US imperialism

By Michael Karadjis

I feel forced to write to correct some confusion that has been circulating regarding the current US ambassador to Bolivia, Philip Goldberg, who has been supporting the so-called ``autonomy'' referendum by the Bolivian oligarchy.

A continuous line has come out that Goldberg ``has experience in partition'' because he allegedly participated in the dismemberment of Yugoslavia. This tends to be a secondary point alongside a more general point that erroneously compares actual oppressed nations, such as the Kosovar Albanians, the poorest people in Europe, who have striven for independence for over a century, with the rich oligarchy of low-lands Bolivia, engaged in an imperialist-backed destabilisation of the Bolivian revolution.

Along with Kosova, some also list Tibet and other examples of so-called ``secessionism'' as being related to the Bolivian oligarchy's campaign. One feels compelled to add Palestine, Eritrea, Bangladesh, East Timor, Aceh, Tamil Ealam and other national liberation struggles by oppressed peoples just to make it consistent.

By Norm Dixon

18 February 2004 -- As proof continues to mount that US President George Bush's administration systematically lied about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to justify invading the oil-rich Persian Gulf country, it has been revealed that Pakistan, one of Washington's closest allies, has been peddling nuclear weapons technology for more than a decade.

On February 4, Abdul Qadeer Khan, dubbed the “father” of Pakistan's nuclear bomb by the corporate press' cliche mills, appeared live on national television. He confessed that he single-handedly commanded a complex trade network in nuclear weapons technology with Iran, North Korea and Libya, which has operated since at least 1989.

In a carefully scripted address, Khan stated that “there was never, ever any kind of authorisation for these activities from the government”.

Norm Dixon

March 24, 2004 -- “Every civilised nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction... We’re determined to confront those threats at the source”, US President George Bush declared in a February 11 speech.

“We will stop these weapons from being acquired or built. We’ll block them from being transferred. We’ll prevent them from ever being used. One source of these weapons is dangerous and secretive regimes that build weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbours and force their influence upon the world.”

Arguing for combative new “arms control” measures that would further entrench the West’s control over nuclear weapons, Bush casually repeated the now thoroughly exposed lie that the US-led war against Iraq was launched because Baghdad “refused to disarm or account for ... illegal weapons and programs”.

Bush used the speech to signal that Iran remains in Washington’s gun-sights, alleging that Tehran “is unwilling to abandon a uranium enrichment program capable of producing material for nuclear weapons”. Bush also demanded that North Korea “completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs”.

21 January 2004

Norm Dixon

On January 4, while addressing British troops in Basra, British Prime Minister Tony Blair attempted to defend his government's participation in the US-led war against Iraq. In an embarrassing Freudian slip, Blair referred to “weapons of mass distraction” as the justification for the illegal war. On December 19, the US and Britain revealed that similar weapons had been uncovered in Libya.

On that day, the Libyan government issued a statement that announced that — after months of secret talks with agents of the British and US governments, which included visits to at least 10 sites in Libya — it had agreed to get rid of “substances, equipment and programs that could lead to [the] production of internationally banned weapons”.

8 April 1998

By Norm Dixon

US “peacekeepers” in Somalia in 1993 massacred more than 1000 people, including civilians and children, in a single afternoon. While western media reports focused on the deaths of 18 US soldiers, broadcasting shocking pictures of a dead pilot being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the fact that hundreds of Somalis (200, according to the US government) died in the clash was barely mentioned. A US journalist's investigation has revealed the US covered up the terrible extent of the bloodbath.

Mark Bowden from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who is researching a book on the US occupation of Somalia, interviewed former US soldiers and officials as well as Somali witnesses. His findings were published in the London Observer on March 22.

The US invaded Somalia on December 9, 1992, under the guise of a “humanitarian” operation to protect aid workers distributing food. The US handed over control to the United Nations in May 1993. At its height, the operation involved 35,000 troops from 20 countries, 24,000 of them from the US.

8 March 2006

Norm Dixon

January 9 marked the first anniversary of the historic “comprehensive peace agreement” (CPA), which ended the devastating 21-year war in the south between the central government in Khartoum and the impoverished people of southern Sudan. Despite the enthusiasm of the anniversary celebrations in the ramshackle southern capital of Juba, there are growing concerns that Sudan’s powerful northern elite is not committed to peace and may again plunge the south into war.

By Norm Dixon

August 28, 2002 -- On August 18, 2002, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, “Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”. Quoting anonymous US “senior military officers”, the NYT “revealed” that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided “critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war”. The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.

While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq's 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime's repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq's Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

By Norm Dixon

10 October 2001 -- Since the appalling acts of mass murder in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, US President George Bush has at times sounded like a fire-and-brimstone preacher.

With home-spun, Bible-inspired homilies, Bush has warned that the “evil-doers” — Osama bin Laden and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan that shelters him — will pay for their sins. However, Bush has avoided the most pertinent and illuminating Biblical phrase to explain those terrible events: “You reap what you sow”.

The seeds of what became the Taliban were sown by Washington itself in the rugged mountains and deep valleys of Afghanistan and the badlands of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

In 1978, the left-wing, secular Peoples Democratic Party (PDPA) took power in Afghanistan. Fearing the radical reforms being implemented there would inspire similar demands from the peoples of the region, Washington immediately moved to arm and train counter-revolutionaries — the mujaheddin — organised by Afghanistan's wealthy landlords and its Muslim religious establishment.

By Norm Dixon

September 11, 2002 -- In the week before the first anniversary of the devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, TV networks aired a seemingly never-ending string of ``special events'' featuring ``exclusive'' or ``never before seen'' footage of the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) and its aftermath. People around the world again experienced the horror, anger and tragedy of that terrible day, when almost 3000 working people were murdered.

Culminating on the anniversary of the day itself, thousands of journalists and TV presenters from across the globe will converge at ``ground zero'' in New York for ``remembrance and reflection''. Solemn ceremonies will be telecast and patriotic speeches by top US politicians broadcast, restating Washington's determination to pursue its ``war on terrorism''.

But by the end of the 9/11 anniversary hoopla, after the thousands of hours of TV time and the column-kilometres published in the world's newspapers and magazines, you can be sure that the most glaring aspect of the post-9/11 period will have remained unmentionable by all but the most honest commentators: that Washington's ``war on terrorism'' is a cynical fraud.

By Norm Dixon

May 5, 2004 -- Even while working people were still coming to terms with the shock of witnessing the unimaginable and traumatic collapse of the World Trade Center, top US officials were describing this mass-murder of 3000 people as “an opportunity”, recent books by government “insiders” and Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward have revealed.

As the country went into mourning, Bush's war cabinet quickly began to coolly debate just how soon it could get away with shifting the enemy in its coming “war on terrorism” to Iraq, a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the attacks.

In the days that followed September 11, 2001, the US rulers immediately recognised that those awful acts of mass murder had provided them with a golden opportunity to achieve the US capitalist ruling class' long-held objective of unchallenged world domination — the “American century” it predicted was at hand at the end of World War II.

`Topic A'

In January, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill was published. O'Neill, a former CEO of the giant Alcoa corporation, was Bush's treasury secretary until December 2002, when he was sacked.