Cont’d From Previous Edition
Yugoslavia was not inclined to worship these principles; nor, as we have seen, had the Serbs shown proper reverence for joining the club of globalized American allies cum obedient junior partners. Most of their industries and financial sectors were still state owned. They had not even banned the word “socialism” from polite conversation yet. Veritable dinosaurs they were!! All in all, an ideal humanitarian bombing target. The fact that Milosevic is a dictator was of no strategic significance, except for its propaganda value.
So Yugoslavia, which for years had been feared an attack from the East (the Soviet Union), instead was devastated by the Western “free world”. While the bombing attacks were being carried out, Serbian TV was also targeted, because it was broadcasting things which the United States did not like. The bombs took the lives of many of the station’s staff, and both legs of one of the survivors, which had to be amputated to free him from the wreckage.
“Once you kill people because you don’t like what they say,” observed noted British foreign correspondent, Robert Fisk, “you change the rules of war.”
Perhaps the strangest aspect of the whole conflict is the collective amnesia that appears to have afflicted countless intelligent, well-meaning people, who are convinced that the US/NATO bombing took place after the mass forced deportation of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo was well underway; which is to say that the bombing was launched to stop this “ethnic cleansing”. In actuality, the systematic forced deportations of large numbers of people did not begin until a few days after the bombing began, and was clearly a reaction to it born of extreme anger and powerlessness. This is easily verified by looking at a daily newspaper for the few days before the bombing began the night of March 23/24, and few days after. Or simply look at the New York Times of March 26, page 1, which reads:
…with the NATO bombing already begun, a deepening sense of fear took hold in Pristina [the main city of Kosovo] that the Serbs would now vent their rage against ethnic Albanian civilians in retaliation [emphasis added].
On March 27, we find the first reference to a ‘forced march” or anything of that sort.
But the propaganda version may already be set in marble. It’s the nearest con-game since the church sprang “papal infallibility” upon a gullible people.
There’s a lot more, hay mucho mas, il y a beaucoup plus, es gibt noch veil mehr.
In addition to the above, there have been literally dozens of other serious American interventions in every corner of the world, against both governments and movements, from the 1950s on. The amount of US government roguery to be uncovered appears to be infinite, while the author’s time is finite. The US intervention machine has been more or less, on automatic pilot…perpetual war for perpetual peace.
Narco-terrorist gonna get your mama
US government officials often seem desirous of identifying leftist guerrillas with drug trafficking, whether the linkage is factual or not. They also like to make use of the expression “narco-terrorists” in speaking of the guerrillas. These linguistic associations may serve a function beyond the purely descriptive. Here is Special Forces commander Col. John Waghelstein, speaking in 1987 about this linkage:
A melding in the American public’s mind and in Congress of this connection would lead to the necessary support to counter the guerrilla/narcotics terrorist in this hemisphere…Congress would find it difficult to stand in the way of supporting our allies with the training, advice and security assistance necessary to do the job. Those church and academic groups that have slavishly supported insurgency in Latin America would find themselves on the wrong side of the moral issue. Above all, we would have the unassailable moral position from which to launch a concerted effort using Department of Defense (DOD) and non-DOD assets.
Victims Memorial Museums
For several years, Cold-War conservatives have been planning for the opening of “The Victims of Communism Memorial Museum” near the Mall in Washington. This building has been commissioned by an act of Congress and signed by President Clinton. The literature its backers put out in behalf of this project is egregiously inaccurate and propagandistic. But that is not the point I wish to make here so much as to call for the erection of “The victims of Anti-Communism Memorial Museum”; right next door would be a good spot. Displays dealing with the interventions described above and with the torture and support of terrorism detailed in other chapters would provide more than enough material to fill a good-sized edifice.
It shall be unlawful for a foreign national directly or through any other person to make any contribution of money or other thing of value, or to promise expressly or impliedly to make any such contribution, in connection with an election to any political office or in connection with any primary election…
Title 2, United States code Amended (USCA), Section 441e(a)
Thus the legal basis, if not the political, for the indignation expressed by both Republican and Democratic members of Congress at revelations that the Chinese may have tried to use covert campaign donations to influence American policy.
Washington policymakers, however, have long reserved the unrestrained right to pour large amounts of money into elections of other countries (including those which also prohibit foreign contributions) and taint the electoral system in numerous other ways, as we shall see below.
Elections and this thing called democracy
During the Clinton administration, the sentiment has been pro-claimed on so many occasions by the president and other political leaders, and dutifully reiterated by the media, that the thesis “Cuba is the only non-democracy in the Western Hemisphere” is now nothing short of received wisdom in the United States.
Let us examine this thesis carefully for it has a highly interesting implication.
Throughout the period of the Cuban revolution, 1959 to the present, Latin America has witnessed a terrible parade of human rights violations-systematic, routine torture; legions of “disappeared” people; government supported death squads picking off selected individuals; massacres en masse of peasants, students and other group, shot down in cold blood. The worst perpetrators of these acts during all or part of this period have been the military and associated paramilitary squads of El Salvador, Guatemala, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay, Haiti and Honduras.
Not even Cuba’s worst enemies have charged the Castro government with any of these violations, and if one further considers education and health care-each guaranteed by the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and Fundamental Freedoms”-“both of which,” said President Clinton, “work better [in Cuba] than most other countries”, then I t would appear that during the more-than-40 years of its revolution, Cuba has enjoyed one of the very best human-rights records in all of Latin America.
If, despite this record, the United States can insist that Cuba is the only “non-democracy” in the Western Hemisphere, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that this thing called “democracy”, as seen from the White House, may have little or nothing to do with many of ours most cherished human rights. Indeed, numerous pronouncements emanating from Washington officialdom over the years make plain that “democracy”, at best, or at most, is equated solely with elections and civil liberties. Not even jobs, food and shelter are part of the equation.
Thus, a nation with hordes of hungry, homeless, untended sick, barely literate, unemployed and/or tortured people, whose loved ones are being disappeared and/or murdered with state connivance, can be said to be living in a “democracy”-its literal Greek meaning of “rule of the people” implying that this is the kind of life the people actually want-provided that every two years or four years they have the right to go to a designated place and put an X next to the name of one or another individual who promises to relieve their miserable condition, but who will, typically, do virtually nothing of the kind; and provided further that in this society there is at least a certain minimum of freedom-how much being in large measure a function of one’s wealth-for one to express one’s views about the powers-that-be and the workings of the society, without undue fear of punishment, regardless of whether expressing these views has any influence whatsoever over the way things are.
It is not by chance that the United States has defined democracy in this narrow manner. Throughout the Cold War, the absence of “free and fair” multiparty elections and adequate civil liberties was what marked the Soviet foe and its satellites. These nations, however, provide their citizens with a relatively decent standard of living in terms of employment, food, health care, education, etc., without omnipresent Brazilian torture or Guatemalan death squads. At the same time, many of America’s Third World allies in the cold War-members of what Washington liked to refer to as “The Free World”-were human-rights disaster areas, who could boast of little other than the 60-seconds democracy of the polling booth and a tolerance for dissenting opinion so long as it didn’t cut too close to the bone or threaten to turn into a movement.
Naturally, the only way to win Cold War propaganda points with team lineups like these was to extol your team’s brand of virtue and damn the enemy’s lack of it, designating the former “democracy” and the latter “totalitarianism”.
Thus it is that Americans are raised to fervently believe that no progress can be made in any society in the absence of elections. They are taught to equate elections with democracy, and democracy with elections. And no matter how cynical they’ve grown about electoral politics at home, few of them harbor any doubt that the promotion of free and fair elections has long been a basic and sincere tenet of American foreign policy.
In light of this, let us examine the actual historical record.