English rule in India is not bad because it is English, but because no race has yet appeared sufficiently strong in character to resist the temptations which come with irresponsible power.

  • 1898-1914: The Phillipines
      As a point of reference American imperialism begins (or it doesn't really - one would have to completely ignore the genocide of the native population, slavery, etc.) with the aquisition of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Phillipines after the Spanish-American War of 1898. It's a good point to remember how that war started: part hoax, part sensationalized, war mongering "journalism". Old habits die hard.

      The "Benevolent Assimilation Proclamation" of the McKinley presidency in 1899 annouced America's intention to be the benevolent dictator over various foreign nations that just happened to all be filled with ruthless, pagan savages. Only Cuba has acquired independence. For the sake of brevity, or in recognition of the precedent set by the Nuremberg Tribunal and conditions laid out under the UN charter, I will otherwise focus on post-WWII history. The Phillipines makes a decent representative example of pre-WWII US foreign policy.

      In a savage conflict America repressed the Filipino independence movement. As in most cases of massacre on the part of the US the number of casualties remains a matter of debate; in this instance 5,000 (of some 120,000 involved) Americans killed with additional casualties later due to disease contracted in the Phillipines, but anywhere between 16,000-20,000 Filipino soldiers and 200,000-600,000 civilian Filipino casualties resulted due to the war, war induced famine, disease, and multiple atrocities, but one would be mistaken to describe the conflict as characterized by brutality.

      The historian Federico Romero, a century later, described this expansionist program as "civilizational imperialism".

      US military involvement in the Phillipines continues to this day, much to the advantage of foreign investors, who continue to maintain economic hegemony. US troops may not enjoy their stay quite as much as the last time, nor as the first time.

        "Lest this seem to be the bellicose pipedream of some dyspeptic desk soldier, let us remember that the military deal of our country has never been defensive warfare. Since the Revolution, only the United Kingdom has beaten our record for square miles of territory acquired by military conquest. Our exploits against the American Indian, against the Filipinos, the Mexicans, and against Spain are on a par with the campaigns of Genghis Khan, the Japanese in Manchuria and the African attack of Mussolini. No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war. And at the rate our armed forces are being implemented at present, the odds are against our fighting one in the near future."
  • 1936: Objective history ends.
      Doubt being the prerogative of one who seeks truth.
  • 1945-1974: Greece, Questioning the Cold War.
      The US creates the Greek secret police (the KYP) and backs military coups in 1949, 1967 and 1973. Dictatorships ruled during the periods of 1949-1952 and 1967-1974.

      One can cite the essential brutality of the first US dicatorship in Greece as beyond excessive considering the US's ostensible goals of simple containment of Communist expansion (and I am not in a position to deny that there were Communists seeking control, rather the opposite), but since then US involvement in Greece has demonstrated, if anything, that no element of democratic rule not in strict alliance with US interests was permissible. As far as Greece is concerned the values of democracy, self-rule, and human rights in US foreign policy don't hold much water.

      One common misconception is that the creation and continued support for Greek dictatorship was in response to the 1948 Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia:

        The Soviet crackdown on Czechoslovakia in 1948 therefore flowed logically from the inauguration of the Marshall Plan program, and was confidently predicted by United States government observers six months in advance of the event.

        It is clear from the above that the sudden consolidation of Communist power in Czechoslovakia in 1948 was not a sign of any "new Soviet aggressiveness" and had nothing to do with any Soviet decision to launch its military forces against the West.

      On the other hand, as the report describes, it might be quite easy to understand the US's initial zealotry immediately after WWII given the widespread misconceptions that often prevailed in policy making; I see little room for such blindness by the time of the 1967 coup. Among other statements made by Kennan in the Moscow Embassy report, "The attempt to portray the outside world as menacing, whether or nor it actually was so at any given moment, has been part of the stock in trade of Soviet rule." applies as well to Western governments, particularly the US - and such is essentially described in the same document about public statements made by officials in favor of the formation of NATO. Both states exacerbated public fears of the other, misleading and exploiting the domestic populations, and inevitably increasing the likelihood that those same fears would be realized - quite beyond the point where if such fears were realized human life would be extinguished. And all for a popularity contest between two particularly unsavory characters: one a thought-policing butcher, the other a demented, senile madman.

      The most obvious question is whether defense against Communist dictatorship (or the "promotion of democracy") required outright and unquestioned support for proto-facist dictatorships - a highly dubious assumption, and an expensive one in this instance, costing some 150,000 lives.

  • 1945: China. Tibet. Taiwan.
      A discussion on US third world interventionism in relation to the cold war would be appropriate here, where US policy might stand its best defense during an intervention in the second world, in consideration of future insanity pursued by Mao and the relatively beneficial interference in Taiwan's economy (for entirely cynical reasons, considering support for Chiang's otherwise brutal dictatorship there, but nevertheless a possible example of positive interference). One probably couldn't argue that a Chiang Kai-Shek dictatorship in China would have been necessarily any better than Mao's - though perhaps the mass famines would have been mitigated by the enforcement of the status quo. Mao at least did something against the Japanese in WWII, and given Chiang's anti-communist purges in 1927 it's not like he was a positive alternative, just not the fiscal incarnation of Satan (good advice for commies: don't put your Generals in charge of the economy). Why we had to back a faction at all is, of course, the real question. But I don't really know and could do some more reading, so blame Canada.

      What Mao's insanity had to do with US insanity, is, on the other hand, another matter entirely. Mao and Stalin were determined to maintain their power, as was the US - only that in the colonial vacuum of post-WWII the US found itself in control of most of the past colonial holdings of the former Western Empires. It had two reasonable alternatives: hold onto them as economic and military waystations and play a neo-colonial role in ordering their governments and policies; or allow self-determination as the newly liberated countries saw fit while making some simple efforts towards a recognition of basic human rights, inclusion of non-violent minorities in government, cooperation with the UN against aggressive warfare, and in the process cooperating with nations in the prevention of whatever foreign subversion of that self-determination that may arise, should any have arisen, in accordance with the UN Charter, which was and remains a perfectly valid starting point for building a stable, free, democratic world. The latter provided the auspices of much public rhetoric, in most cases, and the former is evidenced as the pursued policy. Maybe we'll give democracy a shot someday.

      An objective examination of Stalin/Mao's respective reigns of mass terror and said terror's more or less total non-relationship to the ensuing Cold war outside of its usefulness to Western and Communist propaganda apparatii would be useful as well, it's rare to find anybody that seems merely curious about the subject that doesn't try making a case that one or another ideology is the root of all evil. This is what happens when you try pretending that the internet is your library.

  • 1946-1996: Marshall Islands.
      Nuclear testing during Operations Crossroads, Sandstone, Greenhouse, Ivy, Castle, Redwing, and Hardtack involved over 60 known atomic and hydrogen bomb tests at Enewetak and Bikini. The testing involved US imposed exile for thousands of islanders to neighboring atolls, hundreds of whom suffered from radiation poisoning and other exposure related diseases, and dozens committed suicide admidst the derilect conditions of their displacement. The US government could have decided to do anything to avoid this constant string of fiascos at little relative expense (how's an army-engineered ocean-side community in SoCal on a cushy government stipend sound, while we nuke your motherland?): it chose to do nothing.

      Also affected by radiation poisoning were 22 Japanese fishermen, and a number of US military personel were also exposed.

      The IEER has apparently estimated the excess deaths from atmospheric testing on all sides and related fallout between 1940-2000 to be 430,000.

  • 1948: Korea; Cheju Island
      The US, with Japanese and South Korean collaborators, slaughters one third of the population of Cheju Island in anti-communist purges during the occupation of South Korea from 1945 to 1949.

        "Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. ...

        In the face of this situation we would be better off to dispense now with a number of the concepts which have underlined our thinking with regard to the Far East. We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers' keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague, and for the Far East, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."

  • 1948-1954: Phillipines

  • 1948-1960: South Korea

  • 1948-1976: Congressional Pike Report. Italy.
      The Pike Report, as leaked uncensored to the Village Voice and thusly abandoned by the House in embarassment (the Church Committee was the parallel intelligence review in the Senate), revealed that the since 1948 the US spent over $65 million dollars (including some Marshall Plan aid) interfering in Italian elections, joining Moscow in support of European anti-communism, namely neo-facists and known terrorists.

      Interference in Italy included allegedly destroying [search for "Federico Romero", also discussed here] the anti-facist resistance that had organized powerful unions and worker committees in its fight against Germany, coming to dominate northern Italy shortly after WWII and threatening the old order, and so the US reaction. Anti-left violence continued well beyond world war two, into the 70s, with CIA backing for the Gladio [*].

      Similar actions were taken against anti-nazi resistance groups in other liberated territories, for example in Germany, where an average of $6 million was spent supporting the Nazi intelligence network of General Reinhard Gehlen until he was replaced by the CIA in 1954. Related support for Nazis, including giving them safe harbor in the US, was the basis for Operation Paperclip.

  • 1948-1956: Peru

  • 1949: Syria
      CIA backs military coup against the elected government of Syria, establishing Colonel Za'im's military dictatorship.

  • 1950: Puerto Rico
      Independence rebellion crushed in Ponce.

  • 1952: Cuba
      Coup overthrows elected government of Carlos Prio Socorras. Fulgencio Batista's ruthless regime and his secret police force, the Buro de Represion Actividades Communistas (BRAC) - created by the CIA in 1956, tortures and kills thousands with full US backing.

  • 1953-1979: Iran.
      CIA organizes a coup (Operation Ajax) in Iran overthrowing Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The coup installs the Shah's dictatorship and introduces one of the more totalitarian regimes of the third world. The US concocts an anti-communist story (Mossadeq was a militant nationalist, extremely popular and likewise elected) for the intervention, and the Shah's SAVAK police proceeded to brutalize, repress, divide, isolate, and torture the Iranian population for a quarter of a century until he was exiled in 1979 by Khomeini's Islamic republic, which did more of the same. When popular resistance became uncontrollable the Shah fled the country, and the CIA made an unsuccessful attempt to put in his place another military dictatorship.

      The support of the Shah helped polarize much of Iranian society against the West. Relations, which began to warm in the 90s, have otherwise remained antagonistic. The recent hex cast upon Iran by George the II probably isn't helping.

      This is a suitable place to interject a discussion on why oil matters.

  • 1953-1964: Explosion of the first Russian hydrogen bomb. Destalinization begins.
      With varying degress of success liberalization programs are undertaken in Soviet Russia and its satellites to undo the worst of the persisting crimes of Stalin's regime. Most, but not all, political prisoners are rehabilitated, religious freedoms expand, and the use of torture decreases tremendously. In 1956 Krushchev delivers a limited but accurate enough condemnation of Stalin to the Party. Military suppression of protests against the state and people's movements, vast state censorship, partocracy, militarism, Soviet economic hegemony, and other forms of control for the most part continue - ie. the political life of citizens begins to bear - lacking in violent purges and religious intolerance, torture, famine, and personality cults - more resemblance to that in the US than in China. After 1964 and Brezhnev's rise to power the decline in repression reverses somewhat, and cultural and political dissidence meets with forceful "damage control".

  • 1953-1996: Guatemala
        "We have created a more humanitarian, less costly strategy, to be more compatible with the democratic system. We instituted civil affairs [in 1982] which provides development for 70 percent of the population, while we kill 30 percent. Before, the strategy was to kill 100 percent."
          --General Hctor Gramajo, 1980s Guatemalan Minister of Defense, interview with Harvard International Review, cited here

      United Fruit Co., aka Chiquita Banana, and the CIA lobby the Eisenhower administration to overthrow President Jacobo Arbenz, who attempted to institute land reforms that threatened United Fruit's extortion of Guatemalan agriculture, and expanded on the ideal of democracy to end disenfranchizement of communist sympathizers at the table of government. The Eisenhower administration and CIA, apparently in confusion about what democracy means, prompty organized a botched assassination attempt on Arbenz, trained and armed a military regime to take over, and lent military assistance to the counter-revolution. The ensuing civil war lasted 40 years and left some 160,000 dead and 40,000 "disappeared" (in 1999 there was some light cast on the fate of the disappeared).

        "The social and economic programs of the elected government met the aspirations" of labor and the peasantry, and "inspired the loyalty and conformed to the self-interest of most politically conscious Guatemalans. Worse still, the government of Guatemala had "become an increasing threat to the stability of Honduras and El Salvador. Its agrarian reform is a powerful propaganda weapon; its broad social program of aiding the workers and peasants in a victorious struggle against the upper classes and large foreign enterprises has a strong appeal to the populations of Central American neighbors where similar conditions prevail."

        So therefore a military solution was necessary. It went on for 40 years, and its left the same culture of terror as in Central American neighbors.

          --Chomsky, summarizing internal US documents discussing the communist threat in Guatemala, Kiva Auditorium, NM. A similar quote from the linked essay by Streeter is attributed to the State Department, discussing regional stability for Honduras and El Salvador; quote attributed citation by Gjeijeses, Shattered Hope, p 152.

      CIA veteran Ralph McGee has compiled a list of non-classified reports of CIA activities in Guatemala, with the CIA Seal of Approval. A talk of his is available at montclair.edu in which he discusses briefly the CIA's recruitment of rejects from the NFL. John Stockwell has given the same sort of testimony about Angola.

      In addition to death squad activity, executions, rape, and torture, US government suppression of the murder of an American, etc., US backed goons engaged in scorched earth campaigns. While US military aid was halted in 1990, the CIA continued its own funding for another 5 years until reports in the US press made the funding public.

  • 1954-1975: Vietnam: "Remember! Only you can prevent forests."
        Disillusionment: \Dis`il*lu"sion*ment\, n. The act of freeing from an illusion, or the state of being freed therefrom.

      According to the DRV some 1 million Vietnamese combatants and 2-4,000,000 Vietnamese civillians were killed in the war (estimated anywhere between 10-20% of the population, or proportionately 27 million Americans), over half the casualties inflicted in South Vietnam. The CIA's Phoenix program lead to the assassinations of some 20-40,000 civillians alone, nevermind the hundreds of thousands that were subjected to brutal interrogations and internment in re-education camps through CIA programs. Military intelligence programs differed little in their essential brutality, including torture by field telephone. In violation of international law and our own good sense we used chemical warfare and scorched earth policies which afflicted not only US and Vietnamese soliders, but caused massive civilian casualties and harm that continue to this day, as unexploded ordance and damage to the gene pool caused by chemical agents take their slow toll.

      The main thrust of this violence was directed towards South Vietnam, who we were purportedly there to protect, or whatever it is we were purpotedly doing; protecting America from Vietnam, I suppose, against their plan to sail over in rafts and crush us with sheer numbers. To have Michael Lind tell it I'm supposed to believe that the Vietcong's refusal to surrender makes them responsible for the victims of US bombing. And so far as Soviet involvement is concerned Ilya Gaiduk argues that Russia was partly responsible for the war due to their lack of actual involvement, however that works. US involvement in Vietnam probably increased neighboring alliances with the Soviets because of a ) our refusal to negotiate and b) think US-France relations, American revolutionary war.

      The US never paid reparations to Vietnam, nor Cambodia, nor Laos.

      Agent 19 has yet to recieve commendations from the US for his work against the Japanese in World War II.

        "About the war in Vietnam, all I have to say is [...inaudible...] and that's all I have to say about the war in Vietnam."
          --Forrest Gump

  • 1956-Present: The US government strikes back: COINTELPRO; Operation CHAOS, MOCKINGBIRD
      Of roughly 20,000 people investigated by the FBI solely on the basis of their political views between 1956-1971, about 10 to 15% were the targets of active counterintelligence measures per se. Taking counterintelligence in its broadest sense, to include spreading false information, it's estimated that about two-thirds were COINTELPRO targets. Most targets were never suspected of committing any crime.

      Such interventions are not without precedent in Hoover's administration, such as the Palmer raids.

      It's important to note that the FBI assisted right-wing hate groups in carrying out bombings, shootings, murder, and other assorted manifestations of violence against activist groups, as exemplified by the siege at Pine Ridge, South Dakota (1973-76) and the Greensboro Massacre (1979).

      The CIA was utilized for the same ends, spying on the student movement, collecting information on some 300,000 Americans, distributing LSD to unwitting participants, American and foreign, as part of MKULTRA (leading in one case to the 1953 death of Dr. Frank Olson). It included enticing heroin addicts to use the drug in return for heroin (beginning the long history of CIA involvement with the drug trade) and testing it on "unwitting subjects in social situations". All records pertaining to MKULTRA were destroyed by the order of CIA director Richard Helms in 1973, so what these findings from the Church Committee entail exactly we'll never fully know.

      Operation MOCKINGBIRD is a well documented program in which the CIA made infiltrations into domestic media organizations, as well as creating front organizations poising as media groups, giving the intelligence community a high level of influence and occasional instances of direct control in the "free press". This is what democracies do in lieu of having direct state control over media, and one can readily observe that it's a far more effective policy in guiding public opinion and covering up state secrets, since the citizen is left unaware that any influence is being exerted, or if he is he is left unaware of when. Of course, since these activities are never verified by the government until decades after they happen anybody claiming that such activities continue are easily labelled as cranks, as was the case for most instances of covert activity listed in this document - such is to be expected, and I make no claims that such activity continues, but it's a safe assumption. And god forbid, they even have their hands in the establishment left, whatever one makes of that, the arguement is that it keeps them "anti-conspiracist" - a position I would argue is also in keeping with simple rational behavior, by virtue of occam's razor.

      The CIA in general being conspicious, rotten fucks, leading rational, sane people into the bowels of paranoia when government secrecy prevents the public from knowing the full extent and details of operations that targetted US citizens, leaving fear, manufactured or not, to fully disembowel the credibility of people who have reasonable questions but choose instead to fill the gaps in themselves with mindwasting conjecture.

      It's almost enough to suggest that the US government has been involved in a conspiracy to promote the spread of conspiracy theory.

  • 1956-1976: Jordan
      Average of $750,000/year paid personally to King Hussein. After disclosure of payments in 1976 USG claims payments ceased.

  • 1957-1975: Laos.

  • 1957: Syria
      Botched coup attempt.

  • 1958: Lebanon
      CIA funds election campaign of Camille Chamoun. 14,000 marines occupy Lebanon to repress dissidents.
  • 1959-Present: Cuba
      Continuing an old feud, that being that Cuba belongs to the United States and not Cubans, the US has continued intervening on it's own behalf in Cuba. As compared to Cubans acting on their own behalf in Cuba. Despite their best bungling efforts the CIA's attempts to overthrow Fidel Castro (with 6 failed assassination attempts between '61-63), have all failed. Sabatoge and terrorist attacks continue until 1966. US embargos, continuing long past the end of the cold war, strangle the Cuban economy and deprive all but the highest American elites of fine Cuban cigars. To be fair to Cuba - and it's unlikely that this has much to do with Castro's administrative "genius" - it rates somewhere around 3rd or 4th in the Western hemisphere on basic human development indicators, its infant mortality rate is in fact lower than that of the United States. On human rights it's useful to compare notes on Cuba versus the United States and the top recipient in the hemisphere of US military aid, Columbia, before trying to explain or justify US policy against Cuba as a response to Castro's human rights abuses.

  • 1960-1963: Ecuador
      According to a book by ex-CIA agent Philip Agee, the CIA staged a Communist takeover of Ecuador before backing a military coup, ousting elected President J. M. Velasco Ibarra, and again in 1963 the government of Carlos Julio Arosemena. Agee now lives in Cuba and is accused of being a "KGB shill", which all around is probably better for the health than staying in the US and being a CIA target.

  • 1960-1964: Congo
      The US assists in the assassination of newly elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba (including one attempt via a viral agent, delivery courtesy Sidney Gottlieb), shortly after the Congo achieved independence. Joseph Mobutu took over as military dictator with US backing, and proceeded to rape and brutalize the country and its civilians. Recently replaced by Laurent Kabila, things still aren't looking any better.

      This was part of a general juggling of African nations between world powers; in this case the Soviet role was "largely rhetorical". Saner nations might have entered into a Non-Circus-Ring Pact.

      In 1964 the CIA provided air support for Mobutu, Cyril Adoula, and Moise Tshombe in Katanga, against Lumumba supporters.

  • 1961-1979: South Korea
      US support for the coup and dictatorship of Japanese collaborator and suspected commie General Park Chung He. Elected to office in 1963, declared martial law in 1972 lasting until his assassination. Created the KCIA, an organization 370,000 strong by its third year of existence, the head of which shot Park in the head in 1979. See: Koreagate.

  • 1962: Brazil
      CIA engages in a campaign to keep Joao Goulart from achieving control of Congress.

  • 1962-1975: Paraguay
      The dictatorship of a poor man's Nazi, Alfredo Stroessner, recieves $146 million in US aid, never recieving condemnations for its human rights abuses, the genocide of the indigenous Ache, drug trafficking and open arms policy for ex Nazis until the 1980s. The condemnation shortly preceded a 1988 coup. Stroessner took exile in Brazil.

  • 1962-1977: Chile
      Starting in 1962 the CIA begins interfering in Chilean elections, turning in 1964 to incubation of the military junta that in 1973 put Augusto Pinochet into power after a CIA backed overthrow of Salvador Allende (having failed to buy his opponents elections and a failed coup attempt in 1970, among others). Salvador's government was replaced by a military dictatorship that suppressed and brutalized the country until 1990, with full US knowledge and complicity, and included assistance in the murder of political opponents. Allende's crime:
      "Allende then proceeded towards strongly socialist policies based on his electoral victory, including a prices freeze, an increase in wages, nationalisation of the coal and steel industries, nationalisation of the main foreign copper firms, and of 60% of the private banks (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p127; Hudson 1994). Almost 500 firms would be nationalised (Hudson 1994). Workers often took the initiative, occupying the offices of foreign firms such as ITT and Ford until they were nationalised - this led to a partial financial blockade by the U.S., as well as the withholding of loans from the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Skidmore & Smith 2001, p127)."

      The US was supporting "anti-communist" factions in Chile as early as 1950. CIA activities recieved significant funding from the business community (allegedly Pepsi, from what I've read).

      The AFL-CIO was also involved, continuing its long history of working against foreign labor unions.

  • 1963-1979: Iraq
      The "Health Alteration Committee", a CIA assassination program, sends the disobedient Iraqi dictator Abdel Karim Kassem - who came to power in 1958 overthrowing the British puppet Nuri Said and then helped found OPEC - a poisoned handkerchief. Upon that attempt's failure the CIA stages a coup supporting the Baath Party, ushering in a wave of bloodbaths against lists of leftists and communists provided by the CIA, as well as slaughter of the Kurds, and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Kurds, Turkomans, and Shi'ites - all with solid US backing.

      The CIA backs another coup in 1968 putting Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr into power, leading directly to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein in 1979.

  • 1963-1965: Dominican Republic
      US supported militants remove the elected president of the Dominican Republic, Juan Bosch, in 1963. In 1965 22,000 US Marines land after falling sugar prices stir an uprising against the dictatorship. The Marines assist the dictatorship in supressing the rebellion, killing over 4,000 Dominicans.

  • 1963: Guatemala
      A right wing coup with ties to the US forestalls an election in which Juan Jose Arevalo was favored to win.
  • 1964: Brazil
      CIA organizes a right-wing coup of the Brazilian republic. The resulting dictatorship suppressed, censored, and tortured the opposition, the suspected opposition, everybody else, and it's economic policies drove the per capita GNP to one of the lowest in Latin American, in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

      "The systematic use of torture was also condoned if not encouraged by U.S. AID officials.

      A common torture routine consisted of a preliminary beating by a flat wooden paddle with holes drilled through it called a palmatoria. This would be followed by a more concentrated application of electric wires to the genitals designed to elicit information from the victim. If this method failed, the prisoner was subjected to another round with the palmatoria -- often for six hours at a time.46 Today, Brazil's terror technology has advanced beyond the electric prod and the wooden paddle. Testimony from political prisoners verified by the Brazilian College of Lawyers lists among the newest inventions a refrigerated cubicle called a geladeira. Nude prisoners are boxed in the geladeira for several days at a time and frequently doused with ice-cold water. All the time, loudspeakers emit deafening sounds. One prisoner described this as a "machine to drive people crazy."


      Brazil has been more or less in the back pocket of US interests before and since, and makes a clear example of how US interests are protected by keeping peoples and governments in line, be it by hook or crook. The 2002 election of the liberal canidate Luiz Lula to the presidency demonstrates how foreign economic pressures are put to bear in the form of self-fulfilling prophecies: "For months international investment banks have been downgrading Brazil's government bonds, saying that a Lula presidency would likely lead to a default. This caused the collapse of the real, which has led to rising prices for all imports, including oil, and a spike in interest rates."

  • 1964: Panama
      22 Panamanian students shot for raising a Panamanian flag in the canal zone.

  • 1964-1971: Uruguay
      Acting through the US client state in Brazil the US works to influence Uruguay's elections with initimidation of the voters and candidates amidst US supported violence, militant repression and increased use of torture as part of the counterinsurgency program.

  • 1965-1986: Phillipines - the Democratizing Virtues of "Constitutional Authoritarianism"
      US supports rule of Ferdinand Marcos [2], the exemplar of "crony capistalism". Elected in 1965 and 1969, Marcos takes advantage of terrorist bombings (some of which were carried out by his government) in 1972 and seizes dictatoral power. He was praised by US leaders for his democratic virtues until his downfall in 1986, when he was exiled to California.

  • 1965: Indonesia.
      US supports the Suharto regime's authoritarian grab for power under the auspices of a Communist plot during Indonesia's independence movement (which it acquired from Portugal) and assists in the murder of over 500,000 civilians.

  • 1966-1967: Guatemala
      Green Berets intervene to support client state. Arms and advisers sent to implement a counter-insurgency program.

  • 1967: Bolivia; Assassination of Ernesto Guevara

  • 1967: Detroit, Michigan

      43 killed in confrontation between blacks and US military forces.

  • 1968: El Salvador
      Gen. Jos Alberto Medrano, who is on the payroll of the CIA, organizes the ORDEN and ANSESAL paramilitary forces, considered the precursors to El Salvador's death squads.

  • 1968: United States
      21,000 soldiers are deployed to US cities after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

  • 1968-2000: Peru

      Overthrow of the elected government by the military dictatorship of School of Americas graduate Major General Juan Valesco Alvarado, initiating military rule for seven years. Alvarado's junta ousted Belaunde Terry, who was resistant to nationalizing oil production and had devalued the Sol by over forty percent. Alvarado's leftist junta immediately nationalized oil production in 1968, but allowed foreign investors back in after 1971 under somewhat, for Peru, more generous contracts. The US had been providing training to Peruvian security forces for some time, similar in content to that elsewhere.

      After the reinstatement of democracy in 1980 the US involved itself under the auspices of the drug war, during which it likely targetted Peru with biological and chemical warfare programs.

      Alberto Fujimori was president between 1990 to 2000, and the CIA was delivering $1 million a year to his intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos to fight drug trafficking, knowing at the time that Montesinos was in bed with narcotraffickers, and helping him rig elections to keep Fujimori in office. The US has provided military helicopters and advisors to the Peruvian military, amid reports from human rights groups that the military was engaged in serious human rights abuses including disappearances, torture, and rape.

      Fujimori suspended democratic rule and engaged in a violent but successful crack down against Shining Path and Tupac Amaru. He also used the suspension of democracy to enforce economic policies that plunged Peru deeper into poverty (minus an oppulent minority of Peruvian and US business men). The SP is a brutal neo-Marxist/Leninist guerilla organization responsible for the murders of about 11,000 people, including "bourgeoisie" leftists.

      As part of the counter-insurgency Fujimori's security services formed the Grupo Colina, headed by a former SOA graduate that was an officer in a Honduras death squad. Grupo Colina engaged in numerous atrocities against civillians and contributed to the dramatic rise of human rights abuses, many targetting political opponents and journalists. Caught between a minority militant left and a dictatoral militant right: everybody else, particularly indigenous peoples living in oil rich areas.

      Fujimori is now in exile in Japan. Montesinos was caught on the run through Venezuela and extradited to Peru, where he was convicted of usurptation.

  • 1969-1973: US Bombs Fuck out of Cambodia.
      "The fact is that the United States dropped three times the quantity of explosives on Cambodia between 1970 and 1973 than it had dropped on Japan for the duration of World War II. Between 1969 and 1973, 539,129 tons of high explosives rained down on Cambodia; that is more than one billion pounds. This is equivalent to some 15,400 pounds of explosives for every square mile of Cambodian territory. Considering that probably less than 25 percent of the total area of Cambodia was bombed at one time or another, the actual explosive force per area would be at least four times this level."
        --The Rise and Demise of Democractic Kampuchea, Craig Etcheson

    American support for the ouster of Sihanouk (viewed by the rural populace as the father of the country), in a coup by General Lon Nol and the subsequent invasion of Cambodia by U.S. troops in April 1970 prompted a backlash that strengthened support for the insurgent Khmer Rouge (KR) guerrillas.

  • 1970: Oman
      US directs Iranian marine invasion.

  • 1971-1982: Bolivia
      School of Americas graduate General Hugo Banzer Suarez leads a bloody coup in 1971 and installs a military dictatorship that repressed, exiled, jailed and killed labor leaders, leftist politicians, and Catholic aid workers who were attempting to aid Indians the regime had dispossessed.

      In 1982 the CIA backs coup to overthrow Celso Torrelio.

  • 1972: Philippines
      US backs overthrow of Philippine republic.

  • 1972-1976: Ecuador
      Overthrow of the elected government by the military dictatorship of School of the Americas graduate Major General Guillermo Rodriguez, initiating military rule for seven years.

  • 1973-Present: The "War on Drugs"
      The effect on foreign nations, the biological, biochemical, and chemical warfare programs, CIA involvement in funding death squad activity with narcotrafficking proceeds - nevermind dousing members of the general population with LSD, and other fall out from the war on drugs is dealt with intermintently elsewhere. At home drug war policy has been a matter of controlling the domestic population:

      In an apparent effort to make China look good, the US has thrown behind bars about 500,000 drug "offenders" out of political expediency. A full third of the population has used illegal drugs, and presumably belong in there with them. The US has 5% of the world's population, and it's 2,000,000 inmates make up about 25% of the world's imprisoned population, with another 4,000,000 citizens on probation.

      These numbers are overwhelmingly due to the drug war. About a quarter of all robbery, burglary, and larceny offenses were committed to obtain drugs. Many Americans have sought asylum in Canada, calling into question facile arguments about why nobody is trying to get out of this country.

      Like most people I'd like to see an end to the crack trade and a reasonable drug policy with respect to marijuana and other relatively harmless, none-to-low addiction, entertaining substances, with social programs that focus on rehabilitation, stress responsible drug use and provide accurate, non-fear propaganda laden information, and national programs that focus on blocking the importation of illegal narcotics. Actually, I would have assumed that this is what a "war on drugs" would have originally entailed. The past 30 years of policy have been completely the opposite: non-rehabilitative treatment, invading foreign countries to destroy local agriculture, manipulating agriculture prices to drive out foreign competition and push third world farmers into drug production, funding, arming, and cooperating with narcotraffickers abroad, and using profits off drug traffic to fund covert operations. Sort of makes the sincerity of the anti-drug warriors sound a little disingenuous.

      I think I'm paraphrasing Bill Maher when I point out that we're deforesting South America because we can't kick our cocaine habit.

  • 1973: Uruguay
      Failing to bring about a subservient government by meddling in elections and political repression, the US supports the military in their power grab. I've read that the new government had the highest percentage of the population imprisoned for political reasons in the world.

  • 1973-1978: Afghanistan
      US provides military and financial assistance to Mohammed Duad, who is later defeated by Noor Mohammed Taraki.

  • 1974: South Dakota

  • 1970s, mid to late: "The Intelligence Reform Era".

  • 1975: Portugal
      CIA engineers overthrow of General Vasco dos Santos Goncalves.

  • 1975: Australia
      The dismissal of the Whitlam government by the UK appointed Governor-General John Kerr was apparently encouraged by the involvement of the CIA to prevent Australian involvement in the UKUSA global surveillance network, which was later compromised by Christopher Boyce who became disillusioned by the Agency after learning how it had meddled in Australian politics.

      The CIA's activities incubated not only the manipulation and overthrow of the elected government of one of our closest allies, but infiltrations into trade unions as well.

  • 1975-1999: East Timor: the Indonesian Invasion

  • 1976-1980: Jamaica
      CIA backs unsuccessful military coup of Michael Manley in 1976. Related activity leaves some 750 dead. Destabalizing trade measures and interference in elections leads to Manley's defeat in 1980. Manley returns to office in 1989 after he adopts Washington Consensus approved economic programs.

  • 1976: Thailand

  • 1976-1983: Argentina

  • 1976-1992: Angola
      CIA assists South African backed rebels.

  • 1977-1978: Ethiopia; Somalia
      Amid ongoing juggling between superpowers the recently acquired US client in Somalia launches an attack against the Soviet client in Ethiopia. Soviet and Cuban military aid to Ethiopia amidst the foreign attack apparently demonstrated another rising wave of "Soviet aggression", though Soviet support for brutal regimes in the region by then was old hat.

  • 1978-?: US Supports the Khmer Rouge.
      Invaded by Vietnam in 1978, the genocidal "communist" [I'm personally comfortable with the application of the term, but the linked discussion might merit some attention] Khmer Rouge regime of Cambodia recieved assistance from the US government and was implicit in their rise to power in the first place. Humanitarian aide organizations were pressured by the US into providing assistance to Khmer Rouge guerillas using refugee camps as bases of operation.

      In 1989 the US congress passed a bill prohibiting lethal aid to Pol Pot. In response the US administration began directing arms shipments to the Khmer Rouge through Singapore.

  • July 3, 1979: Afghanistan
      Former Carter administration Secretary of State claims that US created the 'Soviet Vietnam':
      According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujaheddin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
        --Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur

      He goes on, "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" So some good deeds in Central Europe, which by most stretches of the imagination had little to do with the inherent failures of the Soviet system, absolve us of instigating terrorist atrocities in South-Central Asia, in this case a conflict that cost a half million lives?

      There is no further evidence that Brzezinski's statements are based on fact, to my knowledge, beyond this quote.

  • 1979: Greensboro Massacre.

  • 1979-1990: Nicaragua, "The Threat of a Good Example."
      Continuing a long history of intervening in Latin American affairs, the US begins waging a secret war against the Sandinistas in 1979 after the overthrow of the oppressive Somoza regime. The phrase "threat of a good example" comes from the title of a 1985 Oxfam report by Dianna Melrose, which outlined the successes of the Sandinista government in addressing the problems of Nicaragua's poor majority. Nicaragua was immediately put under economic embargo by the US, as it pressures the IMF and World Bank to halt or limit loans.

      The 80s contra war is part of a long list of transgressions against Nicaraguan sovereignty. The contras, trained and supported by the US, tortured, mutilated, raped, robbed, and otherwise abused Nicaraguan civillians during a reign of terror that was illegally funded through US arms sales to Iran. Ex-CIA analyst David MacMichael testified at the World Court that the CIA had repeatedly tried to fabricate evidence of Soviet arms supplies.

      The Sandinistas engaged in their own crimes against humanity over the course of the conflict - the forced assimilation (the precursor program to later hostilities), exploitation, persecution, and mass expulsion of the Miskito population. While a great crime on it's own merits this has little to do with the initiation of hostilities by the US government against Nicaragua, as they started long before violence began on the Miskito coast (until 1981 indigenous groups were represented in the Council of State), and in fact offered up a facile justification for the Sandinistas to make efforts to control the area for fear of CIA recruitment of the indigenous population and resources into the contra struggle - as the CIA did to every one of Nicaragua's neighbors. It's relatively rare that neo-cons taking up this thread will mention similar crimes against indigenous populations taking place at the same time by governments supported by the US, namely El Salvador and Guatemala. Of the three the Sandinistas' attempts to resolve the Nicaragua/Miskito conflict was "the only serious effort at peace in Central America" made. Likewise not only the Sandinistas were attacking Miskitos, but in Honduras and Costa Rica they were in turn attacked by contra forces, as the indigenous were no more interested in being assimilated into the CIA than they were in a Marxist inspired third world country. Reagan, Otto Reich, and their Samoza puppets were not defenders of indigenous rights by any measure. Niether was Red Lobster.

      The US war against Nicaragua left it one of the poorest countries in the world.

      "Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch" --FDR

  • 1980s: Iran-Contra; the CIA and the Crack Trade

      Democracy: \De*moc"ra*cy\, n 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. 2. My ass.

        "The Iran/contra investigation will not end the kind of abuse of power that it addressed any more than the Watergate investigation did. The criminality in both affairs did not arise primarily out of ordinary venality or greed, although some of those charged were driven by both. Instead, the crimes committed in Iran/contra were motivated by the desire of persons in high office to pursue controversial policies and goals even when the pursuit of those policies and goals was inhibited or restricted by executive orders, statutes or the constitutional system of checks and balances."

  • 1980: South Korea

  • 1980: Grenada

  • 1980: Guyana. Fun with FOIA.

  • 1980-1992: El Salvador
      The US backs the Salvadorian junta's power grab and subsequent reign of terror with massive military aid and training, and without dealing at any point with the underlying causes of the violence. El Salvador becomes a top recipient of US aid globally as death squad activity proliferates. There are numbers of political assassinations, including the deaths of American aid workers, and between 78-81 some 35,000 civillians are murdered. One of the most heinous military organizations was the Atlacatl Battalion. By the end of the civil war in 1992 this number rises to 75,000, with over a quarter of the population internally displaced or in other countries as refugees, the total figure for US military aid is $6 billion.

      Claims of Soviet interference and backing for the FMLN were short on evidence and tall on tales.

      "People are not just killed by death squads in El Salvador; they are decapitated and then their heads are placed on pikes and used to dot the landscape. Men are not just disemboweled by the Salvadoran Treasury Police; their severed genitalia are stuffed into their mouths. Salvadoran women are not just raped by the National Guard; their wombs are cut from their bodies and used to cover their faces. It is not enough to kill children; they are dragged over barbed wire until the flesh falls from their bones while parents are forced to watch. The aesthetics of terror in El Salvador is religious."
        --Father Daniel Santiago

  • 1980-1988: The Gulf War
      US intervenes on behalf of Iraq in Iran-Iraq war. The US was supplying Iran with weapons through Iran-Contra, and provided chemical weapons and other military support to Iraq, as well as having personel directing Iraq military in the use of chemical weapons.

      This is where we give the appropriate fashionablely litany against the Butcher of Baghdad: he brutalized [with US support], raped [with US support], murdered [with US support], and sodomized [with US support] his own country for 20 years; he gassed Kurdish civillians living in Northern Iraq [followed by a drastic increase in US support], used chemical weapons in the war against Iran [with US weapons, US training, and US guidance], sought aquisition of nuclear capabilities [with no US interference] and proved himself without a doubt to be one of the most tyrranical bastards, alongside the Shah, ever to come to power [with US support] in the Muslim world. He mobilized the world's fourth largest standing army [with US support] before invading [with US indifference] Kuwait [finally ending direct US support], after which he remained in power [because the US stood by and watched during rebellions against Saddam, after encouraging them] through UN sanctions [a US program that prevented civillian infrastructure from being repaired and dooming Iraqis to a decade of disease and suffering under an entrenched Saddam, etc]. And finally: when he goes fishing, he uses grenades [with US support].

  • 1981-1984: Libya
      Two Libyan jets shot down in 1981. 1982-84 marines expel PLO and back Phalangists and Navy bombs and shells Muslim positions. Evidence of CIA involvement dates back to the early 70s and extends into the late 90s.

  • 1982-1990: Chad
      US supports the regime of Hissene Habre, including CIA paramilitary support during the coup. His secret police slaughtered some 40,000 and tortured as many as 300,000 others.

  • 1982: Guatemala
      Gen. Efran Ros Montt stages successful coup in Guatemala, Reagan increases military aid.

  • 1982-1983: Surinam
      CIA organizes three unsuccessful coup attempts against Colonel Desi Bouterse.

  • 1983: Guatemala
      US trainee Oscar Meja Vctores replaces General Montt in another coup.

  • 1983: Grenada
      This is an interesting, somewhat unique case of US intervention, primarily because of the combined factors involving a) what appeared to be an actual Communist coup b) in a country recieving aid, both before and after, from Cuba (as well as from Britain - they were assisting Grenada in the construction of Grenada's first airport, to boost tourism, and which after the invasion the US later assisted in finishing (for tourism)) c) Army and Marine forces were deployed in a much-hyped, non-secret invasion without an accompanying entourage of journalists and d) the casualties altogether numbered under 500.

      The liberal government under Bishop had been blacked out from aid and economically by the US, and when Bishop was assassinated in a nearly bloodless coup the US government fabricated a PR blitz to facillitate an overthrow of the new government and installment of another more in line with US interests.

  • 1984-1990: Honduras
      The US pressures Honduras into hosting and training Nicaraguan contras in return for aid money. By 1985 President Suazo Cordova is recieving on the order of $230 million a year from his US partners. Death squad activity and human rights abuses drastically increased shortly after.

  • 1984-Present: Turkey
      Turkey becomes a long-running top recipient of US foreign military aid shortly after the 1980 coup. At the same time as Turkey is waging a war against Kurds in the southeast after years of cultural and political repression. The Kurdish language was illegal, as were Kurdish broadcasts, publications, and other means of expression (until August 2002, lifted under European pressure).

      The war against the Kurdish population and the PKK displaced anywhere between 500,000 to 2,000,000 Kurds and killed over 30,000. Uncritical support for Turkey continued despite ongoing political repression and numerous human rights abuses, including the use of torture, "virginity exams", and racist governmental policies.

      The PKK in the meantime has the onerous distinction of being considered freedom fighters when in Iraq and terrorists when in Turkey, demonstrating once again Western politicians' inability to just call an indigenous nationalist movement an indigenous nationalist movement.

  • 1986: Libya
      Air strikes to topple nationalist government.

  • 1986-1994: Haiti
      The US begins channeling increasing amounts of military aid into Haiti, supporting the represssive military and the failing Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship. The Duvaliers' brutal regimes had been supported by the US since it came to power in 1957, it was responsible for some 40-60,000 deaths through the death squads, known as the Tonton Macoutes. The CIA, at the same time, begins pooring an equal amount of money into elections backing military candidates until congress passes a hold on this in the late 1980s, and in 1990 a Catholic priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is elected to the presidency. His term is cut short by a military coup later that same year and Artistide lives in exile until he is able to return with "assistance" from the US (Ex-Pres Carter intervened in some context, I believe, teaching Artistide the hard facts of capitalism and calling back our junta).

      With friends like us how can it go wrong? The CIA formed FRAPH in 1993, a paramilitary death squad headed by Emmanuel Constant, that launched a terror campaign against Artistide's supporters. Numerous human rights abusers from the military (General Raoul Cedras, General Prosper Avril, Colonel Carl Dorelian, and Emmanuel Constant) moved to the US after Artistide's re-instatement. To my knowledge these men have never been extradited.

      Haiti still faces harsh penalties, including a full embargo, enforced by the US government.

  • 1987: Bolivia

  • 1988: Panama
      Regan sends 26,000 US troops to invade Panama, killing thousands of Panamanians before capturing a CIA-employee of 30 odd years, Manuel Noriega, and bringing him to Florida to stand trial for drug trafficing charges. Of all the charges brought only one took place after 1984, and the US government had known he was involved in the drug trade since 1972.

      After years of helping Noriega steal elections despite his well-known abuses, this explanation for his removal does not suffice, nor is it explained as a response to violence against Americans, except as an indication of Noriega's recent unwillingness to follow US orders; US leaders wanted to replace him with a more obedient client before handing rights to the canal back to Panama in 1990. His being a thug, and a relatively minor one, was exaggerated to raise public support for the invasion - that the worst human rights abuses were committed by US trained forces is never mentioned.

      Regardless of US motivation the intervention may well have been justified, as would operations to oust the US-assisted dictators in El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, etc., all of whom had far worse records of drug trafficing and/or human rights abuse. These having had hand-picked US agents committing the atrocities, no such operations occurred.

  • 1988-Present: Columbia
      Since at least 1988 the US has been fucking with Columbia's internal politics and backing state sponsored and paramilitary violence, well beyond it's legal involvement in the "war on drugs" or anything justifying the rape of another South American country, considering the military we're supporting is part of the drug racket and that the people profiting the most off the trade, both in arms and drugs, are Americans.

      The violence between FARC and the Columbian military/paramilitary has pushed Columbia's inhabitants deep into poverty, causing cocoa production to explode as farmers move away from what is now unsustainable crop development, exacerbated further by US scorched earth polices, carried out by DynCorp [2]. Caught in the middle of the violence are various Columbian autonomous municipalities.

      According to the UN there are some 720,000 refugees in Columbia, and many have spilled over into neighboring nations.

      " In Colombia, it is well known that those who profit the most from the drug trade are members of the armed forces, the police, government officials, and the "big businessmen" of the urban centers.

      The FARC taxes coca, a far cry from trafficking. The FARC also taxes gas, peanuts and furniture.

      Coca also is the only crop left that keeps the campesinos' heads above water. The peasant who grows standard crops will have an average annual income of around $250 a year. With coca, they can feed a family on $2,000 a year. These are not robber barons. ...

      After reflection on my two decades plus of service, I am convinced that I only served the richest one percent of my country."

      American involvement in Columbia is increasing drastically.

  • 1989: Libya
      Another two Libyan jets shot down.

  • 1989: Phillipines
      US provides air support against coup.

  • 1991: Gulf War II - The Empire Strikes Back.

  • 1991: Kuwait, or "Liberate this!"
      Kuwaiti monarchy restored to throne by US.
  • 1991-Present: Iraq Sanctions, Disarmament, and Bombing
      Following the Gulf War the US advances through the UN the most severe sanctions program in history and initiates a similarly unique decade-long bombing campaign. Between the war, bombing and sanctions the US has sent a once-modern nation back to the dark ages. The campaign of indiscriminate destruction wiped out 90% of the water supplies and has been responsible for deaths of some 100,000 to 600,000 children under the age of 5, nevermind other mounting casualties and suffering among the civillian population. Despite such "efforts" Hussein's grip on southern Iraq has if anything tightened.

      A much touted Iraqi defector, Saddam's son-in-law Hussein Kamel, reported in 1995 that shortly after the Gulf War Iraq destroyed its unconventional weapons.

  • 1991-Present: Yugoslavia; the Balkans; and Black Box Problem Sets
      Shortly after the dissolution of the USSR Yugoslavia follows suit. In the shift away from Communism Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Macedonia all elect democratic coallition or nationalist parties to office. Serbia and Montenegro retain communist parties - Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia acquires the majority of seats in Serbia (in 1989 Milosevic had taken control of the Yugoslav League of Communists and undermined autonomy for both Kosovo and Vojvodina). Slovenia and Croatia both declare independence from Yugoslavia on June 25th, 1991, and rising violence increases in scale until Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina are embroiled in a bitter war, with Serbia attempting to hold Yugoslavia together under Serbian control and operating closely with the Federation of Yugoslavian Republics (FYR) army. State boundaries lacked a strong correlation to ethnic boundaries which resulted in ethnic cleansing programs by all associated groups in often gruesome efforts to create nice, ethnically defined nation states. Tragic mishandling by US/UN security forces resulted in instances of mass slaughter such as Srebrenica, easily preventable were there more concern on the part of governments involved in peacekeeping. The proverbial canned worms, and apparently great for war-game scenarios.

      This is all usually touted as something along the lines of the 'inevitable outcome of historic ethnic tensions given the collapse of the former Soviet Union' which had a great deal to do with it: primarily in the sense that historic tensions that had been seemingly erased were rekindled in the name of new, fierce nationalisms whose adherents proceeded to rip the place apart. It might be fair to say that certain historic tensions have been downplayed in the West - such as mass murders of WWII carried out by the Croatian Ustashe - due to certain quarters being too preoccupied with demonizing the Serbian "enemy" by virtue of their atrocities (and vice-versa, depending on whether you're talking to Ramsey Clark or a talking head from CNN). Making a case that every ethnic group involved was guilty of some kind of atrocity at some point or another is the easy part - as this document may demonstrate.

      The fact that this was one of the most heavily propagandized conflicts in history doesn't help sorting out what happened. That lies were spread in seeking political capital with the West is a moot point, many of them reach levels of absurdity not seen in even conflicts as objectively silly as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At least on the Middle East there are relatively decent, honest sources that give well researched and credible information - on the Kosovo conflict such information is, at best, sparse. The first casualty of war is truth - in Kosovo its demise was especially gruesome. Between the Western media's hounding at Milosevich, the Red left's defending Milosevich, and the libertarians' baying at everybody, I just get a headache. Essentially this is a black box problem, the former Yugoslavia being the black box, and the best information comes from what we know about what went in and came out of the black box: NATO went in, refugees came out.

      US and Western European roles in the Balkans possibly exacerbated, whether intentionally or not (when someone brings out documents under FOIA revealing such I'll be more prone to accuse) an already difficult situation, creating in the minds of some that the US and Europe created the war, giving pretext for NATO intervention to establish its interests in the Balkans after the demise of the USSR. I do not know whether this is true, or whether it's even possible to make a concrete case either way. My feeling is that it isn't. Bosnia was of almost no interest from the Clinton administration until establishment editorials and the likes of Bob Dole started hitting the issue, and as always blindly guessing at the motivations of power is suspect activity. Pressure came from congress, Clinton let Iran in through the back door while telling congress to take a flying leap.

      The usual "strategic interests" in the region can be trotted out easily enough. There had been long-term pursual by AMBO and others to secure access to the pipeline corridor between Europe and the Caspian and Black sea basins, and protect other foreign economic interests. And as in Somalia one core problem for the US in engaging on peace-keeping missions is that it is, accurately I think, percieved as a biased force - in the case of Kosovo an overwhelming and, for all the rhetoric, uncautious one at that. Fallout from having permanent bases established in the region inevitably lead to US businessmen moving in for the kill - militaries open markets, but the effect isn't necessarily the cause. The IMF and World Bank policies that exacerbated tensions were much like those everywhere else in poor regions of the world - that is, exploitive and problematic, the idea that such organizations were willfully attempting to break up Yugoslavia is doubtful, they merely coincided on the issue. Elite interest in Bosnia - a "grasstops campaign" - came from somewhere, and I've seen a convincing case as to why. No doubt some of it stemmed from humanitarian concerns among the individuals pressuring for intervention, but there was also cynical politiclal enterprising and the continual game of finding new justifications for peacetime militarism.

      What is possible is pointing out policies where NATO involvement overstepped its bounds by virtue of their untried criminality, and where alternatives to conflict presented themselves without being persued adequately. While some have accused the US of siding unequivocally with Croats and Muslims the same accusation has been made that the US sided with the Serbians by virtue of the arms embargo on Yugoslavia (Serbia had all the arms of the FYR and thus did not suffer want for the means to "self defense", and "Yugoslavia" no longer actually existed): of course once the US armed the Croats they invaded Serbian-Krajina, which might suggest that support for the Croatian army wasn't exactly much of a solution.

      The US executive branch ignored Milosevic's earlier violent repression of the non-violent pro-democracy movement (ie. the one that actually got rid of Milosevic) and extended little or no support for it otherwise. The rejection of Ibrahim Rugova and the non-violent democracy movement's involvement in the Dayton accords, and thus the neglect of the entire "Kosovo problem" in 1995, is often attributed as the cause for the creation of the KLA in 1996, and further refusals to diplomatically back the movement no doubt contributed greatly to the mass support for the KLA that existed by 1998. This was a lapse of US policy in the Balkans, assuming the rhetoric about peace was in any way representative of the motives. Then again I can't recall any time when the US government threw it's weight behind popular non-violent movements - maybe during the Tiananmen Square massacre, but probably not? Our hands, it seems, are always tied.

      NATO interaction with the KLA was also questionable, as are allegations that the US early on was supporting the KLA, an organization subsidized by the Balkan drug route and recognized by the State Department as a terrorist organization, but at the same time having wide support in Kosovo, combined with an unclear ideology or agenda beyond Kosovan independence. All the facts do not appear to be in about foreign involvements, but some right libertarian and marxist groups remain convinced that there was wide backing from the West. Some have accused the CIA of creating the KLA, but with some questionable evidence - this for example but I've noticed one of the editors at Emperor's New Clothes perform hack jobs on sources, which isn't a unique problem in general, but for the most part, given that the editor of TENC is on the legal defense committee for Milosevic, one might to prefer to deal with anything they report with the appropriate angle of skepticism. The kids at antiwar.com are fond of the same allegations, which is understandable given their, I think admitted, fondness for conspiracies when they satisify arguments against interventionism. It would fit the general pattern of creating drug-lord paramilitaries and then after the conflict settles turning said paramilitary into a political party (like the FRAPH in Haiti, the KLA became the KPC and now exists as a legitimate political entity), and while it's not yet probable fact, some of the allegations are probably probable.

      Questions remain as well for the Racak massacre, among others, while the West attempts to hang Milosevic in a court of international law, without NATO being held accountable for its questionable supercedences of the same.

      Anyone declaring the NATO interventions a great humanitarian success has a great deal of explaining to do, as anybody truly concerned with humanitarian causes should gauge the success by how non-violent the intervention was. "Humantiarian bombing" is not. If humanitarian issues were truly at stake the US could have done far more justice to such a goal by simply ending its support for the ruthless regimes and criminals elsewhere on its payrolls.

      • Partnership for Rackets
      • An interesting account and rejoinder, and rejoinder^2 at Kuro5hin demonstrates how completely arse-bucketed sorting out what actually happened is, in case my own sorting fails to do so, which I assuredly will as I find myself incapable of making any conclusions. Making factual statements is usually hard enough. The problem is obvious enough: I need to get my ass off the computer and make a trip to the library.

  • 1992: Los Angeles, California.
      Rodney King verdict; Army and marine forces deployed against uprising.

  • 1992-1994: Somalia, or "Defense Contractor Job Security"
      Depending on who you talk to it may have been for humanitarian assistance, the hunt for black gold (the suggestion here being that big oil wanted a stable Somalia for commercial reasons, which doesn't negate the humanitarian cause; also big oil has these kinds of claims everywhere. I have a hard time seeing oil interests affecting policy unless the oil has already been found - as is the case with the Caspian basin), geopolitics (something more or less refuted by military command), or more likely an ill-fated combination of propaganda, politics, the arms trade, and military budget security (humanitarian assistance on up and up in polls and legitamizes $275 billion in military spending; famine already on the wane at the date of force deployment; history of US/USSR juggling Ethiopia and Somalia combined with the debt crisis imposed by the international community leads to national implosion and civil war that created the necessity of humanitarian assistance in the first place, etc etc).

      Despite the remaining likelihood of good intentions in our intervention in Somalia the possibility of a positive role for the US to play in such operations has been consistently undermined by the hegemonic imperative in US foreign policy that any threat, minor as they might be, be crushed with overwhelming force. At the very least I would argue that unless serious reforms were undertaken within military command that the use of US military in peace-keeping and humanitarian missions is an ineffective policy, irreconcilable with whatever good intentions actually exist. We don't need humanitarian missions that result in 10,000 casualties (as estimated for Somalia by the CIA), and spark further violence between warring factions. In this case the trade off was highly publicized US casualties, which resulted in a 1994 withdrawal.

      Try funding the Peace Corps instead.

  • 1993: Waco: "Crush Satan, Crush Satan".

  • 1995: Bosnia

        "Crash! boom! flash! .... For the past two weeks, the sounds of bombing have brought smiles to Sarajevans. The bombs are being dropped not by their enemies but by their protectors: the United States, France, Britain and other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)."

      Dyncorp and MPRI are US defense contractors who were hired by the US during the Balkan crisis to evade restrictions imposed on the use of US military:

        "In Bosnia, employees of DynCorp were found to be operating a sex-slave ring of young women who were held for prostitution after their passports were confiscated. ....

        In Croatia, MPRI was brought in to provide border monitors in the early 1990's. Then, in 1994, as the United States grew concerned about the poor quality of the Croatian forces and their ability to maintain regional stability, it turned to MPRI. A United Nations arms embargo in 1991, approved by the United States, prohibited the sale of weapons or the providing of training to any warring party in the Balkans. But the Pentagon referred MPRI to Croatia's defense minister, who hired the company to train its forces.

        In 1995, MPRI started doing so, teaching the fledgling army military tactics that MPRI executives had developed while on active duty commanding the gulf war invasion. Several months later, armed with this new training, the Croatian army began Operation Storm, one of the bloodiest episodes of "ethnic cleansing" in the Balkans, an event that also reshaped the military balance in the region.

        The operation drove more than 100,000 Serbs from their homes in a four-day assault. Investigators for the international war crimes tribunal in the Hague found that the Croatian army carried out summary executions and indiscriminately shelled civilians. "In a widespread and systematic matter, Croatian troops committed murder and other inhumane acts," investigators said in their report. Several Croatian generals in charge of the operation have been indicted for war crimes and are being sought for trial."

  • 1996: Afghanistan.

      The US continues arms sales fueling war in Afghanistan, long after the end of its proxy war against the soviets.

  • 1995-Present: Mexico: Chiapas, Mexico

      US trained and funded death squads to terrorize indigenous population of Chiapas, part of continued centuries long violence against indigenous Americans by the US government and it's client states. Through various means the US has supported Mexico's 'low-intensity' war on the ELZN.

  • 1998: Sudan
      US Cruise Missile strikes against an alleged chemical weapons factory turns out to be the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant responisble for the manufacture of over half of Sudan's drug production, producing medicines at 20 percent of world market prices. The strike killed at least one and injured others. Independent investigation of the site was blocked by the US, and with Sudan already under sanctions the loss of available medical supplies had detrimental effects on health in the region, the full extent of which are impossible to ascertain because of the US prevention of independent investigations.

      There are widespread reports that before and after the attack that Sudan repeatedly offered to assist the US in counter-terrorism efforts and offered files on Bin Laden (who was in Sudan until 1996). The US ignored these offers, apparently up until the 9/11 WTC and Pentagon attacks.

  • 1998: Nicaragua.
      The World Court ruling finds the US in violation of international law for the Reagan administration's support of the contra war in Nicaragua. The US disregards the ruling out of hand, despite having recognized the court's authority at it's inception; further proving the hypocrisy in the US stance towards the rule of law, nevermind the hypocrisy of constant rhetoric about freedom, democracy, and of all things "justice".

      Similar rulings and condemnations of US actions in Nicaragua were levied by both the UN Security Council (except for a US veto) and General Assembly (minus the US, Israel and El Salvador).

  • 1998-Present: Indonesia/East Timor (continued)

  • March 1999: Kosovo. 78 days of Airstrikes: Give War a Chance.
      I discuss this at length here, because giving it summary execution is impossible in light of the conflicting claims made and reported in the press (as a whole frankly; commercial, alt, and indie can't agree on even basic facts) as authoritative by the US, NATO, KLA, Kosovar, and Yugoslav sources, none of which correspond at all well with what information is available from investigations by Amnesty Int., HRW, IICK, AAAS, and other relatively independent organizations. A billion babbling pundits, all wrong. My summary judgement, while retaining my straddle of the fence: the first week of the campaign was likely valid, successful in so far as it brought Milosevich to the bargaining table asking for a ceasefire. He was then apparently ignored by NATO, and the next 71 days of bombing were criminal.

  • 10/2001-Present: US campaign in Afghanistan. You Too Can Make a Desert and Call It Peace.
        There will be those swift to condemn any suggestion that we should look for real historical reasons for an act of violence on this world-war scale. But unless we do so, then we are facing a conflict the like of which we have not seen since Hitler's death and the surrender of Japan. Korea, Vietnam, is beginning to fade away in comparison.

      Last time I checked there were as many as 3,000 direct casualties, a number based entirely off press clippings collected by Marc Herold. This number is a) wrong, b) even wildly inaccurate, but c) possibly an undercount. Tallies based of limited sets of affirmed incidents give totals of around 1500. At the time of the attack the risks of indirect casulaties among the estimated 1-2 milllion additional civillians endangered because of US actions (never mind the circumstances of some 5 million at risk before the campaign) were high, and estimates of inderect casualties go as high as 20,000, for obvious enough reasons. The campaign put US support behind equally viscious allies, and ensured a steady trickle of post-war casualties due to unexploded ordinance.

      Taliban proposals to extradite Bin Laden provided evidence implicating him in the attacks were summarily disregarded. Also, granting the Taliban's ruthlessness, the forces standing in line for control of Afghanistan in their absence didn't provide much of a mock-up for an available, peaceful, freedom loving replacement (a situation guaranteed by past US incubation of 'Islamofacism' in Afghanistan). Such proposals were not unique, as the Taliban had previously offered to extradite Bin Laden before the two made a common enemy out of the US after the 1998 strike. Reasons to believe extradition was a possibility are not implausible, there were reports that the ISI supported extradition and that some elements wished to neutralize Bin Laden rather than threaten the Taliban regime.

      Security concerns have been at odds with US interests in Afghanistan since oil was discovered in the Caspian, leading to hesitancy in dealing with terrorist networks left there by the US after the Soviet-Afghan war. The US had been courting the Taliban for a pipeline deal (as recently as August 2nd 2001, though of course no mention is made about oil in the official statement), a deal that finally got underway immediately after the invasion. Afghanistan may very well be otherwise resource rich due to 20 years of war-stunted exploration. Threats of military force against the Taliban had reportedly been made over the course of such discussions because of their unwillingness to cooperate on the pipeline. Such behavior is often encouraged by US planners, and helps explain pre-9/11 plans to back the Northern Alliance (a group with an equally deplorable human rights record) against the Taliban.

      "a route through Afghanistan appears to be the best option with the fewest technical obstacles. It is the shortest route to the sea and has relatively favorable terrain for a pipeline. The route through Afghanistan is the one that would bring Central Asian oil closest to Asian markets and thus would be the cheapest in terms of transporting the oil.
        --Testimony by John J. Maresca VP, International Relations Unocal Corporation To House Committee on International Relations Subcommittee on Asia And The Pacific, Feb 12, 1998

      According to Mohammad Alim Razim, Afghan minister for Mines and Industries, Unocal will be building the pipeline, Unocal apparently denies further involvement, sticking to their 1999 withdrawal from the project. Psychic fifth-graders aside, oil interests were obviously a factor.

      Problems evolved as they have because the US shat on the middle east and gave our guns to the fanatics in the first place, nevermind our Islamist education program, and gross negligence in counter-terrorism throughout the 90s and during the early W. Bush administration - and increasingly the late Bush administration - such as ignored intelligence offers by Sudan under Clinton's watch, and the ongoing lack of response to problems with the ISI (Pakistan's intelligence outfit, sometimes described as a "state within a state", which spearheaded the CIA program to develop a fanatic international anti-American terrorist network). While counter-terrorism funding increased from $2 billion in 1990 to $12 billion in 2000 middle-east counter-terrorism programs in the CIA were weak and little effort was apparently made to strengthen them significantly [* Atlantic Monthly, 8/01]. Niether was airport security stepped up as often requested [* Village Voice, 5/16/02]. According to the NYT (5/18/02): "The F.B.I. had been aware for several years that Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network were training pilots in the United States and elsewhere around the world". If there was indeed a threat of terrorism so real that the US needed to enter an armed conflict against the Taliban to disrupt terrorist activities one would expect at the same time that they would have beefed up domestic security - they didn't. Terrorism certainly wasn't enough of a threat to divert funds towards it's prevention from ballistic missile programs: "As late as Sept. 9, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld threatened a presidential veto when the Senate proposed to divert $600 million to counterterrorism from ballistic missile defense." (NYT, 5/17/02). But they had plans to bomb the fuck out of Afghanistan anyway, coinciding with failures to schmooze the Taliban into a pipeline deal. Obviously the idea that pre-9/11 strike plans against Taliban were designed in response to terrorism is dubious - circumstances suggest quite clearly otherwise. The only realistic alternative explanation is the status quo of US militarism that demands having attack plans to be on record for every country on the planet - which as has been argued elsewhere is motivated by aggressive economic policy.

      In the mean time post-Taliban Afghanistan is in the throws of a "barely concealed civil war" but faces "no serious security issues", and according to senior government officials, quoted by the NYT "Classified investigations of the Qaeda threat now under way at the F.B.I. and C.I.A. have concluded that the war in Afghanistan failed to diminish the threat to the United States". Thus far attempts to gather intelligence about, target and destroy the Al-Qaeda organization appears to have failed to achieve much besides confusing the bejeezus out of US officials, nevermind evidence that The Evil One remains oot and aboot.

      Progress on human rights issues and "liberation" have been slow to inconsequential. The post-Taliban situation for women has so far "in large measure rendered women's participation in public life almost impossible", according to HRW, which is a far cry from the declarations made by the US government about bringing the gravy train of liberty to Afghanistan. Besides increasing the risks for Americans and Afghans alike, who has benefited from this pile of bullocks? Exactly? But with the damage done it's time to repair it - the US government is as yet doing little (since 10/2001 the US has contributed $600 million in aid, a minor fraction of what is estimated to be necessary and thus far being utilized poorly) - we should be taking the lead on reconstruction since we took the lead on destruction, and do it without pushing domestic trade agendas and by supporting the people of Afghanistan - in general we have an obligation to fix the mess we helped create.

      There is a very serious shortage of ongoing Aghanistan coverage in the US, with only occasional updates. I think this belies the general lack of positive news outside of a few urban centers where there the US is focused on establishing a strong central government to secure narrow foreign economic interests and making a trickle of positive PR possible, all other concerns be damned. Above the lax behavior in national defense prior to and the reaction after the 9/11 attack of immediately picking a fairly irrelevant, nevermind defenseless, nation to wage war against belies the agressive nature of the US Department of Defense, which is and remains in reality the Department of Offense.

  • 4/2002: Venezuela.

  • 2007: Florida

  • 1944-Present: The US government tries to erase its own history.
      Not only by controlling the manifolds of public/academic/media access to government agencies but by outright destruction of its own historical documents. The demands of national security require that certain agencies are not held accountable for their actions for some finite length of time, but a nation is only damaged by wiping out its past.

      The State Department's own historians hired to review the declassification process have been duly outraged by these policies. Dr. Warrant Cohen resigned as chairman of HADCOM in 1989 because of these distortions of US policy on 1950s Iran.

      Despite the advances made since the enactment of the FOIA, on Nov 1, 2001 President Bush issued an executive order to seal all presidential records since 1980. This policy of aboveboard secrecy merely serves to disinform the public and allows the US government to continue carrying out it's own acts of terror with impunity.

  • 1950-Present: The IMF, GATS, FTAA, NAFTA, WTO, etc.

  • The US voting record in the UN:

      In the court of world opinion the US, with Israel, stands as the vast minority, so far as the UN means anything. One can verify that the stance against human rights has continued with the State Department, the US voting against or abstaining from 16 of the 24 adopted resolutions at the 55th session of the Commission on Human Rights, well ahead of the pack. It shouldn't be terribly surprising, however absurd it was (and it was, much like our voting record), that the US was ousted from the commission.

  • A military history for all US military interventions is provided in detail by the FAS. They also have a large body of work on arms sales monitoring that is key to this discussion:
      U.S.-origin weapons find their way into conflicts the world over. The United States supplied arms or military technology to more than 92% of the conflicts under way in 1999. The costs to the families and communities afflicted by this violence is immeasurable. But to most arms dealers, the profit accumulated outweighs the lives lost. In the 1990's, over 65% of world arms deliveries were sold or given to developing nations, where lingering conflicts or societal violence can scare away potential investors.

      It was largely the Senior Bush and then president Clinton that catapulted the US into domination of the global arms market. In 1988 we had a 25% share, by 1994 that share was over 50%, and that number has kept rising since. I understand that this is partly due to an overall decrease in the international arms trade - which makes the subject indicative of US attitudes towards internationally cooperative policies that would contribute in some way towards real reductions in arms.

  • School of the Americas: Now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - an old dog with a new name.

      Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians.

      School alumni include: 48 out of 69 Salvadoran military members cited in the U.N. Truth Commission.s report on El Salvador for involvement in human rights violations (including 19 of 27 military members implicated in the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests),2 and more than 100 Colombian military officers alleged to be responsible for human rights violations by a 1992 report issued by several human rights organizations.3 School graduates have also included several Peruvian military officers linked to the July 1992 killings of nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University, and included several Honduran officers linked to a clandestine military force known as Battalion 316 responsible for disappearances in the early 1980s.4

    The Obligatory Rant

    "Empire is a relationship, formal or informal, in which one state controls the effective political sovereignty of another political society. It can be achieved by force, by political collaboration, by economic, social, or cultural dependence. Imperialism is simply the process or policy of establishing or maintaining an empire."
      --Michael Doyle, Empires

    Imperialism has long been the object of scrutiny in America, and the usual motive provided for imperialist expansion is called something else: presently we have the running theme of protecting America's interests, which begs the question of what interests any American has in Italy or Venezuela that the Italians or the Venezuelans wouldn't be better suited for looking after. One would expect it to be of more general interest to those living there. One doesn't see Japan hiring paramilitaries in Idaho and Montana to protect their interests in America, or to my knowledge investing in US political campaigns. Nor has imperialism been popular with Americans, as one would expect from any proudly democratic nation, and this has largely resulted in our conflicts being hidden from the public eye, through black wars, proxies, covert operations, fraud, illegal funding, and an often complacent, if not jingoistic, press corps.

    In part, if not completely, when we carted about the world fighting the International Communist Conspiracy what we were fighting was simple anti-colonialism, independence movements, and others' self-determination; primarily for the purpose of economic exploitation which has always been the underlying purpose of empire, not only of foreign peoples but its own as well. Ho Chi Mihn and Castro were both pro-West and sought alliances with the US, and only turned to the USSR after the US obstructed the local independence that was otherwise the inherent promise of "the American way". There is little or no difference in the US treatment of governments that had relations with the USSR and those that sought non-alignment. There is little evidence for such behavior on the part of the Commmunist enemy, which considered most of these third world democracies that were ruthlessly destroyed by the US to be "petty bourgeois". They had little to no interest in them, and thus the non-aligned countries in question had no relationship to the Cold war. The slow trickle of out dated Soviet arms to a few third world nations can hardly be considered a wave of intractible aggression requiring the US to take the kind of hysterical, ruthless action that it has. It's fine and well to recognize that in Western Europe the anti-nazi resistance, left to itself, would likely have taken control in the vacuum of power after the war and would have followed Stalinist policies. Creating armed anti-communist squads out of nazi collaborators might not have been necessary but could be justified in Europe - with the exception of Greece the policy could be said to have been handled moderately, if cynically. Intervention elsewhere belies racism and prejudices quite in keeping with the traditional American mindset. The insanity of our policy in the south represents an entirely different war, one with its roots in pre-war colonialism, and one in which the USSR played a relatively minimal role in comparison to the largess and demands of the US program and the thorough rejection of the high minded principles loudly vocalized during the second world war. US policies in these nations, "not yet ready for democracy", is ultimately representative of the consistently elitist attitudes held by the egomaniacs inevitably elected to office in our demented electoral process, who then proceed to posture as nuke-toting madmen. It was and remains a betrayal of everything America stands for on paper.

    The insepid, banal repetition of "protecting America's interests" is just a thin veil for ongoing, indirect, and fairly devastating control over an American empire-of-sorts that has been created by the same brutal means as every other similar system of control in human history. The banality covers a mountain of lies and conveniently unmentioned facts. It is not protecting national security - it's thugging for transnational corporate security. What was framed under the auspices of a real concern over the threat of a nonexistent Stalinist expansion as "anti-communism" became a mindset used repeatedly to excuse any mucking about in third world politics and even allied industrial nations. Be it waging illegal wars in South America, propping up totalitarian regimes in the Middle East, or acting to cause the dissolution of Australia's elected Labor Party, the USA was there. The same patterns can be seen to apply to the "war on drugs" and the "war on terrorism"; the FUD is almost identical. The war on drugs was what they called it when US government agents started profiting off the drug trade. The war on terrorism is what they called it when the US government gave its support, condonement and praise to terrorists, and political factions in the government profited off the uncertainties of the American people. The US populace carries a responsibility the internal record of those states it has supported for strategic reasons that engaged in massacre and massive human rights abuses, particularly when the support was directed to support the very crimes we should be denouncing. The 'real politik' excuses for the reprehensible in pursuit of 'stability' are shallow, as I can think of no democracy that has evolved out of stable tyranny.

    Many examples exist within domestic US history of Americans fighting for a better world and succeeding, in spite of government attempts to thwart them (ie. COINTELPRO). The US government's ratification of the Universal Declaration of Humans rights treaty might qualify as an example of its joining in such an effort were we to honor it. Unintentional consequences of peace-time militarism fuel economic development, such as the spawn of Perl from inside BLACKER. There's nothing to suggest that the same results couldn't be surpassed through civillian programs. The record on emergency disaster relief is positive (though often denied to put pressure on what Washington decided were belligerent nations), as was whatever support existed for liberation movements of Central Europe from the tyranny of big-C tyrannical Communism that, unlike so many other places, actually existed there, and ended without US bombs being dropped. Of course, that doesn't stop some from arguing that the collapse of the USSR was another infernal commie plot. For extra points we put Man on the moon. At the same time I can condemn both the USG's past support of brutal facist players in Greece and Italy, and the integration of Eastern and Central Europe into an exploitive economic scheme, etc. etc..

    Nothing excuses the fact that after leading the world in a brief but powerful stand against facism (should I disregard our previous cooperation with Hitler and Moussolini when they made good trading partners?) we adopted irrational paranoia as a national pasttime and doubled back, supporting facists for the next half century and beyond. That said, this is in no way an attempt to paint the US as "evil". "States are not moral agents", to assert an old Chomsky dodge, and better we should join Thoreau in declaring that "The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way." Were it not for corrupt and backwards institutions Americans would likely have known what the hell was happening and put a stop to it. Americans are not the problem. It's clear what is.

    The casualty numbers alone don't do much justice for the relative depth and breadth of the suffering of innocents resulting from these and similar abuses. While it is likely true that 20th century totalitarian regimes were worse than the US and contributing allies in acts of democide (I would classify most of the above incidents as such - perhaps that isn't proper, but it seems that many occurred primarily out of political expedience, though at the same time I wouldn't necessarily argue that casualties inflicted due to the famines under Mao and Stalin were democides, either, nor the famines induced by similar US/IMF/World Bank economic mismanagement), the death tolls from the tabacco industry are far higher than either. One might appreciate our more democratic institutions for keeping the numbers down, on the other hand, and forcing our leaders to wage most of their dirty little wars without us.

    US leaders and the machinations of the CIA have successfully prevented the independence of the South and economically recolonized it; I don't know what we should expect out of beaten and humiliated people, or the sons and daughters of our proxies who repress them for our and their upper classes, other than the hatred and violence of what radicalized factions invevitably persist. When I look at the cable news channels I see little discussion of the alternatives, rather there's usually a blank-faced refusal to admit that such a discussion is taking place, or attacks on whoever might try entering the discussion as "aiding the terrorists". Things are improving in my opinion, but slowly, as all social progress has proceeded. The public should be raising hellfire, it should never have been allowed in the first place, and I don't think it would have been allowed if the media in any way lived up to its obligations - that's my own judgement call but I'll stand by it - and irresponsibility has consequences. I'm not blaming anyone for the attacks besides those responsible for carrying them out, but I am blaming our institutions with public responsibilities for making some fraction of the the attackers' grievances legitemate in the first place. The jingos at AVOT have this twisted logic where they accuse US critics of aiding terrorists for pointing this stuff out - what aids terrorists is the fact that this stuff happened, nevermind direct US government and corporate support for the terrorists themselves.

    As my younger brother says, "mistakes made and fucking done". Dismantle it. The strategy is a discussion for elsewhere and other people, the matter at hand is one of having a goal and changing our system so that it can represent that goal in good faith. So reverse policy from nation building to helping nations build. You can't build a stable democracy of landless peasants living in shanties next to mansions, or unorganized workers who have no meaningful representation or stake in the economy. You can't build a stable and free nation by installing, arming, and propping up puppet regimes that exploit labor, expropriate land to foreign business, and support the extortion of the natural resources of a country with the profit being funnelled back into the dictatoral elite and partnered transnational corporations. Stop the arms trade. Stop supporting warlords and militaries. Support civillian democracies and threaten the generals with force if they topple democratic governments, rather than encouraging them to do so. Stop supporting the freedom of corporations and capital to profit off of misery. Stop preventing workers from unionizing. Stop obstructing land reform and pollution controls. Stop privatizing national welfare and government assistance programs on a broad scale until a model for it is developed that actually works, if that's even possible. When military and paramilitary groups threaten the wellbeing of civillian populations consider judicial, limited targeting of airforce, artillery, and armor divisions - weigh your options, disable tyrants - targetting civillian infrastructure isn't "peacekeeping". Bring accountability to the Western covert intelligence community, end irresponsible covert operations against foreign nations. By all means replace the CIA completely. End all embargos and sanctions but those that directly affect military industry and the arms trade without affecting water, electricity and other civillian utilities. Forgive Third World debt where it is being held as ransom against entire countries. Forgive Third World debt where it was created by the authoritarian governments that suppressed those countries. Support popular government. Support fair trade. Support environmental conservation and renewable energy. Support a world without borders for individuals. Support democracy. End the hypocrasy and support justice, freedom, and liberty. Live up to the rhetoric. Every empire has its day.

    The only people left targeting the USA if we were actually doing all this would be the most anti-American organization in America: the US government.

    josh buermann

        the above material being my notes on American foreign policy and relevant 20th century history, comments, suggestions, and the like about errors, contentions, or affirment can be mailed to buermann[at]isp[d0t]nwu[dot]edu. All materials linked to, quoted from, and disabused of their appropriate context within the context of fair use, without permission from authors, organizations, or appropriate government agencies, foreign or domestic, all rights presumably reserved by the original authors.

        Original material in the present document may be copied, distributed, and altered as prescribed by the Open Content License (OPL), Josh Buermann 2002,2003.

    Related timelines:

    Further resources:

    The history of the American invasion of Haiti is only additional evidence that the United States is among those Powers in whose international dealings democracy and freedom are mere words, and human lives negligible in face of racial snobbery, political chicane, and money.
  • Necessary Disclaimers

    last modified Sat Mar 15 03:02:13 2003