Thirtieth Anniversary of the US Invasion of Panama

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the US invasion of Panama. Costing 000s of lives, it was a flagrant act of criminal aggression that signalled Washington’s ‘unipolar moment’.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 signified the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving the United States as the world’s sole superpower. Meanwhile, President Bush I was known as a wimp on foreign policy. Washington needed to put the world on notice, and massage Bush I’s ego. An easy target, Panama was defenceless and already occupied by eighteen US bases.

The official bogeyman was Manuel Noriega, who had upset Washington recently by losing enthusiasm over assisting Washington’s Contra war. But his crimes, most of them committed while on Bush I’s (while CIA director) payroll, became the official pretext. Meanwhile limited control of the strategic Panama Canal was to be transferred to Panama in 1990. In 2000, it would be completely under Panamanian control. Washington would have none of this.

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Then CIA Director George H.W. Bush with employee Manuel Noriega

“Provocations against the Panamanian people by United States military troops were very frequent in Panama,” said Sabrina Virgo, National Labor Organizer, who was in Panama before the invasion. She said the provocations were intended “to create an international incident (to justify invading)“1.

Apocalypse Now

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Panama’s 9/11: the destruction of El Chorrillo

Beginning at dawn, the initial twelve hours of the invasion saw the equivalent of one major bomb blast every two minutes. According to eyewitnesses, neighbourhoods packed with women and children were deliberately attacked. 2-5000 innocent civilians, many of them deliberately shot and bombed by America’s brave marines, would perish.

“The North Americans began burning down El Chorillo at about 6:30 in the morning”, recounted an eyewitness.  “..They would burn a house, and then move to another and begin the process all over again. They burned from one street to the next. They coordinated the burning through walkie-talkies”1.

“People were crushed by tanks”, writes Matt Peppe, “captured Panamanians were executed on the street, and bodies were piled together and burned. Survivors were reportedly hired to fill mass graves for $6 per body“.

Rogue State

The United Nations General Assembly voted 75 to 20 with 40 abstentions, condemning Washington’s act of aggression. The U.S., Britain and France vetoed the resolution. The Organisation of American States (OAS) followed suite, with only the US voting against, decrying the rest of the world’s “narrow concern over ‘nonintervention’”.

A diplomat told the Los Angeles Times that he was “100% certain” of Noriega’s location, “but when I called, SouthCom (the U.S. Southern military command) said it had other priorities”. The razing of El Chorillo ensued.

The majority of Americans were enraptured by President Bush’s invasion. True, the horrific “collateral damage” was never shown on their TV screens, but then such carnage is easily inferable when you send 20,000 troops into a tiny urban country. The US had just committed the supreme crime for which the Nazis were hanged at Nuremberg, and US citizens – like the Good Germans who backed Hitler – were fine with it.

  1. The Panama Deception (Youtube); Central Americans Human Rights Commission investigation http://www.skepticfiles.org/socialis/pan_hr.htm

John Pilger’s urgent new film on ITV this December

A timely expose of the stealth selloff of Britain’s most vital public asset.

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The award-winning investigative journalist has produced over 60 films for ITV.

John Pilger’s new documentary, The Dirty War on the NHS, “goes to the heart of the struggle for democracy today”, he says. Britain’s National Health Service, the NHS, was the world’s first universal public health service. Designed to give millions of people “freedom from fear”, the NHS today is under threat of being sold off and converted to a free market model inspired by America’s disastrous health insurance system, which results in the death every year of an estimated 45,000 people. Now President Trump says the NHS is “on the table” in any future trade deal with America. Filmed in Britain and the United States, this timely, compelling documentary touches us all and reveals what may be the last battle to preserve the most fundamental human right.

Source: thedirtywaronnhs.com/about

Watch the trailer at https://youtu.be/ZTnIOh6yl6Y

Top Five Worst US-Supported Dictators

With friends like these, who needs democracy?

1. Suharto

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Between 1965-6, Indonesian dictator Suharto carried out mass anti-“communist”pogroms that cost over a million Indonesian lives, mostly landless peasants. The CIA had a ‘kill list’ of some 5000 PKR leaders, ticking off their names as they were murdered. The American press welcomed what had happened. While accurately describing the horrific slaughter, Time Magazine insisted that it was “the West’s best news for years in Asia”. The New York Times called the bloodbath “a gleam of light in Asia”.

With Suharto’s nationalist predecessor Sukarno finally out of the way, capitalism was restored to the former Dutch colony: Western corporations and the IMF & World Bank swept in, literally redesigning Indonesia’s economy at a conference held in Switzerland.

In 1975, US President Ford gave a green light for Suharto to invade the small neighbour of East Timor. By the occupation’s end in 1999, 25-33% (125,000-200,000) of Timorese had been extinguished under the genocidal military occupation. When the Indonesians started running out of arms in 1978, the Carter administration began an annual $200 million arms flow to Suharto. In the 1980s, Reagan escalated the arms sales. Four years after the 1991 Dili massacre, Clinton proposed the sale of twenty F-15s to “our kind of guy” Suharto, continuing his predecessor Bush I’s illegal training of Indonesia’s Red Berets, behind some of the worst Timor atrocities.

2. Saddam Hussein

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Originally a Soviet client, Saddam Hussein was courted by the West following his aggression against post-revolutionary Iran in 1979, leading to a ten-year conflict that killed 1m+ on both sides. Hussein was armed to the teeth by the US, Britain, France and other Western countries.

His WMD components came from American, British and German firms. When 20,000 Kurds were gassed to death by Iraqi forces at Halabja, US President Reagan blamed the Iranians. When the Kurds rose up against Saddam following the Gulf War, Washington supported the tyrant again, reasoning that there was no opposition to replace him that “the free world” favoured.

At the height of friendly Iraq-US relations, Hussein wiped out 300,000 people in the Al-Anfal campaign. In addition to bogus WMDs, this was used to justify the 2003 invasion, long after the campaign had finished.

3. Shah of Iran

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Installed by a 1953 CIA coup that ousted Iran’s secular democratic government after it threatened to nationalise the country’s oil in accordance with popular aspirations, Pahveli ran a corrupt family dynasty while his CIA/Mossad-trained “SAVAK” police ran torture chambers and death squads. By 1975, Amnesty International described Iran as having “the highest rate of death penalties in the world…and a history of torture which is beyond belief”.

His opponents were sodomised by cattle prods and made to sit on hot grills, or in the electric chair; others were raped, pissed on, had their nails torn out, and subjected to near-drownings and mock executions. In 1979, US President Jimmy “human rights” Carter praised the Shah for transforming Iran into “an island of stability”. Months later, he was overthrow by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

4. Rios Montt

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After seizing power in Guatemala through a military coup in March 1982, the Christian televangelist launched a savage counterinsurgency campaign that soon became wholesale genocide of tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans in the northwest highlands.

Five months into the slaughter, US President Ronald Reagan warmly greeted Montt and praised him as “a man of great personal integrity and commitment”, while decrying the “bum rap” he was receiving from Amnesty International and other human rights groups reporting his massacres. Reagan’s spin doctor Elliot Abrams, currently Trump’s coup manager for Venezuela, rationalised and whitewashed this Indian holocaust.

In 2013, Montt was finally tried for crimes against humanity and genocide.

5. Batista

imageAfter presiding over 20,000 deaths, the US-backed thug was overthrown by Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. During his brutal reign, Cuba became a playground for the American mafia while 40% of the economy was controlled by U.S. corporations. Castro’s reversal of this colonial relationship by nationalising US assets led to Cuba’s seemingly endless punishment by Uncle Sam.

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The Disgraceful Arrest of Julian Assange

See my book on the New Cold War https://www.amazon.com/Eurasian-Tinderbox-Buildup-against-Russia-ebook/dp/B076VVH3CR/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_1?keywords=eurasian+tinderbox&qid=1554844133&s=gateway&sr=8-1-fkmrnull

The UK has no sovereignty! The UK must resist!

These were the words shouted by Wikileaks’ Julian Assange while being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy by British police on Thursday. The cowardly Ecuadorian government invited the cops in to arrest him and take him away, betraying seven years of refuge they had provided him.

Assange’s fear that the British would extradite him to the US (directly or via Sweden) were he to set foot out of the embassy has been vindicated. A UN body classed him as a political refugee and he has received the support of millions around the world for his courageous exposure of Western imperialist machinations and atrocities.

Whatever Assange’s faults, the moral contrast between himself and his persecutors could not be more stark at this point. All those involved in his arrest and extradition to the US are debased cowards who unconscionably prostitute themselves to Washington. Where indeed is the UK’s sovereignty?

This event is a disgrace in modern legal history, and demonstrates multiple things. One, that elite politicians are amoral, unprincipled cowards who are willing to “kill any number of people to stay in power”, to quote Daniel Elsberg, the first modern Assange who exposed the lies that led to and dragged on the genocidal Vietnam war.

The judge branded Assange, a seven-year political refugee whose physical and mental health has clearly deteriorated for the crime of journalism, a “narcissist” driven by “selfish interests”. This “judge” is a coward.

Chelsea Manning refused to testify against her fellow cyber-insurgent, landing her in prison. Resistance of the kind she embodies entails the courage and conviction that her and Assange’s persecutors will never understand.

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Chelsea Manning, Assange’s accomplice in cyber-op against US empire

Whatever Assange’s fate, he has made a massive contribution to the struggle for information, journalism and the right to know. Even if most Westerners are content not to know how much blood is shed in their name in far-off brown countries.

Assange’s arrest sets a dangerous precedent that highlights elite contempt for democracy and the subversive nature of journalism. May its practitioners persevere!

The West and Islam

Both imperialism AND religion behind Western mideast policy

The Ancient Roots of Zionism

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Although the return of the Jews to the Promised Land did not become an active struggle until the late nineteenth century (and even then had the support of only a minority of world Jewry[]), it has always been part-and-parcel of Judeo-Christian belief: in the Bible, God commands the Israelites to seize the land of Canaan (i.e. Palestine) through the depopulation and resettlement of its indigenous “heathen” population (Deut. 7:1-3):

When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites,Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—  and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroythem totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Later on, God sends the Jews into exile for their “sins”, while predicting that the Messiah will one day come and lead them back to the Holy Land.

Thus, unless David Ben Gurion was the Messiah, the creation of Israel in 1948 seems to be a little premature. Nonetheless, the Zionist conquest of Palestine remains a matter of doctrine in the Judea-Christian tradition. Attempts to distinguish between the Judeo-Christian tradition and Zionism are thus fundamentally flawed.

Outside of the Jewish historical record, we find “zionism” reflected in centuries of Western Christendom. In 1649 for example, Amsterdam-based Ebenezer and Joanna Cartwright petitioned Oliver Cromwell to readmit Jews into England and to help transport them to Palestine. Similarly, Denmark’s Holger Paulli wrote to William III of England and Dauphin of France urging them to return the Jews to Palestine2.

Other early Christian Zionists include Michael Servetus and Francis Kett, theologians Isaac de La Peyrere and Thomas Brightman, Sir Henry Finch, Joseph Eyre, American theologian Increase Mather, Isaac Newton and theologian John Milton. Even France’s Napoleon Bonaparte delved into a bit of early zionism3:

During his invasion of Egypt and Palestine (1798-99), and anticipating the capture of Jerusalem (something that did not happen), Napoleon prepared a Proclamation promising the Holy Land to the Jews, whom he characterised as “the rightful heirs of Palestine”.

The notion of Jewish restoration in Palestine was thus already widely circulated among Western Christians long before the formal Jewish Zionist movement emerged in the 19th century: the “divine promise” prophesied in the Old Testament.

The Creation of the State of Israel

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Lord Shaftesbury

In 1839, Lord Shaftesbury delivered the first proposal by a British politician to return the Jews to the “Holy Land”. The following year, he forwarded his proposal to Europe’s Protestant monarchs in a memorandum1. After getting a British vice-consul and bishopric set up in Jerusalem, Shaftesbury co-founded the Palestine Exploration Fund. Balfourproject.org describes this pioneer of early Zionism1:

As both a committed Christian and a loyal Englishman, Shaftesbury argued for a Jewish return to Palestine because of what he saw as the political and economic advantages to England and because he believed that it was God’s will. He saw the conversion of the Jews as a means of bringing the whole world to faith before Christ returned.

Britain backed the Zionist project not only for strategic reasons3, but also because of rampant Christian Zionism among its key statesmen4. To quote Geoffrey Alderman in the Jewish Chronicle 8/11/12:

The Balfour Declaration was born out of religious sentiment. Arthur Balfour was a Christian mystic who believed that the Almighty had chosen him to be an instrument of the Divine Will, the purpose of which was to restore the Jews to their ancient homeland — perhaps as a precursor to the Second Coming of the Messiah. The Declaration was thus intended to assist in the fulfilment of biblical prophecy. This appealed to Lloyd George, whose private immorality did not prevent him from believing in the prophecies of a Bible he knew inside out.

Such fanaticism was by no means confined to Balfour. To quote Noam Chomsky5:

Christian Zionism is a very significant force. It goes back way before Jewish Zionism. It was an elite phenomenon. Lord Balfour, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman read the Bible every morning. It says there, “God promised the land to the Jews.”…[It] is part of the demographic base of the Republican Party – extremely anti-Semitic, but pro-Israel…

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“Today the crusades have ended”. Britain’s General Allenby upon conquering Jerusalem

The majority of the British cabinet at the time was steeped in Calvinist evangelicalism6. Balfour’s mother, sister of thrice Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, gave her son daily Bible lessons and distributed Gospel tracts at the local railway station7.

Prime Minister Lloyd George, who oversaw the Zionist project, also had an evangelical upbringing. In 1925, he informed the Jewish Historical Society how his education had steeped him in Jewish history, boasting that he could name “all the kings of Israel”. Scott Anderson describes Mark Sykes’ motive for backing the Zionist project3:

A devout Catholic, he regarded a return of the ancient tribe of Israel to the Holy Land as a way to correct a nearly two-thousand-year-old wrong. That view had taken on new passion and urgency with the massacres of the Armenians. To Sykes, in that ongoing atrocity, the Ottoman Empire had proven it could never be trusted to protect its religious minority populations. At war’s end, the Christian and Jewish Holy Land of Palestine would be taken from it, and the failure of the Crusades made right.

Modern Day Crusades

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When Bush II used the term ‘crusade’ after 9/11, many claimed it was just a badly chosen word. But was it really poorly chosen? His administration was packed with Zionists. John Ashcroft attacked Islam after 9/11 while Italy’s Berlusconi characterised the ‘war on terror’ as a war between Western and Islamic civilisations.

Wesley Clark, bizarrely as an argument against Sam Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis and for a peaceful resolution of “differences”, said the following during his 13/5/02 commencement speech at Seton Hall University:

…[others] recognize a civil war within Islam itself…we must influence the struggle where we can, by supporting greater attention to the secular structures in the Islamic world, and by encouraging our own American Islamic community to speak out in support of America’s democratic values.

As of 2005, 40% of the U.S. military were evangelical Christians, including 60% of chaplains. Military Ministry alone has converted thousands of troops, approved by Fort Sam Houston’s top commanders. Fort Jackson, meanwhile, is literally run by evangelical commanders. According to one senior military official cited by the Pentagon’s IG report (7/07): “Campus Crusade for Christ had become so embedded in the Pentagon’s day-to-day operations that he viewed the organization as a “quasi federal entity””8.

Drew Miller states9:

Evangelicalism wasn’t always this prevalent in the military. In fact, through World War II, religion was not a major source of contention at all…That changed with the Cold War. Suddenly, communism and godlessly were inexorably linked, meaning any good American soldier should declare devotion to a god, and preferably the Christian one…

  1. Balfourproject.org
  2. Graetz, Heinrich; Lowy, Bella (December 2009). Bella Lowy (ed.), History of the Jews, Vol. V (in Six Volumes): From the Chmielnicki Persecution of the Jews in Poland (1648 C.E.) to the Period of Emancipation in Central Europe (C. 1870 C.E.) (Cosimo, Inc. 2009), pages 176–7
  3. “With the advent of steam navigation in 1840, the Near East became very important along the route to India as steam ships required frequent reloading and the British ships used the Mediterranean-Red Sea route with transhipment at Suez rather than the long Cape route. In view of all this, British involvement in the Jewish question was no longer a matter of political option but of political necessity”Zionism: a racist and anti-Semitic ideology Lalkar.org; “By the Entente’s coming out in strong support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, [Mark] Sykes believed, it would inevitably turn the opinion of international Jewry toward its side. In turn, the advocacy of American Jews – a small but powerful constituency – might finally provide the spur for bringing the United States into the war”. Scott Anderson, Lawrence in Arabia (Atlantic Books: London 2014), pages 229-30
  4. Tom Segev, One Palestine Complete (), page 33
  5. Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, On Palestine (Penguin Books 2015), pages 61 and 83
  6. Donald M. Lewis, The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury And Evangelical Support For A Jewish Homeland (Cambridge University Press 2014), page 329
  7. ibid. 4
  8. Jason Leopold, Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought truth-out.org 21/12/07
  9. Drew Miller, Inside the Military’s Campaign to Make Its Soldiers Christian mic.com 4/9/13

After reporter’s assassination, Saudis continue to kill children with US/UK-sold bombs

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia launched an attack on Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, to stamp out a Shiite insurgency (‘Houthis’) that threatened to advance Iranian influence in the strategic energy-rich region at the expense of Western-Saudi hegemony. The result has been a humanitarian catastrophe killing thousands and threatening millions with famine. Saudi warplanes have bombed countless civilian targets from factories and markets to hospitals and villages.

US Assistant Secretary John Kerry soon confirmed US support for the war, including “intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, and advisory and logistical support for strikes against Houthi targets”. Riyadh’s command and control centre includes both American and British military trainers/advisers with access to target lists, though they are said to not be directly involved in selecting targets.

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Catastrophe: Saudi-led war has killed thousands, threatens millions with famine

The UN soon reported 2300 civilian deaths due to airstrikes alone. The following month, Obama pushed for a series of arms deals with the Saudis worth $115b. Apparently, his previous $60b arms deal with the medieval monarchy, the biggest in US history with its 154 F-15s and Apaches, was insufficient in satisfying the Kingdom’s bloodlust. Ditto Britain’s delivery of 500lb Paveway IVs a couple months earlier…

Following the Saudi bombing of a wedding that killed nearly 50, a PR-conscious Washington was forced to back off from most of the proposal due to pressure from human rights groups. A billion-dollar deal, however, did go ahead. On his visit to the Great Democracy, the Four Seasons literally laid out a (blood?) red carpet for the King and his royal entourage.

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Deal in blood: Six months into Yemen slaughter, a billion dollar arms deal

Wsws.org comments on the tacit AQ-US alliance throughout this period and ongoing, a hardly surprising fact given Washington’s covert CIA activities in Libya and Syria:

…The only areas which have escaped coalition airstrikes are those parts of the country controlled by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has proven itself an effective ally of the US in the effort to defeat the Houthis. US drone strikes continue to target individual AQAP leaders, but their fighters have been free to move throughout the country unmolested.

As for Trump, he followed up his $15b arms sale last October with a $110b series of deals plus an optional $350b extra over the next ten years. This all seems to be hoopla, but Trump has made his point: he, like his ‘liberal’ predecessor, is proud to serve his country…by helping to kill children.

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“This is peanuts for you”: Prince Salman and President Trump

UK arms sales, meanwhile, have increased fivefold since the Saudi war began. In May, the Daily Telegraph cited Saudi military sources as saying that, of the 100 warplanes it is using round-the-clock, “about 50 percent are British-made Tornados and Eurofighters that have been sold to the Saudis over the past 30 years…”.

In defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2286, the British government is immunising the Saudis by allowing them to conduct their own war crimes investigations. On October 13, it disclosed that Saudi Arabia had used five different UK bombs and missiles in Yemen.

Since its creation by Britain, Saudi Arabia has functioned as the chief pillar of Western power in the strategic oil-rich Middle East. As such, merely “dropping the Saudis” is insufficient. All the Gulf dictators are brutal and repressive, and they all serve as “stabilizers” for foreign investments in the region. The broader necessity, in whose context a struggle against the Saudi monarchy resides, is to drop the Anglo capitalist-imperialist order.

Sources

Johnpilger.com

Chomsky.info

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-british-weapons-arms-sales-saudi-arabia-yemen-war-increase-500-civilians-war-crimes-export-a8042871.html

To Stop American Empire, First Decolonize America

The thesis of my forthcoming film and ebook

Columbus Day, the official celebration of America’s founding genocide, is based upon a falsified historical narrative drilled into every American schoolkid[1-3]. Ward Churchill’s portrait of the 16th century explorer is far more consistent with the historical reality[4]:

Columbus did not sally forth upon the Atlantic for reasons of “neutral science” or altruism. He went, as his own diaries, reports, and letters make clear, fully expecting to encounter wealth belonging to others. It was his stated purpose to seize this wealth, by whatever means necessary and available, in order to enrich both his sponsors and himself. Plainly, he pre-figured, both in design and by intent, what came next. To this extent, he not only symbolizes the process of conquest and genocide which eventually consumed the indigenous peoples of America, but bears the personal responsibility of having participated in it…Plainly, the Nazi-esque dynamics set in motion by Columbus in 1492 continued, and were not ultimately consummated until the present century.

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Columbus: “these people are very simple in war-like matters…I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men, and govern them as I pleased”[3]

Columbus did not discover America: the Vikings, and perhaps other trading peoples, had reached the hemisphere long before him. Moreover, it was the Caribbean basin that Columbus reached. He never set foot in North America[1].

National mythology aside, the moment Columbus’ men sighted those floating branches/sticks on the water and that innocuous flock of birds[1], the awful human and cultural fate of an entire hemisphere – and eventually much of the world[5] – was sealed.

Following his return to Spain, the Crown sent Columbus out on a second voyage the following year, this time with a 1200-strong invasion force of seventeen ships[1-4]. Savagery ensued: Columbus would chop off the heads or ears of whoever refused to dig gold for him. For stealing corn, one man had his nose and ears sliced off and was slave-auctioned. For suggesting Columbus was a bastard, a woman was stripped and paraded and had her tongue cut out[6].

The Spanish colonists would pillage, enslave and rape[6]. One joked of having beaten and raped a Caribbean sex slave he bought from Columbus who, as revealed in a 1500 letter, sold 9+ year old sex slaves[7]. A likely 10,000 14+ year olds bled to death after having their hands cut off for refusing to pay Columbus a hawk’s bell of gold dust (or twelve pounds of spun cotton) every three months[3]. In short, life in his colony was “horrifying”*[6].

A Hemispheric Holocaust

By 1542, just 200 remained on the island of Hispaniola, a population decline of 99.67-99.99% within the span of half a century[8]. This became the model for the entire hemisphere: according to the Smithsonian Institution, 65 million indigenous inhabitants perished in the three centuries between 1492 and 1800[9].

Scholars attribute 75-90% of these deaths to diseases the Europeans brought with them[10] – from bubonic plague to measles to (most lethally) smallpox to countless more – from which the native peoples had no immunities. The invaders pushed on despite this obvious cause-and-effect “we come, they die” (Churchill) phenomena, gleefully attributing it to divine providence[10-11]. Thus concludes one author[11]:

The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world. That is why, as one historian aptly has said, far from the heroic and romantic heraldry that customarily is used to symbolize the European settlement of the Americas, the emblem most congruent with reality would be a pyramid of skulls.

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Native Americans had no immunities to European diseases

The remainder 10-25% were killed by massacre, castration, torture, starvation and slave labour. This alone amounted to 440-1,099 homicides per week, or 1,759-4397 per month, for 308 years straight. In 1890, the US government reported just 2.5% of indigenous North Americans remaining and only 2.5% of their land remaining in their name, perfectly illustrating the inseparable nature of the colonization process of indigenous extermination (the means) and land appropriation(the end)[4].

Despite the abundance of US army massacres (not least of which was the Sand Creek bloodbath where delirious troops danced around in their defenceless victims’ severed scalps, genitalia and fetuses), a huge chunk of this 10-25% was inflicted by civilian miners and settlers[4]. The entire native populations of Texas (then the densest in North America) and northern California, for example, were virtually wiped out by the scalp bounty trade alone. With varying rates for Indian men, women and children (incl. fetuses), pregnant women were naturally a favourite target[12]).

Resurgence

From the 1511 revolt to the 1800s resistance of Geronimo, Indians have always fought back. The initial attempt to conquer North America was called off after Ponce de Leon was fatally wounded trying to take on the stiff-necked Calusa during a mere skirmish. Paraguay’s Guaycuru resisted too. Enriquillo is still remembered in the Dominican Republic and Haiti today as a resistance hero for his 1519-33 guerrilla war.

1973 saw a tense 71-day standoff between the FBI and the recently founded American Indian Movement, following the latter’s armed siege of Wounded Knee – site of the horrific US army massacre – on Pine Ridge reservation. This event became the turning point for an ongoing resurgence of indigenous activism, ranging from issues of treaty rights and sovereignty to land recovery and environment/ecology.

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AIM leader Russell Means (-2012) speaking before the US Senate in 1989

Perhaps the biggest flashpoint since is the attempt by a US energy conglomerate to build a pipeline that would traverse native land and threatens the local and sacred water supply. The National Guard, together with SWAT teams and a private security company hired by the energy consortium, deployed rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas against hundreds of protesters. Sophia Wilansky, one of many non-natives who had joined the camp in solidarity, was killed by a police grenade.

With pressure from his liberal constituents (incl. longtime pro-native actor Robert Redford and his video appeal in solidarity), a legacy-conscious Obama cynically postponed the pipeline’s construction during his final days in office, leaving its resumption up to his successor Donald Trump, himself financially linked to the pipeline’s consortium and whose advisors are eyeing oil-rich Indian land for outright privatization.

Genocide Today

As far as Native Americans are concerned, their genocide never ended. The rough third (700,000) still living on reservations[13] endure Third World conditions, suffering the country’s highest rates of poverty, unemployment, death, suicide, infant mortality, substance abuse and disease[14].

Churchill explains the apparent paradox between native poverty and resources[4]:

It’s not that reservation resources are not being exploited, or profits accrued. To the contrary…the BIA has utilized its plenary and trust capacities to negotiate contracts with major mining corporations “in behalf of” its “Indian wards” which pay pennies on the dollar of the conventional mineral royalty rates. Further, the BIA has typically exempted such corporations from an obligation to perform basic environmental cleanup of nuclear and other forms of waste.

While President Trump enacts multi-trillion-dollar corporate tax breaks and commits tens of billions to the Saudi destruction of Yemen, the Indian Health Service lacks 50% of the staff and funding required for adequate provision[15]. A 2004 study found 40% of natives with mental disorders untreated, correlating with a reported 40% deficit between the number of mental health professionals available per native and those per non-native[15].

42% of native women of childbearing age were involuntarily sterilized during the decades following WWII as part of a government-funded program driven by racist eugenics and long-term mining interests[16]. A direct violation of the Genocide Convention, the program almost halved the women’s fertility rate[17].

Lessons

The left’s lack of interest in native American history and ongoing activism is rooted in an ignorance it shares with mainstream opinion, namely of the fact that the genocide – albeit not taking the holocaustal form it took when 97.5% of the population inhabited North America, namely because they’re no longer there – is ongoing and has never stopped.

But what the left must realise further is that the decolonization of North America is a vital prerequisite for the dismantlement of America’s overseas empire. Churchill’s argument to this effect is just as valid now as it was when he wrote the following in 1983, Trumpism being the present-day parallel to the 80s “New Right”[18]:

…if the treaty obligations of the United States to the various tribes which are on the books right now were met, the landbase of the 48 contiguous states would be diminished by approximately one third. Further, identified U.S. energy resource reserves would be reduced by two thirds. Significant reserves of minerals including gold, silver, iron, molybdenum, magnesium, bauxite and sulphur would also pass from U.S. control. Any hard-nosed Marxist revolutionary should be able to detect the absolutely critical nature of the issues. By any definition, the mere potential for even a partial dissolution of the U.S. landbase should be a high priority consideration for anyone interested in destabilizing the status quo.

…If the liberation struggles of Native America are defeated while the left stands idly by debating “correct lines” and “social priorities,”, a crucial opportunity to draw a line on the capitalist process in America will have been lost, perhaps forever. In the view of the emergence of outright American neo-fascism – as represented by the “New Right” and “Moral Majority” – none of us can afford to pass such opportunities by, least of all on points of polemical pride.

…Bill Tabb has said, “Let the debate continue.” I would only add, “and let the action begin.”

1. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/10/the-real-christopher-columbus/ (an excerpt from Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States (Harper Perennial 2015 Reissue), Chapter 1); to listen to chapters 1-25, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCHuPpyoyBQ&list=PLYUr4j9fnsUzHJA6iP-0x0vPdDzskPWiU; to hear Zinn speak about the book, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI907Tm11sc
2. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Beacon Press 2015 Reprint); for a lecture delivered by Ortiz at The Evergreen State College, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLl561BBkdI
3. Kirkpatrick Sale, Christopher Columbus and the Conquest of Paradise 2nd ed. (Tauris Parke Paperbacks 2006); for a fascinating discussion ft. Sale, see https://archive.org/details/AV_481-COLUMBUS_THE_MAN_THE_LEGACY
4. http://www.mit.edu/~thistle/v0/9.11/1columbus.html; also see https://www.vox.com/2014/10/13/6957875/christopher-columbus-murderer-tyrant-scoundrel; for a fascinating discussion ft. Churchill, see https://archive.org/details/AV_481-COLUMBUS_THE_MAN_THE_LEGACY
5. For the record of US interventionism since 1945, see williamblum.org
6. J.W. Loewen, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong (The New Press 2008), page 52; Jacques Nicolas Leger, Haiti, Her History and Her Detractors (Neale Publishing Company 1907), page 23; https://web.archive.org/web/20081202053219/http://www.kacike.org/LynneGuitar.html; http://www.raceandhistory.com/Taino/Women.htm; Kathryn A. Sloan, Women’s Roles in Latin America and the Caribbean (Greenwood 2011); https://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/aug/07/books.spain
7. https://archive.org/stream/christophercolu02thacgoog#page/n451/mode/2up; for the original passage in Early Modern Spanish, see note 443
8. https://web.archive.org/web/20131216024311/http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070121/29jamestown.b.htm; for census summaries, see Lewis Hank, The Spanish Conquest of America (University of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia 1947), page 200ff; also see Salvador de Madariaga, The Rise of the Spanish American Empire (Hollis nd Carter Publishers: London 1947); the range estimated by historians centering on 500,000-8,000,000; see Suzanne Austin Alchon, A pest in the land: New world epidemics in a global perspective (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press 2003), pages 164-7
9. https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2015/08/17/holocaust-native-americans-65-million-counting.html
10. https://historynewsnetwork.org/article/7302
11. http://www.skeptic.ca/American_Holocaust.htm; listen to chapters 1-6 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q4NyuImKMk&list=PLAYJ1WwgOpjZZD5TNNC3X8bnFDclAQMCe; for a lecture with Q/A delivered by the author, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qra6pcn4AOE.
12. Ward Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present (City Light Books 2001)
13. Eliza Barclay, “Navajos Fight Their Food Desert With Junk Food And Soda Taxes”, National Public Radio 01.04.15
14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_social_statistics_of_Native_Americans
15. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1524838005283005
16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNsAK7jS0WY; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/figure/10.1080/2201473X.2014.955947?scroll=top&needAccess=true
17. Jane Lawrence, “The Sterilization of Native American Women”, American Indian Quarterly 24:3:402
18. https://archive.org/stream/MarxismAndNativeAmericans, pages 201-3; for a sample of native activist causes at the time of publication, see page 200

*I have spared the reader the worst allegations of Spanish depravities on Hispaniola, made by self-purported eyewitness Bartolome Das Lacas.