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Killing Hope and Deterring Democracy

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by @if ®afiq, 7 Jun 2006.

  1. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    First of all, this is not an “anti-American” rant. I don’t have anything against the people of the USA and those that I have known from there are no different to me and you. I want to just highlight and bring to your attention what the US administration has been doing for the last 50 years and will not be talking about the ME, any other Muslim country or my “brothers”.

    Well I’ve just finished reading this book by William Blum and if anything it re-affirms to me that one of the biggest threats and tragedies of the last 50 years has been the American Empire. The tragedy that I am talking about is that of unreported or “forgotten” atrocities/violations carried out by this behemoth, atrocities that even today are not known, let alone talked about or taught.


    There are those on this forum who refuse to acknowledge what the US has been doing across the World and the misery that it has spread across the globe. In stead we are forced to focus on what the current “enemy” is supposedly doing and the “grave danger” that we face.

    Before I start I would just like to briefly talk about the reason’s that the US has been using. Since the end on WWII, the “threat of Communism” was used as the main reason behind many of the acts that the US committed, whether this be in Indochina, Seychelles or Suriname. Since the fall of Communism a new and even greater threat has arisen “Islamic fundamentalism/nationalism” aka The War on Terror (which incidentally has now been renamed to “The Long War”). As with before, the actual and projected (whether perceived or manufactured) threat of both the “International Communist Conspiracy” and of Islamic Fundamentalism are poles apart. As we can see now, from looking at historical records, the Communist threat was virtually non-existent, except in the eastern European countries, the rest was just a pretext.


    So let’s begin our journey of misery. To keep this brief I will start from 1945 and move upward in decades.


    1945 - 1955.


    Along with China, we have Italy where in 1948 the US government helped the Christian Democratic Party into power over the Left who where set to take power. There is also Greece, where the US helped the fascist Monarchy to defeat the insurgency. Moving on through the Philippines, to Korea, Albania, Eastern Europe, Germany, Iran and Costa Rica (part 1!). We finally come to Guatemala (this is round one also, as you will see later), where the democratically elected Arbenz was overthrown by the US, for supposedly being a client of the Soviets. The CIA stepped in when Arbenz started carrying out land reforms and the poor saw a glimmer of hope, they then slaughtered and tortured countless thousands and installed a military dictatorship - 10 years after the previous one had been overthrown.

    1955 - 1965


    So we start the next decade with Syria, Indonesia, Western Europe, Soviet Union, British Guiana, Vietnam (I’m sure this needs no introduction) and Italy. In Italy, the CIA spent millions of dollars in helping the fascist regime to overcome the Communist party and setup Gladio.


    1955 - 1965


    We kick of our third decade with Cambodia, Laos, Haiti (not for the first time), Guatemala (again), France/Algeria, Ecuador, the Congo, Peru, Dominican Republic and finally Brazil. In Brazil, the US was “not happy” with the attempts at social and economic reforms that Goulart was carrying out and so helped the military and a certain Mr Castelo Branco. Brazil is special as, from what I understand, this is where the death squad tactic really took hold, and I believe is currently what is happening in Iraq.

    1965 - 1975


    Moving swiftly on we have Cuba, Indonesia with 500,000 casualties, East Timor with 200,000 casualties, Ghana, Uruguay, Chile, Greece once more, Bolivia, Australia, Iraq, Panama, Costa Rica - Part 2, Guatemala - now I’m not repeating this for fun. In fact William Blum called this chapter “A less publicised “Final Solution”” and it has to be the most brutal period that the country had gone through. Once again the CIA helped to put down a nationalist uprising against a brutal regime.

    1975 - 1985


    No change in this decade I’m afraid: Angola, Zaire, Seychelles, Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname, Libya and Nicaragua. After the Sandinistas overthrew the military dictatorship installed by the US back in 1933, the American government decided to act - by destabilising the country and arming the Contras. The next 9 years were some of the most brutal that the Nicaraguans had ever seen, but their will was broken and their slogan of “Here, no one give up” was no longer spoken an American regime was installed in 1990.

    1985 - 1995


    You would think that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there would be some respite, unfortunately this was not the case. In this decade we had the US meddling in Bulgaria/Albania, Iraq, Afghanistan, El-Salvador and Haiti. In Haiti the people overthrew the Duvalier dictatorship and Aristide, a leftist priest, was elected to run the country. However, the US, not wanting the threat of a good example in it’s own backyard, saw fit to act against this and kicked Aristide out - only to have him return after two years with his hands tied.

    To summarise, it is clear that the US government has no concern at all about installing democracy, but it more interested in control. What threat had these countries, some with virtually no military at all, posed to the mighty US? In my opinion the threat was clear: democracy. A democratic government, in theory, listens to it’s people and in principle should hold the welfare of it’s people above all else. This obviously cannot happen as not only would the US loose it’s influence and power but the corporations would not be able to make the stupendous profits that they do now.


    I hope this helps in some way to show why I am so vocal about the US and it’s intentions. I also hope that you realise how much hidden history there is and nothing is as simple as being either black or white.


    Killing Hope website
    Some more excerpts
     
  2. FTM

    Soldato

    Joined: 10 Dec 2003

    Posts: 6,115

    Location: South Shields

    surely the russians are equally culpable though..they were also involved in pretty much every conflict since the 2nd world war

    the 2 world super powers just battled on different fronts in different ways..spreading a sphere of influence they probably called it

    USA and Russia couldnt fight directly so they used other conflicts the world over to try to spread influence and test munitions/tactics/ideology

    I also have no doubt that every European Power has had their fingers in different pies since the 2nd world war, be it either former colonies or to do with business dealings..France in North Africa, Britain in the Far East
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2006
  3. Thing

    Gangster

    Joined: 7 Oct 2005

    Posts: 204

    Europe has been relatively innocent in all this. Mostly because the US was doing it so we didn't need to...

    The thing is, the US is STILL doing it. I know people who's families and friends were killed and tortured and they are dismissed as 'the price of containment' or some such blather.

    I'm not going to claim anyone's better than anyone else because they aren't, I just hate *** constant sniping and concealment as it suits each political turn.
     
  4. Shackley

    Banned

    Joined: 4 Aug 2003

    Posts: 3,054

    Doubtless all entirely true. However, as you say and as FTM echoes, much of this can be explained in the context of the USA / USSR conflict.

    The concern today should be what is happening today, not what happened in the past. Simply to ignore the Middle East or specifically, the imposition on the Middle East of Israel and the US sponsored undemocratic rulers in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq & Kuwait may go a long way towards explaining why Muslims are so angry with the USA.
     
  5. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    I accept that the pretext used was fighting the Communist conspiracy, but when you look at the actual activities and what involvement, if any, the Soviets had with those countires then that falls flat on it's face.

    An example that has just sprung to mind is that of Chile. The Soviets more than had their hands "full" with Cuba and came very close to war with the US, the last thing they (and it is apparent from the non-help that the Chileans received) wanted was to provoke Uncle Sam some more.

    Another example would be the Dominican Republic which was not even remotley communist, the Newsweek healine read: "Democracy was being saved from Communism by getting rid of democracy".
     
  6. ritcH

    Gangster

    Joined: 5 Apr 2004

    Posts: 492

    Location: London

    "The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting"

    That idea is flawed because it makes two assumptions. It assumes that man wants to be rid of tyranny which is itself flawed because it assumes man exists. What is man? Man is some general embodiment of our species which is flawed because united we are not.
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2006
  7. nero120

    Soldato

    Joined: 12 Jan 2004

    Posts: 6,824

    Location: Londinium

    I wouldnt say its flawed, i'd say its plaing wrong. As you imply, the assumption that man wants to be rid of tyranny is to say that man wants to be rid of human character, as tyranny is a product of ambition, greed and lust for power, which are all facets of humanity. The saying is wrong because people do not become ruthless dictators because they have forgotten the last one, in fact they probably want to become ruthless dictators because they remember the last one! Out of all the rulers in the history of civilisation, what is the percentage of benevolent dictators to ruthless and oppresive ones? I guess it would probably be about even, and human character will not have changed in a couple of thousand years.

    With regards to the thread subject, I dont think there are many american apologists here. I think most people realise that americans are no different to any other people, and since they have the power they are going to use it for their own interests. The only think I would argue against is the idea that any US administration should be some kind of shining beacon of a government that serves its people, and any behaviour less than that is wrong doing. Any country with that kind of power would do what it thought was in its own interests, and i doubt they would be any better than the US. If Japan had the kind of power the US wielded do you think they would be any better? Look at their actions in WW2, could we expect those kinds of things if Japan's foreign policy was similar to the US?
     
  8. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    I think that Kundera is talking to us, the people. In order to stop future attrocites, whether it be dictatorships or just plain old manipulation of the truth to wage war, we the people should not forget it. As the saying goes: "You learn from your mistakes".

    I don't think there are many apologists, but how many of the regular posters know about this very recent legacy? Not very many I would wager. I think people should be aware of this history and it may explain someway as to why the US government is hated so.

    But does that make it right? On the one hand we are beating the drums of war against Iran, but what exactly have they done in the past 30 years? The brutal actions of the US far outwieghs anything they have done, but it is almost impossible to think of the US as terrorist state.

    Does that make it right?
     
  9. cleanbluesky

    Capodecina

    Joined: 2 Nov 2004

    Posts: 24,654

    @if, if you presented it without the scandlous analysis and using vague sensationalist language like 'Killing Hope' I think this thread would be worth something...

    I think that the fact that the very first thing was to deny your anti-Americanism, before anything had begun shows that you know that a lot of this comes from anti-Americanism. You may have some valid points, but while you dress them up in such a way they are going to be very, very hard to air properly...

    If I get some time I will look through this, and perhaps offer a response although I don't think I have ever seen ytou acknolwedge something positive about America, place American deeds in context or merely conceed to ambiguity of certain aspects of American policy or to whom blame falls in certain situations... so I dont expect much change from my two cents...
     
  10. Shackley

    Banned

    Joined: 4 Aug 2003

    Posts: 3,054

    Those Who Do Not Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It

    I take your point about people not learning from history. I still think that we have a tendency to obsess about the past as a way of avoiding thinking about the present.

    Taking your quote from Kundera and my belief that we should focus on the 'Now', I came up with the following reference http://www.thisisrumorcontrol.org/node/2277 which rather nicely shows that history is not an absolute - it is usually written by the victor. As such, not much is going to be learned from it.

    ps their English textbooks aren't too hot either ;)
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2006
  11. nero120

    Soldato

    Joined: 12 Jan 2004

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    Location: Londinium

    But my point is would any other government in the US' position be at all liked? I doubt it, it comes with the position - the alpha male. I can totally understand why US foreign policy does not make them any friends, but it would not be any different if anyone else was in that position of power, and as I said before, it could be alot worse.

    You cannot apply morality to these situations. There is no right or wrong when it comes to power, only degrees. One could argue that a certain number of people will always suffer when one nation is in a position of power, but that number could vary according to the brutality of the nation. I wouldnt say the US is overly brutal, so I can accept that there will be a number of people who will fall foul in the wake of its actions, but as i said, this would be the case with any nation. If it were Japan or China, would the number of people who suffer for its position be fewer or greater? I would reckon greater due to recent history.
     
  12. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    Killing Hope is the name of the book which I've just finished, they are not my word, but those of the author William Blum. Once you finish reading the book, you realise just how fitting the title for it is.

    Which analysis do you find scandalous?

    lol....this is why I put the disclaimer there. Regardless of my "anti-Americanism", which of those points do you disagree with or is false?

    So you've posted this without reading what I've posted?:confused:

    As for acknowledge positives, I don't see any point in this. Positives are good, negatives are bad. The World can do without negatives hence I highlight them.

    Try any other currency and you might ;)
     
  13. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    Thanks for the link :)

    I agree with what you say, but would argue as to whether it is actually history itself that is written by the vicor or just that the victor has the louder voice.
     
  14. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    I don't really follow this clearly. It would not matter whether it is fewer or greater, it is the act itself that I have an issue with - the millions killed are a result of the act. To clarify if it was Japan, China or even a Muslim state doing what the US has been doing then I would still have the same stance.

    I am interested by your recent history bit, can you expand on this?
     
  15. FTM

    Soldato

    Joined: 10 Dec 2003

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    I assume he alludes to the mindset of the nation involved

    the japanese by their nature (in ww2 terms)viewed compassion and mercy as a weakness...they showed no mercy to their enemies, they brutalised prisoners and civilians alike in the most inhumane ways possible

    so if they were a really huge powerful nation they would be a greater risk

    the west GENERALLY abides by the geneva convention..a lot of other nations do not in war situations...so even though the USA is a huge army they still GENERALLY abide by certain rules

    would Iran for example if they were the largest most powerful nation in the world.. does Islam have any room for mercy in its teachings for prisoners for example?
     
  16. @if ®afiq

    Soldato

    Joined: 3 May 2003

    Posts: 6,077

    Oh I see and I agree with what you say, but as I said the level of brutality doesn't really matter, it's the act.

    Agreed - I have no love for the Iranian government.

    That's a good question - have a read here and here and post back if you have any questions :)
     
  17. hola_adios

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 13 Jan 2005

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    Well @if, I think that you are describing the actions of any big empire. The behaviour of China towards their neighbours and its own population is of a much bigger scale than that of the US. The Chinese cultural revolution is one of the biggest atrocities which has taken place on this planet. It dwarves anything from Indonesia, to Stalin, to Hitler.
    I don't think the US have use their power wisely, but let's put things into perspective.
     
  18. ritcH

    Gangster

    Joined: 5 Apr 2004

    Posts: 492

    Location: London

    I think one of the main reasons why America is the super power is because of their ideology - the values of their constitution. To argue that another country could be the superpower in say an alternate universe with their flawed ideology is perhaps a mistake.

    Sure, there are probably many reasons why America is so powerful such as geographical and geological reasons but I think personal freedoms of citizens is the most crucial component of developing true power. Perhaps another, better ideology will super-seed the American system but it certainly won't be of the strict Muslim variety and the more powerful China grows the greater the drift towards the American model we see.

    I agree with nero120 that if there are winners then there must surely be losers. My previous post was I thought very much on topic for this debate I just didn't explicitly link it to the issues.

    But if I were to more explicitly make a point I'm trying to say there is much suffering in the world, some of which is a direct consequence of American foreign policy and one can read about it in books such as in the OP or one can listen to Chomsky or if one is really smart one can derive the reality from an imperfect media. But suffering and tyranny is a legacy of man and it becomes meaningless to criticise a nation for not acting based on what may be considered perfect morals because this is impossible to achieve, at least in the present time. On a line with total tyranny at one end and righteousness at the other we can only hope to move as close to righteousness as possible while continuing to exist in the models of society that we build. Different cultures are at different stages on this evolution and eventually we will get there.

    What is really interesting and good though, is that as educated individuals we are better than the actions of our societies. In essence our culture is better than society and it is culture which improves society and remodels society. This is why, coming back to my original point, personal freedoms are so key to the development of power, because culture comes from individuals. But the rate of change is very slow and the cultures of the world are unequal and it's very frustrating but that’s life I guess. However occasionally there are great people who say and do great things and perhaps increase the rate of change, so I think I’ll end with a quote of Thomas Jefferson,

    “I have sworn . . . eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man”

    Perhaps this would be more suitable for your signature @if
     
  19. Shackley

    Banned

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    I guess that is why Britain lost it's empire then - no constitution. Come on people, vote YES to the EU Constitution ;)

    Google, AOL & MSN - take note !
     
  20. ritcH

    Gangster

    Joined: 5 Apr 2004

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    Location: London

    I believe in the EU, I think the people of Europe if we actually could get along would be the new superpower and expansion is a good thing so long as the constitution has the right ideals. Clearly though, our societies aren't ready for this yet but that's hardly surprising when we don't even allow something so insignificant as gay marrige, it's sad but we have to face it - as morally superior as we Europeans are we are still fairly backwards.

    The way I see it though, one day Europe will be united, there will be a constitution and there will be expansion. Then the EU will hopefully spread around the world and there will be peace and love for all who want it and boy will they want it :p