[Reader-list] a leaflet from Workers' Solidarity

NAGRAJ ADVE naga at giasdl01.vsnl.net.in
Tue Oct 2 15:11:36 IST 2001

I'm posting a leaflet that Workers' Solidarity came out with a few days ago.
It focuses on US aggression over the years, seeking to question the rhetoric
that Bush has been spouting these past days. I'm sending it both as an
attachment and as text pasted below. Please circulate it as widely as
possible, and feel free to use it/reproduce it/ use any of the info it
contains it in case anyone finds it useful.


Leaflet follows. I'm also sending it as an attachment.


"War cannot be humanized; it can only be abolished."
- Albert Einstein, 1932

We condemn the attack that took place on 11 September 2001 in the US.
Nothing justifies the killing of ordinary people in such attacks. But if
anybody is responsible for the deaths of over 6,000 people, it is the
successive US governments and their foreign policies that have killed
millions over the years and have now made the American public so vulnerable
to violence within the US itself.
We cannot arrive at a sane, balanced response to these attacks without
understanding the context in which they have taken place. There exists a
widespread feeling of resentment and hatred of the way in which the US - its
ideology, policies, and interventions - has over the years harmed people of
the Third World, riding roughshod over any opposition. This domination
increased in the 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the
imposition of new economic policies the world over.
We are publishing a list of US aggression and intervention in other
countries since 1945. It clearly shows that the US has been the biggest
threat to democracy in the world. And now, Afghanistan will be added to this
list. The US is using the attack of 11 September to install a pliant regime
to further its economic and strategic interests in the region.
Is It A War "For Democracy"?
Bush has said the US response will be a "war for democracy", that it is a
"civilizational conflict", in which we can be either on the side of the US
or with terrorism. Given the history of US aggression, and the consequences
of war for ordinary people, the only way we can strengthen democracy and
support humanity today is by opposing the impending war.
In 1962, the US Secretary of State (foreign minister) submitted to a senate
committee a list of 103 interventions the US had carried out in other
countries between 1798 and 1945. The US has supported fascist regimes: in
the 1930s, it supplied oil to fascist Italy even after Mussolini invaded
Ethiopia; it halted aid to the Republican government in Spain in its civil
war against General Franco. It has backed military coups, toppling elected
governments, such as in Syria in 1949; Iran in 1953; Chile in 1973, when
Salvador Allende was killed. It has unsuccessfully tried to kill other heads
of state, notably Fidel Castro repeatedly, the Iraqi leader Abdul Qassim in
the 1960s, and others. It has supported repressive leaders, who have killed
innumerable people, political opponents, and leftists, such as white racist
governments in South Africa, Baby Doc Duvalier in Haiti, Mobutu Sese Seko in
Zaire, Manuel Noriega in Panama, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines, the
Shah of Iran, Idi Amin of Uganda, Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and Duarte in
El Salvador in the 1980s. The crimes the US either carried out or supported
are horrendous and endless. In 1965, the Indonesian regime killed over one
million members and sympathizers of the Communist Party: in many cases, US
military advisers based in Indonesia supplied the names of activists and
sympathizers. It also supplied names to the Iraqi Ba'ath Party, which killed
numerous communists in 1963. The biggest supporter, funder and supplier of
arms to Israel for over 35 years, the US approved the Israeli invasion of
Lebanon in 1982, in which 17,500 people were killed. The endless killings in
Palestine go on. It also armed, funded and supported Sadaam Hussein during
the 1980s in the war against Iran, even while Sadaam was killing Kurds.
Is It A War "Against Fundamentalism"?
The US has supported the most fundamentalist elements when it suited their
interests, and sidelined or targeted them when those interests dictated
otherwise. The US government had itself armed and funded Osama Bin Laden,
during the 'cold war' against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It provided $6
billion to other fundamentalist elements in Afghanistan. Direct military aid
was stepped by Reagan in the 1980s with the objective of forcing the Soviet
troops to withdraw. Today, when those same fundamentalist forces are running
the country but have slipped out of US control, the US wants to replace this
regime by another regime who will be more subservient. Already over one
million ordinary Afghans have died in the big power games in their
impoverished country; Further lakhs of Afghans will die or have to flee
their homes in the war that will follow.
The Profits of War
Economic interests have always been the driving force of US foreign policy:
be it the invasions of Panama, and neighbouring countries to control the
Panama Canal Zone in the 1900s; or the two world wars. In Guatemala, the US
dethroned the government after it nationalized estates of the American
United Fruit Co. In Vietnam, besides containing communism, the US basically
wanted control over South-east Asia's rubber, tin and jute reserves. Its
Middle East policy of propping up client states (who Nixon called America's
"local police") is driven by the desire to control the huge oil reserves of
the region: its support for Saudi Arabia; deposing the government in Iran in
1953, following oil nationalization, and its support for Sadaam Hussein
through Iraq's war with Iran. 
In the current conflict, many calculations are at play. The US establishment
is using this to topple unfriendly regimes such as Sadaam Hussein's. It
seeks control of Afghanistan, which is strategically placed close to China,
Russia and the subcontinent. Oil is certainly again a major reason, access
to huge Central Asian oil and gas reserves just north of Afghanistan. The US
seeks to install a puppet regime in place of the Taliban that will provide a
favourable climate for US corporations. In particular, one US company Unocal
has for long been vying for a multibillion dollar contract to build a
pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan. Control over oil is not just
economically advantageous; control over energy resources gives the country a
tremendous edge in world politics. The events of 11 September are the
outcome of the brazenly aggressive US foreign policy over the years. The
roots of the impending war lies in the economic control by large
corporations and strategic domination by the United States. 
We express our solidarity with the people of Afghanistan who, already
suffering under the oppressive regime of the fundamentalist Taliban, are
facing the horror of an imminent war. Let us join our voices to oppose this
war that threatens democracy and people's rights the world over.

TABLE: A Select History of US Interventions, 1945 to the Present
In strict confidence, I should welcome almost any war, for I think this
country needs one.  
- Theodore Roosevelt in a letter to a friend, just before the US invasion of
Cuba, 1898  
Year Country Details
1946 Iran Nuclear threats against Soviet troops to leave Iranian Azerbaijan.
1950 Puerto Rico Crushes an independent rebellion.
1951-3 Korea Sends troops against North Korea; threatens to use nuclear
bombs; 2 million killed.
1953 Iran CIA topples Mossadeq government, which nationalized British oil
1958 Lebanon Troops intervene to "preserve stability" against rebels.
1958 China Threatened with nuclear arms not to move into Taiwan.
1961 Cuba The CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion to topple Fidel Castro.
1960-75 Vietnam 1-2 killed; more bombs were dropped in the region than in
Europe during WW2. 
1964 Panama Killed several civilians who demanded return of the Panama
1969-75 Cambodia 2 million die from 'carpet bombing', and from starvation.
1971-3 Laos I million die from 'carpet' bombing. US directs South Vietnamese
invasion of Laos.
1976-92 Angola CIA assists South Africa-backed rebels.
1973 Iraq Supports Kurd rebels, but denies them refuge when Iraq reaches an
agreement with Iran.
1979-88  Afghanistan Begins covert aid to Mujahideen, providing several
billion dollars over the next decade; I million have died, so far.
1980s Nicaragua Despite deemed illegal by Congress, the administration sold
arms to Iran and gave that money to the Contras fighting the left-wing
Nicaraguan government. US marines plant harbour mines.
1980-8 Iraq-Iran Provided arms in Sadaam's invasion of Iran, and sent in its
Navy later. Yet, gets Israel to provide arms to Iran. US secretly gives arms
directly to Iran after 1985. Steps up economic ties with Iraq even after
Sadaam used chemical weapons against the Kurds.
1981-92 El Salvador US military troops helped the regime kill 75,000 people.
1983 Palestine Silent when Israel kills 1,800 in refugee camps in Sabra and
1983 Lebanon Approves Israel's invasion of Lebanon that killed 17,500.
1983 Grenada Bombs Grenada following a revolution.
1986 Libya In response to the killing of two US soldiers in West Berlin, US
planes attack the capital Tripoli. The 100 dead were mostly civilians.
1989-90 Panama US sends in troops to oust government, bombs part of Panama
1992-4 Yugoslavia Leads NATO blockade of Serbia and Montenegro.
1990- Iraq Targets civilian infrastructure killing 200,000 Iraqis during the
Gulf war. Followed by the illegal imposition of no-flight zones in Northern
and Southern Iraq; and an economic embargo that includes medicines, etc. By
1995, 1 million had died, including half-a-million children.
1995 Croatia Attacked Serb airfields in Krajina before Croatia attacked.
1998 Afghanistan Attacked population (with cluster bombs and depleted
uranium) to destabilize government.
1998 Iraq The US and UK bomb Iraq even though the UN Security Council was to
discuss the matter of weapons inspections.
1998 Sudan Accusing it of manufacturing chemical weapons, the US bombed a
pharmaceutical factory, destroying half the medicinal production of this
poor country. Nearly 10,000 died in this attack.
1999 Yugoslavia Bombed Serbs for three months to get them out of Kosovo.

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