marines searched three houses, killing a total of 24 people. This cold-blooded killing has brought severe criticism from people around the world. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki criticized the US military for what he described as habitual attacks against civilians. “It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily phenomenon,” bemoaned Muayed al-Anbaki, the Chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association. Jack Murtha, a senior House Democrat with close ties to the US military, claimed that US Marines wantonly killed innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children. However, the statement of Rumsfeld, then Defense Secretary, proved right that the word “regret” is generally missing in the American vocabulary. Rumsfeld’s adulation of the “exemplary” American soldiers continued even in the wake of their sadistic cruelty. He reiterated the American myth of innate goodness of Americans: “We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts things that shouldn’t happen, do happen…We don’t expect U.S. soldiers to act that way, and they’re trained not to.” As a result of the Haditha massacre, the US Army announced that US troops in Iraq were to have “training on ethics”, forgetting that their very presence in Iraq was unethical and illegal.

Haditha is not an isolated incident. On March 15, 2006 the US soldiers killed the entire family of a schoolteacher in Ishaqi, 100km north of Baghdad. The eleven people killed included four women and five children, one as young as six months old. After killing them the US soldiers blew up the building in order to erase traces of their crime. However, the video tape obtained by the BBC showed clear gunshot wounds on the dead bodies.

News about the sadistic cruelty of the American soldiers continues to see the light. Testifying at a US base near the Iraqi city of Tikrit about the murder of three Iraqi detainees by four US paratroopers, Private First Class Bradley Mason said that the American murderers smiled before shooting them dead and even threatened to kill him if he revealed their crime. Mason also testified that the soldiers had been ordered to “kill all the male insurgents” in an operation on May 9, 2006. In some instances the American crusaders slew entire Iraqi families in order to satisfy their sexual gratification. In Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad, US soldiers noticed a woman while they were patrolling the area. They were attracted to the woman. On a tragic day five American soldiers went to her house and killed four of her family members. Then they raped the woman and killed her. An Army official commented that it was a “crime of opportunity”. The lust and cruelty of the US soldiers have even stooped to the level of raping a 15-year old Iraqi girl. In March of 2006 two US soldiers, who were attracted to Abeer Qasim Hamza, a 15-year old school girl, went to her house in the night. After killing her father, mother and a little sister in the bedroom, they raped Abeer repeatedly, shot her dead and burned her body.

The US soldiers’ brutality is epitomized by a video posted on the YouTube website. This video, called “Hadji Girl”, shows a serving US Marine in uniform strumming a guitar and singing about killing Iraqis, while his colleagues laughed and cheered. It also refers to Iraqis as “hajis”, a term usually applied to someone who has completed the pilgrimage to Mecca, but commonly used among the US troops as a derogatory term for the Iraqis. The four-minute song includes graphic descriptions of killings. Dressed in a green T-shirt and military style trousers and boots, the American “liberator” sings: “I grabbed her little sister and put her in front of me. As the bullets began to fly, the blood sprayed from between her eyes, and then I laughed maniacally.”

Commenting on the American sadistic cruelty, the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, at a United Nations-Sponsored Conference on Transitional Justice in July 2006, criticized that the American government wanted Iraq “to stay under the American boot…We know there was a corrupt regime in Saddam, but a regime should be removed by surgery, not by butchering…The U.S. occupation is butcher’s work under the slogan of democracy and human rights and justice.”

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part VI

 

The US’ Lies and Deception Exposed

There is growing evidence that God’s chosen country (US) was involved in deliberate lies and distortions of intelligence information to support a premeditated invasion of Iraq. Looking at American history discloses that this was not the first time that the US administration has fabricated “righteous intentions” to indulge in death and destruction on foreign land. The Gulf of Tonkin is a known story.   

The US allegations about Iraq’s possession of chemical and biological weapons, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons, were proved to be nothing but fabrications of the US to justify its “preventive war” against Iraq.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

According to Scott Ritter, former Marine Corps Intelligence Specialist and former Head of the United Nations Weapons Inspections in Iraq from 1991 until 1998, The United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) accounted for and dismantled 94% of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. He says, “As a former weapons inspector with the United Nations, I was intimately familiar with the fraudulent case made by the Bush administration before the 2003 invasion, and had quite publicly challenged the president’s allegations” Since the Bush administration knew all along that Iraq did not possess weapons of mass destruction, it did not allow the UN inspectors to have more time to verify the US allegations about these weapons in Iraq. This is evident in Bush’s State of the Union speech, where he demanded Saddam Hussein to disclose (nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction: “The 108 U.N. inspectors were sent to conduct — were not sent to conduct a scavenger hunt for hidden materials across a country the size of California. The job of the inspectors is to verify that Iraq’s regime is disarming. It is up to Iraq to show exactly where it is hiding its banned weapons, lay those weapons out for the world to see, and destroy them as directed.”

The issue for Bush was NOT whether or not Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, BUT whether or not Iraq disarmed. The US president had reiterated that this was the issue with Saddam Hussein/Iraq (in the State of the Union speech, he used the term “disarm” at least five times in relation to Saddam Hussein/Iraq). Naturally Saddam Hussein was blamed for NOT DISARMING THE NONEXISTENT WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

Mobile Labs

G.W. Bush, in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003, referred to “mobile biological weapons labs”: “From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to place to evade inspectors.” A key source for this allegation was an Iraqi Chemical Engineer Rafid Ahmed Alwan, codenamed “Curveball”. In November of 1999 Alwan defected to Germany seeking political asylum. He told the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Federal Intelligence Service of Germany, that Saddam had developed mobile labs to produce biological weapons. However, by summer 2002 the BND officials realized that his testimony was nothing but “watercooler gossip”. Because Alwan never claimed to have been involved in the production of the biological weapons, nor did he see anyone else do so. The BND officials warned the CIA about the veracity of the testimony of the “Curveball”. But the CIA kept these doubts aside. This resulted in the mobile biological weapons labs becoming a central allegation both in G.W. Bush’s State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003, and Colin Powell’s presentation to the United Nations in February of 2003. Commenting on Powell’s presentation a senior BND officer, who supervised Curveball’s case, said, “We were shocked. We had always told them it was not proven.” Ironically, the American investigators, after the invasion of Iraq, found in the personal file of Alwan that he was a low-level trainee engineer. He was not a chief or site engineer as the CIA had claimed. Moreover, Alwan was dismissed in 1995, the year he claimed to have started working on the biological weapons mobile labs.

Uranium from Africa

G.W. Bush declared in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 that “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” This was a reference to the alleged purchase of uranium by Iraq from Niger. This claim was based on intelligence documents that originated in Italy.

Carlo Bonini, an Italian reporter, broke the Niger story that the Italian documents were forged by the SISMI (Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare), Military Intelligence and Security Service Agency of Italy. According to Peter Eisner, a veteran Correspondent and Co-Author of “The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq”, the CIA and other members of the intelligence community had heard from the SISMI in the first few days after September 11, 2001 about uranium purchases or attempts to buy uranium from Niger. By early 2002 they actually had a version of one document saying that this had taken place. He further says:

“Many parts of the CIA, from the outset, as early as September and October of 2001, did not believe that Iraq…was attempting to buy uranium or, in fact, trying to restart its nuclear program – did not need to buy uranium in Niger, because it already had uranium. Second of all, SISMI was not providing the source. It was not saying how it was getting the information. And third of all, they tended to doubt SISMI, in any case, because it’s got reliability problem among Western intelligence agencies. So well before, more than a year before President Bush’s State of the Union message, it was gravely doubted by key members of the intelligence community. ”   

The CIA, with the help of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent, asked her husband Joseph Wilson, former Ambassador to Iraq during the Gulf War, to investigate the allegation about the Niger-Iraq uranium trade. One month after President Bush declared that major combat operations were over in Iraq, Wilson wrote a stinging op-ed piece in The New York Times in July of 2003 titled “What I Did Not Find in Africa.” In an interview with Democracynow in May of 2004 Wilson said:

“What it catalogued was a trip out to Niger at the request of the CIA, acting in response to a question by the Vice President to check out allegations that Iraq had attempted to purchase significant quantities of uranium from that country. Now, it was a very important question, because, after all, Iraq would have only one use for uranium, and that would be nuclear weapons programs. And that would have been the one piece of incontrovertible evidence that he was attempting to reconstitute nuclear weapons programs, which would have lent some credence to the notion that the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud. I came back. I said there was nothing to this. Mine was one of three reports in the files of the US government that said there was nothing to this, which should have been reassuring to those who had sent us out, including the Vice President and the National Security Advisor (Stephen Hanley). Instead, of course, the President makes a statement in the State of the Union address, and as it turns out, he referred to British intelligence, which happened to be the same information. But he referred to British intelligence, because the CIA wouldn’t clear his making that claim unless it was caveated by going through a third intelligence service. So there was real active deception there. This was not just an accident. This was not a slip of the tongue. These were people who wanted to put something in there that was actually deceptive to the US Congress and to the American people.”

Moreover, in summer of 2001 the French Intelligence Agency checked the evidence about the alleged Niger-Iraq uranium trade. Again in the summer of 2002, honoring the request of the CIA, a group of the French intelligence officers in Africa checked and ruled out the credibility of the Italian documents. However, the Bush administration chose to consider these findings as one of the opinions on the Niger-Iraq uranium trade.

Anthrax Attacks

Bush in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003 alleged: “The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25000 liters of anthrax – enough to kill several million people.”

The allegation about anthrax must have reminded Americans of the anthrax-laced letters sent in September and October of 2001 to some media personnel and politicians, and the fear and fatality they caused in the US. These “anthrax letters” dated September 11, 2001 were accompanied by letters, “Death to America. Death to Israel. Allah is great.”  Due to these letters five Americans died from anthrax inhalation and seventeen were injured. The Hart Senate Office Building and various postal facilities were shut down for months for clean-up.

Both the US government and the corporate media initially blamed al-Qaeda for the anthrax letters. On October 15, 2001 Bush declared that there might be “some possible link” between Osama bin Laden and the anthrax attacks. According to the New York Daily News, Robert Mueller, the FBI Director, was pressured by the Bush administration to connect these attacks to al-Qaeda. Soon the question was raised about who supplied anthrax to al-Qaeda and trained the Muslim terrorists in using it. Dick Cheney said that the al-Qaeda terrorists were trained “how to deploy and use these kinds of substances, so you start to piece it all together.” Both the US government and the corporate media worked together aggressively to scapegoat Saddam Hussein as the culprit. In late 2001 the press quoted that the deputy lab director of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) said that the anthrax found with the letters contained a mix of aluminum and silica “previously…found in anthrax produced by Iraq.” Richard Butler, Australian former UN Weapons Inspector, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times in the mid-October of 2001 saying, “If the scientific path leads to Iraq as the supporter of the anthrax used by the terrorist mailers, no one should be surprised.” On October 18, 2001 the Wall Street Journal categorically declared, “By far the likeliest supplier is Saddam Hussein.” Brian Ross of ABC News spread the lie that the anthrax used in the letters was made in Iraq. According to a Lexis-Nexis search, between October 4, 2001 and December 4, 2001 there were 389 stories in The New York Times and 238 stories in The Washington Post related to the anthrax. This “unending, high-pitched scream of horror” and scapegoating Saddam Hussein as the perpetrator of violence on Americans increased the public fear of and vengeance against Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Making Saddam the supplier of anthrax to the al-Qaeda served several purposes of the Bush administration: a brutal dictator with weapons of mass destruction was determined to cause greater harm to Americans, a link between Saddam and the al-Qaeda, and Saddam’s involvement in the bombings on September 11, 2001. 

However, by the end of 2001, it became clear that, despite the accompanying letters, the anthrax in those letters was produced in a US military laboratory. The Bush administration first framed Steven J. Hatfill, an American scientist, as the prime suspect. However, a US District Court declared him innocent. On July 29, 2008 Dr. Bruce Ivins, who worked at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, committed suicide by taking Tylenol. The FBI and the corporate media readily blamed him for the anthrax attacks in 2001. Now it is clear that the origin of the anthrax attacks in 2001 was within the US, not without, and the architect of the terrorist anthrax attacks was an American terrorist, not Saddam Hussein or a Muslim terrorist.  

The corporate media that blamed Dr. Ivins, focused its attention completely on the accused. It completely ignored the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where Ivins worked, except for a single sentence in The Washington Post: “At home to the Army Biological Warfare Laboratories, the facility ran a top-secret program producing offensive biological weapons from 1943 until 1969.” When an American terrorist had access to this weapon of mass destruction and used it on his/her own people, then he/she would not desist from using it on peoples of other nations. G.W. Bush in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 characterized Saddam Hussein as a threat to the US and the world, because this “cruel dictator” had used “the world’s most dangerous weapons” on his own people. So the inference is that he would not desist from using these weapons of mass destruction on others. The other accusation that the US President made was: “Saddam Hussein has gone to elaborate lengths, spent enormous sums, taken great risks to build and keep weapons of mass destruction. But why?” However, if the same question were posed to Bush about the weapons of mass destruction produced by the US, what would his answer be? It would have to be his inference about Saddam Hussein: “The only possible explanation, the only possible use…for those weapons, is to dominate, intimidate, or attack.”

Forged Letter

Ron Suskind, an investigative reporter, in his book The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism mentions startling revelations about the “forged letter” which the White House ordered the CIA to produce to justify the “preventive war” against Iraq. Suskind alleges that the need for this letter arose as the US weapons inspectors found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The needed evidence that confirmed the Bush administration’s pre-war allegations about Saddam’s link to al-Qaeda and Iraq-Niger uranium trade, brought forth the letter.   

Suskind interviewed Rob Richer, Head of CIA’s Near East Division, and John Maguire, Chief of the CIA Iraq Operations Group. Their on-the-record statements about the reasons for the creation of the letter justify Suskind’s charges. According to Suskind, in late 2003 the White House ordered the CIA to forge a document that confirmed the administrations pre-war allegations. The CIA created a false letter, which were to have been written on July 1, 2001 by Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, Saddam Hussein’s Director of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, to Saddam Hussein. According to the letter, Mohammed Atta, one of those who participated in the bombings on September 11, 2001, was trained for his upcoming mission in Iraq (no mention of details about the mission, but obvious reference to the New York and Washington bombings). The letter also mentioned that Iraq received a shipment from Niger with the assistance of al-Qaeda. Thus, the letter “proved” Saddam’s link not only to the al-Qaeda, but also to the bombings on September 11, 2001. 

Suskind’s claims received support from Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer. In an article in the American Conservative magazine (August 8, 2008) Giraldi said that the bulk of Suskind’s claim about the forged letter was correct.

Suskind also reports in his book that Habbush was a pre-war intelligence “source” reporting to the British M16 Intelligence Service. In early 2003, according to Suskind, Habbush told Michael Shipster, MI6 official, in Jordan that Saddam had ended his nuclear program in 1991 and his biological weapons program in 1996. With this information Richard Dearlove, the head of MI6, went to Washington and presented it to George Tenet, then Director of the CIA. Tenet, in turn, reported to Condoleezza Rice, then National Security Adviser. However, the Bush administration chose to ignore the information from Habbush and other Iraqi “sources” who reported about the lack of the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

The US’ Premeditated War against Iraq

The US was bent on invading Iraq and so weaved its propaganda of lies and distorted intelligence is further evidenced by the Minutes of the Australian Wheat Board (AWB). On February 27, 2002 Trevor Flugge, then Chairman of the AWB, told the Board that John Dauth, then Ambassador of Australia to the United Nations, informed him about the plans of the US and Australia for war against Iraq. According to the Australian Associated Press:

Mr. Dauth briefed Mr. Flugge in New York in February 2002 – 13 months before invasion – and the details appear in minutes of AWB’s February 27 board meeting tendered to the inquiry…The ambassador stated that he believed that US military action to depose Saddam Hussein was inevitable and that at this time the Australian government would support and participate in such action,’ the minutes say.

The Downing Street Minutes also confirmed the US’ premeditated war: “Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part V

 

The US’ “War on Terror” and Iraq

American imperial desire for political, military and economic preeminence is the cause of violence unleashed against those considered to be evil and enemies of the American system of peace and freedom. The new “imperial grand strategy” presents the US as “a revisionist state seeking to parlay its momentary advantages into a world order in which it runs the show,” a “unipolar world” where “no state or coalition could ever challenge” the US as global leader, protector and enforcer of its form of peace and freedom. The US violence against evil and enemies of this system, masqueraded as sacred violence, has been carried out either by itself, or through its faithful agents such as dictators and terrorist organizations. As a consequence, death and destruction have always been suffered on foreign lands. However, this trend shifted on September 11, 2001, when, for the first time since the British burned down Washington in 1814, the US experienced death and destruction on its land through an enemy attack. G.W. Bush, in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 recognized this: “In two years, America has gone from a sense of invulnerability to an awareness of peril.” This challenge to its dominance and attack on its land resulted in a sacrificial crisis, which in turn generated scapegoat mechanism. In order to exterminate or subjugate the enemies of the American system of peace and freedom, G.W. Bush started the “war on terror”. Therefore, the US’ “war on terror” is nothing but a sacrificial violence against enemies of the American imperial system of peace and freedom.  

Since the “war on terror” is a sacrificial violence, enemy of the imperial peace and freedom is to be marked as a sacrificial victim in order to unify people for the sacrificial violence, and also to prevent any reprisals. The proper function of the sacrificial process requires a complete separation of the sacrificial victim from the world community. As the gulf between the victim and the world community is increased, the victim will not be able to draw violent reprisal, the repetition of mimetic violence. That is why G.W. Bush in his State of the Union speech, by concealing the “real intentions” of the war on Iraq, portrayed Saddam Hussein not only as a threat to the MiddleEast and the world, but also as an enemy to the people of Iraq: “A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth, will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States.” The essential marks of Saddam as a sacrificial victim were: an outlaw regime and a brutal dictator with a history of reckless aggression, a tyrant comparable to Hitler and Stalin, whose ambitions of cruelty and murder have no limit, links with the al-Qaeda, and possession of weapons of mass destruction. Bush wondered, “If this is not evil, then evil has no meaning.” He reminded God’s chosen people (Americans) about their divine mission against such a dictator and his evil regime: “we are called to defend the safety of our people, and the hopes of all mankind.” Bush presents American invasion of Iraq as an act of liberation for the Iraqis: “Tonight I have a message for the brave and oppressed people of Iraq: your enemy is not surrounding your country; your enemy is ruling your country. And the day he and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation.” Here Bush is trying to create a wedge between Saddam Hussein and the Iraqis, thus safeguarding against any reprisals. He poses the conflict as a struggle between good and evil. In order to purge Iraq of evil, it requires lethal violence. Bush invokes God to justify US use of lethal violence.

Saddam’s portrayal as evil and enemy of the world community and the people of Iraq breaks social link between Saddam, and the Iraqis and the world community. This delinking of the sacrificial victim from the wider world would expose him to sacred violence without any fear of reprisal. Violence against the world enemy is a “good” violence because it brings peace, security and freedom not only to the people of Iraq, but also to the entire world.

The “distinguishable marks” of Saddam Hussein as evil, enemy and threat to the world peace, security and freedom were reiterated again and again to the public by political leaders and pundits, and the corporate media. Since September of 2002 there has been a massive, conscious effort to convince not only the Americans, but also the world community about Saddam Hussein. The US government, political leaders and pundits, and the corporate media have been engaged in a campaign of demonization of Saddam Hussein. They have bombarded the American public with a stream of propaganda designed to prey on fears fostered by the bombings on September 11, 2001. They magnified the threat of Saddam. Initially the propaganda was focused on the “stockpiles” of chemical and biological weapons that Iraq was allegedly possessing. On August 22, 2002 Dick Cheney said, “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction”; September 12, 2002 Bush reiterated, “Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons”; and October 5, 2002 Bush repeated: “Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons…We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons – the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.”

G.W. Bush in the State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003 declared: “The United Nations concluded in 1999 that Saddam Hussein had biological weapons sufficient to produce over 25,000 liters of anthrax — enough doses to kill several million people…The United Nations concluded that Saddam Hussein had materials sufficient to produce more than 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin — enough to subject millions of people to death by respiratory failure…Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent. In such quantities, these chemical agents could also kill untold thousands…U.S. intelligence indicates that Saddam Hussein had upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents…From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors.”

What is evident in all these statements was the certainty of allegations. There was no room for any doubt about or debate on the allegations. Bush, Cheney and others were certain of what they were saying, because it was the US that supplied these weapons of mass destruction to Saddam during the 1980s. So the question for the Bush administration was how to disarm Saddam Hussein of the weapons of mass destructions that the US has supplied.

The combined voice of the government and the corporate media drowned dissenting voices, and programmed the public mind to go along with the state agenda. The corporate media played as the chief instrument of state propaganda. It created the momentum for the invasion of Iraq. On September 8, 2002 The New York Times published a front-page article by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller entitled “US Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts.” They alleged that Iraq attempted to purchase aluminum tubes for developing nuclear weapons. This article was used by the Bush administration to help make the case for invading Iraq. On that same day a host of higher government officials appeared on the media using the article to make a public relations campaign. Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, hosted by Tim Russert and said: “There’s a story in the New York Times this morning. This is — and I want to attribute the Times. I don’t want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources… It’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring, through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.”

Condoleezza Rice said on CNN: “There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he (Saddam) can acquire a nuclear weapon. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.” Bob Scheiffer, former CBS 6.30 p.m. News host, on Face the Nation reiterated: “We read in the New York Times today a story that says that Saddam Hussein is closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. Does he have nuclear weapons? Is there a smoking gun here?” Thus, the government and the corporate media joined together in one voice to convince the public to join the US’ sacrificial violence against Iraq. 

The New York Times story had initiated a more serious allegation of nuclear weapons. G.W. Bush had pointed out this allegation in his State of the Union address: “The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed in the 1990s that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons development program, had a design for a nuclear weapon and was working on five different methods of enriching uranium for a bomb. The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production. “ 

During a Pentagon press briefing on January 29, 2003 Donald H. Rumsfeld, former US Defense Secretary, said that Iraq had chemical and biological weapons. The United Nations inspections teams found the proof of those following the Persian Gulf War. Iraq had a working plan for nuclear weapons and was within six months of developing an atomic device. Rumsfeld also accused Saddam Hussein of using chemical weapons against his neighbors and his own people.

Thus, the Bush administration and the corporate media heightened the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in order to rally public support with gripping fear about their own existence. The administration was actually rallying support for “preventive war” against Iraq. To justify targeting Iraq and to dress up their motives in the language of terrorism prevention, the Bush Administration devised the principle of “preventive war”. According to the National Security Strategy published in September of 2002, the US should strike against hostile states and terrorist groups, acting “against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.” Commenting on this new US doctrine,

Noam Chomsky said: “It presented a novel and extreme doctrine on the use of force in the world. The new doctrine was not one of preemptive war, which arguably falls within some stretching of the U.N. Charter, but rather of something that doesn’t even begin to have any grounds in international law, namely, preventive war. The doctrine, you recall, was that the United States would rule the world by force, and that if there is any challenge perceived to its domination, a challenge perceived in the distance, invented, imagined, whatever, then the U.S. will have the right to destroy that challenge before it becomes a threat. That’s preventive war, not preemptive war.”

G.W. Bush had categorically expressed the US doctrine of “preventive war” in his State of the Union speech: “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”

Two weeks before American “preventive war” against Iraq began, Bush called a press conference and said, “Iraq is a part of the war on terror. It’s a country that trains terrorists. It’s a country that could arm terrorists. Saddam Hussein and his weapons are a direct threat to this country.” About a dozen times during this press conference, Bush invoked the bombings in New York and Washington and al-Qaeda to justify a preventive attack on Iraq.

As a result of the continuous bombardment of the same message about Saddam Hussein by a coordinated campaign of the Bush administration and the corporate media, a majority of Americans came to regard Saddam as an imminent threat to the US. Josef Goebbels had this dictum: “If you say something often enough, the people will believe it.” Soon almost half of the American public believed that Iraq was behind the bombings in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. When the US invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42% of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. According to the ABC News poll, 55% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported al-Qaeda. All of it was based on insinuation, falsehood and deceit circulated by the US government and the corporate media. Herman Goering, a Nazi, said, “People can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders…All you have to do is tell them they’re being attacked and denounce the pacifists for a lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

The American public, in general, never questioned the authenticity of the story about Saddam Hussein and Iraq circulated by the US government and the corporate media. Before the bombings on September 11, 2001, the story of the Bush administration about the Iraqi former president was different. Both Colin Powell, then US Secretary of State, and Condoleezza Rice, then Adviser of President G.W. Bush, made clear that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to America, Europe or the MiddleEast. On February 24, 2001 in Cairo, Powell said that “He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours.” On May 15, 2001 Powell went further and said that Saddam Hussein had not been able to “build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction (for) the last 10 years.” America, he said, had been successful in keeping him “in a box”. Two months later, Condoleezza Rice also described a weak, divided and militarily defenseless Iraq: “Saddam does not control the northern part of the country. We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt.” This reveals that the Bush administration knew all along that Saddam Hussein did not pose any threat to the US and the world. But they turned this weak and defenseless target, for the sake of the US self-interests, into an awesome threat to the US, MiddleEast and the world. Consciously and purposefully the US (and its allies) had selected someone who was weak and defenseless to be a sacrificial victim for American sacred violence.

The participation of the public mimetically in the sacred violence of “preventive war” against Saddam Hussein and Iraq was expressed by the public frenzy and euphoria at the sight of death and destruction in Iraq. The media embedded with the American troops brought into American homes scenes of American bombs exploding on Iraqi public and private property causing deaths and destruction. These were shown as the signs of victory over evil. Bush in his State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003 clearly stated that military victory would bring peace in Iraq: “Tonight I have a message for the men and women who will keep the peace, members of the American Armed Forces…the success of our cause will depend on you. Your training has prepared you. Your honor will guide you. You believe in America, and American believes in you.”

The victorious signs were paraded by the corporate media throughout America to the cheering American public. The climax of this victorious parade was the American media coverage of the hanging of Saddam Hussein. This celebration of Triumph was a sacrificial ceremony, a metonymy of war and victory, where the entire American populace participated mimetically in the killing of sacrificial victims. Thus, the American public has partaken mimetically not only in the US military violence, but also in the victory over enemy, thus in bringing peace.

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part IV

 The US and Saddam Hussein

The US’ self-proclaimed commitment to peace and freedom in the world is exposed with its inconsistent relationship with Saddam Hussein and Iraq. The history of shameless, despicable, overt and covert support that the US (and Britain) gave to the “homicidal dictator”, as Bush characterized him, for more than a decade raises questions about the US’ concern for the “oppressed people of Iraq” and their “liberation”.

In 1963 with the CIA (under John F. Kennedy) orchestrated “regime change” in Baghdad and after a successful coup, the Ba’ath Party came into power in Iraq. In order to cleanse Iraq of the “evil” scourge of communism and to destroy the Soviet Union’s influence in Iraq, the CIA provided the new regime with a list of communists in Iraq to liquidate. Saddam Hussein was said to have been involved in exterminating the “evil” communists. After factional infighting within the Ba’ath Party, he became the President of Iraq in 1979, the year of the American hostage crisis in Iran. 

During the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran War the US fully backed Saddam Hussein. After assuming the presidency in 1981 Ronald Reagan had begun supporting Saddam in this war against Iran. Jason Miller notes: “Iraq became a clandestine strategic ally of the United States, with full eligibility for American economic and military aid waiting in the wings. The US started funneling weaponry to support Hussein’s war effort through third parties like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and by 1983 was selling conventional arms directly to Iraq.”

The US sold over two billion dollars of sophisticated equipment to Iraq. According to Iran, Saddam Hussein first used chemical weapons against it on January 13, 1981. Mohamed Salaam, AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, confirmed Iraqis using a combination of nerve gas and mustard gas. He reported: “The Iraqis had used, for the first time, a combination – the nerve gas would paralyze their bodies – the mustard gas would drown them in their own lungs. That’s why they spat blood.” In 1988 after visiting Fao peninsula that the Iraqi forces recaptured from Iran, Lt. Col. Rick Francona, US Defense Intelligence Officer working for Iraq at the time of war, informed the US government that Iraq had used chemical weapons. However, this was not at all a concern for the US government. In August of 2002 Colonel Walter Lang, former senior US Defense Intelligence officer, told The New York Times: “The use of gas (during the Iran-Iraq war) on the battle field by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern…We were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose.”

Iran blamed the US for supplying the combination of nerve gas and mustard gas to Saddam. Even though the US had denied it, in February of 1994 Senator Riegle, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, testified before the Senate about large US shipments of dual-use biological and chemical agents to Iraq. These biological agents included Bacillus Anthracis, which produces Anthrax, and Escherichia Coli (E. Coli). The Senate Report concluded: “The United States provided the Government of Iraq with ‘dual use’ licensed materials which assisted in the development of Iraqi chemical, biological and missile-systems programs, including…chemical warfare agent production facility plant and technical drawings, chemical warfare filling equipment.”

Also a copy of the Senate Banking Committee Report, May 25, 1994, confirms the export to Iraq of “disease producing, poisonous and other biological research materials…under licensing by the US Department of Commerce. The biological cultures sent to Iraq included West Nile Virus, E. coli, anthrax and botulism.” The US Department of Commerce licensed 70 biological exports to Iraq between May of 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. The ABC Nightline Program “Ally and Enemy” on September 17, 2002 confirmed the US supply of anthrax to Saddam. According to this, “The United States eased up on its own technology export restrictions to Iraq, which allowed the Iraqis to import supercomputers, machine tools, and even strains of anthrax.” In November of 1983 Banca Nazionale del Lavoro of Italy and its Branch in Atlanta began to funnel $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the US, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other industrial goods for Iraq’s missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. The Financial Times of London revealed that a Florida chemical company had produced and shipped cyanide to Iraq during the 1980s using a special CIA courier. Cyanide was used extensively against the Iranians. In May of 1986 the US Department of Commerce approved shipment of weapons grade botulin poison to Iraq. The US Department of Commerce approved shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas to Iraq in April of 1988, and of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum in September of 1988.

Under President Ronald Reagan the relationship between the US and Saddam Hussein blossomed. Donald Rumsfeld, a strong advocate against Saddam Hussein during G.W. Bush presidency, was a strong proponent of relations with Hussein. Reagan authorized Rumsfeld to travel to Baghdad as part of a trip throughout the MiddleEast. The arrangements were being made between the US Interests Section in Baghdad and the then Iraqi Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Mohammed Sahhaf, according to the State Department documents obtained by the National Security Archives under the Freedom of Information Act. The visit, which included meetings with Tariq Aziz, then Iraqi Foreign Minister, and Saddam Hussein, was laid out in cables sent by the Interests Section and Rumsfeld himself to George Shultz, then US Secretary of State. Rumsfeld informed the Interests Section that he was “pleased with the positive response…to your sounding,” adding that he would “probably be carrying a presidential message for Saddam.” Arrangements were made for the visit on the night of December 19-20, 1983. The State Department officials who met with Sahhaf noted that “perhaps the greatest benefit of the visit would be the establishment of direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein.” Rumsfeld visited Baghdad as Reagan’s special MiddleEast envoy with a handwritten letter from the president. In the letter Reagan “promised renewed diplomatic relations and expanded military and business ties.” Aziz quoted Reagan as saying that “the Iran-Iraq war could pose serious problems for the economic and security interests of the U.S., its friends in the region and in the free world.” Rumsfeld in his meeting with Aziz laid out the shared interests of the two countries. He told Aziz: “While there were a number of differences of view between us, we also see a number of areas of common interest. We both desire regional peace, stability and correcting regional imbalance.” Rumsfeld, who trumpeted the invasion of Iraq during G.W. Bush presidency, made clear that the US interests coincided with Iraq’s in the Iraq-Iran War. He wrote in his note to Shultz: “I said I thought we had areas of common interest, particularly the security and stability in the Gulf, which had been jeopardized as a result of the Iranian revolution. I added that the U.S. had no interest in an Iranian victory; to the contrary. We would not want Iran’s influence expanded at the expense of Iraq. As with all sovereign nations, we respect Iraq’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Rumsfeld, who blamed Saddam on March 21, 2003 saying that “this is a regime that is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people,” was instrumental in the 1980s in the export of the weapons to Iraq, which killed thousands of innocent people.

The US government considered its relationship with Saddam Hussein important. In September of 1988 Richard Murphy, then Assistant Secretary of State, stated, “The US-Iraqi relationship is…important to our long-term political and economic objectives.” G.W.H. Bush played an important role in strengthening the ties between the US and Iraq. In June of 1992 Ted Koppel of the ABC Nightline reported: “It is becoming increasingly clear that G.W.H. Bush, operating largely behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and military help that built Saddam’s Iraq into (an aggressive power).” The testimony of Representative Henry Gonzalez, Texas, before the House in July of 1992 confirmed Bush’s role: “The Bush administration deliberately, not inadvertently, helped to arm Iraq by allowing U.S. technology to be shipped to Iraqi military and to Iraqi defense factories…Throughout the course of the Bush administration, U.S. and foreign firms were granted export licenses to ship U.S. technology directly to Iraqi weapons facilities despite ample evidence showing that these factories were producing weapons.”

In addition, US made helicopters sold to Saddam were used to launch a poisonous gas attack on Kurdish rebels, which killed about 5000 in the Iraqi town of Halabja in March of 1988. This incident was ignored by the US government for the sake of its self-interests. In July of 1988 Bechtel, former Secretary of State George Shultz’s company, got a contract to build a petrochemical plant in Iraq.

However, after the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam in 1990, G.W.H. Bush declared Gulf War. After this war the US and its allies fomented a Shia uprising in Basra. But they withdrew their support to Shias, when Saddam crushed the uprising which resulted in thousands of deaths. According to The New York Times, the reason for the US support to Saddam after the Gulf War and  not opposed to the killings of Shia rebels was, “Whatever the sins of the Iraqi leader, he offered the West and the region a better hope for his country’s stability than did those who have suffered his repression.” Thomas Friedman, the Chief Diplomatic Correspondent of The New York Times, explained that “the best of all worlds” for Washington would be an “iron-fisted military junta” ruling Iraq just the way Saddam did. But lacking that option, Washington had to settle for second-best: Saddam himself.

Thus, the US’ self-interests, rather than the interests of the people of Iraq, have influenced its relations with Saddam Hussein. G.W. Bush’s State of the Union speech on January 28, 2003 that “The dictator who is assembling the world’s most dangerous weapons has already used them on whole villages – leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind, or disfigured,” ignore the US’ culpability in Saddam’s cruelty against the Iraqis. Bush condones the fact that in March of 1986 the United States with Great Britain blocked all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq’s use of chemical weapons, and refused to sign a Security Council statement condemning Iraq’s use of these weapons. The people worldwide, and Iraqis in particular, are aware of Washington’s support of repressive regimes and the barriers it erects against peace, freedom, development and democracy by propping up dictatorships.

 

The US and al-Qaeda

In order to convincingly present his case to invade Iraq, G.W. Bush in his State of the Union speech “revealed” the secret link between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda: “And this Congress and the American people must recognize another threat. Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own.” Again the “messiah of God” (Bush) ignores “God chosen” country’s (US) history, and in this case, its historical relation with al-Qaeda.

Since the bombings in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001 there have been voices, including G.W. Bush, calling for solutions to the problem of international terrorism. But there was hardly any serious effort by US political leaders and pundits, and the corporate media to review the history of the US’ involvement in and support of terrorism. There was a very little reporting on Osama bin Laden being the product of the CIA in Afghanistan. The papers of CIA policies and other documents referred to by various scholarly studies reveal as to how the US, through the CIA and the ISI of Pakistan, set up Madrassas in Pakistan to indoctrinate the Muslim youth to undertake jihad against the communist kafirs in Afghanistan. The objective of this project was to bleed Russians. It is said that this was the largest operation carried out by the CIA to defeat the Soviet Union. Osama bin Laden was one of those zealous Muslims, who volunteered to fight along with the mujahadin to “cleanse” the Islamic land defiled by the Russian invasion. Al-Qaeda was an offshoot of this CIA project. Bin Laden became the leader of the al-Qaeda. The US through the CIA and the ISI gave al-Qaeda millions of dollars, tons of weapons and training in order to make its fighters effective against Russian domination in Afghanistan. 

After the departure of the Russians from Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda continued their zealous resistance against any foreign occupation of Muslim land. Commenting on Bin Laden’s opposition to the US, Michael Scheuer, the senior CIA analyst responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden from 1996, writes, “Bin Laden has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us. None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but have everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world.” According to Scheuer, Osama’s objective was “to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the Islamic world.” Scheuer further notes, “He (bin Laden) is a practical warrior, not an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon.”

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part III

 

The US and Terrorists

In addition to the active support to the dictators and state terrorism, the US has given refuge to those involved in terrorist activities. Luis Posada Carriles and Orlando Bosch were involved in the bombing of a Cubana Airlines Flight 455 on October 6, 1976 killing 73 people on board. Among the killed were six young Guyanese students on their way to Cuba to study medicine and the entire Cuban Olympic fencing team. The National Security Archive on May 18, 2005 posted documents that show that the CIA had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June of 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana Airliner. According to another document posted by The National Security Archive, the FBI’s attaché in Caracas had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the US five days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada.

Luis Posada, a Cuban-born Venezuelan national and an opponent of Fidel Castro, was tried and convicted in Venezuela of organizing the bombing. After serving eight years in a Venezuela prison, he escaped on August 18, 1985. Both Luis Posada and Bosch have been given refuge in the US. Venezuela’s request for their extradition to face charges for the bombing of the Cubana Airlines has been rejected not only by successive US governments, but also by the US courts in violation of the US-Venezuela extradition treaty dating back to 1922. The US-Venezuela extradition treaty obligates the US to immediately extradite any Venezuelan national in the US, who has been indicted on murder charges in his (or her) home jurisdiction. Ironically, the US allowed Posada, a terrorist, to serve in the US Army. He rose to the rank of second lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia. Declassified CIA and FBI documents reveal the extent of Posada’s violent career: smuggling arms, running drugs, plotting coups, working with Augusto Pinochet’s dreaded secret police, and assisting in the Contra war against Nicaragua. When the FBI and the US Justice Department wanted to deport Posada as they perceived him a threat to the national security, President George H.W. Bush granted him a presidential pardon. This is a proof of the US hypocrisy of being a champion against terrorism. The US history has been consistently clear about its use of terrorists against its enemies and providing safe haven to some of them. Unashamedly President George W. Bush declared at the National Endowment for Democracy that “the United States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who support them, because they are equally as guilty of murder…(and) the civilized world must hold those regimes to account.” This not only convicts successive US administrations, but also characterizes the US as an “uncivilized” country. Unconsciously G.W. Bush was again right when he declared in the State of the Union on January 28, 2003 that “the terrorists are learning the meaning of American justice.”

US has a long record of supporting terrorist organizations to further its perceived strategic interests. After the downfall of the US supported dictator Shah of Iran, containing the influence of Iran in West Asia has become a major US foreign policy objective. In order to achieve this goal, the US is making use of several terrorist organizations to carry out covert attacks inside Iran. In April of 2007 the ABC News journalists Brian Ross and Christopher Isham reported that the US was funding a terrorist group Jundullah or Allah’s Brigade to carry out strikes inside Iran. According to them, its leader Abdul Malik Regi, a former Taliban member, was alleged to be involved in large-scale narcotics trafficking through Iranian exiles with connections in West Asia and Europe.

The Report of the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime points to the interlink between drug trafficking and terrorism. The CIA’s role in the expansion of opium cultivation in Afghanistan may be found in the book “Whiteout, the CIA, Drugs and the Press” by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn. Opium production has skyrocketed since the US occupied the country by toppling the Taliban regime in 2001. Opium cultivation steadily increased: 30,750 hectares of poppy in 2002, 61,000 hectares in 2003, 104,000 hectares in 2005, 165,000 hectares in 2006, and 193, 000 hectares in 2007 compared with 7,606 in 2001 under the ousted Taliban rule. While the Bush administration repeatedly claimed that it was committed to curbing the Afghan drug trade, statistics prove that the US occupation has served to restore rather than eradicate the drug trade. Afghanistan now supplies about 92 percent of the world’s illicit opium. Opium trade has a good market in US and Europe. Over 95 percent of the revenues generated by this lucrative contraband accrues to business syndicates, organized crime and banking and financial institutions. The benefit of drug trade to US and Europe is twofold: their banking and financial institutions receive billions of dollars annually; and by supporting poppy cultivation and drug trade they get the loyalty of terrorist organizations without much expenditure to buy that loyalty.  

 In February of 2007 Jundullah set off a bomb in the Iranian city Zahedan which killed at least eleven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Iranian state television showed the confession of an alleged perpetrator, Nasrollah Shamsi Zehi, that he was trained at a secret camp in Pakistan. Media reports suggest that the US is also supporting another extremist organization, Mujahideen-e-Khalq, for attacks against Iran. This organization was involved in the 1991 anti-Shia massacres in Iraq. It was designated as a global terrorist organization in 1997. Another terrorist organization that the US is using to carry out attacks against Iran is a Kurdish terrorist group, Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistane, or Party of Free Life of Kurdistan.   

Training and Torture

The US through the CIA has maintained its presence and control by training military forces and police of other countries. The most prominent among the training schools is the School of the Americas. This was located in Panama from 1946 to l954 and later shifted to Fort Benning, Georgia. It still remains there. Its name was changed in 2001 to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC). This institute is the Defense Department’s main Spanish language training facility. It says that it trains civilian, military and law enforcement students and holds the promotion of democracy at the core of its mission. However, George Monbiot links this school to terrorism by giving details of its numerous atrocities. He contends that “the evidence linking the school to continuing atrocities in Latin America is rather stronger than the evidence linking the al-Qaeda training camps to the attack on New York.” Some of the alumni have been the most brutal military dictators and human rights violators in Latin America over the past five decades: Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua; Leopoldo Galtieri of Argentina; Generals Hector Gramajo and Manuel Antonio Callejas of Guatemala, Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia, and the El Salvador death-squad leader Roberto D’Aubuisson.

Training manuals used in courses cover methods of political control and interrogation that includes torture. The US torture training and technology has been spread among its client countries. It is alleged: “The US firms and agencies are providing CN and CS gas grenades, anti-riot gear, fingerprint computers, thumbscrews, leg-irons and electronic “Shock-Batons” among a huge flow of equipment, training, and technical support to the police and paramilitary forces most directly involved in the torture, assassination, and abuse of civilian dissidents.”

The US has not only been actively engaged in training paramilitary forces and police of other countries in torture, but also overtly and covertly supported it. As Philip Agee admitted, “I was myself involved in some of these activities. I worked, for example, with the police in Latin American countries, and they were often involved in torture. I remember one Sunday morning in the office of the chief of police during a state of siege in Montevideo. My boss, the CIA chief of station in Uruguay was present, along with the local army colonel in charge of anti-riot forces. We began to hear a low moaning coming through the walls and, at first, I thought it was a street vendor outside. But then it became clear that it was someone being tortured in another part of the building. As this horrible sound became louder and louder, the police chief told the colonel to turn up a radio in order to drown out the groans and screams.”

Commenting on the relationship between pain and language, Elaine Scarry says that extreme pain has the capacity to destroy a victim’s ability to speak: “Physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it, bringing about an immediate reversion to the sounds and cries a human being makes before language is learned.” Teresa Godwin Phelps writes, “the torture victim is reduced to prelanguage screams and moans that are not heard or acknowledged by anyone.” For the torturer, torture is “the visible manifestation of power.” Through torture the torturer deconstructs and destroys the language of the victim and takes him/her back to the prelanguage stage of life. Through prolonged interrogation of the victim the torturer reconstructs the language of the victim, where the latter starts speaking the “language of the torturer”. By deconstructing and destroying the voice of the victim, the torturer reconstructs it and produces his/her voice (torturer’s voice) as the voice of the victim. In addition to that, through torture the torturer also sends a message to the victim that “he had the power as well as authority to recognize their (victims’) worthlessness and to decide their fate to the point of destroying them.”

Thus, dictatorships that do not have popular support use torture as a means to not only suppress the voice of opposition, but also deny victims their human dignity and worth. The Report of the Argentine National Commission on the Disappeared notes: “After all, what else were these tortures but an immense display of the most degrading and indescribable acts of degradation, which the military government, lacking all legitimacy in power, used to secure power over a whole nation?”

Torture violates international law. The (non-binding) Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlawed it in 1948. The four 1949 Geneva Conventions then banned any form of “physical or mental coercion” and affirmed that detainees must at all times be treated humanely. Then in 1984, the UN Convention Against Torture became the first binding international instrument dealing exclusively with the issue of banning torture in any form for any reason.

However, the US has perceived its torture training and technology as a help in maintaining peace and democracy. Robert McNamara considered that the US was training soldiers and police of other countries as a democratizing force. However, Edward Herman retorts: “The 18 military coups in Latin America between 1960 and 1968 suggest the enormity of McNamara’s misperception of reality (or deception of Congress). There is a large body of evidence showing that U.S. training has given not the slightest nod toward either democratic values or human rights.” One can discern from reading McCoy’s expose’ of human torture committed by the US since 1950 that the US is far from being a champion of human dignity, freedom and rights.

Thus, Bush’s declaration in his State of the Union address on January 28, 2003 that in the twentieth century the US with its allies had defeated “small groups of men (who were cruel and) seized control of great nations, built armies and arsenals, and set out to dominate the weak and intimidate the world” unashamedly ignores the US’ history of support to dictators and terrorism. Through the years, even the corporate media has never bothered about the CIA’s functioning as a global terrorist organization, ousting democratically elected governments, assassinating foreign heads of state and key officials, propping up friendly dictators, and funding, training and equipping secret paramilitary armies, death squads and terrorist organizations.

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

May 19, 2009

“WE BRING PEACE AND FREEDOM TO THE WORLD”

 George W. Bush’s “State of the Union” Address, January 28, 2003

 Part II

 

The widespread public belief in the myth of American exceptionalism, and its sacred duty to promote and protect the system of peace and freedom in the world has led to a conviction that the US’ acts in the world are not out of selfish interests, but benevolent. Therefore, those who oppose the American system of peace and freedom are evil and enemies of peace and freedom. In reality, peace and freedom are in correspondence to acceptance of American hegemony and serving American interests. Those regimes that promote the American interests are by American definition “free” and “democratic”. Whenever there is an opposition or a threat to this American system, it results in mimetic crisis. This, in turn, generates scapegoating mechanism. The insatiable demand of the American imperial system does not tolerate any resistance to its system of peace and freedom. This results in unleashing sacred violence against the enemy in order to protect its system of peace and freedom by either subjugating or decimating the evil opposition.

The myth of American exceptionalism and its divine mission to protect and promote the system of peace and freedom in the world is echoed in the State of the Union delivered by George W. Bush on January 28, 2003: a “blessed country” and “free people”, and its calling “to make the world better” (a Christian God as the one who gave this calling is implied). Bush describes the calling of the US as to defend peace (“this nation and all our friends are all that stand between a world at peace, and a world of chaos and constant alarm”) and the dignity and rights of every human being. Although he says that “the liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world, it is God’s gift to humanity”, this “God’s gift” is given to humanity through God’s chosen country, the US.  It is this sense of sacred calling that causes the US to thwart “the designs of evil men” or to oppose through sacred violence “the man-made evil of international terrorism”. At the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance on September 14, 2001 Bush declared, “Our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.” The conflict is between good and evil, the defender of peace and human dignity and rights, and the destroyer of peace, and human dignity and rights through international terrorism. Portrayal of enemies as violators of human dignity and rights, and cause of chaos breaks social link between these enemies and the world community. Their status as enemies of world peace and security has not only united people against “evil”, but also justified American imperial violence as sacred violence. Because it exterminates “evil” and “terrorism”, and brings “peace” and “security” to the world.

The US and Terrorism

The American mindset that the US is exceptional, benevolent and morally superior has not only concealed the US-sponsored terrorism for what it is, but, most importantly, construed it as sacred violence to promote and protect the system of peace and freedom. Pointing out the double standards in US behavior, in July of 2006 Edward Peck, former US Ambassador to Iraq and Deputy Director of Reagan’s Task Force on Terrorism, stated:

“In 1985, when I was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism, they asked us – this is a Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism; I was the Deputy Director of the working group – they asked us to come up with a definition of terrorism that could be used throughout the government. We produced about six, and each and every case, they were rejected, because careful reading would indicate that our own country had been involved in some of those activities.”

One of the basic definitions of terrorism in dictionaries is: “Violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out by states or individuals for political purposes”. According to the academic definition: “Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby – in contrast to assassination – the direct targets of violence are not the main targets.”

The US Joint Chiefs of Staff publication defines terrorism as, “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.” Based on the US definition of terrorism, in July of 2006 Edward Peck has termed the US activities as terrorism. He said:

“U.S. Code Title 18, Section 2331[1], and read the U.S. definition of terrorism. And one of them in here says • one of the terms, “international terrorism,” means “activities that,” I quote, “appear to be intended to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination or kidnapping”…Yes, well, certainly, you can think of a number of countries that have been involved in such activities. Ours is one of them.”

A concerned Peck in an interview on CNN Crossfire on October 8, 2001 retorted, “Why it is that all of these people hate us. It’s not because of freedom…They hate us because of things they see us doing to their part of the world that they definitely do not like.” On September 15, 2001, four days after the bombings on US soil, in another interview with Fox news, Ambassador Peck contended, “We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye…and now we are indignant, because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards.” Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, summarized the terrorist activities of the US around the world:

“We took this country (America) by terror away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arawak, the Comanche, the Arapaho, the Navajo. Terrorism! We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism! We bombed Grenada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers and hard-working fathers. We bombed Gadafi’s home and killed his child…We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy. Killed hundreds of hard-working people; mothers and fathers who left home to go that day, not knowing that they would never get back home…We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans, and now we are  indignant?…Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred and terrorism begets terrorism.”

So what is consciously and consistently rejected by the US and its public is the principle of universality regarding terrorism.

The US with the help of the CIA has been carrying out illegal operations around the world. These operations include clandestine overthrow of governments which did not support US self-interests, propping up “friendlier” dictators, training of foreign militaries in the techniques of state terrorism and torture, and assassination attempts of selected foreign political leaders. The Cold War between the US and the former USSR generated a widespread support of terrorism. Jonathan Barker in his book The No-Nonsense Guide to Terrorism notes: “The scale of superpower involvement in terrorism undermines the common view that terrorism is exclusively ‘the weapon of the weak’. Often it is the weapon with which the strong get the weak to do their dirty work for them.” Since World War II the US has supported and in many cases engendered military dictatorship in the world, including Indonesia, Greece, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq. The reason for this is its self-interests. As Frederick H. Gareau in his book State Terrorism and the United States argues:

The primary force driving American policy has been and remains…the protection of U.S. economic interests, irrespective of the undemocratic nature or human rights record of the groups and governments with whom it has allied.

Schmitz in his book Thank God They’re on Our Side: The United States and Right-Wing Dictatorships 1921-1965 contends that Washington’s support for rightwing dictators during the Cold War was “a continuation, an elongation and an intensification” of the Root Doctrine. This doctrine was written in 1922 by Elihu Root, former US Secretary of State. In this doctrine Root gave an overarching rationale for supporting rightwing dictatorships that promoted the US and the Western self-interests and were anti-communist. Communism and socialism were portrayed as evil and enemies of the system of peace and freedom. 

The US and Dictators

Implementation of the Root Doctrine by successive US administrations may be seen throughout the world. The US gave political, economic and logistical support to the dictatorial rule of Anastacio Somoza, the commander of the Nicaraguan National Guard (the Coolidge administration played an important role in the establishment of the Nicaraguan National Guard), in Nicaragua. In 1939 Somoza was invited to Washington, where he met with President F. D. Roosevelt. He was given the honor of speaking to a joint session of Congress. The US support continued to Somoza’s sons, Luis and Anastacio Jr., until the latter was forced to resign in 1979. After the fall of the dictatorial regime, the Reagan administration through the CIA tried to destabilize the succeeding Sandanista government. The CIA was ordered to organize the Contras, a guerrilla force that consisted of former National Guard officers and others. John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Honduras at that time, directed the Contra war against Nicaragua from US bases in Honduras. The Contras was issued orders to attack “soft targets”. The response to those orders was swift. According to Gareau,

They attacked bridges, electric generators…state-owned agricultural cooperatives, rural health clinics, villages, and non-combatants. CIA commandos launched a series of sabotage raids on Nicaraguan port facilities. They mined the country’s major ports and set fire to its largest oil storage depot.

When Nicaragua finally succumbed to the relentless barrage through proxy war, the US media praised the success of the methods employed by the US in order to bring peace and freedom by eliminating evil in Nicaragua. The New York Times hailed, “We are ‘United in Joy’ at this outcome”; and Times, “Victory for U.S. Fair Play”. President Reagan had gone further by comparing the Contras to the American founding fathers: the Contras are “the moral equivalent of our founding fathers.”

On April 9, 1984 Nicaragua filed an application before the International Court of Justice. It charged that the US had violated general and customary international law as well as the terms of several bilateral treaties. In 1986, the International Court of Justice found the US guilty of violating international law in mining Nicaragua’s harbors and employing “unlawful use of force”. The US behavior in Nicaragua was also condemned by two Security Council resolutions, which were vetoed by the US (with Britain abstaining).

In 1953-54 the CIA along with the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) led a coup, through Operation Ajax, against the secular Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh of Iran. The purpose of this coup was “to counter his (Mossadegh) nationalization of the British Petroleum Company and to move against the communist Tudeh party whose influence they feared was growing.” The coup brought the rule of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, known as Shah of Iran. Shah crushed the opposition and paved way for the US and the Western interests. He outlawed the existence of rival political parties. With the help of the CIA, Shah created the secret police force SAVAK to crush political and ideological opponents. Dissidents were tortured in the infamous Evin prison. SAVAK killed about 20000 dissidents during Shah’s rule.

The US political and logistical support can also be seen in Africa. Immediately after its independence in 1960, the power struggle in Congo between the USSR supported President Lumumba and the US supported Prime Minister Kasavubu plagued the country. However, Mobutu, the head of the Force Publique (a combination of army and national police), gained power and ruled the country for 32 years with the active support of the US. J.F. Kennedy, the former president of the US, befriended the Congo dictator Mobutu. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee, the evidence permitted a reasonable inference “that a plot to assassinate Lumumba was authorized by President Eisenhower.”

In Chile the CIA worked closely with the Chilean military officers that were planning a coup against the democratically elected president Salvador Allende. In order to clear the way for their plot, in 1970 this group of military officers killed General Rene Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army. Because Schneider was known to be a strong constitutionalist, who would have opposed a coup against a democratically elected president. The US helped in protecting those involved in this murder. After the coup against Allende in 1973 General Augusto Pinochet came to power. He constructed a narrative of a critical fight against the forces of communism that threatened to take over the country. He portrayed himself as a savior of the Western civilization, and so freedom and democracy, in Chile. This fight, according to the dictator’s narrative, required draconian measures to ensure safety and security, and freedom and democracy in the nation. Under Pinochet’s rule, political dissent was suppressed through police brutality, kidnapping and torture. Masquerading his genocidal violence against those perceived to be a threat to his regime as a necessary measure to protect the system of peace and freedom, Pinochet killed over 3000 of his political opponents in 1973-74. He justified his dictatorship and cruelty by depicting the opponents of his rule as the cause of social disorder, and a threat to peace, freedom and democracy. The US too justified this massacre. Explaining to a Congressional Committee in 1973, William Colby, then head of the CIA, said that the ongoing massacre by the Chilean dictator was a good thing, because it was not only rooting out communist influence, but also necessary to maintain stability in Chile.

The US’ activities can also be seen in Indonesia, which got its independence from the Dutch in 1954. President Sukarno was considered a “neutralist” and a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement, seeking self-determination. His position was threatening to the hegemony of the US and the West. Beginning in 1955 the CIA and the Pentagon attempted to undermine Sukarno. This interference included attempts to steal elections, creation of paramilitary sabotage units, building networks with the military, and assassination plans. The last straw for the US and the Western hegemony came in 1965 when Sukarno nationalized Dutch-owned industries, including the oil reserves.

General Suharto, a close ally of the US, came to power in October 1965 through a military coup by massacring an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 people. On March 12, 1966 The New York Times described it as “one of the most savage mass slaughters of modern political history.” Commenting on the US role in this genocide, Gabriel Kolko, a historian, wrote, “No single American action in the period after 1945 was as bloodthirsty as its role in Indonesia, for it tried to initiate the massacre.” During Hearings on Foreign Assistance before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1966, US Senator Sparkman asked Robert McNamara, then US Secretary of Defense: “At a time when Indonesia was kicking up pretty badly – when we were getting a lot of criticism for continuing military aid – at that time we could not say what that military aid was for. Is it secret anymore?” McNamara replied, “I think in retrospect, that the aid was well justified.” When Sparkman asked again, “You think it paid dividends?” McNamara responded, “I do, sir.” As part of its mission to “cleanse” Indonesia of the evil of communism, the US embassy in Jakarta supplied Suharto with names of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members. The embassy crossed off the names when they were killed or captured. 

Since Indonesia was a friendly client, its invasion of and massacre in East Timor on December 7, 1975 aroused negligible interest in the US and the West. This state terrorism had the political and logistical support of the US. It is alleged that President Suharto met with President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger “on the eve of the invasion and told them of his plans to carry out the slaughter” and received their support for his genocide. Columnist Jack Anderson reported that President Ford had declared, “We had to be on the side of Indonesia.” Subsequently Kissinger had confirmed that they approved the invasion. Anderson also reported: “Five days after the invasion, the United Nations voted to condemn the attack as an arrant act of international aggression. The U.S. abstained…The U.S. delegate (Daniel Patrick Moynihan) maneuvered behind the scenes to resist U.N. moves aimed at forcing Indonesia to give up its conquest.”

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then US Ambassador to the United Nations, sent a cable to Henry Kissinger, then Secretary of State, on January 23, 1976 on silencing UN opposition to Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor: “The United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success.”

By 1989, Amnesty International estimated that Indonesian military forces had murdered 200,000 East Timorese out of a population of 600,000-700,000, a holocaust proportionately more brutal than the simultaneous campaign of Pol Pot in Cambodia.

During 1977-78 when Jimmy Carter, the present “champion” of the human rights, was the US president, weapons flow into Indonesia increased sharply, thus facilitating massacres. Both the US and the West gave complete support to Suharto for enabling their self-interests. Margaret Thatcher praised Suharto as “one of our very best and most valuable friends.” The World Bank described the dictator as a “model pupil.” The US State Department has consistently supported Indonesia’s claims to East Timor while downplaying its genocide. The US has continually trained Indonesia military and approved sales of weapons worth over $1 billion. Under President Bill Clinton 148 million dollars worth of military hardware has been granted as well as secret Green Beret training to Indonesia’s feared Kopassus counterinsurgency units in defiance of Congressional prohibitions. In a letter to Clinton on March 18, 1998 Megawati Soekainoputri, Indonesian dissident, wrote: “It is the explicit policy of the Indonesian security forces to meet peaceful and unarmed civilian protests with force. Military training by the United States thus directly undermines the democratic movement in Indonesia.”

Thus, the US sustained dictators and their cruelty by promoting state terrorism. Through the CIA, it played the central role in perpetuating the misery of South America’s impoverished masses. This led Philip Agee, a CIA officer for 12 years, to resign from the CIA. Agee later became the whistleblower of CIA criminal activities in his book Inside the Company: CIA Diary published in 1975. In this book he wrote: “When I joined the CIA I believed in the need for its existence…After 12 years with the agency I finally understood how much suffering it was causing, that millions of people all over the world had been killed or had their lives destroyed by the CIA and the institutions it supports.”

He also gave in detail the methods and procedures employed by the US in its pursuit and maintenance of its self-interests in other countries. Inside the Company was a political bombshell, coming amid widespread revelations of CIA assassination plots, involvement in military coups, and illegal surveillance against the American people, particularly those opposed to the Vietnam War. Among other things, Agee gave a detailed account of how he and his colleagues had organized the downfall of Ecuador’s President Velasco in 1961. He also informed how he, as a CIA agent, closely worked with the then Mexican Interior Minister Luis Echeverría to subdue student opposition to both the Mexican government and the Olympic Games in 1968. Human Rights groups estimate that about 300 people were killed when government forces opened fire on students gathered at Tlatelolco Plaza. This massacre is known as the Tlatelolco massacre. Agee also maintained that the CIA had ordered the assassination of Ernesto “Ché” Guevara, Cuba’s Argentinian revolutionary, in Bolivia. In 1987, Agee published a memoir, On the Run, which gave more details of his break with the Agency and the CIA’s efforts to retaliate.

He wrote: “It was a time in the ’70s when the worst imaginable horrors were going on in Latin America. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, El Salvador—they were military dictatorships with death squads, all with the backing of the CIA and the US government. That was what motivated me to name all the names and work with journalists who were interested in knowing just who the CIA were in their countries.”