. 22
( 42 .)


Union. By aiding the fundamentalist opposition, Washington knowingly and deliberately
increased the probability of a Soviet intervention.55 And when that occurred, the CIA
became the grand orchestrator: hitting up Middle Eastern countries for huge financial
support, on top of that from Washington; pressuring and bribing neighboring Pakistan to
rent out its country as a military staging area and sanctuary; supplying a great arsenal of
weaponry and military training.

In the end, the United States and the Taliban "won", and the women, and the rest of
Afghanistan, lost. More than a million were dead, three million disabled, five million
refugees, in total about half the population.

El Salvador, 1980-92

Salvador's dissidents tried to work within the system. But with US support, the
government made that impossible, using repeated electoral fraud and murdering hundreds
of protestors and strikers. In 1980, the dissidents took to the gun, and civil war.
Washington responded immediately.

Officially, the US military presence in El Salvador was limited to an advisory capacity. In
actuality, military and CIA personnel played a more active role on a continuous basis.
About 20 Americans were killed or wounded in helicopter and plane crashes while flying
reconnaissance or other missions over combat areas, and considerable evidence surfaced
of a US role in the ground fighting as well. The war came to an official end in 1992 with
these results: 75,000 civilian deaths; the US Treasury depleted by six billion dollars;
meaningful social change thwarted; a handful of the wealthy still owning the country; the
poor remaining as ever; dissidents still having to fear right-wing death squads; there
would be no profound social change in El Salvador.

Haiti, 1987-94

The US supported the Duvalier family dictatorship for 30 years, then opposed the
reformist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile, the CIA was working intimately with
death squads, torturers and drug traffickers. With this as background, in 1994 the Clinton
White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend”because of all
their rhetoric about "democracy"”that they supported the democratically-elected
Aristide's return to power after he had been ousted in a 1991 military coup. After
delaying his return for more than two years, Washington finally had its military restore
Aristide to office, but only after obliging the priest to guarantee that he would not help
the poor at the expense of the rich, literally; and that he would stick closely to free-
market economics. This meant that Haiti would continue to be the assembly plant of the
Western Hemisphere, with its workers receiving starvation wages, literally. If Aristide
had thoughts about breaking the agreement forced upon him, he had only to look out his
window”US troops were stationed in Haiti for the remainder of his term.

Bulgaria, 1990-91

In November 1999, President Clinton visited Bulgaria and told a crowd in Sofia that he
hailed them for throwing off communism and holding fair elections.56 What he failed to
mention was that after one of their fair elections had been won by the communists, the
US government had proceeded to overthrow them.

In 1990, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) poured more than $1.5 million
into Bulgaria in an attempt to defeat the Bulgarian Socialist Party (the former Communist
Party) in the June 1990 national election. On the basis of population, this was equivalent
to a foreign power injecting some $38 million into an American electoral campaign. The
main recipient of NED largesse was the leading opposition party, the Union of
Democratic Forces, which received $517,000, in addition to its newspaper receiving
$233,000.57 Much to the shock and dismay of Washington, the BSP won.
This would not do. Washington's ideological bottom line was that the Bulgarian Socialist
Party could not, and would not, be given the chance to prove that a democratic, socialist-
oriented mixed economy could succeed in Eastern Europe while the capitalist model was
already beginning to disillusion people all around it. NED stepped in with generous
funding and advice to specific opposition groups which carried out a campaign of chaos
lasting almost five months: very militant and disruptive street demonstrations, paralyzing
labor strikes, sit-ins, hunger strikes, arson.. .parliament was surrounded, the government
was under siege...until finally the president was forced to resign, followed by some of his
ministers; lastly, the prime minister gave up his office.

In 1991, NED again threw hundreds of thousands of dollars into the election; this time,
what NED calls the "democratic forces" won.58

Albania, 1991-92

This tale is very similar to that of Bulgaria. A Communist govern-ment won
overwhelming endorsement in the March 1991 elections, followed immediately by two
months of widespread unrest, including street demonstrations and a general strike lasting
three weeks, which finally led to the collapse of the new government by June.59 NED
had been there also, providing $80,000 to the labor movement and $23,000 "to support
party training and civic education programs".60

A new election was held in March 1992. During the election cam-paign, US political
strategists and diplomats, including the American ambassador, openly accompanied
candidates of the Democratic Party (the Communists' chief opposition) on their stumping
tours and got out the message that said”frankly and explicitly”If the Communists win
again, there will be no US aid, and "a lot of Western investors and governments are going
to direct their aid elsewhere". The NED, once again, was there with all kinds of goodies
for "the good guys", including brand new Jeep Cherokees.61 The Democratic Party won.

Somalia, 1993

It was supposed to be a mission to help feed the starving masses. Before long, the US was
trying to rearrange the country's political map by eliminating the dominant warlord,
Mohamed Aidid, and his power base. On many occasions, beginning in June, US
helicopters strafed groups of Aidid's supporters and fired missiles at them. Scores were
killed. Then, in October, a daring attempt by some 120 elite American forces to kidnap
two leaders of Aidid's clan resulted in a horrendous bloody battle. The final tally was five
US helicopters shot down, 18 Americans dead, 73 wounded, 500 to 1,000 Somalians
killed, many more injured.

It's questionable that getting food to hungry people was as important as the fact that four
American oil giants were holding exploratory rights to large areas of land and were
hoping that US troops would put an end to the chaos which threatened their highly
expensive investments. There was also the Pentagon's ongoing need to sell itself to those
in Congress who were trying to cut the military budget in the post-Cold War world.
"Humanitarian" actions and (unnecessary) amphibious landings by US Marines on the
beach in the glare of TV cameras were thought to be good selling points. Washington
designed the operation in such a way that the show would be run by the US military and
not the United Nations, under whose aegis it supposedly fell.

In any event, by the time the Marines landed, the worst of the famine was over. It had
peaked months before.62

Iraq, 1990s

Mental hospitals and prisons are filled with people who claim to have heard voices telling
them to kill certain people, often people they've never met before, people who've never
done them any harm, or threatened any harm.

American soldiers went to the Middle East to kill the same kind of people after hearing a
voice command them: the voice of George Bush.

Relentless bombing for more than 40 days and nights, against one of the most advanced
nations in the Middle East, devastating its ancient and modern capital city; 177 million
pounds of bombs falling on the people of Iraq, the most concentrated aerial onslaught in
the history of the world to that time; depleted uranium weapons incinerating people,
causing cancers and sundry congenital problems; blowing up chemical and biological
weapon and oil facilities, a ter-rible poisoning of the atmosphere; burying soldiers alive,
deliberately; the infrastructure destroyed, with dreadful effects on health; sanctions
continued into the 21st century, multiplying the health problems; more than a million
children dead from all of these factors, even more adults. UNICEF, in an August 1999
report, stated that in southern and central Iraq, the death rate for children under five had
more than doubled in the years of the sanctions.

Until the present day, the US and Great Britain have continued to launch missiles against
the burned-out ash called Iraq, as their planes fly over the country on virtually a daily
basis, the authority for which Washington and London derive from each other. In the first
eight months of 1999, the two countries flew some 10,000 sorties over Iraq, unleashing
more than 1,000 bombs and missiles on more than 400 targets, killing or wounding many
hundreds of people. Said US Brig. General William Looney, a director of this operation:

If they turn on their radars we're going to blow up their goddamn SAMs. They know we
own their country. We own their airspace.. .We dictate the way they live and talk. And
that's what's great about America right now. It's a good thing, especially when there's a
lot of oil out there we need.63
It can be said that the United States has inflicted more vindictive punishment and
ostracism upon Iraq than upon Germany or Japan after World War II.

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

This may have been Iraq's crime, not that they invaded Kuwait in 1990, an invasion
encouraged by the United States and provoked by Washington's close ally, Kuwait, itself;
an invasion that gave the US all the pretext it needed to take action. Iraq's invasion was,
after all, no more than Indonesia had done to East Timor, with Washington's blessing.

Peru, 1990s-present

For more than a decade the US has provided Peru with an unending stream of military
advisers and trainers, Navy Seals and Green Berets, all manner of arms and equipment,
surveillance flights, radar stations in the Andes, whatever”all to one of the most
dictatorial and repressive regimes in the Western Hemisphere, condemned by Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch/Americas and State Department Human Rights
reports for its medieval prisons, routine torture and other human-rights violations, led by
an autocrat named Alberto Fujimori.

For what purpose has this support been rendered? The official Washington explanation is
to fight drugs. But whereas four air force officers, including one of Fujimori's personal
military pilots, were arrested after 383 pounds of cocaine were found on their military
plane; whereas on four separate occasions cocaine was seized from navy ships, totaling
220 pounds;64 whereas Fujimori's closest adviser, Vladimir Montesino, has a history of
being a drug kingpin, and formerly a lawyer for drug traffickers;65 whereas Montesino,
who has long been on the CIA payroll, runs the intelligence service, which also has its
hands deep into the drug cookie jar and was publicly condemned by the US Senate in
1999 for its corruption;66 and whereas the military is known to have tipped off drug
traffickers to DEA raids and physically protected the traffickers' cocaine caches from
seizure by the police67...what can Washington possibly be thinking?

They're thinking of the usual: helping the government suppress guerrilla movements is
the main priority. In 1997, Fujimori ordered the summary execution of 14 leftists, most of
them very young, who had taken over the Japanese ambassador's home to press for
human rights and economic improvements, and tried to surrender peacefully before being
shot in cold blood. The commandos who carried out the raid received training and
sophisticated technological help from the United States for their operation, including
overflights of the RU-38A airplane, which can photograph a building and gauge the
thickness of its walls, amongst a host of other details crucial to planning the raid.68
The United States did not aid in the execution of these young people because of drug

Mexico, 1990s-present

The Mexican government "will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their
effective control of the national territory and of security policy...[and] will need to
consider carefully whether or not to allow opposition victories if fairly won at the ballot
box." Thus reads a 1995 memorandum from Riordan Roett, a consultant on Latin
America's emerging markets, working for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York.69

He was speaking of the movement of indigenous people in Mexico who were, and still
are, demanding their economic and political rights and their autonomy. These desires,
however, conflict with the needs of NAFTA and other components of the globalized
economy, which want the Zapatistas out of certain areas”or at least not claiming own^
ership to the land”for various reasons, oil and other natural resources being amongst
them, as well as the decidedly bad example being set for other Mexican and Central
American peasants. NAFTA's plans call for the "subsistence" agriculture long practiced
by the indigenous people to be "modernized"; i.e., to produce "high-profit" export crops,
such as rubber and lumber.70

In the name of fighting drugs, the United States has poured hundreds of millions of
dollars of military aid and training into Mexico, bringing in the usual complement of
American police agents, Army advisers, CIA operatives and Special Forces.71 And all in
support of a remarkably corrupt government, military, "paramilitary" and police, many of
whom are involved in drug trafficking themselves, carry out massacres and regularly
engage in torture and other viola-tions of human rights.72 The Zapatistas claim that US
and Argentine advisers have been providing training to the paramilitaries, the main force
behind this newest "dirty war", so terribly familiar to Latin America.73

The American military aid has included sophisticated surveillance technology to track the
Zapatistas in forests and hills, and hundreds of helicopters, which have been used to
attack communities with machine guns, rockets and bombs. Such US aid and training is,
still, commonplace in the Third World. In an excellent series on the subject in 1998, the
Washington Post pointed out that:

[Even] where armed domestic opposition is negligible or nonexistent, U.S. forces are
teaching armies how to track down opponents, surprise them in helicopter attacks, kill
them with more proficiency, or, in some cases, how to lead house-to-house raids in "close
quarters combat" designed for cities.74

Much of the military aid to Mexico has been in violation of congressional laws banning
military assistance to foreign security units guilty of human-rights violations.75
Oddly enough, no one accuses the Zapatistas of being involved with drug trafficking, so
Washington's effective participation in the war being waged against them can only be
seen in ideological terms.

Colombia, 1990s-present

By the end of the decade, Colombia”the most violent nation in the world”had become
the third largest recipient of US military aid, with hundreds of American military
personnel posted there in a growing number of military and radar bases to aid in counter-
insurgency actions against leftist guerrillas. The US has aided government bombing raids
and other military functions by providing helicopters, intelligence information about
guerrilla movements, satellite images and communications intercepts. At times, US
planes fly overhead during combat operations. The guerrillas claim that Americans are
conducting covert counterinsurgency operations and warned that they will be targeted.76

Again, the public rationale given for taking sides in a civil war has been "to fight drugs".
To drive home this point, US drug czar Barry McCaffrey routinely refers to the leading
guerrilla group, FARC, as "narco-traffickers". But the DEAs Acting Administrator
testified in 1999 that the DEA had "not yet really come to the conclusion" that "the
FARC and ELN are drug trafficking entities per se",77 even though the guerrillas do
finance themselves in part through protecting and "taxing" drug producers.

However, the main recipient of the American aid, the Colombian military, is involved in
drug trafficking, at the same time being intimately linked to paramilitary forces which are
also active in drug trafficking and in protecting drug producers.78 In November 1998, a
Colombian Air Force cargo plane that landed at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida was found to
contain 1,639 pounds of cocaine. In 1996, Colombian Air Force officers tried to smuggle
heroin to the United States aboard the plane used by then-President Ernesto Samper.79
Samper himself was labeled a "drug trafficker" by a senior Clinton administration


. 22
( 42 .)