Z Magazine, May 1994
We are approaching the five-year mark since the fall of the Berlin wall, which marked the definitive end of the Cold War. At last the United States was freed from the burden of defending the world against Russian aggression and could return to its traditional calling: to promote democracy, human rights, and free markets worldwide. Standard doctrine holds further that the promise has been fulfilled. Today "American motives are largely humanitarian," historian David Fromkin declares in the New York Times Magazine. The present danger is excess of benevolence; we might undertake yet another selfless mission of mercy, failing to understand that "there are limits to what outsiders can do" and that "the armies we dispatch to foreign soil for humanitarian reasons" may not be able "to save people from others or from themselves."
The view is shared by the leading establishment critic of Cold War policies,
George Kennan, who writes that it was a historic error for the US to reject any
effort to negotiate a peaceful settlement of conflicts with the Russians for 40
years; one of the benefits of the end of the Cold War is that the clouds are
finally lifting on these issues. Kennan too counsels that we restrict our
foreign engagements. We must bear in mind that "it is primarily by example,
never by precept, that a country such as ours exerts the most useful influence
beyond its border"; countries unlike ours may undertake the grubbier pursuits.
We must also remember "that there are limits to what one sovereign country can
do to help another," even "a country such as ours." Others question that stance
on the grounds that it is unfair to deprive suffering humanity of our attention,
To qualify for membership in respectable society, one must appreciate a simple thesis: we are perfect. Therefore we need only ask what is the right course for a saintly power, how best we may proceed to "save people from others or from themselves" -- not from us, surely. The tune is, in fact, a very familiar one, an interesting topic for some other time.
Like earlier angelic powers, we are able to recognize that there are some flaws and errors in the record. But the sophisticated understand that history can teach no lessons about our institutions and the ways they have functioned, surely nothing about what may lie ahead. Review of the historical record is nothing more than "sound-bites and invectives about Washington's historically evil foreign policy," Brown University professor Thomas Weiss writes with derision, hence "easy to ignore."2 A perceptive comment, accurately discerning the most valued principles of the commissar culture.
Discussion of the fashionable topic of the moral obligation of humanitarian intervention -- not a trivial question -- is rarely tainted by concerns about such matters. We do not, of course, counsel that Iran should undertake humanitarian intervention in Bosnia, as it has offered to do. Why? Because of its record and the nature of its institutions. In the case of Iran -- or anyone else -- inquiry into these questions is appropriate. But not for us, given our necessary perfection.
It follows that any departures from the path of righteousness can only have been a reaction -- perhaps excessive, though understandable -- to terrible dangers from which we defended ourselves, and more recently, the entire civilized world. The Cold War provides the favored current formula: any lapse in recent years is attributable to the cosmic struggle with the Russians. Thus if experimental subjects for radiation studies were chosen from Boston's Fernald School for mentally retarded children, not an elite prep school, that was unfortunate, but understandable in the atmosphere of the Cold War, so it is alleged -- about as plausibly as in most other cases. And we have now "changed course," so that history may rest in peace.
At the critical extreme, we do find occasional notice of imperfection. "There's something troubling about the way we select our cases for intervention," Harvard historian Stanley Hoffmann observed in opening a conference at Tufts university. He noted that there has been no "international cry to intervene in ethnic bloodshed in East Timor," the Boston Globe reported. The example is instructive.3
Let us disregard the phrase "ethnic bloodshed," not quite the term applied to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. That aside, some obvious questions come to mind: just who might call for such intervention, and how should it proceed? By bombing Washington and London, the main supporters of Indonesia's aggression and mass slaughter? Suppose that a commentator in pre-Gorbachev Russia had found something troubling about Soviet intervention policy, wondering why Russia did not intervene to prevent the imposition of martial law in Poland or repression in Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Would we even laugh? How could Moscow intervene to bar the policies it actively supported? These questions cannot arise, however, in our case, whatever the facts, given our perfection. No one laughs.
Respectable British opinion is scarcely different. Writing in the (London) Times Higher Education Supplement, Leslie Macfarlane, emeritus politics fellow at St. John's College in Oxford, recognizes that the US and UK, "to their shame, failed to put pressure on President Suharto to refrain from invasion" of East Timor. But the 200,000 or more deaths "cannot be attributed to `the West'," he adds, reproaching Edward Herman for his calculations of the costs of Western state terrorism which erroneously included this case: no "Western promotion or support for the invasion and pacification of East Timor in the early 1980s [sic] is laid at the West's door," Macfarlane instructs us with proper indignation.4
There is no need to review the facts, familiar outside of the doctrinal system, which not only suppressed them with great efficiency as the terrible story unfolded but continues to do so today. Right now, Western oil companies are plundering East Timor's oil under a treaty between Australia and Indonesia, terror and repression continue unabated, and new atrocities have been discovered from the very recent past, among them, the slaughter of many people by Indonesian doctors in hospitals after the November 1991 Dili massacre. But we must understand that the news room is a busy place, and some things inevitably seep through the cracks -- in a remarkably systematic way. Who can be expected to notice prominent stories in the British and Australian press, including even the Guardian Weekly, widely circulated here? One wonders whether the news room would have been too busy to notice Libyan robbery of Kuwaiti oil under a treaty with Saddam Hussein, after he had occupied and annexed the country.5
In the United States, public protest has hampered government support for Indonesian atrocities, but not much. Congress cut off funds for military training, but the Clinton Administration was undeterred. On the anniversary of the US-backed Indonesian invasion, the State Department announced that "Congress's action did not ban Indonesia's purchase of training with its own funds," so it can proceed despite the ban. Such training has, after all, been quite successful in the past, including the training of officers who took part in the highly praised slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people, mostly landless peasants, as the present government took power in 1965. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara took particular pride in that fact, informing LBJ that US military assistance to the Indonesian army had "encouraged it" to undertake the useful slaughter "when the opportunity was presented." Particularly valuable, McNamara said, was the program that brought Indonesian military personnel to the United States for training at universities. Congress agreed, noting the "enormous dividends" of US military training of the killers and continued communication with them. The same training expedited the war crimes in Timor, and much else.6
Plainly, it would be unfair to deprive the people of the region of such benefits. That is exactly the position taken by advocates of US military training, for example Senator Bennett Johnson. His evidence is a quote from the Commander of the US forces in the Pacific, Admiral Larson, who explains that "by studying in our schools," Indonesian army officers "gain an appreciation for our value system, specifically respect for human rights, adherence to democratic principles, and the rule of law." For similar reasons, we must allow arms sales to Indonesia, so that we can continue to have a constructive "dialogue" and maintain our "leverage and influence," so benignly exercised in the past, much as in Latin America, Haiti, the Philippines, and other places where US training has instilled such admirable respect for human rights.7
1. Defending Human Rights
With the support of Senate Democrats, the Administration was also able to block human rights conditions on aid to Indonesia. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor announced further that Washington would "suspend" its annual review of Indonesian labor practices. Agreeing with Senator Bennett, who is impressed by "the steps Indonesia has taken...to improve conditions for workers in Indonesia," Kantor commended Indonesia for "bringing its labor law and practice into closer conformity with international standards" -- a witticism that is in particularly poor taste, though it must be conceded that Indonesia did take some steps forward, fearing that Congress might override its friends in the White House. "Reforms hastily pushed through by the Indonesian government in recent months include withdrawing the authority of the military to intervene in strikes, allowing workers to form a company union to negotiate labour contracts, and raising the minimum wage in Jakarta by 27%" to about $2 a day, the London Guardian reports. The new company unions that are magnanimously authorized must, to be sure, join the All-Indonesia Labor Union, the state-run union. To ensure that these promising advances toward international labor standards would not be misunderstood, authorities also arrested 21 labor activists.
"We have done much to change and improve," Indonesia's Foreign Minister said, "so according to us there is no reason to revoke" the trade privileges. Clinton liberals evidently agree.8
One effect of the activism of the 1960s was the pressure on Congress to impose human rights conditions on aid, trade, and military sales. Every Administration from Carter until today has had to seek ways to evade such constraints. In the 1980s, it became a sick joke, as the Reaganites regularly assured Congress (always happy to be "deceived") that its favorite assassins and torturers were making impressive progress. Clinton is forging no new paths with his Indonesia chicanery.
Other tasks are proving harder, however, notably China, which must have its Most Favored Nation (MTXT) trade status renewed by June. As I've reviewed in earlier articles, China is not giving poor Clinton much help in his endeavor to bypass the executive order that he issued imposing human rights conditions -- in "fear that Congressional Democrats might otherwise have forced an even more stringent approach" through legislation, Thomas Friedman reports in the New York Times, and because Clinton "did not want to appear to be going back on another campaign promise," having "strongly criticized President Bush for `coddling' China."9
The problem arose again as Warren Christopher visited Beijing in March to express Washington's concerns on human rights, which, the State Department hastened to explain, are quite limited -- in fact, limited to finding means to evade Congressional pressures. John Shattuck, US assistant secretary of human rights, clarified to the Chinese leaders that Clinton's requirements for improvement are "very narrow," that pledges of progress may be enough: "What the president is looking for is an indication of direction...that is generally forward looking." Please, please, give us some straw, so that we can respond to the needs of our constituency in the corporate sector. The Chinese, however, seem to enjoy watching their partners twist in the wind.10
As Christopher left for China, the Administration announced that it would once again relax the sanctions on high technology transfers, this time by allowing the Hughes Aircraft Company to launch a satellite from China. This "gesture of good will toward Beijing" is one "part of the strategy to engage China rather than to isolate it," Elaine Sciolino reported in the New York Times. Asked about this decision while China is under pressure on issues of missile proliferation and human rights, Christopher responded that it "simply sends a signal of even-handed treatment." The "good will gesture," as usual, is directed towards a leading segment of the publicly subsidized "private enterprise" system, much like the "good-will gestures" announced at the Asia-Pacific summit last November, which allowed China to purchase supercomputers, nuclear power generators, and satellites despite their adaptability to weapons and missile proliferation. The Pentagon also sent high officials with Christopher "to discuss ways to upgrade the two countries' military relationship," Sciolino reported, another part of the "strategy."11
Christopher did not return empty-handed. At a White House session, Thomas Friedman reports, he "presented a chart...showing that on many fronts China was making some progress toward meeting the terms of the President's executive order, but that forward movement had been obscured by the confrontational atmosphere of his visit." On leaving Beijing, he had stated that his discussions with the Chinese leaders were "businesslike and productive." "The differences between China and the US are narrowing somewhat," Christopher informed the press, though he "was hard put to point to examples of specific progress on the vexed human rights issue beyond a memorandum of understanding on trade in prison labour products," the London Financial Times commented. China did (once again) agree to restrict exports from prison factories to the United States.12
Such exports have greatly exercised Washington and the press, the sole labor rights issue to have achieved this status. "U.S. Inspections of Jail Exports Likely in China," a front-page story by Thomas Friedman was headlined in the New York Times in January. The Chinese "agreed to a demand to allow more visits by American customs inspectors to Chinese prison factories to make sure they are not producing goods for export to the United States," he reported from Beijing. US influence is having further benign effects, "forcing liberalization, factory by factory," including contract, bankruptcy, and other laws that are "critical elements of a market economy," all welcome steps towards a "virtuous circle."
Unmentioned are a few other questions about economic virtue: horrifying labor conditions, for example. Perhaps the case of 81 women burned to death locked into their factory last November, which merited a few lines in the national press in the midst of much euphoria about Clinton's grand vision of a free market future in the Asia-Pacific region. Or 60 workers killed in a fire a few weeks later in another foreign-owned factory. Or the doubling of deaths in industrial accidents last year, with over 11,000 just in the first eight months. "Chinese officials and analysts say the accidents stem from abysmal working conditions, which, combined with long hours, inadequate pay, and even physical beatings, are stirring unprecedented labor unrest among China's booming foreign joint ventures," Sheila Tefft reported in the Christian Science Monitor. That problem is a real one: "the tensions reveal the great gap between competitive foreign capitalists lured by cheap Chinese labor and workers weaned on socialist job security and the safety net of cradle-to-grave benefits." Workers do not yet understand that in the capitalist utopia we are preparing for them, they are to be "beaten for producing poor quality goods, fired for dozing on the job during long work hours" and other such misdeeds, and locked into their factories to be burned to death. But we understand all of that, so China is not called to account for violations of labor rights; only for exporting prison products to the United States.13
Why the distinction? Simplicity itself. Prison factories are state-owned industry, and exports to the US interfere with profits, unlike locking women into factories, beating workers, and other such means to improve the balance sheet. QED.
Accuracy requires a few qualifications. Thus, the rules allow the United States to sell prison goods -- for export: they are not permitted to enter US markets. California and Oregon export prison-made clothing to Asia, including specialty jeans, shirts, and a line of shorts quaintly called "Prison Blues." The prisoners earn far less than the minimum wage, and work under "slave labor" conditions, prison rights activists allege. But their products do not interfere with the rights that count, so there is no problem here.14
The Clinton Administration "has been quietly signaling Beijing that if it met Washington's minimum human rights demands, the United States would consider ending the annual threat of trade sanctions to change China's behavior," Friedman reports. The reason is that the old human rights policy imposed by Congressional (ultimately popular) pressures is "outmoded and should be replaced." This is a "major shift in policy which reflects the increasing importance of trade to the American economy." The human rights policy "is also outmoded, other officials argue, because trade is now such an important instrument for opening up Chinese society, for promoting the rule of law and the freedom of movement there, and for encouraging" private property.15
The hypocrisy is stunning, though hardly more than the "human rights" policy that is now "outmoded," which was always carefully crafted to avoid endangering profits and to somehow "not see" huge atrocities carried out by US clients under Washington's sponsorship. Human rights concerns have been a passion in the case of Nicaragua and Cuba, subjected to crushing embargoes and terror. In such cases, trade is not "an instrument" that induces good behavior. The criminals have to be restored to their service role; if cynical posturing about human rights contributes to that end, well and good. The same was true of the Soviet empire, which also had to be returned to its traditional Third World role, providing resources, investment opportunities, markets, cheap labor, and other amenities, as it had for hundreds of years (an essential feature of the Cold War since 1918, in the real world). Until that end was achieved, trade was not "an instrument" to help lift the chains. The same was true of China, until it began to open its doors to foreign investment and control, offering wonderful opportunities for profit -- or in technical Newspeak, "jobs."
2. Promoting Democracy
Our current vocation, as everyone knows, is promoting democracy. There are many illuminating examples since the fall of the Berlin Wall freed us from the Cold War burden.
The first, and one of the most revealing, is Nicaragua. Recall that just as the Wall fell, the White House and Congress announced with great clarity that unless Nicaraguans voted as we told them, the terrorist war and the embargo that was strangling the country would continue. Washington also voted (alone with Israel) against a UN General Assembly resolution calling on it once again to observe international law and call off these illegal actions; unthinkable of course, so the press continued to observe its vow of silence. When Nicaraguans met their obligations a few months later, joy was unrestrained. At the dissident extreme, Anthony Lewis hailed Washington's "experiment in peace and democracy," which gives "fresh testimony to the power of Jefferson's idea: government with the consent of the governed.... To say so seems romantic, but then we live in a romantic age." Across the spectrum there was rejoicing over the latest of the "happy series of democratic surprises," as Time magazine expressed the uniform view while outlining the methods used to achieve our Jeffersonian ideals: to "wreck the economy and prosecute a long and deadly proxy war until the exhausted natives overthrow the unwanted government themselves," with a cost to us that is "minimal," leaving the victim "with wrecked bridges, sabotaged power stations, and ruined farms," and providing Washington's candidate with "a winning issue," ending the "impoverishment of the people of Nicaragua."
It would be hard to imagine a more conclusive demonstration of the understanding of "democracy" in the dominant political and intellectual culture. It is inconceivable that the clear and unmistakeable meaning of any of this should enter the respectable culture, or probably even history.16
That interesting story continues. On March 15, US assistant Secretary of State Alexander Watson announced that "With the conflicts of the past behind us, the Clinton administration accepts the Sandinistas as a legitimate political force in Nicaragua with all the rights and obligations of any party in a democracy supposing that it uses only peaceful and legitimate methods," as we did through the 1980s, setting the stage for a "fair election," by US standards. The brief Reuters report noted that "the United States financed the Contra rebels against the Soviet-backed Sandinista government." Translating from Newspeak, Washington followed standard procedure, doing everything it could to compel Nicaragua to abandon its despicable efforts to maintain a nonaligned stand and balanced trade and to turn to the Russians as a last resort, so that Washington's attack could be construed as part of the Cold War conflict raging in our backyard, now to be dispatched to the category of irrelevance for understanding ourselves, or what the future holds.17
Washington's willingness to accept the Sandinistas as a legitimate political force, if they mind their manners, cannot claim the prize for moral cowardice and depravity. That is still held by Washington's display of magnanimity towards the Vietnamese, now permitted to enter the civilized world, their many crimes against us put to the side (though not, of course, forgiven) once US business made it clear that the pleasure of torturing our victims must give way to the more important task of enrichment of the wealthy.
The next example of our post-Cold War passion for democracy was the invasion of Panama a month after the Berlin Wall fell, the first exercise of humanitarian intervention in the post-Cold War era. Operation Just Cause may have served as a model for Saddam Hussein shortly after, the cheering section now quietly concedes. Bush's greatest fear when Iraq invaded Kuwait seems to have been that Saddam would mimic his achievement in Panama. According to the account of Washington planning by investigative reporter Bob Woodward, regarded as "generally convincing" by US government Middle East specialist William Quandt, President Bush feared that the Saudis would "bug out at the last minute and accept a puppet regime in Kuwait" after Iraqi withdrawal. His advisers expected that Iraq would withdraw, leaving behind "lots of Iraqi special forces in civilian clothes," if not armed forces as the US did in Panama, while taking over two uninhabited mudflats that had been assigned to Kuwait in the British imperial settlement to block Iraq's access to the sea (Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf). Chief of Staff Gen. Colin Powell warned that the status quo would be changed under the influence of the aggressors even after withdrawal, again as in Panama.
In a highly-praised academic study regarded as the standard current work of scholarship on this "textbook case of aggression" and the reaction to it, University of London historians Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, who labor to present the US-UK effort in the most favorable possible light, conclude that "Saddam apparently intended neither officially to annex the tiny emirate nor to maintain a permanent military presence there. Instead, he sought to establish hegemony over Kuwait, ensuring its complete financial, political and strategic subservience to his wishes," much as intended by the US in Panama, and achieved. Saddam's scheme "turned sour," they continue, because of the international reaction; to translate to doctrinally unacceptable truth, because the US and Britain did not follow their usual practice of vetoing or otherwise nullifying the international reaction to such "textbook cases of aggression" as US-South Vietnam, Turkey-Cyprus, Indonesia-East Timor, Israel-Lebanon, US-Panama, and many others.18
Operation Just Cause was presented as a "textbook case" of Washington's dedication to democracy -- quite accurately, as it turned out. In the latest of its annual reports on human rights (January, 1994), Panama's governmental Human Rights Commission charged that the right to self-determination and sovereignty of the Panamanian people continues to be violated by the "state of occupation by a foreign army," reviewing US army, airforce, and DEA operations in Panama, including a DEA agent's assault on a Panamanian journalist and attacks on Panamanian citizens by US military personnel. The nongovernmental Human Rights Commission, in its accompanying report "Democracy and Human Rights in Panama...Four Years Later" added that democracy has meant nothing more than formal voting while government policies "do not attend to the necessities of the most impoverished" -- whose numbers have significantly increased since the "liberation." Within a year after the invasion, Latin Americanist Stephen Ropp observes, Washington was well aware "that removing the mantle of United States protection would quickly result in a civilian or military overthrow of [President] Endara and his supporters"-- that is, the puppet regime of bankers, businessmen, and narcotraffickers installed by the occupying army. "Drugs and their rewards are more visible today than in General Noriega's time," the Economist reports in March, including hard drugs. A senior employee of the Panama Branch of Merrill Lynch was one of those recently caught in a DEA operation as they were laundering Colombian cocaine cash through Panama's large financial industry, the one real economic success story of the "occupation by a foreign army." "All they were doing is what almost every bank in Panama does," a local investigative reporter commented. All exactly as predicted when the troops landed to restore the mainly white oligarchy to power and ensure US control over the strategically important region and its financial institutions.
An election is scheduled for May. Far ahead in polls is Perez Balladares, the candidate of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), the party of populist dictator Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega. Balladares was Noriega's campaign manager for the 1989 election that Noriega stole, causing much outrage in the US because he was no longer following Washington's orders; when he was still a "good boy" in 1984, he was lauded by Reagan, Shultz, et al. for stealing the election with considerably greater fraud and violence. Balladares has learned his lessons and should cause no problems.19
Other exercises of "democracy enhancement" in the region proceed on course. In November 1993, Hondurans went to the polls for the fourth time since 1980. They voted against the neoliberal structural adjustment programs that have had the usual consequences. But the gesture is empty; the rich and powerful will permit nothing else. "The voters have no real options for improving their living standards which worsen every day," Mexico's major newspaper Excelsior reported -- familiar with "economic miracles" in its own country. Three-fourths of those who went to the polls "live in misery and are disenchanted with formal democracy." Hondurans' purchasing power is lower than in the 1970s, before the gift of "democracy" was granted by the United States while turning Honduras into a military base for its war against Nicaragua and establishing more firmly the rule of the generals. There are other beneficiaries, the Honduran College of Economists points out: "a group of privileged exporters and local investors linked to financial capital and multinational corporations who have multiplied their capital" in a country where "growing economic polarization is generating ever more evident constrasts, between the rich who do not hide the ostentation of their moral misery and the every more miserable poor." "At least one of every two dollars coming to Honduras has left in the last three years [1991-93] to pay the interest on more than $3 billion foreign debt," Excelsior continues. Debt service now represents 40% of exports; and though almost 20% of the debt was forgiven, it has increased by almost 10% since 1990.20
In March 1994, the "democracy enhancement" project reached El Salvador. The elections conducted in the 1980s to legitimize the US-backed terror state were hailed at the time as impressive steps towards democracy ("demonstration elections," as Edward Herman accurately called them). But with the policy imperatives of those days gone, the pretense has been quietly shelved. It is the 1994 elections that are to represent the triumph of Washington's dedication to democracy.
The elections are indeed an innovation in that at least the forms were maintained, pretty much. "Tens of thousands of voters who had electoral cards were unable to vote because they did not appear on electoral lists," the Financial Times reported, "while some 74,000 people, a high number of which were from areas believed to be sympathetic to the FMLN, were excluded because they did not have birth certificates." FMLN leaders alleged that more than 300,000 voters were excluded in such ways, charging "massive" fraud. The left coalition presidential candidate Rubn Zamora estimated "conservatively" that over 10% of voters were barred. The UN mission downplayed the problems, but independent observers were not convinced. "I used to give them the benefit of the doubt," the official British observer commented, "but it comes to the point when you have to say it is bad faith," referring to the "bad administration" of the election by the governing ARENA party, which received almost half the votes cast, and the UN mission reaction.21
But the irregularities, whatever they may have been, do not change the fact that the elections broke new ground at a formal level. There was no blatant fraud or massive terror; rather, minor fraud against the background of the successful use of terror and repression, with a narrow aspect that received some attention, and a broader and more significant one that did not.
In the 1994 elections, the US naturally supported ARENA, the party of the death squads, a fact understood throughout though denied for propaganda reasons. Partial declassification of documents has revealed that much. It also illustrates once again why documents are classified in the first place: not for security reasons, as alleged, but to undermine American democracy by protecting state power from popular scrutiny. In February 1985 the CIA reported that "behind ARENA's legitimate exterior lies a terrorist network led by D'Aubuisson and funded by wealthy Salvadoran expatriates residing in Guatemala and the United States," using "both active-duty and retired military personnel in their campaigns"; "death squads in the armed forces operate out of both urban military headquarters and rural outposts." The main death squad, the "Secret Anti-Communist Army," was described by the CIA as the "paramilitary organization" of ARENA, led by the Constituent Assembly security chief and drawing most of its members from the National Police and other security forces. The military and police themselves, of course, were the major terrorist forces, carrying out the great mass of the atrocities against the civilian population, funded directly from Washington, which was also responsible for their training and direction.22
As the 1994 elections approached, there was a "resurgence in death squad-style murders and death threats," Americas Watch observed, concluding that "no issue represents a greater threat to the peace process than the rise in political murders of leaders and grassroots activists" of the FMLN, assassinations that "became more frequent, brazen, and selective in the fall of 1993." These "injected a level of fear, almost impossible to measure, into the campaign," enhanced by government cover-ups and refusal to investigate, part of a pattern of violation of the peace treaty, to which we return. The government's own human rights office and the UN Observer Mission reported the "grave deterioration in citizen security" made worse by "organized violence in the political arena." This proceeds against the backdrop of an "astronomical rise of crime in post-war El Salvador," Americas Watch reports, and "reliable" evidence that the army and National Police are involved in organized crime.23
The major political opposition, Rubn Zamora's left coalition, not only lacked resources for the campaign that was virtually monopolized by ARENA, but was "unable to convince supporters or sympathizers to appear in campaign ads because they fear retaliation from the right" (New York Times). Terror continued at a level sufficient to give substance to such fears. Among those who took the threat seriously was Jos Mar!a Mendez, named El Salvador's "Lawyer of the Century" by three prestigious legal associations. He fled the country shortly after, threatened with death unless he convinced the vice-presidential candidate of the left coalition to resign.
Foreign observers were struck by the lack of popular interest in the "elections of the century." "Salvadorans Ambivalent Toward Historic Poll," a headline in the Christian Science Monitor read, reporting fear and apathy, and concern that war will return unless ARENA wins. The abstention rate, about 45%, was about the same as 10 years earlier, at the peak of the violence. A "conservative political analyst" quoted by the New York Times (Hctor Dada) attributed the low participation "to a deliberate disenfranchisment of voters and a sense of apathy among the electorate." As for those who voted, another analyst, Luis Cardenal, observed that "the electorate voted more than anything for tranquillity, for security." "The war-weary populace bought the ruling party's party line, which equated ARENA with security and the left with instability and violence," Christian Science Monitor reporter David Clark Scott added. That is plausible enough. Any other outcome could be expected to lead to revival of the large-scale terror and atrocities.24
These assessments bear on the broader aspects of the successful use of violence. Before the election, church and popular sources attributed the "climate of apathy" to the fact that "hunger and poverty reign among a population whose demands have received no attention, which makes the electoral climate difficult" (Notimex, Mexico).25 In the 1970s, popular organizations were proliferating, in part under church auspices, seeking to articulate these demands in the political arena and to work to overcome hunger, poverty, and harsh oppression. It was that popular awakening that elicited the response of the state terror apparatus and its superpower sponsor, committed as always to a form of "democracy enhancement" that bars the threat of democracy -- by extreme violence, if necessary, as in this case. Here as elsewhere, the programs of the terrorist superpower were highly successful, leading to the "climate of apathy," the search for security above all else, and the general conditions in which "free elections" become tolerable.
Recall the conclusion of Reaganite official Thomas Carothers, who recognizes that the "democracy enhancement" programs in which he was involved "inevitably sought only limited, top-down forms of democratic change that did not risk upsetting the traditional structures of power with which the United States has long been allied," maintaining "the basic order of...quite undemocratic societies" and avoiding "populist-based change" that might upset "established economic and political orders" and open "a leftist direction." Nothing has changed in this regard.
A January 1994 conference of Jesuits and lay associates in San Salvador considered both the narrow and broad aspects of the state terrorist project. Its summary report concludes that "It is important to explore to what degree terror continues to act, cloaked by the mask of common crime. Also to be explored is what weight the culture of terror has had in domesticating the expectations of the majority vis-a-vis alternatives different to those of the powerful, in a context in which many of the revolutionaries of yesterday act today with values similar to the long powerful."26
The latter issue, the broader one, is of particular significance. The great achievement of the massive terror operations of the past years organized by Washington and its local associates has been to destroy hope. The observation generalizes to much of the Third World and also to the growing masses of superfluous people at home, as the Third World model of sharply two-tiered societies is increasingly internationalized. These are major themes of the "New World Order" being constructed by the privileged sectors of global society, with US state and private power in the lead.
3. Rewarding Democracy
A particularly instructive illustration of the democracy enhancement program in the region is Colombia, which seems to have taken first place in the competition for leading terrorist state in Latin America -- and, to the surprise of no one familiar with "sound-bites and invectives about Washington's historically evil foreign policy," has become the leading recipient of US military aid, accompanied by much praise for its stellar accomplishments.
In the March 1994 issue of Current History, Latin Americanist John Martz writes that "Colombia now enjoys one of the healthiest and most flourishing economies in Latin America. And in political terms its democratic structures, notwithstanding inevitable flaws, are among the most solid on the continent," a model of "well-established political stability." The Clinton Administration is particularly impressed by outgoing President Csar Gaviria, whom it is now promoting as next Secretary General of the Organization of American States, because, as the US representative to the OAS explained, "He has been very forward looking in building democratic institutions in a country where it was sometimes dangerous to do so" and also "on economic reform in Colombia and on economic integration in the hemisphere," code words that are readily interpreted.27
That it has been dangerous to build democratic institutions in Colombia is true enough, thanks primarily to President Gaviria, his predecessors, and their fervent supporters in Washington.
The "inevitable flaws" are reviewed in some detail -- once again -- in current publications of Americas Watch and Amnesty International.28 They find "appalling levels of violence," the worst in the hemisphere. Since 1986, more than 20,000 people have been killed for political reasons, most of them by the Colombian military and police and the paramilitary forces that are closely linked to them; for example, the private army of rancher, emerald dealer, and reputed drug dealer Victor Carranza, considered to be the largest in the country, dedicated primarily to the destruction of the leftwing political opposition Patriotic Union (UP), in alliance with police and military officers. The department in which Carranza operates (Meta) is one of the most heavily militarized, with some 35,000 troops and thousands of police. Nevertheless, paramilitary forces and hired killers operate freely, carrying out massacres and political assassinations. An official government inquiry in the early '80s found that over a third of the members of paramilitary groups engaged in political killings and other terror in Colombia were active-duty military officers; the pattern continues, including the usual alliances with private power and criminal sectors.
More than 1500 leaders, members and supporters of UP have been assassinated since the party was established in 1985. This "systematic elimination of the leadership" of UP is "the most dramatic expression of political intolerance in recent years," AI observes -- one of the "inevitable flaws" that make it "dangerous to build democratic institutions," if not quite the danger that the Clinton Administration wants us to notice. Other "dangers" were illustrated at the March 1994 elections, largely bought by the powerful Cali cocaine cartel, critics allege, noting the history of vote-buying in this "stable democracy," the vast amounts of money spent by the cartel, and the low turnout.29
The pretext for terror operations is the war against guerrillas and narcotraffickers, the former a very partial truth, the latter "a myth," Amnesty International concludes in agreement with other investigators; the myth was concocted in large measure to replace the "Communist threat" as the Cold War was fading along with the propaganda system based on it. In reality, the official security forces and their paramilitary associates work hand in glove with the drug lords, organized crime, landowners, and other private interests in a country where avenues of social action have long been closed, and are to be kept that way by intimidation and terror. The Government's own Commission to Overcome Violence concluded that "the criminalization of social protest" is one of the "principal factors which permit and encourage violations of human rights" by the military and police authorities and their paramilitary collaborators.
The problems have become much worse in the past 10 years, particularly during President Gaviria's term, when "violence reached unprecedented levels," the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) reports, with the National Police taking over as the leading official killers while US aid shifted to them. 1992 was the most violent year in Colombia since the 1950s, WOLA reported in early 1993, which proved to be still worse.30 Atrocities run the gamut familiar in the spheres of US influence and support: death squads, "disappearance," torture, rape, massacre of civilian populations under the doctrine of "collective responsibility," and aerial bombardment. The specially-trained counterinsurgency and mobile brigades are among the worst offenders. Targets include community leaders, human rights and health workers, union activists, students, members of religious youth organizations, and young people in shanty towns, but primarily peasants. Merely to give one example, from August 1992 to August 1993, 217 union activists were murdered, "a point that demonstrates the strong intolerance on the part of the State of union activity," the Andean Commission of Jurists comments.31 The official concept of "terrorism" has been extended to virtually anyone opposing government policies, the human rights reports observe.
One project of the security forces and their allies is "social cleansing" -- that is, murder of vagrants and unemployed, street children, prostitutes, homosexuals, and other undesirables. The Ministry of Defense formulated the official attitude toward the matter in response to a compensation claim: "There is no case for the payment of any compensation by the nation, particularly for an individual who was neither useful nor productive, either to society or to his family."
The security forces also murder suspects, another practice familiar in US domains. It is, for example, standard operating procedure for Israeli forces in the occupied territories, passing with little notice among the paymasters, who accept it as routine. Thus, the day before the Hebron massacre of February 25, soldiers fired antitank rockets and grenades at a stone house near Jerusalem, killing one Palestinian and wounding another who were "accused by the army in the slaying of an undercover agent" and other actions, the press casually reported.32
The plague of murder for sale of organs, rampant through the domains of US influence, has not spared Colombia, where undesirables are killed so that their corpses "can be chopped up and sold on the black market for body parts" (AI). It is not known whether children are sold and killed for organ transplants as in El Salvador, where the practice is officially conceded; and according to extensive report, elsewhere in the region.
As Human Rights groups and others observe, the Colombian model is that of El Salvador and Guatemala. The doctrines instilled by US advisers and trainers can be traced back directly to the Nazis, as Michael McClintock documented in an important study that has been ignored. Colombia has also enjoyed the assistance of British, German, and Israeli mercenaries who train assassins and perform other services for the narco-military-landlord combine in their war against peasants and potential social activism. to my knowledge, there has been no attempt to investigate the report of Colombian intelligence that North Americans have also been engaged in these operations, or any notice of it, in the mainstream.
Other similarities to Washington's Salvador-Guatemala model abound. Consider, for example, the case of Major Luis Felipe Becerra, charged with responsibility for an army massacre by a civilian judge, who fled the country under death threats days after issuing the arrest warrant (her father was then murdered). But the warrants were not served, because Major Becerra was then in the United States undergoing a training course for promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel. Returning after his promotion, Lt.-Col. Becerra was appointed to head the army's press and public relations department, despite a recommendation by the Procurator Delegate to the Armed Forces that he be dismissed for his part in the peasant massacre. In April 1993, charges against him were dropped. In October, he was again implicated in a massacre of unarmed civilians. Under the pretext of a battle against guerrillas, troops under his command executed 13 people in a rural area; the victims were unarmed, the women were raped and tortured, according to residents of the area.33
But impunity prevails, as is regularly the case.
The story is that of Central America, Haiti, Brazil, indeed wherever the Monroe Doctrine extends, along with the Philippines, Iran under the Shah, and other countries that share an elusive property.34
Whatever could it be? Whatever it is, we are strictly enjoined not to see it and to learn nothing from it.
A detailed 1992 investigation by European and Latin American church and human rights organizations concludes that "state terrorism in Colombia is a reality: it has its institutions, its doctrine, its structures, its legal arrangements, its means and instruments, its victims, and above all its responsible authorities." Its goal is "systematic elimination of opposition, criminalization of large sectors of the population, massive resort to political assassination and disappearance, general use of torture, extreme powers for the security forces, exceptional legislation, etc..." (State Terror in Colombia). The modern version has its roots in the security doctrines pioneered by the Kennedy Administration, which established them officially in a crucial 1962 decision that shifted the mission of the Latin American military from "hemispheric defense" to "internal security": the war against the "internal enemy," understood in practice to be those who challenge the traditional order of domination and control.
The doctrines were expounded in US manuals of counterinsurgency and low intensity conflict, and developed further by local security authorities. They benefited from training and direction by US advisers and experts, new technologies of repression, and improved structures and methodologies to maintain "stability" and obedience. The result is a highly efficient apparatus of official terror, designed for "total war" by state power "in the political, economic, and social arenas," as the Colombian Minister of Defense articulated the standard doctrine in 1989. While officially the targets were guerrilla organizations, a high military official explained in 1987 that these were only of minor importance: "the real danger" is "what the insurgents have called the political and psychological war," the war "to control the popular elements" and "to manipulate the masses." The "subversives" hope to influence unions, universities, media, and so on. Therefore, the State Terror inquiry observes, the "internal enemy" of the state terrorist apparatus extends to "labor organizations, popular movements, indigenous organizations, opposition political parties, peasant movements, intellectual sectors, religious currents, youth and student groups, neighborhood organizations," and so on, all legitimate targets for destruction because they must be secured against undesirable influences. "Every individual who in one or another manner supports the goals of the enemy must be considered a traitor and treated in that manner," a 1963 military manual prescribed, as the Kennedy initiatives were moving into high gear.
The war against the "internal enemy" escalated in the 1980s as the Reaganites updated the Kennedy doctrines, moving from "legal" repression to "systematic employment of political assassination and disappearance, later massacres" (State Terror). Atrocities escalated. A new judicial regime in 1988 "allowed maximal criminalization of the political and social opposition" in order to implement what was officially called "total war against the internal enemy." The use of paramilitary auxiliaries for terror, explicitly authorized in military manuals, also took new and more comprehensive forms; and alliances with industrialists, ranchers and landowners, and later narcotraffickers were more firmly entrenched. The 1980s saw "the consolidation of state terror in Colombia," the inquiry concludes.35
In its December 1993 study, America's Watch observes that "most of the materiel used by and training provided the Colombian army and police come from the United States," mainly counterinsurgency equipment and training. A study of the "drug war" by the US General Accounting Office in August 1993 concluded that US military officials have not "fully implemented end-use monitoring procedures to ensure that Colombia's military is using aid primarily for counter-narcotic purposes," an oversight with few consequences, considering what falls under the rubric of "counter-narcotic purposes." Washington's own interpretation of such purposes was nicely illustrated in early 1989 when Colombia asked it to install a radar system to monitor flights from the south, the source of most of the cocaine for the drug merchants. The US government fulfilled the request -- in a sense; it installed a radar system on San Andrs island in the Caribbean, 500 miles from mainland Colombia and as far removed as possible on Colombian territory from the drug routes, but well-located for the intensive surveillance of Nicaragua that was a critical component of the terrorist war, then peaking as Washington sought to conclude its demolition of the "peace process" of the Central American presidents (as it did, another fact unlikely to enter history). A Costa Rican request for radar assistance in the drug war ended up the same way.36
>From 1984 through 1992, 6,844 Colombian soldiers were trained under the US International Military Education and Training Program, over 2,000 from 1990 to 1992, as atrocities were mounting. Like their counterparts elsewhere, they were thus able to "gain an appreciation for our value system, specifically respect for human rights, adherence to democratic principles, and the rule of law," as Admiral Larson and Senator Bennett explained. The Colombian program is the largest in the hemisphere, three times that of El Salvador. US advisors are helping build military bases, officially to "increase the battlefronts against the guerrillas and narcotrafficking operations." Four have been constructed, five more are underway, according to the US Embassy. The real targets will be evident from the record elsewhere in the region, or in Colombia itself.
Washington is also supporting the "public order" courts that operate under conditions that severely undermine civil rights and due process. Again, the parallel to El Salvador is obvious. One of the requirements of the UN-brokered peace accord was that the Salvadoran government dismantle the Supreme Court, largely an appendage of the death squad apparatus run by the state and its private sector allies. The agreement was ignored, like the requirement that the National Police, noted for their brutality, be dismantled and replaced by a new National Civilan Police (PNC) that is not under army control and includes the FMLN. "Government figures...show that instead of phasing out the old national police force as called for by the peace accord, it actually has increased by about 2,000 men to 10,500," the Chicago Tribune reported. In further violation of the agreement, the ARENA government in 1992 transferred to the National Police 1,000 members of the Treasury Police and National Guard, which were to be abolished because of their notorious human rights abuses; former members were accepted to training programs for the PNC, "an explicit violation of the accord," Americas Watch notes. The expanding National Police are considered responsible for 35% of human rights violations reported to the UN observers in 1993, "a larger share than any other force," Americas Watch continues, reviewing also a series of other government violations of the accords designed to sustain the terror system, either in official or "privatized" form. "Time is on the side of the government," a UN official observed: it is only necessary to hold out until the UN Mission ends, and then the remnants of the peace accords can be completely scrapped, going the way of the Central American peace accords of 1987.37
Since there is no interest here, El Salvador too proceeds towards a "stable democracy," though with "inevitable flaws," such as those already mentioned.
In July 1989 the State Department submitted a report entitled "Justification for Determination to Authorize Export-Import Act Guarantees and Insurance for Sales of Military Equipment to Colombia for Antinarcotics Purposes," the official cover story. The report states: "Colombia has a democratic form of government and does not exhibit a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." Three months later, the UN Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions, Amos Wako, returned from a visit to Colombia with severe warnings about the extreme violence of the paramilitary forces in coordination with drug lords and government security forces: "There are currently over 140 paramilitary groups operating in Colombia today [which are] trained and financed by drug traffickers and possibly a few landowners. They operate very closely with elements in the armed forces and the police. Most of the killings and massacres carried out by the paramilitary groups occur in areas which are heavily militarized [where] they are able to move easily...and commit murders with impunity. In some cases, the military or police either turn a blind eye to what is being done by paramilitary groups or give suport by offering safe conduct passes to members of the paramilitary or by impeding investigation." His mandate did not extend to the direct terror of the security forces, which far outweighs the depredations of its informal allies.
A few months before the State Department praise for Colombia's humane democracy, a Jesuit-sponsored development and research organization published a report documenting atrocities in the first part of 1988, including over 3000 politically-motivated killings, 273 in "social cleansing" campaigns.38 Excluding those killed in combat, political killings averaged 8 a day, with seven murdered in their homes or in the street and one "disappeared." "The vast majority of those who have disappeared in recent years," WOLA added, "are grassroots organizers, peasant or union leaders, leftist politicians, human rights workers and other activists," over 1500 by the time of the State Department endorsement. Perhaps the State Department had in mind the recent (1988) mayoral campaigns, in which 29 of the 87 mayoral candidates of the UP were assassinated along with over 100 of its candidates for municipal councilor. The Central Organization of Workers, a coalition of trade unions formed in 1986, had by then lost over 230 members, most of them found dead after brutal torture.
Recall also that in 1988, the more advanced forms of "maximal criminalization of the political and social opposition" were instituted for "total war against the internal enemy," as the regime of state terror consolidated. By the time the State Department report appeared, the methods of control it found praiseworthy were being still more systematically implemented. From 1988 through early 1992, 9500 people were assassinated for political reasons along with 830 disappearances and 313 massacres (between 1988 and 1990) of peasants and poor people.39
The primary victims of atrocities were, as usual, the poor, mainly peasants. In one southern department, grassroots organizations testified in February 1988 that a "campaign of total annihilation and scorched earth, Vietnam-style," was being conducted by the military forces "in a most criminal manner, with assassinations of men, women, elderly and children. Homes and crops are burned, obligating the peasants to leave their lands." The State Department had a plethora of evidence of this sort before it when it cleared Colombia of human rights violations. Its own official Human Rights reports attributed virtually all violence to the guerrillas and narcotraffickers, so that the US was "justified" in providing the mass murderers and torturers with military equipment, putting our taxes to good use.
That, of course, was the "bad old days" of 1989, when we were still defending civilization from the Russian threat. Moving to the present, matters become worse, for reasons explained by President Gaviria in May 1992. When questioned about atrocities by the military in the Colombian press, he responded that "The battle against the guerrillas must be waged on unequal terms. The defense of human rights, of democratic principles, of the separation of powers, could prove to be an obstacle for the counterinsurgency struggle."40
During the Bush years, the US Embassy "did not make a single public statement urging the government to curb political or military abuses," WOLA observes, while US support for the military and police increased.41 But now that liberal Democrats have taken over, the Clinton Administration has called for a change in policy towards the Colombian killers: more active US participation. For fiscal year 1994, the Administration requested that military financing and training funds be increased by over 12%, reaching about half of proposed military aid for all of Latin America. Congressional budget cuts for the Pentagon interfered with these plans, so the Administration "intends to use emergency drawdown authority to bolster the Colombia account," Americas Watch reports. Congress, however, is continuing to interfere, taking note of "continuing human rights abuses on a large scale" and imposing conditions on US aid, which the Administration will have to find ways to evade, with the usual formulas and devices. The Senate also urged the Colombian Government to permit Red Cross access to police and detention facilities, which it has generally denied.
The Human Rights organizations (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch) are committed to international conventions on human rights. Thus AI reports open by stating that the organization "works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards." In practice, however, the commitment is skewed in accord with Western standards, which are significantly different. The United States, in particular, rejects the universality of the Universal Declaration, amidst much posturing about our noble defense of the sacred principle of universality and self-righteous denunciation of the "cultural relativism" of the backward peoples who fall short of our exalted standards. The United States has always flatly rejected the sections of the Universal Declaration dealing with social and economic rights, and also consistently disregards, ignores, and violates much of the remainder of the Declaration -- even putting aside its massive involvement in terror, torture, and other abuses.
The Human Rights Groups say little about social and economic rights, generally adopting the highly biased Western perspective on these matters. In the case of Colombia, we have to go beyond these (in themselves, very valuable) reports to discover the roots of the extraordinary violence. They are not obscure. The president of the Colombian Permanent Committee for Human Rights, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Alfredo V squez Carrizosa, writes that it is "poverty and insufficient land reform" that "have made Colombia one of the most tragic countries of Latin America," and are the source of the violence, including the mass killings of the 1940s and early 1950s, which took hundreds of thousands of lives. Land reform was legislated in 1961, but "has practically been a myth," unimplemented because landowners "have had the power to stop it" in this admirable democracy with its constitutional regime, which V squez Carrizosa dismisses as a "facade," granting rights that have no relation to reality. The violence has been caused "by the dual structure of a prosperous minority and an impoverished, excluded majority, with great differences in wealth, income, and access to political participation."
And as elsewhere in Latin America, "violence has been exacerbated by external factors," primarily the initiatives of the Kennedy Administration, which "took great pains to transform our regular armies into counterinsurgency brigades, accepting the new strategy of the death squads," ushering in "what is known in Latin America as the National Security Doctrine,...not defense against an external enemy, but a way to make the military establishment the masters of the game...[with] the right to combat the internal enemy, as set forth in the Brazilian doctrine, the Argentine doctrine, the Uruguayan doctrine, and the Colombian doctrine: it is the right to fight and to exterminate social workers, trade unionists, men and women who are not supportive of the establishment, and who are assumed to be communist extremists."42
It is in this precise sense, no other, that the Cold War guided our policies.
The results are an income distribution that is "dramatically skewed," WOLA observes, another striking feature of the domains of longstanding US influence, from which we are, again, to learn nothing. The top three percent of Colombia's landed elite own over 70% of arable land, while 57% of the poorest farmers subsist on under 3%. 40% of Colombians live in "absolute poverty," unable to satisfy basic subsistence needs, according to a 1986 report of the National Administration Bureau of Statistics, while 18% live in "absolute misery," unable to meet nutritional needs. The Colombian Institute of Family Welfare estimates that four and a half million children under 14 are hungry: that is, one of every two children, in this triumph of capitalism, a country of enormous resources and potential, lauded as "one of the healthiest and most flourishing economies in Latin America" (Martz).43
The "stable democracy" does exist, but as what Jenny Pearce calls "democracy without the people," the majority of whom are excluded from the political system monopolized by elites, more so as political space has been "rapidly closing by the mid-1980s." For Colombian elites, the international funding agencies, and foreign investors, "democracy" functions. But it is not intended for the public generally, who are "marginalized economically and politically." "The state has reserved for the majority the `state of siege' and all the exceptional repressive legislation and procedures that can guarantee order where other mechanisms fail," Pearce continues, increasingly in recent years. That is democracy, in exactly the sense of regular practice and even doctrine, if we attend closely.
No discussion of "democracy enhancement" in the current era can fail to consider Haiti, a sickening story that requires separate treatment, particularly now, when Clinton Administration efforts to undermine Haitian democracy have reached such a sordid level that even his allies are deserting the ship. As of March, the latest revelation of Clintonite deceit on "restoring democracy" to Haiti was the Congressional testimony of Lawrence Pezzullo, the Secretary of State's special adviser for Haiti. Pezzullo was questioned about a plan "portrayed as a Haitian solution spawned by weeks of tough negotiations in Washington among disparate leaders of Haitian society," Christopher Marquis reported in the Miami Herald. The Clinton Administration had strongly supported the plan as the optimal solution, representing Haitian democrats. It harshly condemned Aristide for his intransigence in rejecting the plan -- which, true enough, ignored such minor matters as the return of the elected President to Haiti and the removal of the worst of the state terrorists from power. Pezzullo conceded that the plan had in fact been "spawned" in the offices of the State Department, which selected the "Haitian negotiators" who were to ratify it in Washington. Included among them were right-wing extremists with close military ties, notably Frantz-Robert Mond, a former member of Duvalier's terrorist Tontons Macoute and a close associate of police chief Lt.-Col. Joseph Michel Francois, the most brutal and powerful of the Haitian state terrorists (incidentally, another beneficiary of US training).
"In other words, the operation was a hoax" (Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs), yet another effort to ensure that democracy is "enhanced" in Haiti in the familiar way -- without any "populist-based change" that might upset "established economic and political orders" and open "a leftist direction" (Carothers).44
I'll save until next time the Haitian illustration of the "romantic age" to which we have led suffering humanity.
2 Boston Review, February/March 1994; I am flattered to be the chosen target.
3 Anthony Flint, BG, March 4, 1994.
4 Macfarlane, review of Alexander George, ed., Western State Terrorism, THES, June 26, 1992.
5 On the new revelations, see various articles by John Pilger and Max Stahl, who recently returned from Timor, among them, Pilger, "Horror behind the West's big wink," Guardian Weekly, Feb. 27, 1994. A Pilger film on BBC received wide coverage in Britain and Australia.
6 Reuters, NYT, Dec. 8, 1993. 1965, see my Year 501 (South End), chap. 4.
7 Bennett, letter, Nation, April 1994.
8 Counterpunch (Institute for Policy Studies), Feb. 15, March 15; Nicholas Cumming-Bruce, Guardian, Feb. 16, 1994.
9 Friedman, NYT, March 24, 1994.
10 Maggie Farley, BG, March 7, 1994.
11 Sciolino, NYT, March 8, 1994.
12 Friedman, NYT, March 24; Tony Walker, FT, March 15; Elaine Sciolino, NYT, March 15, 1994.
13 Friedman, NYT, Jan. 21, 23; Tefft, CSM, Dec. 22, 1993.
14 Reese Erlich, CSM, Feb. 9, 1994.
15 Friedman, NYT, March 24, 1994.
16 For details, see my Deterring Democracy (Verso-Hill & Wang, 1991-2), chap. 10.
17 World Briefs, BG, March 16, 1994.
18 See my World Orders Old and New (Columbia, 1994), for sources and details.
19 Central America Report (Guatemala), Feb. 4, 1994; Ropp, "Things Fall Apart: Panama after Noriega," Current History, March 1993. Economist, March 12, 1994. For more on these matters, see Deterring Democracy, chap. 5; Year 501, chap. 4.
20 Manlio Tirado, Excelsior, Nov. 27, 1993; Latin America News Update, Jan. 1994; Env!o (UCA, Managua), Feb.-March 1994.
21 Edward Oriebar, FT, March 22; Howard French, NYT, March 22.
22 For a review of the declassified documents, see Human Rights Watch/Americas (Americas Watch), El Salvador: Darkening Horizons, El Salvador on the eve of the March 1994 elections, VI.4, March 1994.
23 Ibid., for details.
24 Howard French, NYT, March 6, March 22; Gene Palumbo, CSM, Jan. 20; David Clark Scott, CSM, March 18, 22, 1994.
25 Notimex, El Nuevo Diario (Managua), March 20, 1994.
26 Juan Herna'ndez Pico, Envi'o, March 1994.
27 Martz, "Colombia: Democracy, Development, and Drugs," CH, March 1994; Steven Greenhouse, NYT, March 15, 1994.
28 Americas Watch, State of War: Political Violence and Counterinsurgency in Colombia (Human Rights Watch, Dec. 1993); Amnesty International, Political Violence [In Colombia]: Myth and Reality (March 1994). Deterring Democracy, chap. 4.
29 AP, BG, March 14, 1994.
30 WOLA, The Colombian National Police, Human Rights, and U.S. Drug Policy, May 1993. For details on the last three months of 1993, see particularly Justicia y Paz, Comision Intercongregacional de Justicia y Paz, vol. 6.4, October-Dec. 1993, Bogot.
31 Comision Andina de Juristas, Seccional Colombia, Bogot , Jan. 19, 1994.
32 AP, BG, Feb. 25, 1994.
33 AI, Political Violence. Comision Andina, op. cit.
34 McClintock, Instruments of Statecraft (Pantheon, 1992); see Year 501, chap. 10, for some discussion. See Deterring Democracy, chap. 4, on mercenaries.
35 El Terrorismo de Estado en Colombia (Brussels, 1992). On the deterioration of the human rights situation in the 1980s, see also Jenny Pearce, Colombia: Inside the Labyrinth (Latin American Bureau, London, 1990).
36 Deterring Democracy, chap. 4.
37 Nathaniel Sheppard, CT, Jan. 6, 1994. Human Rights Watch/Americas, op. cit. David Clark Scott, CSM, March 23, 1994.
38 Justicia y Paz, cited by WOLA, Colombia Besieged: Political Violence and State Responsibility (Washington DC, 1989).
39 For details on these and other atrocities, and the general impunity, see references cited above and in Deterring Democracy, chap. 4. 1988-1992 estimate, El Terrorismo de Estado en Colombia.
40 WOLA, Colombia Besieged; The Paramilitary strategy imposed on Colombia's Chucuri region (Jan. 1993).
41 WOLA, Colombian National Police.
42 Colombia Update, Colombian Human Rights Committee, Dec. 1989; see Deterring Democracy, chap. 4.
43 WOLA, Colombia Besieged. Children, Pearce, op. cit.
44 Marquis, MH, March 9; Birns, COHA Washington Report on the Hemisphere, March 7; Amy Wilentz, NYT op-ed, March 24, 1994.