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Another Time, Another Terrorism

Short Version: mp3, 3.27 MBs, 3:53

Long Version: mp3, 4.06 MBs, 4:52

[Col. Recorded 5/12/04]

In the wake of the brutalities exposed by the graphic photos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, we have been treated to a plethora of comments from Americans from all walks
of life, but especially from rich and powerful politicians, to the tune of; "That kind of behavior is un-American", or "The acts are not done by Americans," or, as president George W. Bush claimed, "This isn't an America I recognize."

As a rule, it's dangerous to put much stock in the drivel of politicians, yet one wonders, what country do they really think they are living in? Are they brought up on an island, on Martha's Vineyard, perhaps, away from the roiling mainland?

A brief, yet illustrative peek at the American history of violent interventions in much of South and Central America should give us all some insight into what 'America is capable of.'

The history of 20th century Latin America is essentially the history of brutal dictatorships; from Cuba's Fulgencio Batista, Nicaragua's Anastio "Tacho" Somoza, Venezuela's Marcos Perez Jimenez, to the Dominican Republic's Rafael Trujillo, and beyond. What do these brutal military dictators have in common?

All of them were supported by the United States; indeed, all of them were invited to the White House on state visits, received ovations before joint sessions of Congress, and were decorated by the Pentagon with its highest military distinction, the Order of Merit.

They were decorated for denying freedom to trade unionists, agrarian reformers, and civil servants. Their governments were repressive, antidemocratic, and mostly corrupt.

The US response to this wave of repression? Medals.

As for Cuba, the US has waged its longest war against it, as former Colombian diplomat, Clara Nieto has written:

... [I]n March 1959 [US president] Eisenhower ordered the CIA to set into motion "Operation Pluto," an extensive effort to subvert the Revolution and overthrow Fidel [Castro]. Immediately CIA agents began to infiltrate, and terrorist actions and sabotage
in commercial and public centers ensued. Pirate aircraft took off from Florida to drop napalm on Cuban sugar refineries and other important economic targets. And the CIA provided arms, money, and equipment to a counterrevolutionary group that was forming in the mountains of Escambray in the central Cuba. [Clara Nieto, *Masters of War: Latin America and U.S. Aggression* (New York: Seven Stories, 2003), p. 54]

Things were so bad by the 1960s that US president 'LBJ' Johnson would whisper to a close presidential advisor, "We've been running a damned branch of Murder, Inc. down in the Caribbean" [p. 103].

The brutal US-trained, armed, and paid dictators used their militaries, and their police to wage internal wars against their own people, to protect US and national elite profits at all costs.

Using places like what was formerly known as the School of the Americas, at Fort Benning, Georgia, the US trained a vast coterie of torturers, saboteurs, and terrorists. Tens of thousands of workers, peasants, and youth were tortured, imprisoned, exiled and killed by these US-trained attack dogs.

For Latin Americans, the school became known as 'la escuela de golpas' — coup school.

Is there any wonder that with the possible exception of Kennedy, every US president that has visited the region has been greeted, not by bouquets, but by brickbats, protests, and burning US flags? Latin-Americans know that the trail of their suffering, hunger, torture, and pain leads, not to their national capitals, but to Washington, D.C., the capital of the Empire.

They therefore view US claims to freedom, democracy and national independence quite differently from their neighbors to the north.

They are acutely critical when they hear such claims from US lips. They have heard such claims for the better part of a century, and their hard experience has taught them that much of it is a lie.

This is a lesson that Iraqis are beginning to learn. When they hear US occupiers speak of 'freedom', 'justice', 'democracy', and 'human rights', all they will hear is the
Arabic words meaning 'Father of the Stranger': Abu Ghraib.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.