The US Role in Globalization

The State of Globalization as realized by the G-20 in the year 2012
The United States and its economic allies, as defined by countries subscribing to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Global Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (Gatt I and Gatt II)and other free trade agreements, have assured themselves their best possible corporate profits by moving manufacturing to countries with lowest possible factory-labor wages without regard for how this effects their own labor communities, or the horrific consequences of moving products so far in the face of global warming and myriad other pollution concerns.
Lee Jae Eui, the author of the Gwangju Diary, and editor of the Gwangju Uprising, and head Nano-technologist at GIST rightly points out that the best governments are those who create a burgeoning middle class. If the opposite is also true, that the worst governments are the ones who favor larger corporate profits by shrinking their own middle class, then the United States would be culprit number one, and countries like Vietnam, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Argentina, (and too many more to list) who are being abused by this set-up are not to be blamed for allowing these pollution-heavy industries to move in and under-pay their workers, because by each country’s standards, the miniscule wages gives a large population of people just enough to get by on. Not what a South Korean would call a middle class existence, but enough to survive.
Benito Mussolini, himself a fascist, defined fascism as “big business and government working together to the benefit of only big business and government.” By this accurate account, the United States has been a purely fascist state since 1980, with plenty of on-and-off examples since its inception in 1776. The United States was founded on genocide, made rich by slavery and continues to feed its insatiable greed by dominating human and natural resources worldwide, at gunpoint, if necessary. Such openly American institutions like the World Bank and the IMF have ruined one economy after the other in order to retain control, drive unemployment up as high as 70% (see Argentina in the 1990s) and then move in manufacturing once free trade agreements are in place that improve profits by banning tariffs on products flowing back to the US. In Argentina, J.P Morgan and Fleet Bank went one step further and BOUGHT its central bank. Once accomplished, the IMF moved in and demanded austerity measures that would assure that JP Morgan and Fleet Bank were paid back their very stupid loans, not in Pesos that were valueless, but in Pesos that, after three years, were jiggered around to being one-to-one with the dollar. Two banks and a handful of manufacturing concerns benefitted, while an entire population was reduced to economic ruble.
This is not an isolated incident. Excellent research by my business English class at Chonnam National University discovered, that, of the 147 largest IMF loans since 1980, 144 countries economies suffered, some greatly, like Ghana and other African countries in which the leaders stole great hunks of the loans (as the IMF knew they would), one country managed to battle back and save themselves (South Korea) and two countries saw economic gains by such loans: Belarus and Costa Rica.
The US itself was not afraid to hand over its own sovereignty to the “trade is king” fascists that thought up the GATT treaties. Continued meetings of the G-7, G-8 and G-20 have been met by ineffective, thus useless protests from the very beginning. Protestors are cordoned off into “protest zones” so far away from the proceedings, the media won’t be tempted to cover them, and the head honchos can walk from limousines to pampered meeting rooms, guarded by expensive security forces without having to hear a single peep from the opposition. It is not hard to prove the globalization is in fact world-wide fascism on a scale Hitler could have only dreamed about.
Even relatively poor countries like Russia can’t help but join the fun, as they sell off their natural resources (mostly oil) so those at the top can have luxurious lifestyles, while the rest of the country languishes in poverty. Was it a coincidence that the US attacked Afghanistan, Iraq and now Pakistan even though 15 of the 19 bombers during 911 came from Saudi Arabia? Was it a coincidence that the very man (Osama Bin Laden) who helped us fend off Russia so it couldn’t build an oil pipeline in Afghanistan as head of the Mujahedeen was the one who created 911 which gave us an excuse to attack Afghanistan because that’s where he was hiding out? No. This was true, because, once in control of the pipeline that circumvents gnarly Iran by going hundreds of kilometers too far to get to the Indian Ocean, the US would also control a greater percentage of the Russian oil profits. As it is, Russia receives about 30% of the money generated by its own oil Wow, bad deal eh? But Amoco knows how to drill and Luk Oil does not, capiche?
The Iraq fiasco assured that Sunnis and Shia would be fighting ad infinitum. This is a replay of why the US was willing to tie the Korean War, not win it, and lose the Vietnam War badly. Why? Because by in effect losing both wars, Russia and China would forever remain un-allied. Or at least not allied until we could figure out which one would make the steadiest trading partner. Winner, China. The loser, by far, in all of this, has been humanity.
One definition of socialism is “from those according to ability, to those according to need.” China is living proof that communism as a governmental choice has never existed, and its version of socialism does not, in fact, share things equally amongst everyone. Yes, China is growing a middle class, but not at the expense of even an inkling of inflation. Why? Because, as the average factory worker in China makes 52 cents an hour, the Chinese government must control the price of food and rent with an iron fist, and too large a middle class would cause inflation, thus rioting among the factory workers. Lo and behold, over 40 cities in China have experienced such expressions of rage in the last two years alone. As the Chinese were lured off the fields and into the factories, they soon found out that what seemed like big money, came with the price of long hours, high rent, and many families ending up in debt who were NEVER in debt as farmers. Poor yes, but at least not worked to death. They are now working to fill the communist party coffers, while watching high rise luxury apartments go up, and spiffy Audi and Buick automobiles passing the standard VWs on clogged highways. Highways NOT clogged by factory workers, who jam like sardines into the subways, or walk or bike to work.
But if US manufacturing concerns are making so much money in Asia (the plastics industries in Vietnam pay an average of 14 cents an hour!) then why are Americans losing their homes to foreclosure at a 6,000 per day clip? Well, it goes back to 1995, a year in which Bill Clinton, coming off a stunning reversal in the Democratic Party by getting his fellow conservative democrats to usher in NAFTA, he added both the Welfare Reform act and the Banking Reform Act. What a trifecta for the rich! Ross Perot, for all his rotten ideas like surrounding drug-infested neighborhoods with swat teams and Marshall Law, was right about one thing: there was a giant sucking sound of American job being moved to Mexico as soon as the sizable tariffs on goods coming into the US were dropped. Winners: corporations, Losers, workers. Alva Crathey in her excellent book the Working Women of the Maquiladoras points out that those highly polluting companies also moved to Mexico to flee what was left of the anti-pollution laws in the US. This gave the hard working Mexicans exciting by heart rending experiences like still-births due to anencephaly, (babies born without brains). Mexicans did not protest, as one dollar per hour is an awfully high wage in Mexico. So the fate of American labor was set, and only got worse once tax breaks encouraged all companies to move to cheaper labor countries. Note: few moved to Africa. It has been Central and South America and mostly Asia that has been dominated by American and European firms and its own subordinated governments under these treaties that help mostly the famous ONE PERCENT that the US Occupy Movements keep screaming about.
But I digress: Clinton’s Welfare Reform did this: it codified and made legal the concept that anyone who receives government help can do so for 36 months per lifetime. Meaning, if you are a single mother who can’t find work, and have three or five children, after 36 months you are done. Couple this with NAFTA and later the effects of GATT one and two, and you have a recipe for disaster. Ice this sewer cake with national, corporate and individual debt, and the stench cannot be covered. Assure the next depression via the 1995 Banking Reform Act, and, Voila, you have the current mess in the US. You see, after the depression of the 1930s, smart legislators, who were NOT OWNED by corporations applied a four-to-one loan to deposit ratio, meaning banks could lend out four dollars for every one dollar they held in deposits. This is prudent. By the 1960s this was relaxed to a dangerous 12-to-1 ratio. Still, at 12-to-1 very few “subprime” loans were handed out because there were plenty of worthy customers who could afford to pay their mortgages backed. Then came Clinton’s law, I hope he is still happy about it, in which banks were allowed to lend out 30 dollars for every dollar in deposit. This 30-1 ratio made it hard for banks to maximize their profits by lending money only to those who could afford to pay it back. SO they devised pernicious loans that were “interest only” for 3 or 4 years, or the famous “reverse mortgages” which gave borrowers absurdly low payments at first, while ADDING to the amount of the loan in the process. European banks, envious of their counterparts in the US, requested this same absurd ratio. They did not get it, until one finance minister thought up this scheme: European banks were allowed ot lend more than the standard 10-to-one in place at the time, as long as every loan over the 10-to-onbe ratio was insured. This way if the shaky loans went bad it would fall on a private insurance company to bail out the banks, not the governments of Europe. Which insurance company was dumb enough to fall for this assignment? AIG.
So, in November of 2008, when Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Bank of America and, ahem, AIG were receiving, in total, trillions of bailout dollars, the biggest initial bailout was to AIG, and where did the US Taxpayer’s money go? To rich European bankers. CBS television News came close to asking the right questions about this, but stopped short of what they knew to be true, thus letting the US congress off the hook for bailing out European banks. Barak Obama was blamed for being the initiator of bail-outs the Republicans now claim never should have happened. In February, 2012 the Republican candidates stormed Michigan (where Auto manufacturers were, in fact, bailed out by Obama, thus saving hundreds of thousands of jobs) and said he never should have bailed out the car makers. Seems to me they do NOT want to win in 2012 if they are going to Michigan and saying the jobs should not have been saved. And holy canoli, the auto makers paid the money back and are reaping huge profits from the bailouts, which is far better than the banks have done. 2012 then is a repeat of 2008, when Republicans also threw the election by picking Sarah Palin as a VP running mate to John McCain.
If the Republicans should, however, gain control of both houses of our legislature, AND the White House, then they would be stuck holding the ball when the depression hits in earnest. And by golly, they were sitting in the White House (Herbert Hoover, a true market capitalist who refused to loosen the economic reigns, thus causing the crash of October 1929) the last time around, and would much rather kick back and sling arrows at Obama than to stand up and do what needs to be done to correct the errors that started in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan, the 8 short years, tripled the US National Debt. That “fiscal conservative” figured he could borrow his way into a good economy, and everyone since except (of all people) Bill Clinton has followed suit, to the detriment not just of the US economy, but every country that holds US dollars in reserve.
Ah, the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Sixty-seven percent of the world’s reserve currency is US dollars. Imagine how many China has! Russia is #2 (thanks to oil mostly) and then easy-to-guess countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia and Germany follow suit. But, due to a massive trade imbalance, the US itself ranks 22nd in foreign currencies held. Uh Oh. South Korea weighs in at about 5 or 6 depending on how well its cars and electronic gizmos are selling in the US, and back in 2006 when S. Korea announced it was going to switch its reserve currency form dollars to Euros, the US stock market dropped 600 points before noon. Even Bush II was smart enough to get on the horn and stop this from happening, because if it had, the entire world may have followed suit and the dollar would have traded one-to-one with the Won. In short, this reserve currency reality is what keeps the US afloat, via economic blackmail. Should the US dollar fail, then everyone will be stuck holding monopoly money in their central banks.
And the IMF has the Bancor1 waiting in just such a circumstance should occur. Indeed the Bancor is not a fictional currency made up by JM Keynes as it once was, it is already in place should the dollar fail. It will be traded by CENTRAL BANKS ONLY one-for-one with the failing dollars, but at considerably fluctuating rates for any other investors who want to trade in dollars after that initial deal. This means if your banker or broker is not prepared to get you your Bancors within minutes of their being available, you will have to give up more than one dollar to get one Bancor.
In 2009 the US averaged 6,600 foreclosures per day.2 In 2010 it jumped to 10,000+3 per day, in 2011 it was 9,000 per day4 and God only knows what the tally will be in 2012. The worst year for home foreclosures during the 1930s was 1933, which saw 1,000 home foreclosures per day. Sure there were less Americans then, but that does not mitigate the fact that hundreds of thousands of Americans are losing their main investments (the money they’ve put into paying back loans, and the equity on their homes). How dare Clinton write a book called “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy” when his own idiotic government passed the two main laws that put us in this mess, then cut off funding for the gigantic rise in poverty. Now he wants Americans to get back to work, and back to work we have gone…in France, South Korea, China, anywhere that has work…but good luck finding a job in the USA! I wonder how much his advance was and what his total take will be on this book. I wonder, how much of that he will donate to charity!?
While in the US I filmed a documentary with the filmmaker Cristian Alva. We took in quite a charade by Senators Simpson (R. Wyoming) and Bowles (D. North Carolina) who run the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.5 They suggest that higher taxes and cuts to entitlements and defense spending are the only way to avoid the “Moment of Truth,” that is hitting the United States. But Washington is not about to implement their plan, as Republicans refuse to consider a dime in tax increases, and may well control the whole town again soon. Worse yet, even if taken at its word, the plan would wipe out “entitlements” in such draconian ways as to render the already-impoverished desperate, perhaps starving. Aha, just like Argentina, if enough Americans are so desperate, perhaps the Republicans can lower the minimum wage, thus giving small and large business owners incentives to hire more people. Ooops, bye-bye middle class. Already minimum wage earners are nowhere near the middle class which is disappearing rapidly in the US.
Grim realities are hitting the US, as fuel and food prices are skyrocketing, while wages are going down, and so many are unemployed. Ah, but the oil companies will be OK, oil spills or no oil spills.
Already the US pays a number of countries for GATT infractions rather than exposing the well-subsidized farmers of the US to free trade. European and US subsidies to farmers have made it impossible for Africa to strengthen their economies (corrupt governments in Africa have exacerbated this). But, for those who refuse to “play ball” the consequences of remaining outside globalization can be huge. Cuba, Iraq and North Korea are all one need to know about how bad things can get when economic sanctions are applied. Economic sanctions are often the precursors to war, thus, let’s see what happens in Iran.
Iran, Israel, the US and China could be at the tip of the spear should the world economy fail and another world war be required to help the rich stay rich. Note: the EXACT day that Iran had its first large oil auction (“burse”) in which their oil was sold for EUROS, instead of dollars Condoleezza Rice stood up and said Iran had nuclear capabilities. This was partly because, I am sure, that other than being a reserve currency, the only thing propping the value of the US dollar is that oil is traded in dollars.
Should Israel attack Iran, China will see this as an extension of the US attacking Iran. Israel, the US last ally, and well paid for at that, would be foolish to drop bombs in Iran without the back up of the US. China, however, gets about 30% of its imported oil from Iran. Uh oh. 50% of the US Navy is floating between Taiwan and China. Why? Worse yet, under Bush II the US stopped sending its annual letter to India reminding them that they are breaking the nuclear non-proliferation treaties they signed. Instead we sent over 300 scientists to India to teach them how to build MX missile-sized warheads, which they never had the capability of doing in the past. Why would the US do this for one of the least stable democracies in the world? Well, India sits just to the West of China, for one. And our Navy sits to the west. For those keeping score at home, the US navy can pinpoint and bomb a single building from 400 miles at sea.
William Blum accurately points out that the US has attacked 31 countries a total of 70+ times since the end of World War II.
“The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:
* making the world safe for American corporations;
* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;
* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;
* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a “great power.”
This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.
The United States carried out extremely serious military interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.”6
For the record, I am an American Patriot who still believes the US has a chance to make amends for its egregious attacks on human liberty since 1492, when Columbus started murdering and enslaving Native Americans. It will not happen if we keep electing people like Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, that’s for sure.
Obama campaigned on “Change” but has not even fought to change the unconstitutional or unwise laws Bush II cooked up or repealed. Not once has he mentioned repealing Patriot Act I or II, not once has he asked congress to reinstate even one of the 186 environmental laws Bush II wiped out. His only change in the Middle East was to move troops from Iraq to Pakistan, where we caused 2 million refugees to flee their homes. Don’t forget, the last 200 miles of oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean must flow through Pakistan. US citizens now live in a country where they can be arrested without habeas corpus (without being told why they are being arrested). At an Occupy Movement action in Chapel Hill, NC in January, a journalist was smashed to the ground and was told not to take any pictures of machine-gun toting police arresting 20 meek protesters. Caitlyn F. will never be the same, but the US may never be the same either.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is setting up camps in case of social disorder that will be able to house over 2 million “visitors” and the US jail population is over 2 million already. Thus US citizens themselves may be vulnerable to fascist attacks if they get upset about the economic disasters that could occur in the future.
“FEMA’s latest efforts to satisfy the demand for emergency camps represents a continuation of preparations on behalf of the federal government to prepare for civil emergencies and potential social disorder.”7
In order for the Occupy Movement, or any other (like the protests that toppled dictators in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) to be successful, the replacements of the dictators will have to make life better for their people, without the help, nay under potential sanctions from the world powers. Thus, growing self-sustaining economies will be key. A country like South Korea that is 70% dependent on exports for its GDP and 67% dependent on imports for its food are extremely vulnerable in these circumstances. S> Korea has its ways too: companies pay workers by the month, and with no hourly wage, and no 1.5 or 2 times-the-rate for overtime, the bosses job is to get as many hours as he can out of the workers for the same base monthly pay. Thus, instead of a normal 40 hour week, workers work much longer, yet for no bonus pay once past 40 hours.
Perhaps NONE of the 175 demands the Occupy Movement has penned so far will be met with laws that meet those demands. Thus, they will have to come up with an electable candidate who is far to the left of Barack Obama, and who will bring home 100% of the American troops, reduce military spending at three times the rate the entitlements are reduced, and get the US to stop being a fascist bully in order to concentrate on national health care, like so many non-combative countries already have. If such a candidate were elected, she would have to also have her party in control of the Senate and House of Representatives. The US Electoral College and embedded, yet illegal “two party system” will surely see to it this never happens. Fascists don’t give up, they just die. Steve Jobs and his mega-profitable Apple Computer refused to shut down its repressive factory in China, due to profit demands from its shareholders. I see. A company as flush in cash as Apple won’t even hire Americans. Now Obama says he’s going to bring jobs back to the US. Since 1917 history shows that revolutions often make things WORSE than they were before. Wow, how can globalization be worse than it is now?
World War III that’s how. It’s been centuries since China was an imperialist country. Not true for the US. One suspects that China would be a tough country to conquer. Thus, like me, I am sure you are against World War III, since it could start in Iran, or right here, who knows. The question is, how do we, as citizens prevent it before it occurs?
Peace. What do we want? Peace. When do we want it? Now.
2. .(

A Brief History of U.S. Interventions:
1945 to the Present
by William Blum
Z magazine , June 1999

The engine of American foreign policy has been fueled not by a devotion to any kind of morality, but rather by the necessity to serve other imperatives, which can be summarized as follows:
* making the world safe for American corporations;
* enhancing the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to members of congress;
* preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model;
* extending political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a “great power.”
This in the name of fighting a supposed moral crusade against what cold warriors convinced themselves, and the American people, was the existence of an evil International Communist Conspiracy, which in fact never existed, evil or not.
The United States carried out extremely serious interventions into more than 70 nations in this period.
China, 1945-49:
Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of Chiang Kai-shek against the Communists, even though the latter had been a much closer ally of the United States in the world war. The U.S. used defeated Japanese soldiers to fight for its side. The Communists forced Chiang to flee to Taiwan in 1949.
Italy, 1947-48:
Using every trick in the book, the U.S. interfered in the elections to prevent the Communist Party from coming to power legally and fairly. This perversion of democracy was done in the name of “saving democracy” in Italy. The Communists lost. For the next few decades, the CIA, along with American corporations, continued to intervene in Italian elections, pouring in hundreds of millions of dollars and much psychological warfare to block the specter that was haunting Europe.
Greece, 1947-49:
Intervened in a civil war, taking the side of the neo-fascists against the Greek left which had fought the Nazis courageously. The neo-fascists won and instituted a highly brutal regime, for which the CIA created a new internal security agency, KYP. Before long, KYP was carrying out all the endearing practices of secret police everywhere, including systematic torture.
Philippines, 1945-53:
U.S. military fought against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks were still fighting against the Japanese invaders. After the war, the U. S. continued its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as president, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
South Korea, 1945-53:
After World War II, the United States suppressed the popular progressive forces in favor of the conservatives who had collaborated with the Japanese. This led to a long era of corrupt, reactionary, and brutal governments.
Albania, 1949-53:
The U.S. and Britain tried unsuccessfully to overthrow the communist government and install a new one that would have been pro-Western and composed largely of monarchists and collaborators with Italian fascists and Nazis.
Germany, 1950s:
The CIA orchestrated a wide-ranging campaign of sabotage, terrorism, dirty tricks, and psychological warfare against East Germany. This was one of the factors which led to the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Iran, 1953:
Prime Minister Mossadegh was overthrown in a joint U.S./British operation. Mossadegh had been elected to his position by a large majority of parliament, but he had made the fateful mistake of spearheading the movement to nationalize a British-owned oil company, the sole oil company operating in Iran. The coup restored the Shah to absolute power and began a period of 25 years of repression and torture, with the oil industry being restored to foreign ownership, as follows: Britain and the U.S., each 40 percent, other nations 20 percent.
Guatemala, 1953-1990s:
A CIA-organized coup overthrew the democratically-elected and progressive government of Jacobo Arbenz, initiating 40 years of death-squads, torture, disappearances, mass executions, and unimaginable cruelty, totaling well over 100,000 victims -indisputably one of the most inhuman chapters of the 20th century. Arbenz had nationalized the U.S. firm, United Fruit Company, which had extremely close ties to the American power elite. As justification for the coup, Washington declared that Guatemala had been on the verge of a Soviet takeover, when in fact the Russians had so little interest in the country that it didn’t even maintain diplomatic relations. The real problem in the eyes of Washington, in addition to United Fruit, was the danger of Guatemala’s social democracy spreading to other countries in Latin America.
Middle East, 1956-58:
The Eisenhower Doctrine stated that the United States “is prepared to use armed forces to assist” any Middle East country “requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism.” The English translation of this was that no one would be allowed to dominate, or have excessive influence over, the middle east and its oil fields except the United States, and that anyone who tried would be, by definition, “Communist.” In keeping with this policy, the United States twice attempted to overthrow the Syrian government, staged several shows-of-force in the Mediterranean to intimidate movements opposed to U.S.-supported governments in Jordan and Lebanon, landed 14,000 troops in Lebanon, and conspired to overthrow or assassinate Nasser of Egypt and his troublesome middle-east nationalism.
Indonesia, 1957-58:
Sukarno, like Nasser, was the kind of Third World leader the United States could not abide. He took neutralism in the cold war seriously, making trips to the Soviet Union and China (though to the White House as well). He nationalized many private holdings of the Dutch, the former colonial power. He refused to crack down on the Indonesian Communist Party, which was walking the legal, peaceful road and making impressive gains electorally. Such policies could easily give other Third World leaders “wrong ideas.” The CIA began throwing money into the elections, plotted Sukarno’s assassination, tried to blackmail him with a phony sex film, and joined forces with dissident military officers to wage a full-scale war against the government. Sukarno survived it all.
British Guiana/Guyana, 1953-64:
For 11 years, two of the oldest democracies in the world, Great Britain and the United States, went to great lengths to prevent a democratically elected leader from occupying his office. Cheddi Jagan was another Third World leader who tried to remain neutral and independent. He was elected three times. Although a leftist-more so than Sukarno or Arbenz-his policies in office were not revolutionary. But he was still a marked man, for he represented Washington’s greatest fear: building a society that might be a successful example of an alternative to the capitalist model. Using a wide variety of tactics-from general strikes and disinformation to terrorism and British legalisms, the U. S. and Britain finally forced Jagan out in 1964. John F. Kennedy had given a direct order for his ouster, as, presumably, had Eisenhower.
One of the better-off countries in the region under Jagan, Guyana, by the 1980s, was one of the poorest. Its principal export became people.
Vietnam, 1950-73:
The slippery slope began with siding with ~ French, the former colonizers and collaborators with the Japanese, against Ho Chi Minh and his followers who had worked closely with the Allied war effort and admired all things American. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of Communist. He had written numerous letters to President Truman and the State Department asking for America’s help in winning Vietnamese independence from the French and finding a peaceful solution for his country. All his entreaties were ignored. Ho Chi Minh modeled the new Vietnamese declaration of independence on the American, beginning it with “All men are created equal. They are endowed by their Creator with …” But this would count for nothing in Washington. Ho Chi Minh was some kind of Communist.
Twenty-three years and more than a million dead, later, the United States withdrew its military forces from Vietnam. Most people say that the U.S. lost the war. But by destroying Vietnam to its core, and poisoning the earth and the gene pool for generations, Washington had achieved its main purpose: preventing what might have been the rise of a good development option for Asia. Ho Chi Minh was, after all, some kind of communist.
Cambodia, 1955-73:
Prince Sihanouk was yet another leader who did not fancy being an American client. After many years of hostility towards his regime, including assassination plots and the infamous Nixon/Kissinger secret “carpet bombings” of 1969-70, Washington finally overthrew Sihanouk in a coup in 1970. This was all that was needed to impel Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge forces to enter the fray. Five years later, they took power. But five years of American bombing had caused Cambodia’s traditional economy to vanish. The old Cambodia had been destroyed forever.
Incredibly, the Khmer Rouge were to inflict even greater misery on this unhappy land. To add to the irony, the United States supported Pol Pot, militarily and diplomatically, after their subsequent defeat by the Vietnamese.
The Congo/Zaire, 1960-65:
In June 1960, Patrice Lumumba became the Congo’s first prime minister after independence from Belgium. But Belgium retained its vast mineral wealth in Katanga province, prominent Eisenhower administration officials had financial ties to the same wealth, and Lumumba, at Independence Day ceremonies before a host of foreign dignitaries, called for the nation’s economic as well as its political liberation, and recounted a list of injustices against the natives by the white owners of the country. The man was obviously a “Communist.” The poor man was obviously doomed.
Eleven days later, Katanga province seceded, in September, Lumumba was dismissed by the president at the instigation of the United States, and in January 1961 he was assassinated at the express request of Dwight Eisenhower. There followed several years of civil conflict and chaos and the rise to power of Mobutu Sese Seko, a man not a stranger to the CIA. Mobutu went on to rule the country for more than 30 years, with a level of corruption and cruelty that shocked even his CIA handlers. The Zairian people lived in abject poverty despite the plentiful natural wealth, while Mobutu became a multibillionaire.
Brazil, 1961-64:
President Joao Goulart was guilty of the usual crimes: He took an independent stand in foreign policy, resuming relations with socialist countries and opposing sanctions against Cuba; his administration passed a law limiting the amount of profits multinationals could transmit outside the country; a subsidiary of ITT was nationalized; he promoted economic and social reforms. And Attorney-General Robert Kennedy was uneasy about Goulart allowing “communists” to hold positions in government agencies. Yet the man was no radical. He was a millionaire land-owner and a Catholic who wore a medal of the Virgin around his neck. That, however, was not enough to save him. In 1964, he was overthrown in a military coup which had deep, covert American involvement. The official Washington line was…yes, it’s unfortunate that democracy has been overthrown in Brazil…but, still, the country has been saved from communism.
For the next 15 years, all the features of military dictatorship that Latin America has come to know were instituted: Congress was shut down, political opposition was reduced to virtual extinction, habeas corpus for “political crimes” was suspended, criticism of the president was forbidden by law, labor unions were taken over by government interveners, mounting protests were met by police and military firing into crowds, peasants’ homes were burned down, priests were brutalized…disappearances, death squads, a remarkable degree and depravity of torture…the government had a name for its program: the “moral rehabilitation” of Brazil.
Washington was very pleased. Brazil broke relations with Cuba and became one of the United States’ most reliable allies in Latin America.
Dominican Republic, 1963-66:
In February 1963, Juan Bosch took office as the first democratically elected president of the Dominican Republic since 1924. Here at last was John F. Kennedy’s liberal anti-Communist, to counter the charge that the U.S. supported only military dictatorships. Bosch’s government was to be the long sought ” showcase of democracy ” that would put the lie to Fidel Castro. He was given the grand treatment in Washington shortly before he took office.
Bosch was true to his beliefs. He called for land reform, low-rent housing, modest nationalization of business, and foreign investment provided it was not excessively exploitative of the country and other policies making up the program of any liberal Third World leader serious about social change. He was likewise serious about civil liberties: Communists, or those labeled as such, were not to be persecuted unless they actually violated the law.
A number of American officials and congresspeople expressed their discomfort with Bosch’s plans, as well as his stance of independence from the United States. Land reform and nationalization are always touchy issues in Washington, the stuff that “creeping socialism” is made of. In several quarters of the U.S. press Bosch was red-baited.
In September, the military boots marched. Bosch was out. The United States, which could discourage a military coup in Latin America with a frown, did nothing.
Nineteen months later, a revolt broke out which promised to put the exiled Bosch back into power. The United States sent 23,000 troops to help crush it.
Cuba, 1959 to present:
Fidel Castro came to power at the beginning of 1959. A U.S. National Security Council meeting of March 10, 1959 included on its agenda the feasibility of bringing “another government to power in Cuba.” There followed 40 years of terrorist attacks, bombings, full-scale military invasion, sanctions, embargoes, isolation, assassinations…Cuba had carried out The Unforgivable Revolution, a very serious threat of setting a “good example” in Latin America.
The saddest part of this is that the world will never know what kind of society Cuba could have produced if left alone, if not constantly under the gun and the threat of invasion, if allowed to relax its control at home. The idealism, the vision, the talent were all there. But we’ll never know. And that of course was the idea.
Indonesia, 1965:
A complex series of events, involving a supposed coup attempt, a counter-coup, and perhaps a counter-counter-coup, with American fingerprints apparent at various points, resulted in the ouster from power of Sukarno and his replacement by a military coup led by General Suharto. The massacre that began immediately-of Communists, Communist sympathizers, suspected Communists, suspected Communist sympathizers, and none of the above-was called by the New York Times “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history.” The estimates of the number killed in the course of a few years begin at half a million and go above a million.
It was later learned that the U.S. embassy had compiled lists of “Communist” operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres, as many as 5,000 names, and turned them over to the army, which then hunted those persons down and killed them. The Americans would then check off the names of those who had been killed or captured. “It really was a big help to the army. They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands,” said one U.S. diplomat. “But that’s not all bad. There’s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment. ”
Chile, 1964-73:
Salvador Allende was the worst possible scenario for a Washington imperialist. He could imagine only one thing worse than a Marxist in power-an elected Marxist in power, who honored the constitution, and became increasingly popular. This shook the very foundation stones on which the anti-Communist tower was built: the doctrine, painstakingly cultivated for decades, that “communists” can take power only through force and deception, that they can retain that power only through terrorizing and brainwashing the population.
After sabotaging Allende’s electoral endeavor in 1964, and failing to do so in 1970, despite their best efforts, the CIA and the rest of the American foreign policy machine left no stone unturned in their attempt to destabilize the Allende government over the next three years, paying particular attention to building up military hostility. Finally, in September 1973, the military overthrew the government, Allende dying in the process.
They closed the country to the outside world for a week, while the tanks rolled and the soldiers broke down doors; the stadiums rang with the sounds of execution and the bodies piled up along the streets and floated in the river; the torture centers opened for business; the subversive books were thrown into bonfires; soldiers slit the trouser legs of women, shouting that “In Chile women wear dresses!”; the poor returned to their natural state; and the men of the world in Washington and in the halls of international finance opened up their check- books. In the end, more than 3,000 had been executed, thousands more tortured or disappeared.
Greece, 1964-74:
The military coup took place in April 1967, just two days before the campaign for j national elections was to begin, elections which appeared certain to bring the veteran liberal leader George Papandreou back as prime minister. Papandreou had been elected in February 1964 with the only outright majority in the history of modern Greek elections. The successful machinations to unseat him had begun immediately, a joint effort of the Royal Court, the Greek military, and the American military and CIA stationed in Greece. The 1967 coup was followed immediately by the traditional martial law, censorship, arrests, beatings, torture, and killings, the victims totaling some 8,000 in the first month. This was accompanied by the equally traditional declaration that this was all being done to save the nation from a “Communist takeover.” Corrupting and subversive influences in Greek life were to be removed. Among these were miniskirts, long hair, and foreign newspapers; church attendance for the young would be compulsory.
It was torture, however, which most indelibly marked the seven-year Greek nightmare. James Becket, an American attorney sent to Greece by Amnesty International, wrote in December 1969 that “a conservative estimate would place at not less than two thousand” the number of people tortured, usually in the most gruesome of ways, often with equipment supplied by the United States.
Becket reported the following: Hundreds of prisoners have listened to the little speech given by Inspector Basil Lambrou, who sits behind his desk which displays the red, white, and blue clasped-hand symbol of American aid. He tries to show the prisoner the absolute futility of resistance: “You make yourself ridiculous by thinking you can do anything. The world is divided in two. There are the communists on that side and on this side the free world. The Russians and the Americans, no one else. What are we? Americans. Behind me there is the government, behind the government is NATO, behind NATO is the U.S. You can’t fight us, we are Americans.”
George Papandreou was not any kind of radical. He was a liberal anti-Communist type. But his son Andreas, the heir-apparent, while only a little to the left of his father had not disguised his wish to take Greece out of the Cold War, and had questioned remaining in NATO, or at least as a satellite of the United States.
East Timor, 1975 to present:
In December 1975, Indonesia invaded East Timor, which lies at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago, and which had proclaimed its independence after Portugal had relinquished control of it. The invasion was launched the day after U. S. President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had left Indonesia after giving Suharto permission to use American arms, which, under U.S. Iaw, could not be used for aggression. Indonesia was Washington’s most valuable tool in Southeast Asia.
Amnesty International estimated that by 1989, Indonesian troops, with the aim of forcibly annexing East Timor, had killed 200,000 people out of a population of between 600,000 and 700,000. The United States consistently supported Indonesia’s claim to East Timor (unlike the UN and the EU), and downplayed the slaughter to a remarkable degree, at the same time supplying Indonesia with all the military hardware and training it needed to carry out the job.
Nicaragua, 1978-89:
When the Sandinistas overthrew the Somoza dictatorship in 1978, it was clear to Washington that they might well be that long-dreaded beast-“another Cuba.” Under President Carter, attempts to sabotage the revolution took diplomatic and economic forms. Under Reagan, violence was the method of choice. For eight terribly long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington’s proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza’s vicious National Guard and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war, aiming to destroy the progressive social and economic programs of the government, burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing. These were Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.” There would be no revolution in Nicaragua.
Grenada, 1979-84:
What would drive the most powerful nation in the world to invade a country of 110,000? Maurice Bishop and his followers had taken power in a 1979 coup, and though their actual policies were not as revolutionary as Castro’s, Washington was again driven by its fear of “another Cuba,” particularly when public appearances by the Grenadian leaders in other countries of the region met with great enthusiasm.
U. S. destabilization tactics against the Bishop government began soon after the coup and continued until 1983, featuring numerous acts of disinformation and dirty tricks. The American invasion in October 1983 met minimal resistance, although the U.S. suffered 135 killed or wounded; there were also some 400 Grenadian casualties, and 84 Cubans, mainly construction workers.
At the end of 1984, a questionable election was held which was won by a man supported by the Reagan administration. One year later, the human rights organization, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, reported that Grenada’s new U.S.-trained police force and counter-insurgency forces had acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest, and abuse of authority, and were eroding civil rights.
In April 1989, the government issued a list of more than 80 books which were prohibited from being imported. Four months later, the prime minister suspended parliament to forestall a threatened no-confidence vote resulting from what his critics called “an increasingly authoritarian style.”
Libya, 1981-89:
Libya refused to be a proper Middle East client state of Washington. Its leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, was uppity. He would have to be punished. U.S. planes shot down two Libyan planes in what Libya regarded as its air space. The U. S . also dropped bombs on the country, killing at least 40 people, including Qaddafi’s daughter. There were other attempts to assassinate the man, operations to overthrow him, a major disinformation campaign, economic sanctions, and blaming Libya for being behind the Pan Am 103 bombing without any good evidence.
Panama, 1989:
Washington’s bombers strike again. December 1989, a large tenement barrio in Panama City wiped out, 15,000 people left homeless. Counting several days of ground fighting against Panamanian forces, 500-something dead was the official body count, what the U.S. and the new U.S.-installed Panamanian government admitted to; other sources, with no less evidence, insisted that thousands had died; 3,000-something wounded. Twenty-three Americans dead, 324 wounded.
Question from reporter: “Was it really worth it to send people to their death for this? To get Noriega?”
George Bush: “Every human life is precious, and yet I have to answer, yes, it has been worth it.”
Manuel Noriega had been an American ally and informant for years until he outlived his usefulness. But getting him was not the only motive for the attack. Bush wanted to send a clear message to the people of Nicaragua, who had an election scheduled in two months, that this might be their fate if they reelected the Sandinistas. Bush also wanted to flex some military muscle to illustrate to Congress the need for a large combat-ready force even after the very recent dissolution of the “Soviet threat.” The official explanation for the American ouster was Noriega’s drug trafficking, which Washington had known about for years and had not been at all bothered by.
Iraq, 1990s:
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; depleted uranium weapons incinerating people, causing cancer; blasting chemical and biological weapon storage and oil facilities; poisoning the atmosphere to a degree perhaps never matched anywhere; burying soldiers alive, deliberately; the infrastructure destroyed, with a terrible effect on health; sanctions continued to this day multiplying the health problems; perhaps a million children dead by now from all of these things, even more adults.
Iraq was the strongest military power among the Arab states. This may have been their crime. Noam Chomsky has written: “It’s been a leading, driving doctrine of U.S. 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. ”
Afghanistan, 1979-92:
Everyone knows of the unbelievable repression of women in Afghanistan, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists, even before the Taliban. But how many people know that during the late 1970s and most of the 1980s, Afghanistan had a government committed to bringing the incredibly backward nation into the 20th century, including giving women equal rights? What happened, however, is that the United States poured billions of dollars into waging a terrible war against this government, simply because it was supported by the Soviet Union. Prior to this, CIA operations had knowingly increased the probability of a Soviet intervention, which is what occurred. In the end, the United States won, and the women, and the rest of Afghanistan, lost. More than a million dead, three million disabled, five million refugees, in total about half the population.
El Salvador, 1980-92:
El Salvador’s dissidents tried to work within the system. But with U.S. support, the government made that impossible, using repeated electoral fraud and murdering hundreds of protesters and strikers. In 1980, the dissidents took to the gun, and civil war.
Officially, the U.S. 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 U.S. role in the ground fighting as well. The war came to an official end in 1992; 75,000 civilian deaths and the U.S. Treasury depleted by six billion dollars. Meaningful social change has been largely thwarted. A handful of the wealthy still own the country, the poor remain as ever, and dissidents still have to fear right-wing death squads.
Haiti, 1987-94:
The U.S. 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, the Clinton White House found itself in the awkward position of having to pretend-because of all their rhetoric about “democracy”-that they supported Aristide’s return to power in Haiti 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, 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 literally starvation wages.
Yugoslavia, 1999:
The United States is bombing the country back to a pre-industrial era. It would like the world to believe that its intervention is motivated only by “humanitarian” impulses. Perhaps the above history of U.S. interventions can help one decide how much weight to place on this claim.
William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Portions of the book can be read at: com/bblum6/American holocaust.htm.
William Blum page
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The above list does not include more recent interventions in Pakistan Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2014.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.