Archive for the ‘War Crimes’ Category
|WRITTEN BY CHRIS FLOYD|
|SATURDAY, 28 JUNE 2014 16:15|
This month, the world has marked significant historical milestones: the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing (and unmarked, except in Russia, the 70th anniversary of the Red Army’s Operation Bagration, the largest battle in world history, in which the Soviets broke the back of the Nazi army); and the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the spark that led to the First World War.
But this week saw the anniversary of another major turning point in modern history, a campaign that became — and remains — the enduring template of foreign policy for the world’s most powerful nation. We speak, of course, of the 60th anniversary of Washington’s “regime change” operation in Guatemala, overthrowing a democratically elected government.
It was not the first such American “intervention,” of course (and was preceded in the previous year by a more indirect role in overthrowing democracy in Iran), but it set in train more than six decades of violent attacks on democracy by the “leader of the free world.” (A fine tradition carried on by Barack Obama in Honduras.) In fact, a hatred of democracy — a genuine, visceral revulsion at the idea of people choosing their own leaders and their own form of society — has been a driving force in American foreign policy for generations. Democracy and freedom are only allowed if they lead to outcomes that advance whatever the agenda of the American elite happens to be at any given time. They hate democracy abroad; they hate it at home; they hate it everywhere, all the time. The historical record is remarkably consistent on this point.
The Guatemala regime change was noted at the London Review of Books, however, in a piece by John Perry. Below are some excerpts:
Over ten days in June 1954, a decade after the D-Day landings, the CIA sent twelve planes to drop bombs and propaganda on towns in Guatemala in support of a coup against the elected government of Jácobo Arbenz …. …
In the last raid on 27 June, the SS Springfjord, a British merchant ship that had survived capture by the Nazis in 1940, was attacked in the port of San Jose. It was alleged to be unloading arms. After a warning pass – the ship’s captain gave the pilot a friendly wave – a 500lb bomb was dropped down its chimney. It turned out to be loading coffee and cotton.
Guatemala was one of the first countries in the region to emerge from military dictatorship. Arbenz was the second democratic president, elected in 1951 with 65 per cent of the vote. A strongly nationalist military officer, he was convinced that the central problem in a mainly agricultural country was land: 70 per cent of it in the hands of only 2 per cent of the population, of which only a quarter was being cultivated. In 1953 he decreed the takeover of more than 200,000 acres of unused land belonging to the United Fruit Company. The company responded with a propaganda campaign to convince Eisenhower not to be ‘soft on communism’.
It worked. Arbenz, realising that a coup was being plotted, bought a secret shipment of arms from Czechoslovakia. Uncovered by the CIA, this enabled Eisenhower to warn of a possible ‘communist dictatorship’ and support Arbenz’s rival, Carlos Castillo Armas. His insurgents invaded on 18 June, but failed to take control of the towns they targeted. The coup could easily have been a flop. But the CIA raids that culminated in the bombing of the Springfjord unnerved the Guatemalan army command, who withdrew their support from Arbenz. By the evening of 27 June he’d resigned.
Within a month, military dictatorship had resumed under Castillo Armas, with a new government recognised by Eisenhower. After a visit in 1955, Vice-President Nixon said that Guatemala was the ‘first instance in history where a communist government has been replaced by a free one’. US-backed military regimes ruled until 1996. By then some 200,000 people had died in civil war, most at the hands of government forces.
Our 21st century intervention in Iraq has killed far more people much more quickly, of course. But as we gear up for yet another round of slaughter in the country we have recently demolished, it’s good to be reminded that none of this is new or unusual; it is, very simply — and quite horribly — the way the bipartisan American elite do business. Violence is their profession, their religion, their guiding light. They use violence to advance their agenda, then use more violence to deal with the inevitable horrific consequences spawned by their violence, on and on in an endless cycle.
Chris Floyd posted this report January 4, 2011, and must be repeated. Mondo Inferno: The Endless Echoes of America’s WMD Atrocity
The article begins:
For years, I have been writing about the American use of chemical weapons in the savage assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in late 2004. The results of this deployment of WMD began emerging a few months later. The clear evidence of chemical weapons damage among the civilians of the city — uncovered by Iraqi doctors working for the American-backed government — was scorned and dismissed at that time, including by many stalwart anti-war voices, apparently frightened that such “extremist” charges would somehow detract from their own “reasonable” opposition — perhaps even cost them their perches in the mainstream media.
(Oddly enough, my own pieces on the matter were also appearing in the mainstream media — the pages of The Moscow Times, the decidedly centrist, pro-business, English-language newspaper in the Russian capital, which supported my column from all attacks, including heavy hints from the American embassy that it should be dropped.)
In any case, the evidence of American WMD in Fallujah kept mounting, year after year, until finally, in mid–2010, even the BBC’s most respected voices were reporting on the effects of the chemical weaponry — primarily on the children of Fallujah, some of whom were not yet born when the attack was launched.
Even without the WMD, the attack itself was one of the most horrific events of the still-unfolding act of aggression in Iraq. Presented in the U.S. press as an old-fashioned, gung-ho, WWII-style “battle,” it was in fact a mass slaughter, largely of trapped civilians; almost all of the “terrorists” and “insurgents” in the city had long escaped during the months-long, oddly public build-up to the assault. It seemed clear that the intent was not to quash an insurgent nest, as stated, but to perpetrate an act of condign, collective punishment — primarily against civilians — in order to terrorize the rest of Iraq into submission.
Click this link to read the complete article. All American’s are responsible for what their military does and here is a good example laid out in spades for everyone to see.
The question I ask is, “Who were and where are the embedded reporters of this battle?
Eric deserves just credit for posting a thoughtful and serious discussion about a subject that touches everyone, whether they like it or not. When it comes to that, he does a pretty good job.
Eric and his blog, in my book, are atypical of the many serious and concerned people in this community. Anyone that tries to stay abreast of what’s going on locally, nationally and internationally has good reason to be concerned if not really worried. Mostly, because there is so much cross-purpose misinformation and they don’t think, even if they had the truth, they’d know what to do about it. Voting doesn’t seem to work, because it really doesn’t matter who or what political party affiliation is voted into office they are all essentially the same. They seem to follow a hidden agenda no matter what the majority of the people want. Demonstrations, sit-ins, write-ins, petitions, or whatever other “action” you can dream up consistent with the so-called Gandhi philosophy of “non-violent” protests seems to work. The thing you hear all the time is, “If we can just get our message out. Once the people see what’s going on, they’ll make “them” change.”
I mentioned Eric’s Whoot! Whoot! post because when you consider the commentary, it is a really good example of the kind of thinking, or rather NON-THINKING, and arbitrary and mindless beliefs I run into all the time. Endless discussions about, mostly nonsensical, conjecture you’d swear came from God Almighty himself – or is it herself?
Never any workable solution – that’s the problem. There is a workable solution. It is a solution anyone can do. In fact, it is a solution that works best when everyone does. Here is an example of one that does work:
“In just a few years the Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli goods has become truly global”
This is a very timely article about the BDS movement published in recently published in the Guardian:
The movement for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel was launched in 2005, a year after the international court of justice had found Israel’s wall and colonies built on occupied Palestinian territory illegal. Over 170 Palestinian political parties, unions, mass movements and NGOs endorsed the movement, which is led by the BNC, a coalition of civil society organisations.
This is what I call the essence of Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings that are consistent with one another: Truth and Non-cooperation, NOT non-violence which conflicts with his understanding of Truth and love.