The Long War on Central America

The story behind America’s immigration issues today

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…150 Contras attacked two villages in the southern province of Rio San Juan with 88-mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, killing six children and six adults and injuring 30 others. Even cooperatives of religious pacifists who refused to bear arms were destroyed… In El Salvador too, the army attacks cooperatives, killing, raping and abducting members[1].

These were the killing fields of Central America. Throughout the 1980s, the Reagan administration armed, trained and funded terrorist death squads worthy of ISIS:

Many top Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan army officers were trained at the School of the Americas in Panama, and then after 1984, Fort Benning in Georgia… The 15,000-men contra army – employing kidnapping, torture, rape and murder – targeted health clinics, schools, agricultural cooperatives, bridges and power stations (i.e. State Department-authorised ‘soft targets’[1]).

…Similar atrocities occurred in neighbouring El Salvador, where US-trained troops stabbed, decapitated, raped and machine-gunned 767 civilians in the village of El Mozote in late 1981, including 358 children under age thirteen. Congress ended up funding almost $6 billion to this tiny country, making it the largest recipient of US foreign aid per capita in the world. Wealthy landlords were running the right-wing death squads and murdered thousands of suspected leftists. The death toll from the war reached 70,000[2].

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The contras: America’s terrorists

In 1988, an Amnesty report accused Reagan’s El Salvadoran death squads of “killing and mutilating victims in the most macabre way…[bodies] mutilated, decapitated, dismembered, strangled or showing marks of torture…or rape”. Women were publicly hung from trees by their hair, their breasts cut off and faces painted red.

Two years earlier, the US had dismissed a World Court ruling against its “unlawful use of force” against Nicaragua, quickly vetoing a pair of subsequent UN resolutions to the same effect and providing an extra $100m in military aid to the contras in 1987[1].

Of the 20-30,000 civilians who ultimately perished in the Nicaraguan conflict, the contras were responsible for the vast majority[2]. Among the victims were six Jesuit intellectuals and archbishop Oscar Romero, “the voice of the voiceless” whose radical liberation theology favoured the empowerment of the poor: a threat to US finance capital.

The US war on Central America began long before Reagan. In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine asserting America’s divine right to singularly control the hemisphere. The first to challenge this was Augusto Sandino’s poorly-armed guerrilla insurgency against the US invasion of Nicaragua, launched in 1912 to defend its conservative puppet Adolfo Diaz against a Liberal revolt, secure US monopoly over canal construction and open the country up to international banking[3].

Sandino favoured the unification of all of Central America. “Nicaragua shall not be the patrimony of Imperialists”, he proudly declared. “I will fight for my cause as long as my heart beats”.

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Anastasio Somoza (left) and Augusto Sandino (right)

The outbreak of the Great Depression forced the US to withdraw its troops from Nicaragua in 1933 but, the following year, head of the US-commanded National Guard Anastasio Somoza ordered Sandino’s assassination and seized power in an eventual coup d’état.

For the next 44 years, Somoza ran a mafia-like dynasty that controlled whole swathes of industry and almost half the country’s arable land. Somoza’s opponents were often dumped alive into a live volcano from his US-supplied helicopters. The Carter administration sponsored a $65m IMF loan for Somoza even as he bombed his own people[3].

A month before his overthrow by the 1979 Sandinista revolution, a member of his National Guard shot dead American reporter Bill Stuart live on camera, cementing US antiwar opposition that forced Reagan to resort to clandestine terror: Somoza’s national guard regrouped in neighbouring Honduras with CIA funds, arms and training before launching a ferocious campaign to undermine the revolution’s remarkable social reforms.

During the 1980s, the Reagan administration also armed, trained and funded the Guatemalan army as it conducted a brutal genocide of some 100,000 indigenous Mayan peasants. The general responsible, finally sentenced in the Hague a few years ago, was welcomed to the White House by fellow born-again evangelical Reagan, who called him “a man of great personal integrity”[2]. According to documents seen by the late investigative reporter Robert Parry, Washington had full knowledge of the subsequent native Indian genocide, yet continued to give him aid[4].

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In 1989, Reagan’s successor and former CIA chief George Bush Sr. launched an invasion of Panama to secure US control of the strategic Panama Canal, indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians[5] and leading to the capture and sentencing of one of his ex-employees, Manuel Noriega, for crimes mostly committed while on the CIA payroll[1].

Washington’s long war on Central America continues today in different forms. In 1994, the Clinton administration passed NAFTA, a profit bonanza for US corporations and Wall Street while a disaster for Mexican agriculture unable to withstand the competition. Earlier that year, Clinton had the border militarized via Operation Gatekeeper, clearly anticipating – notes Chomsky – the exodus from Mexico that NAFTA would generate[1].

In 2009, the Obama administration engineered a coup against the elected government of Honduras. Since then, US “anti-drug” operations constitute an occupying force echoing previous US occupations of the island: the victims of a helicopter attack on a boat of Mothers Day celebrants included two pregnant women, one of them a single mother of six, and apparently no traffickers. Such helicopters are piloted by Guatemalan mercenaries on the US payroll.

Criminal violence related to the drug war in Central America is skyrocketing. Homicides are way up. There is massive deforestation, driven in many places by the demand for biofuels; intensified corporate mining, including open-pit mining, is poisoning water supplies. Political repression is likewise on the rise, in places like Honduras’s Aguán Valley and in Guatemala’s Polochic Valley. The old Cold War alliance between death squads and a landed class seems to be back in operation, albeit updated: “death squads” are now legal security companies, often staffed with veterans from global hot spots, including former paramilitaries from Colombia, while landlords now receive funding from international development agencies to convert their fields into biofuel plantations to supply the United States with its energy needs[1].

Today’s atrocious policy at the US-Mexico border is the latest chapter in this long war on Central Americans and Mexicans. Mexican protesters called Obama the “deporter-in-chief”: he warehoused and deported 2.7 million, more than any US president before him. Under Obama, they were systematically beaten, tortured and raped by CBF agents. In one case, hungry babies were deprived of milk, while others vomited from repeatedly receiving contaminated meat and milk[6].

His successor Donald Trump has accelerated this savage policy, including the now suspended (due to public outrage) family separation policy that violated the US-ratified Genocide Convention.

US-NATO wars this century helped create the conditions of “Europe’s” refugee/migrant crisis. Reagan, Clinton and Obama’s policies have had a similar contribution to the flight of Central Americans and Mexicans to North America.

Trump’s proposed wall epitomises the mentality of imperial self-entitlement that discards history and refuses to acknowledge responsibility. Such an attitude of blind arrogance brought down the Roman empire. History does not bode well for Donald Trump’s campaign slogan!

  1. Chomsky.info
  2. Oliver Stone, The Untold History of the United States (PBS Mini Series)
  3. Nicaragua (freely viewable at johnpilger.com)
  4. consortiumnews.com
  5. The Panama Deception
  6. ACLU report 05/18

How the West and Saudi Arabia Cultivated Islamist Terror

Of the estimated $50b Riyadh has spent exporting its extremist Wahabi brand of Islam around the world, 15-20% has been diverted to Al Qaeda and other terror groups[Source]. A leaked 2009 cable signed by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified Saudi Arabia as their top financial source, criticising its “limited action” against wealthy private donors.

In an email leaked in 2016, her election campaign organiser went further, accusing the Saudi and Qatari governments directly of having funded and logistically supported ISIS, the Iraq War’s ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’. Indeed, following the terror group’s capture of Mosul (Iraq) in June 2014, ex Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told US Secretary of State John Kerry: “Daesh (ISIS) is our response to your support for the Da’wa (Shia government in Iraq)”.

Before its official ban on ISIS, Riyadh pummelled billions to Syrian rebels with the full knowledge of US and British officials[1]. General Jonathan Shaw, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, has described the Saudi-Qatari “wahabbisation of Sunni Islam” (Patrick Cockburn) as a “time bomb…that must stop.

Britain armed and funded Saudi Arabia’s founder Ibn Saud during WWI and, under a signed treaty in 1915, recognised his rule of Nejd. In his work “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, which documents the West’s utilisation of Islamist forces as a counterweight to secular/left nationalism in the Muslim world, British historian Mark Curtis writes:

Ibn Saud established ‘Saudi’ Arabia in an orgy of murder. In his exposé of the corruption of the Saudi ruling family, Said Aburish describes Ibn Saud as ‘a lecher and a bloodthirsty autocrat … whose savagery wreaked havoc across Arabia’, terrorising and mercilessly slaughtering his enemies. The conquest of Arabia cost the lives of around 400,000 people, since Saud’s forces did not take prisoners; over a million people fled to neighbouring countries. Numerous rebellions against the House of Saud subsequently took place, each put down in ‘mass killings of mostly innocent victims, including women and children’. By the mid-1920s most of Arabia had been subdued, 40,000 people had been publicly executed and some 350,000 had had limbs amputated; the territory was divided into districts under the control of Saud’s relatives, a situation which largely prevails today.

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In 1921, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill described Ibn Saud’s Wahabi followers to the House of Commons[2]:

They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets. It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette…the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and to the whole institution of the pilgrimage, in which our Indian fellow-subjects are so deeply concerned.

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Despite this, he went on to provide a cynical defence for Britain’s continued support for Ibn Saud[2]:

The Emir Bin Saud has shown himself capable of leading and, within considerable limits, of controlling these formidable sectaries. He has always shown himself well disposed towards Great Britain and has long been in intimate relations with Sir Percy Cox. Under the advice of Sir Percy Cox, and of my counsellors here at home, we have arranged to continue the subsidy which Bin Saud has hitherto received from the British Government of £60,000 a year, together with a lump sum of £20,000.

…deprived of these funds, he would soon lose control of the nomadic and predatory tribes which are brought under what is after all a restraining influence…we desire to live on friendly and amicable terms with this potentate and not to be disturbed by him, particularly at a time when we are seeking to withdraw so large a proportion of our garrison from the country.

“…my admiration for him was deep”, Churchill later wrote, “because of his unfailing loyalty to us”. With help from the RAF and troops despatched from Iraq, Ibn Saud put down an internal anti-British rebellion in 1929[3].

One of Britain’s own diplomats Jonathon Allen told the UN Security Council that “the conflict creates ungoverned spaces in which terrorists can operate, poses security threats to countries in the region and international shipping, and fuels regional tensions”.

None of this seems to deter ongoing UK policy: it, after all, knowingly risked the blowback that materialised in Manchester last year by backing Al Qaeda-linked forces in Libya and Syria this past decade for the sake of regime changes in those countries. In this, they were following Washington’s lead, just as they did in 1980s Soviet-occupied Afghanistan when the CIA and MI6’s Operation Cyclone – the longest covert op since WWII – armed, trained and funded today’s generation of terrorists, including Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Along with Pakistan’s then Islamist dictator Zia ul-Haq, Saudi Arabia was the financial conduit for Cyclone and, according to a classified section of the 9/11 Commission report, the September 11 2001 attacks. This role has been revitalised in Libya and Syria, contributing to the destruction of both nations, a European refugee crisis and a spawn of terror attacks in Europe.

The reaction – intensifying the very “war on ISIS” that ostensibly motivated said attacks to begin with – fits Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same over and over (bombing the terrorists, in the process spawning more of them), expecting different results.

1. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article31034067.html
2. https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1921/jun/14/middle-eastern-services
3. Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs

“Chemical attack” on Dhouma: Foam, Lies and Videotape

Last month, the Russian MoD warned of an imminent false flag chemical attack by Syrian rebels – complete with cameramen from the White Helmets, a propaganda agency (perhaps more so, judging by their AK-armed celebrations with al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra as seen on Youtube) founded by former MI5 agent James Le Mesurier and funded by the British Foreign Office, USAID and terrorist-funding Qatar – in order to induce Western intervention to rescue their cornered insurgency.

Without independent corroboration, these Russian claims were unverifiable. But then, on April 7 in Dhouma, an alleged chemical attack indeed occurred as forecast by Russia. The Russians then released a video interview with two doctors who work at the hospital where people were treated for the alleged attack, revealing how the White Helmets came in shouting about a gas attack and started dosing people with water.

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Lack of information about this anonymous pair and the lack of proof that that they worked at the hospital gave cause for scepticism. Could they not be Assad agents?

But on this score too the Russians proved reliable: a verified doctor at the hospital in question gave The Independent‘s Robert Fisk, Britain’s most esteemed Middle East correspondent and author of the highly recommended The Great War for Civilization: Conquest of the Middle East, described how a bunch of people came in shouting about a gas attack and brought in alleged victims that they hosed with water. The doctor did not witness the event but cited his colleagues, who said the victims in the video are suffering from hypoxia induced by a dust storm resulting from heavy wind and shelling.

Three more doctors independently confirmed this account, minus the hypoxia claim that is consistent with SOHR reports on April 8 of 21 civilian deaths resulting from a collapsed shelter, to OAN reporter Pearson Sharp, adding that they had cameramen filming it. 30-40 local residents randomly interviewed by Sharp all deny the chemical attack occurred, many of them saying it was staged by Jaish al-Islam, the terror group that was in control of Dhouma.

fisksharp2.png   The Independent’s Robert Fisk (left) and OAN’s Pearson Sharp (right) in Dhouma, Syria

As shown by analysis by blogger MoonofAlabama, in the later videos, some of the same bodies appearing in their earlier videos have been moved around and been added shaving cream for fake mouth foam. Seventeen witnesses have now confirmed the hoax at a Russian-sponsored conference predictably blacked out by the Western media. The UK is being distracted by the royal wedding.

Scott Ritter, who was UNSCOM’s chief weapons inspector in Iraq, said in 1999 that “By 1998…the physical infrastructure (of Iraq’s WMDs) had been eliminated”, recently told Flashpoints radio’s Dennis Bernstein: “The totality of Syria’s chemical weapons program was eliminated (by the OPCW in 2016)”.

Ritter questioned why Syria, on the brink of victory, would launch a West-provoking attack on a site of “zero military value”. He doubted Syria’s role in prior alleged chemical attacks, branding the 2013 Ghouta attack a rebel false flag to provoke Western intervention. Dhouma too was “a staged event, an act of theater”. Had the missile-struck site really stored nerve agent, he added, its bombing would have caused “hundreds if not thousands of deaths”. Yet there were zero!

Washington meanwhile, ever keen to blame Moscow for everything under the sun, has insisted that any evidence may be tampered with by the pesky Russians. Contrary to Western propaganda, it was not Syria (who requested the OPCW investigation) and Russia but Trump’s airstrikes that has stalled the OPCW team’s investigation, having been launched as soon as they arrived.

The failed regime change operation in Syria since 2011, which has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions more displaced from their country, has been designed to replace Assad with a puppet wahabbi regime to isolate growing Iranian-Russian influence in the strategic oil-rich Middle East. To this end, any pretext will do, no matter how bogus.

Top Five Enemies Created by US ‘Blowback’

1. Pol Pot
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During the Vietnam War, the US dropped a conservative 0.5m tonnage of bombs on Cambodia. Killing an estimated 50,000-150,000 mostly innocent civilians, the indiscriminate bombing – requested by the Cambodian government – created a tide of anti-American/government hatred upon which Pol Pot’s horrific Khymer Rouge rose to power, leading to the horrific genocide of 1.7m people (21% of the population)[1].

Following this holocaust, the Carter Administration arranged an annual $100m in Chinese military aid for the Khymer Rouge, whose guerrilla allies received tens of millions in direct US money during the 1980s[1].

2. Ayatollah Khomeini
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In 1953, an MI6-CIA coup ousted the democratically elected president of Iran, Mohamed Mossadeq, in response to his popular nationalization of Iranian oil. He was replaced by the Shah of Iran, who restored the monopoly of Anglo-American Oil Company (now British Petroleum) over the Iranian economy. The brutal dictator was finally toppled in the 1979 Islamic Revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, formerly on the CIA payroll during the 1953 coup[2].

3. Saddam Hussein
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Iraq’s Saddam Hussein received diplomatic and military support from the US and other Western countries for his brutal war against post-revolutionary Iran, which cost 1m Iraqi and Iranian lives.

Private American, British and German firms sold Saddam various biochemical components that would end up contributing to his WMD buildup, including its brutal deployment against the town of Halabja in which 25,000 Kurdish civilians were gassed to death[2].

The Reagan Administration sought to deflect attention by erroneously blaming the Iranians for the vicious massacre[2].

4. Osama bin Laden
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In July 1979, the US authorised a $0.5b fund for the Afghan Mujahideen, an Islamist rebellion against the then communist regime in Afghanistan. President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor Zbniew Brzezinski saw this as an opportunity to “give the Soviets their own Vietnam”, informing Carter that “in my opinion, this was likely to induce a Soviet military intervention”. But with the rest of the US intelligence community rejecting this view, Carter proceeded with the fund for the Afghan Mujahideen[2].

The following December, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, provoking a flood of foreign Muslim volunteers including Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden*. When the US deployed 0.5m troops to Saudi Arabia (Islam’s holy land) during the 1991 Gulf War, bin Laden perceived a new ‘crusade against Islam’ and turned his guns on the West[3].

Two other major recruiting tools for bin Laden was US support for the brutal Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as the 0.5m Iraqi children who died from US-British economic sanctions[3].

In 1998, Brzezinski insisted that Europe’s “liberation from communism” was more important to history than “a few stirred up Moslems”[2]. Three years later, on September 11 2001, some of bin Laden’s “stirred up Moslems” brought down New York’s World Trade Center, killing 2996 people and ushering in a perpetual ‘War on Terror’ abroad and assault on democracy at home.

5. ISIS
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In late 2002, in response to the pending US invasion of Iraq, Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi infiltrated the lawless north and founded AQI[3]. Later renaming itself ISI, it morphed into ISIS after extending its activities to neighbouring Syria as part of a Western-sponsored ‘jihad’.

By 2014, ISIS had overrun Western-backed “moderate” factions in the Syrian civil war and seized much of their US-supplied weaponry[4], as well as purchasing weaponry from the US-armed Free Syrian Army[5].

*A common myth is that he was a CIA asset. This is due to the false equivocation of the Muslim volunteers with the indigenous Afghan Mujahideen. The CIA armed and trained the latter but not the former. See 911myths.com

1. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/04/khmer-rouge-cambodian-genocide-united-states/
2. Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, The Untold History of the United States
3. Peter Bergen, The Osama bin Laden I Know, Chapter 12: How al Qaeda Took Root in Iraq and the Story of Abu Musab al Zarqawi
4. http://www.conflictarm.com, Evidence from a 20-month investigation in Iraq and Syria
5. https://www.rt.com/news/322996-islamic-state-journalist-todenhofer/