Japanese people have long been revered by the world for their culture, traditions and polite domeanor. But all this glitz and blitz about Japanese culture is just a tarp over the cracks in their culture from where the stink of their decayed morality and rotten human values is seeping out. And now not even this tarp can hide the shameful and disgusting parts of Japanese culture. I am so ashamed to admit that I truly revered certain aspects of Japanese culture. But in last couple of years, my reverence for the Japanese culture has been replaced by a deep seeded feeling of disgust and contempt. And today I don’t even have words to describe what I am feeling right now. I guess at best I can describe as being enraged with hate.
Many of you might have seen the horrible images of Japanese crew slaughtering whales by the hundreds in the South Atlantic. The horrific images of senseless slaughter, of gentle giants of the sea, haunted me for days. For days, whenever I saw colour red, the sight of the sea turned red by the blood of those helpless creatures came back to me instantly. I don’t know the reason for me feeling this way. May be I am abnormally sensitive towards the suffering of animals or it may also be that I don’t have a huge distinction between a human’s suffering and an animal’s suffering. I may be going a little overboard with my belief that a life is a life, it doesn’t matter if it is a human life or an animal’s life. Pain and suffering felt by either is same but it’s just that animals can’t express pain like we are accustomed to recognise. And when this suffering is subjected upon one of the most benign creature of the ocean, it really saddens and enrages me.
The extent of brutality, barbarity and horror that I saw in the Taiji whale and dolphin slaughters was akin to the, the horrendous and unbearable images of Dolphin slaughters at Faroe Islands, Denmark. The shear insensitivity and disregard for another living beings pain and suffering, exhibited by the disgusting and repulsive people of Japan and Faroe Islands shook me to the core of my soul and broke my long believed myth that all humans are good and kind at heart and that every human is worthy of a life. To learn more about Faroe Island Dolphin massacres click here
Whaling is not just a modern Japanese phenomena, rather it had been present in Japanese culture for last 800 years.There is an old and horrific history of whaling in Japan. The active hunting of these gentle mammals of the oceans began in 12th Century and it still continues to this very day. But the industrial scale slaughtering of whales began in early 1890s. When Japanese whalers wiped out the whale population in the Japan’s territorial waters, they began conducting whale hunts in the international waters. Japanese people continued their commercial whaling activities well into the 20th Century, untill International Whaling Commission(IWC) moratorium went into effect in 1986. But if anybody thought that this would stop the Japanese from massacring thousands of whales then they were thoroughly mistaken. After the prohibition on Whaling went into effect, Japanese very conveniently continued the slaughter of whales in the pretext of scientific research. Japan had deliberately added this exception into the agreement with International Whaling Commission as a loop hole to continue whale hunts. To give their unhumane actions a cover of Scientific research, whaling now a days is done officially in the name of a fake entity called Institute of Cetacean Research.
This excuse of a scientific research is so pathetic that you’d have to be mentally retarded to believe it. And for those who believe that this really is the case that Japan is killing whales for some kind of scientific research then I ask them these questions, what kind of scientific research requires killing of thousands of whales? And what kind of institute, after experimenting on the whale, sells it meat in the market? An image released by Australian government showed the Japanese whaling vessel pulling a whale and its 1 year old calf aboard to be slaughtered and processed. Even a mentally retarded person would know that adult females and their young ones should never be killed because that adult whale could bear more calves in coming years and help maintain the whale population. But the dumb Japanese motherfuckers didn’t know this because they were not scientists, they were just butchers.
International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s whaling program(JARPA II) that began in 2005 in Southern Ocean is not for any kind of scientific research but only a cover for killing whales for meat. International Court of Justice directed Japan to cease its whaling program JARPA II. But Japanese people think that they are unique in this world so ruling of International Court of Justice don’t apply to them. So they quite blatantly continued their whale slaughters in the Southern Ocean.
At a time when the hundreds of millions of people all over the world are waking up to the urgent need of conservation and repopulation of wild and marine life, its hard to fathom the mindset of Japanese people who want the whale slaughters to continue. How disconnected from nature someone has to be in order to demand continuance of such atrocious activities? How deprived of empathy one has to be to witness such horrendous slaughters of innocent creatures, and still keep on supporting such crimes against nature and life?
This immoral and unethical defiance by Japan about ignoring the ruling of International Court of Justice to cease whaling and continuing the whale massacres has created a feeling of contempt and disgust towards Japan, throughout the world. Its a testament to the rise of human awareness about the suffering of animals, that several nations all around the world have openly criticised such activities of Japan. Numerous nations, scientists and environmental organizations opposed to whaling consider the Japanese research program to be unnecessary, and that it is a thinly disguised commercial whaling operation.
But even more surprising was the response of Japanese Prime Minister to the calls to stop whaling by international community. He said that annual whaling is sustainable and necessary for scientific study and management of whale stocks and he argued that objections to whaling are based upon international communities prejudice towards Japan because of cultural differences and emotional anthropomorphism. Now I would certainly like to remind mister Prime Minister that it was the same international community who sent you billions of dollars worth of aid, at a time when your country was going through its worst time. You sure swallowed up all that aid without any mention of prejudice at that time. It’s the same international community that opened their hearts to help your country and your people.
But tragically the brutality of the Japanese people is not limited to whales only. “Cove” a 2009 academy award winning documentary revealed the horrific Dolphin hunting practices of Japanese fisherman of the whaling town of Taiji. Documentary showed gruesome heart wrenching scenes of slaughter of hundreds and thousands of Bottle-nose Dolphins near the town of Taiji. Fisherman without even a shred of humanity and empathy slit the dolphins just beneath their heads and then left them to bleed out and die, and the fisherman moved on to the next poor dolphin. And this has been a normal practice in Japan for centuries. I am astonished that a country with such a huge buddhist population can be so brutal and cruel towards animals. Buddha taught to love and respect every living creature equally because everything and every living being in this universe is divine in itself. Japanese people should be ashamed of themselves for bringing shame to the teachings of divine Buddha.
I am a vegan and i have been one ever since I got old enough to comprehend that an animal’s life in no less sacred than the life of a human. When you yourself don’t respect life, then what right do you have to expect others to respect yours. Of all people in the world, I would have guessed that Japanese people would have learned to respect nature and its destructive force by now. I thought that such a huge loss of life due to Ocean’s fury would have humbled Japanese people down and taught them humility.
It has to be mentioned that anti-whaling activists, members of NGOs, conservation groups and especially the Sea Shepherds Conservation Society have to be praised for their efforts towards protecting the whales from the barbaric Japanese whalers. Even a pathetic coward can shoot a harpoon and kill passive sea creatures, but it takes courage and real human values to risk your life in order to protect those same creatures.
Paul Watson is a hero and by risking his life time and time again to protect whales, he has proved that there are still people in this world who are willing to risk their lives in order to save lives of innocent creatures.
It was reported that when Japanese people heard about that anti-whaling activists and members of Sea Shepherds Conservation Society were harassing Japanese Whaling Vessels, the demand for whale meat increased substantially. This in itself is evidence of decaying human and moral value within the Japanese society. When the members of a society demand the slaughter of innocent sea mammals like whales and dolphins, then that in itself signifies the rotten state of humanitarian values and their inability to empathise. I know and I understand that there must be hundreds and thousands of Japanese people who must be doing their best to protest the slaughters of whales and dolphins. And I know it will be many times harder for them to stand up to protest against their own people. As appreciative as I am for their efforts, it doesn’t change the fact that majority of Japanese populations are supporting such atrocities because otherwise it would all have ended long time ago. It’s because of these Japanese people, who still buy whale and dolphin meat that these activities are still continuing.
Although many nations have openly criticised Japan’s shameful activities but in my view only appropriate response that should have been adopted by all countries, has been taken by Australian Government. It is a true testament to the changing times that a country has openly challenged another country on the issue of cruelty against animals.
Due to the proximity to Antarctica, the government of Australia has been particularly vocal in its opposition to Japan’s whaling activity in the Southern Pacific. In 1994, Australia claimed a 200-nautical-mile (370 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around the Australian Antartic Territory, which also includes a southerly portion of the IWC Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. In December 2007, the Rudd government announced plans to monitor Japanese whalers about to enter Australian waters in order to gather evidence for a possible international legal challenge and on January 8, 2008 the Australian government sent the Australian customs vessel Ocean Viking on a 20-day surveillance mission to track and monitor the fleet. On February 7, 2008, the Australian government released photographs of the ICR harpoon ship Yushin Maru killing several different whales, and a mother whale and her 1-year-old calf being taken on board the Nisshin Maru for processing. The Australian government also used that opportunity to reject ICR’s scientific research claims by calling them “without foundation”, and declaring that “You do not have to kill a whale in the Southern Ocean to gain a deeper understanding of it.”
In late 2009, the Prime Minister of Australia restated official objections to Japan’s whaling programs and threatened to take legal action through international courts.
We, if we cannot resolve this matter diplomatically, will take international legal action. I’m serious about it, I would prefer to deal with it diplomatically, but if we cannot get there, that’s the alternative course of action.
Australian PM Kevin Rudd, 2009
INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE(ICJ) AT HAGUE(NETHERLANDS)
The Australian public overwhelmingly supports governmental efforts to stop Japanese whaling, even at risk of losing valuable trade relations. The New Zealand government lodged a “Declaration of Intervention” with the ICJ on February 6, 2013, in which it deemed Japan as ineligible for a Special Permit that would allow whaling on the basis of scientific research.
As a result of the Australian government’s 2010 application, a court case was heard at the ICJ. The hearing ran from June 26, 2013 until July 6, 2013. In its deposition to the ICJ, the Australian government has claimed that Japan “has breached and is continuing to breach” its obligations under the international convention, and further asserted that Japan has refused to accept International Whaling Commission (IWC) recommendations. Solicitor General Justin Gleeson appeared for Australia before the ICJ.
Tony Press, CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre at the University of Tasmania, Australia, provided weekly reports of the ICJ hearings for The Conservation Australia media publication. Following the second week, Press relayed that Japan articulated in certain terms its intentions in the Southern Ocean: “the proper conservation of whale stocks and thus make possible the orderly development of the whaling industry”, further explaining that a whale must be killed to obtain certain types of information, such as the collection of ear plugs to estimate the age of a whale. During the second week, Professor Lars Walløe, of the University of Oslo and a former Norwegian Commissioner to the Whaling Commission was presented by Japan as its sole expert witness.
On March 31, 2014 the ICJ ruled that Japan’s whaling program was not for scientific purposes. The Court ordered that “Japan revoke any extant authorization, permit or licence to kill, take or treat whales” and refrain from granting any further permits. The court’s judges agreed with Australia that the number of Japanese scientific research publications were not proportionate to the number of animals killed. Two former Australian Environment ministers applauded the decision and stated their hopes that Japan will respect it. The decision of the ICJ is final and the right of appeal does not apply in this context. Japan said it would abide by the decision.
On 7th June 2014, Japanese PM quite true to his character totally made a U-Turn on his earlier promises to abide by the ruling made by the International Court of Justice. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe stated that Japan will not only resume its Whaling Expedition but even increase it despite International Court of Justice’s ruling that prohibited Japan from killing any more whales.
JAPANESE FASCINATION WITH DEATH
Japanese culture throughout its history has maintained a dark fascination about death. Whether it be the Samurai ritual of “Harakiri” where a samurai adhering to the Bushido code commits ritualistic suicide by disembowelment or whether it be the “Kamikaze” pilots of Second World War, who deliberately rammed their plane into American Naval Vessels or Suicides committed by thousands of Imperial Japanese soldiers at the end of Second World War. Suicide is a epidemic in Japan even today. Japanese society’s attitude toward suicide has been termed “tolerant,” and in many occasions suicide is seen as a morally responsible action. Public discussion of the high rate of suicide also focuses on blaming the economic hardship faced by middle-aged men. However, the rise of Internet suicide websites and the increasing rate of suicide pacts have raised concerns from the public and media, which consider the pacts “thoughtless.”
In 1703, Chikamatsu Monzaemon wrote a puppet play entitled Sonezaki Shinjuu (The Love Suicides at Sonezaki), which was later re-engineered for the kabuki theater. The inspiration for the play was an actual double suicide which had recently occurred between two forbidden lovers. Several more “double suicide” plays followed which were eventually outlawed by the governing authorities for emboldening more couples to “romantically” end their lives. During Japan’s imperial years, suicide was common within the military. This included suicide when a battle was lost. The samurai way of glory was through death, and ritual suicide was seen as something honorable. Writer Yukio Mishima is famous for his ritual suicide while trespassing on the grounds of the Defence Agency headquarters in Ichigaya.
The cultural heritage of suicide as a noble tradition still has some resonance. While being investigated for an expenses scandal, Cabinet minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka took his life in 2007. The former governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara described him as a “true samurai” for preserving his honour. Ishihara is also the scriptwriter for the film “I Go To Die For You” which glorifies the memory and bravery of the kamikaze pilots in WWII.
So its totally understandable why Japanese people have such a difficulty in understanding why slaughter of whales and dolphins bothers people in the international community so much. A culture that condones and considers act of committing suicide a noble act, cannot truly understand the value of life. When committing suicides become a regular part a society, then at some point that society is bound to become desensitized to death. That would explain how Japanese whalers are able to be so cold hearted during their whale slaughtering campaigns. Disillusionment towards emotions like empathy and sympathy, enables these people to commit such atrocities and still remain blatantly unaffected by it.
The pain and suffering that these people are creating, doesn’t just dies with the creature. It resonates and spreads throughout humanity changing everyone of us, bit by bit. These people are a cancer for humanity who are killing the spirit of humanity from within. After unleashing such pain and suffering on to the world, clueless Japanese people wonder why there are so many suicides in Japan. Everything is in form of energy, especially emotions and when so much pain and suffering is unleashed it will be consumed by some person. Pain and suffering can only cause depression not happiness. So I am not all surprised by the widespread endemic of suicides in Japan.
HISTORY OF ANIMAL ABUSE AND ILLEGAL ANIMAL PARTS TRADE IN JAPAN
If any of you thought that gruesome annual massacres of thousands of dolphins and barbaric whale hunts are the only way that Japanese people are destroying nature, than you were wrong. Japanese people have a long history of animal abuses and of providing support for the illegal animal parts trade. Japan is one of the most detached countries from nature. For decades Japan’s fishing vessels have long been accused of over fishing and ravaging the marine diversity and marine population all over the world
Japan’s very own Fisheries Agency had declared that overfishing of Pacific Bluefin Tuna has ravaged the population of the specie. To allow the Tuna populations to normalise again,the Fisheries Agency proposed halving the international catch of young Pacific bluefin tuna. Fisheries Agency said March 10 that more drastic measures will be required to preserve the population of the fish. In 2012, Japan caught 26,300 tonnes of bluefin tuna and they even considered this to be half of what they were expecting to catch. And the thing to notice is the way Japanese official described why the population of Bluefin Tuna need to be replenished. It wasn’t because Japanese people in their greed ravaged the population of a specie to such an extent that it was on brink of extinction. It wasn’t even for the survival of the species for its natural right to exist in this world. Reason given by the official was this, “more must be done to preserve stocks of the hugely popular sushi item in Japan”.
This explains the kind of mentality Japanese people have towards natural wildlife. For them these creatures are not living breathing inhabitants of this world like them, for them everything is commercial item, endangered creature’s population is stock of the item. It is as if they see the oceans of this world as their personal refrigerator where all their food items are stored in huge stocks. Then how can we even expect empathy from these robots towards wild and marine life.
I recently read about a incident that took place in Tokyo in the last days of World War 2. It was 1945 and US Navy had severed all supply routes of Japan. There was a shortage of food in Japan. But people were still getting by somehow. In 1940s, Tokyo had a well renowned zoo that had more than 1000 animals most of them from foreign lands. Suddenly in 1945, the Japanese government ordered the zoo keepers to poison all the animals and put them down. According to the zoo keeper Haruto Ishida who was in his 90s now, the reason given to him was the shortage of food and there’s just not enough around to feed the animals. Zoo keepers told the authorities that most of the animals eat only grass and shrubs, and they volunteered that they themselves will arrange this foliage for the animals. And for the meat eating animals, they replied that there is enough stock available of rotten meat that is unhealthy for human consumption but animals can consume it without any serious problems. So they explained that none of the animals at the zoo, would require any food from the limited stock of food for the Japanese population. But the reply to Haruto Ishida was to do what he’s been told.
When the news about this broke out among the people of Tokyo, hundreds of children wrote letters to Zoo authorities and even converged on to the zoo to request authorities for not to kill the animals. But sadly within a week, all animals in the Tokyo zoo were killed. Included in those animals was a young elephant called “Shinji” whom Haruto Ishida had reared himself for 17 years. When asked how he felt when Shinji was put down, the 70 year old pain moistened his eyes and he replied “Shinji didn’t die alone that day, a piece of my soul, my best friend and my loving child whom I has raised from the day after his birth, also died with him”.
This incident as sad and as tragic it is, once again reveals the same old Japanese mindset that animals are expendable and their lives don’t matter at all. And it is this belief that is at the core of all animal abuse controversies of Japan.
According to the World Wildlife Fund(WWF) Japan is one of the biggest market of illegal animal parts trade. Approximately 70% of the illegally poached elephant ivory is bought by Japanese buyers. In year 2000, Japan signed a trade deal with the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) for purchase of Ivory from the African countries. But soon demand for Ivory in Japan increased so much that Illegal Ivory trade started flourishing in Japan. Japan had assured CITES that only registered ivory traders would be allowed to sell in Japan. But this was all a lie and soon Japan became an international hub for Illegal Ivory. Anybody is allowed to sell Ivory in Japan and the need to determine the source of the ivory was overshadowed by the increasing demand of Ivory. A number of Asian countries like Thailand, India, Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka have repeatedly appealed to Japan to prohibit the sale of Ivory and to deem it illegal. Japan has refused to do so and today it is the biggest reason why wild African elephants are being killed illegally. Poachers know that they have a permanent market in Japan, where they can easilly sell their ivory, without any trouble. That’s why today, 70% of illegally poached ivory finds its way into the hands of Japanese buyers. Japan’s denial to appropriately address the issue illegal ivory trade , even when it is biggest reason behind increase in illegal poaching of elephants in Africa and Asia, can only be described as tragically disappointing and utterly irresponsible.
And craze of Japanese people about getting animals killed globally is not just limited to elephants. Tigers are also one of the creatures that is on the Japan’s victims list. After China, Japan is the second biggest buyer of Tiger skin, bones and other body parts. Approximately 32% of the global trade of illegal Tiger parts finds its buyers in Japan. The laws in Japan about the trade in body parts of endangered species are at best laughable. Although there is ban on sale of parts of endangered species in Japan, but this ban doesn’t apply to the products not readily recognisable. Meaning sale of tiger bones is illegal but sale of crushed or fragmented tiger bones is legal. Similarly sale of Rhino horn is illegal but if break the horn into smaller pieces than it becomes legal. And same goes for all kind of parts from endangered species. Japan is also one of the top ten countries for supplying shark fins to HongKong and China.
Despite numerous appeals by WWF and Asian countries, Japan has refused to ammend its laws to make sale of every form and kind of body parts of endangered species, illegal.
Japan is one of the biggest instigators of illegal animal poaching worldwide. Risk for every endangered specie in the world is compounded many times because of Japan’s passion for dead animal parts and its denial to erect stricter laws to combat this cancer that is ravaging wildlife populations worldwide. There is something within the culture of Japanese people that desensitises them to the pain and suffering of animals.
But expecting Japan to take steps for the protection of endangered animals would be like tossing a coin and expecting it to land on its edge. It is possible but probability of it happening is 1/6000. But the thing is, you only try to protect those things that you consider valuable to you. Japan is a country, where living creatures are identified as sushi items and their existence in nature as stock of that Sushi item. So expecting much from them is nothing more than a fool’s dream.
People who are capable of things shown in below images, are they even worth to be considered humans?
I think this is a time for a stronger stand on the issue. If Japanese are arrogant enough to go against the ruling of International Court of Justice then that attitude should be reciprocated. All the relief aid being given to Japan for the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the Tsunami should halted immediately. Any and all kinds of food export from Japan should be cancelled immediately. All the UN and Red Cross units stationed in Japan should be immediately withdrawn. And any Japanese vessels conducting whaling expeditions in Southern Ocean and especially within the area of designated Whale Sanctuary should be impounded and all its crew should be placed under arrest. If Japan thinks international laws don’t apply to them then there is no logic in discussing things with them anymore.
We regularly butt heads with each other over minuscule issues. And for the first time we have a noble cause to stand in support of. We have two choices, either we can simply ignore the atrocities committed by Japan which I am sure will be considered a green signal by Norway and Iceland to commence whale hunts of their own or we can unite and take stern stand against the slaughter of whales and dolphins. If government doesn’t possess enough guts to stay defiant that its totally justified that we make a stand of our own. Its our world and they are our animals and we require no permission from anybody to protect what’s ours. If talks won’t persuade the whalers then a proactive measure just might. If it comes to it even sinking the whaling vessels should be considered a worst case scenario action.
How long will be sit by idly while innocents creatures of our natural world are being slaughtered right in front of our eyes. Japan’s PM stated that the whale hunting is sustainable so it should allowed, well human are also sustainable so if tomorrow Mr.Abe says he want to hunt humans because of their sustainability, then would international community act in such a pathetic manner. No it won’t because then the life under threat would be of a human. So its nothing to do with sustainability, fact is Japanese people consider lives of whales and dolphins worthless so it’s perfectly fine for them to slaughter them.
If mankind carries on in this hypocrite manner than that day is not that far in future, when we would have to show a picture of whales to our children to teach them that such a creature really existed once. And it is extinct now because we were waiting for a diplomatic solution while the very last one of whales and dolphins were packed in cans to be placed on shelves of Supermarkets in Tokyo.
Decision is yours…………..
Thomas Jefferson one of the America’s founding fathers, summed up the present day crisis of press and media quite brilliantly in the above mentioned quote. Either there can be absolute freedom or total tyranny. There cannot be, what we nowadays have, a limited freedom. Word “Limited” by itself negates any possibility of freedom. And our every liberty, our every right and our freedom is all limited now a days. We have the freedom of speech but only in some Government allocated places called free speech zones. We have right of peaceably to assemble but if we do assemble then there is a chance that we might beaten senseless by incompetent police officers. We have a right to petition the government for redress of the grievances but there is little chance that government would reply in kind. We have a right to speedy and a public trial, impartial jury and right to get counsel but what we can also be detained indefinitely being termed enemy combatant without any regard to Habeus Corpus.We have a right to get our say in court but we can also be executed by drones or sent to gitmo without anyone knowing what happened to us. So yeah, we have rights but they are at most limited and like Thomas Jefferson said no freedom can be limited without losing it altogether.
We live in a world of contradictions where people wage wars to establish peace, where people fight terrorism by terrorizing others, where we free people from tyrants by bombing their homes and where in the name of freedom we incarcerate others. Nothing in today’s world makes even the slightest sense. This paradoxical world of ours is challenging every ethic, every moral and every belief that we ever held dear to our hearts. This quote by Chris Hedges really hits the nail on the head of this paradoxical world.
“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, press destroys information, religions destroy morality & spirituality and where banks destroy economy”
Some social paradoxes of my own.
“We now live in a world where pharmaceutical corporations create newer and deadlier diseases, where police poses the biggest danger to citizens, where armies besiege us rather than liberating us, where poor are made even poorer and rich even richer and where people who destroyed the economy are paid trillions of dollars.
A lot is wrong in the world today but the one single factor that has tilted the scale towards tyrannical government is press and media. Its not only that news media today are collaborating with government to help it deceive and manipulate us but we also lost one of our main protector against corrupt and injustice. In its golden days news media and press used to send shivers down the spine of politicians. Whenever and wherever journalists came across any injustice and corruption on the part of politicians, they used to blow the covers off that scandal. Journalists were the voice of the underdog, the common man and the unfortunate victim of the system. Journalists and Reporters used to report what they saw and witnessed, rather that reporting what they are told to report. Those people were oozing with journalistic integrity and social responsibility. But sadly those were the days in the past. Today a honest, ethical and genuine journalist is even more hard to find than a needle in the haystack.
In early 1900s, print news or newspapers was the primary source of information about incidents and happenings both locally and internationally. In my view this was the golden period in journalism. Journalists had to work really hard for their stories, all that dedication and effort that they had to put in to write news stories was reflected in the quality of their work. One of the best thing about print media was that journalists had only one way of interacting with people and that was through their columns. So they tried their level best to write a perfect piece to impress the readers. American newspapers like New York Post, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have maintained their circulation in America throughout the last 120 years. Even when electronic media was threatening the existence of many national newspapers, these historic papers continued to not only maintain their circulation but even increased it over the years. Each of these newspapers is the testament to the belief that its the content that sells news not the mode of its delivery.
By 1960, Televisions had replaced newspapers as the primary source of information and global news. And three television networks NBC, CBS and ABC had emerged as the new media giants in United States of America. All three networks were established between 1948-1950. In 1986 a new network called Fox joined the trinity. And with the emergence of cable television many new news channels like CNN, BBC WORLD and SKY NEWS also popped up giving a much needed diversification to the field of journalism. By 2012, DTH Services all over the world consisted of over 36 International news channels and they were available in 16 different languages.
With the onset digitization of news media, many people believed that this will usher in a new era of unadulterated, uninfluenced, true and factual journalism. People thought that competition with so many other news channels will force every news channel to up the ante, in terms of quality of their news. But to the surprise and tremendous shock to the people, exactly opposite happened. Each and every single one of these News channels shamelessly engaged in “yellow journalism”. Yellow journalism is a practice in journalism that features scandal-mongering, sensationalism, jingoism or other unethical or unprofessional practices by news media organizations or individual journalists. Sensationalizing and over-exaggeration has truly become one of the most repulsive practice rampant in news media. But even these degrading practices employed by News Agencies was nothing in comparison to what was about to happen.
By the end of 1999, a new trend started emerging within the News and Media broadcasting. All of a sudden “THE BIG SIX”, the six most powerful media houses started purchasing, merging and took over majority of the News and Entertainment channels in US. Experts say that currently the big six own the 90% of the US media houses. These Big Six Media houses are Comcast, Walt Disney Company, 21st Century & Fox News Corporation, Time Warner, Viacom and CBS Corporation. Below is the table that details how many and what channels are owned by these six Media Giants.
In 1983, there were more than 50 different media companies and today there are just 6. Many wil say so what if there are just 6 Media Corporations? Well, there are many implications of this concentration of power.
During the 80’s and 90’s, there were dozens and dozens of Television Networks and News Channels. This abundance of Channel Networks created healthy although sometimes unhealthy competition between the broadcasters. To maintain and increase their viewership, each and every Network had to be on its A Game all the time. If any Channel let its quality down, even by a little margin, its viewers change to another channel. So simply for maintaining their existing viewership, Networks had to toil hard and make improvements in their programming quality. If most of the channels disappeared from the market and its place stood 6 Media Tycoon Corporations, then eventually it will lead to reduction of quality in its content. With far fewer number of competitors, the existing channels wouldn’t have to worry that much about their viewership stats, as there are not many networks around to steal your viewers.
Concentration of power in media industry also poses great threat to all new media and news channels. Each and every one of these six media corporations possess vast amounts of wealth and wield tremendous power. So it’s not beyond their capabilities to literally destroy any newcomer in the field of News Media by using their resources and powers. For example if a new Channel or News Agency enter the field than, first thing either one of the Big Six would do is that they will try to buy the new competitor. If this doesn’t work then these media houses could use other tactics. To reduce the popularity of the new channel, these big media houses assessed which show of the new channel has the most viewership, then they would start to broadcast their most watched shows at the same time as newer channel’s most watched show. This would reduce the number of people watching newer channel and eventually will lead to its demise.
Concentration of so much power in few hands can even lead to problem at a much wider level. When few entities wield so much power than the possibility of misuse of this power also becomes a possibility. If any strong and powerful entity like government can coerce and force these few media houses to comply with their policies, then government can control and alter whatever they want people to see and completely eliminate what they don’t want you to see. When this happens, TV and News Media becomes a tool of Government propaganda from being protectors of common man from corruption and injustice. And this is precisely what has happened in US Media over the last decade. Most of the media networks in America have become nothing more than mere corroborators of the official story.
The possibility of distortion of events also becomes a probable reality. All of these six media houses are either subsidiary of other Corporation of they themselves have certain subsidiaries which are linked to Military Industrial Complex(Arms Industry). Either these corporations themselves or their subsidiaries have multimillion dollar defense contracts with Department of Defense(Pentagon). General Electric has been one of the constant providers of defense equipment to Department of Defence through this century. GE sold its equipment to US Army in First World War, Second World War, Korean War, Vietnam War, First Gulf War, Invasion of Afghanistan and Invasion of Iraq. Through out this century, the total amount of cost paid to GE by Pentagon is in billions.
And GE like many other Corporations of America have their subsidiaries in almost all of the economic sectors. Recently Comcast and General Electric in a joint ventures purchased NBC, MSNBC, CNBC & NBCSM. Now just imagine, would GE allow its correspondents on NBC, CNBC or MSNBC to report the true details and expose governments corruptions and wrong doings. Would GE risk losing the millions of dollar worth contracts for the sake of Journalistic integrity, I doubt it. So to appease their liaisons in Department of Defense, these big media houses avoid broadcasting any news or story that contradicts government’s position or statement. Imagine if US troops are committing atrocities overseas in Iraq or Afghanistan, do you think these media houses will do a story about it. No, they will never dream about doing it. If the executive producer, director, cameraman and the anchor loves his or her job, they remain miles away from the story at all times.
In 2007, it was revealed that White House had paid millions of dollars to individual journalists and media companies to publish articles, written and approved by White House Staff, under the names of respective journalists. When such articles appeared in newspapers or TV News, they were portrayed as if they were written by journalists. No information was given to inform people that this piece has been done by government. By doing this Bush Administration turned News Media and Press into their propaganda tools.
But if things were bad during Bush Administration then they are appalling now under Obama. Barrack Obama has transformed the whole media core into his personal groupies. Whatever policies and executive decisions Barrack Obama makes, are wholeheartedly supported and cheered by the News Media. From his election campaign in 2007 to 2014, Obama has repeatedly lied to his voters, to Americans and to the World and there is plenty of evidence in terms of videos. In one video Obama promises one thing and in another video, he totally contradicts his own promises. And no, not a single journalist has grilled him over this lying. I guess reporter too don’t want to be gunned down by Apache Gunships.
So they feel rather comfortable repeating whatever Government tells them to repeat. This way they keep their boss happy, their Corporation happy, Government happy and they might also make some extra cash for it so they are all hunky dory. But what they are not noticing is that there small acts of hypocrisy are pushing our the society a bit by bit into helms of tyranny. Because their every small act of corroboration with the Government is helping tighten the grip of this corrupt government on our freedom.
But the worst kind of jokerists(a person who should have been a joker but became a journalist) are those who neither possess any talent nor any characteristic of being a news host. Yes, I am talking about that foul mouth, talentless, irritating and pathetic piece of shit Bill O’Reilly. Kind of attitude that he shows in his shows is a pathetic attempt of faking that he has a conscience. Shouting at his guests, if they contradict his idiotic and moronic ideas is the most irritating thing about him. It really makes you want to poke both of his eyes with freshly sharpened pencils.
Another great jokerist in the world of media is Anderson Cooper. This pretentious stains on the flag of journalism isn’t as irritating and unbearable as Bill O’Reilly but he have his share of unique qualities instead, that will make you pull your hair out. Anderson Cooper has a really unique style of reporting. When he starts his story, he really makes you feel that he is going to tear a new one for the Government. Then he re-affirms this feeling by showing some evidences of wrongdoing on the part of Government. Then when you are eagerly waiting for the tear sound, he brings in some federal asshole and end up agreeing to whatever bullshit he told. And you end up feeling like you have been violated and betrayed. For relief do what I do( go into your room, play some music at high volume and just let yourself go and dish out as many abuses and curses you can in the name of Anderson Cooper). No one knows what’s going on inside that silver head of Anderson Cooper.
Another great rant queen of the media is Rachel Madcow Maddow. She seems to believe that the world is spinning because she gave it a good spin early this morning. A prime example of a person suffering from narcissistic disorder syndrome. Whatever she says and no matter how ridiculous it sounds, you have to agree with her. She doesn’t take disagreements with her guests very well. She has to have a last word and for that she tries everything. She loves to insult other people based on their ideologies and believes and her favourite people for doing this are the conspiracy theorists. There is a lot of difference between knowing what to do & doing it and looking others do it & then do it. She is easilly one of the least talented talk show hosts in the mainstream media today and I bet she will remain as such for quite time. But there are certain individuals who don’t care about what their producers think or what is their channels policy. They say what’s on their mind and do it without constraints.
One such individual is Bill Maher. During one of his shows Politically incorrect he made a controversial remark that lead to the cancelation of his shown from ABC Netework. On the show Bill Maher was conversing with Political activist Dinesh D’Couza, when he asked Dinesh about the statement of George W Bush that the 9/11 Hijackers were cowards. To this Dimesh D’Couza replied that he didn’t believe so because it takes a lot of courage to see death up ahead and still move ahead to meet it. Then Bill Mahet replied that “it’s we Americans that are coward. We fire cruise missiles from thousands of miles away to kill people and use unmanned drones to kill people in Afghanistan and Pakistan by controlling it via satellite from a base in America. We kill people in Middle East by the press of a button from here America, its us who are cowards”. This created a lot of scandal and and eventually forced ABC Netwok to cancel his show. But admit it or not there is a lot of validity in what he said.
The show was canceled on June 16, 2002 and the Sinclair Broadcast group had dropped the show from its ABC-affiliated stations months prior. On June 22, 2002, just six days after the cancellation of Politically Incorrect, Maher received the Los Angeles Press Club president’s award (for “championing free speech”). In 2003, Maher became the host, co-producer and co-writer of Real Time with Bill Maher, a weekly hour-long political comedy talk show on the cable network HBO. HBO announced in July 2011 the show had been renewed for its tenth season (2012) and is currently in its 12th. During an interview, Maher told Terry Gross that he much prefers having serious and well-informed guests on his program, as opposed to the random celebrities that fleshed out his roundtable discussions on Politically Incorrect. Bill Maher’s show “Real Time” gives a quite refreshing touch to the serious topic of Geo-politics. Its funny, its entertaining and its all at the expense of our corrupt and megalomaniac politicians, so it’s all good.
As good as Bill Maher is doesn’t change the fact that he too is not immune to stupidity. He has also made some really stupid remarks over the years, which have got him in a world of trouble. But overall he speaks what he thinks and that’s rarity these days in media where even weather forecasts have to be Pentagon approved. And this issue was quite hilariously proved by Conan O’Brien in his video, in which more than a dozen different news reporters from all over United States are shown repeating the same line about Valentines day and that too word to word. You can watch the clip from the URL (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44ojS4UNn8I)
Another new guy had popped up recently to fill in the humongous shoes of Larry King. And to fill Larry King’s prime time spot for a five days a week show, CNN hired a British Actor turned Talk show host Piers Morgan. All looked well until he touched a delicate issue that even many American politicians are afraid of touching. Piers Morgan in all his condescending attitude started a campaign against the second amendment that is right to bear arms. If Piers Morgan was expecting a surge in his viewership numbers, then there was no doubt that he had the attention of people on him now.
Americans don’t even like their own chosen politicians to speak against the Second Amendment, now you can imagine how they would have reacted to a Brit not just debating but also challenging the validity of your constitutional rights. And as expected soon Piers Morgan and Alex Jones were locking horns. Jones being an avid supporter of 2nd Amendment created quite a ruckus at Morgan’s, when he was invited as a guest to debate the issue of 2nd Amendment with Morgan. It was quite a spectacle watching Alex Jones going on his trademark ranting expedition while Piers Morgan with all his condescension was trying to make Alex Jones appear like a blabbering buffoon. After some time CNN citing his unpopularity amongst American people cancelled his show and sent him packing back to Britain. His departure from America was welcomed by all. Piers Morgan lacked even the basic skills that any talk show host must possess and that is to respect everyone’s view even if you are against it. But Morgan’s condescending and patronising attitude did exactly opposite to what he was supposed to do. In his self proclaimed superiority he was much more interested in ridiculing others and making them appear as total fools. Well I guess he must have learnt by now who the fool was.
The decay of moral and ethical values in present news media has really made people lose their trust in Main Stream Media, so now people are looking for some alternate form of media that can inform them accurately without any control of government over the content. And one of the big source of Alternate News Media is internet. This crisis in mainstream media has really turned out to be a blessing for some alternate media websites. If you are looking for a print media with quality editorials then I suggest you to try Drudgereport.com, it is a good no nonsense quality journalistic website. If you are looking for video, that there are plenty of them on YouTube. AMTV is a good channel on YouTube and it provides good analysis of the current global and domestic policies of the Obama administration.
But this surge of traffic towards alternate media has also gave ample opportunity to some other really dubious individuals. They would have remained unnoticed by the world if it hadn’t been for the fall from grace of mainstream media. One such individuals that gained popularity and viewership all over the world is Alex Jones. His websites PrisonPlanet.com and InfoWars.com have quite a following in America and even in rest of the world. Many people like him because he is willing to tell things that many other conventional media people would consider conspiracies or nut news. From the rising of New World Order to the poisoning of drinking water with Fluoride. Like any other media person Alex Jones too has a lot of qualities and many drawbacks.
Good thing about Alex Jones is that he is not afraid of ridicule, because of that he is able to cover even those topics that most main stream media people won’t even mention in a sentence let alone discuss it. Alex Jones speaks freely and he doesn’t play around with words, whatever he wants to say, he says it. Abuses, insults and even curses, he tells all bare to its reality. But sadly his qualities are much more minuscule in comparison to his drawbacks. One thing that you’ll notice about Alex Jones is that he has chronic ego inflation problem. He never shies away from praising himself and his good, bad and the ugly deeds. How many people do you see on TV these days who constantly praise themselves reminding each of their achievements atleast a dozen time in a one hour show? None, because this kind of people are intolerable so they are never even allowed near a camera let alone be on it. If someone praises himself once or twice, then you might assume that he is just joking. When he says 4-5 times then you can assume, may be he doesn’t know when to stop joking. When that person praises his achievements 7-8 times, you think what’s the problem with this guy. And when he does it a dozen times than you should ask why the hell are you still watching that nut job. It’s the same kind of deal with Alex Jones.
Another thing that Alex Jones is known for is his narcissistic personality. Like Rachel Madcow Maddow, Alex Jones too thinks he is always right, whatever anybody is saying today he says he told that 15 years ago. Although there might not be any evidence to support his claims but he claims it none the less. If you and Alex Jones are talking and you say that Apple is red, then you can bet your life on it that Alex Jones won’t agree with you. He will say something like this”no that’s not red, that’s just a reddish hue which makes you think that it is red. I saw an Apple fifteen years ago. And believe me that Apple was red, this apples redness is nothing in comparison to what that Apple had”. He is this kind of desperate guy who just can’t accept anyone else being right.
I don’t know what’s the deal with him. He says or should I say he beats the drum and announces that he is true patriot and is fighting against the elites to free mankind from its grip but he just doesn’t look like he is on no big power broker’s side. Another thing that is quite apparent about Alex Jones is that he has successfully turned this fear of New World Order into quite a lucrative business. From a lung cleanser to water fluoride filter, Alex Jones has some product that he is selling related to every conspiracy theory out there. Whether he is is working alone or not that’s another matter, but if Alex Jones can control his self praising idiocies and may be overact a little less than he could very well become the journalist who would bridge the ideological gap between a conventional journalist and a conspiracy theorist.
Media and News Channels that were once an ally of humanity and its protector from tyranny and injustice. But sadly lust of power and money have corrupted what was once a noble profession. But there are still some people still keeping the true spirit of journalism alive in their hearts and it is these people we need to support and praise, so that they can become an important voice in th media . And its these important voices that we are lacking today.
Alternative media has given a platform to many courageous people who were totally ignored or more accurately avoided and sidelined by the plague ridden main dissenting media, just because they speak the truth rather than kissing the ass of the government and globalists. And these brave individuals like Gerald Celente, Webster Tarpley, Max Keiser and David Icke have really done an unbelievable job of educating people about the danger humanity is facing today. It is because of people like them that there is an awakening happening all over the world and people are waking up to the fact that they are being enslaved by their own governments at the behest of the globalists. The impact of the alternate media on public is quite evident from the increased awareness of people about things that were completly unknown just few years.
Take the example of the infamous Bilderberg group. Bilderberg Group is a highly secretive club that holds a meeting annually attended by about 150 members. Out of these, 50 people are permanent members and they attend every yearly meeting. Remaining 100 people are honorary members who participate in the meeting strictly on invitation basis. List of these 100 honorary members changes every year as many people who attended previous years meeting might not be invited to this years meeting and in their place new people are invited each year. All the members of this illustrious group (both core and honorary) include European Royalty (Dutch, British, Belgian, German and French), CEOs of some of the biggest Corporations in the world, extremely influential Politicians from all over the world, Government representatives and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media. The Bilderberg group holds an annual conference in which they finalise their agenda for the next year that will bring them a step closer to realising their dream of a one world government.
This group was formed on 29th May 1954, by Prince Bernhard(Lippe-Biesterfield) of Netherlands, Józef Retinger(Exiled Polish Politician), Paul Van Zeeland(Former Prime Minister of Belgium), Dutchman Paul Rijkens(Head of Unilever in 1954). After further discussions with Walter Bedell Smith(Head of CIA) and Charles Douglas Jackson(Advisor to US President Eisenhower) an invitation list was finalised. Fifty delegates from 11 countries in Western Europe were invited to attend the first conference, along with 11 Americans. These first attendees of the meeting later became the permanent members of the group. First conference took place from 29th May to 31st May 1954 at Hotel De Bilderberg* in Oosterbeek, Netherlands.(*name of group was derived from, nobody yet known the official name of the group)
From 1954 to 2004 this group of most wealthy and powerful men in the world conducted fifty highly secretive annual meetings behind closed doors in over 15 different countries. And yet not a single mention of the group ever came out in the public media. Reason for this was that among the fifty core members of the group were individuals who owned nearly 90% of the western media whether it be TV or Print media. This kind of power and authority allowed the members of this group to keep their existence in the dark for the rest of the world. First major public mention about Bilderberg Group was done by Jim Tucker, Phyllis Schlafly, Lyndon La Rouche, Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura in 2004. And courtesy of the alternative media, information about Bilderberg Group spread throughout the world like forest fire and this why they are trying so hard to shut it off or atleast control it.
And if you were thinking that only some royal families and business people were involved in it than you would be wrong. Even many existing head of states have been witnessed arriving at the annual conferences. For example Hillary Clinton was seen arriving on 2nd May 2012, at the Westfield Marriot Hotel at Chantilly, Virginia. She was still serving as US Secretary of State at the time, so question arises that what was she doing meeting with foreign leaders secretively behind closed doors where no press was even allowed to enter. And she is not the only politician who is involved with this evil cabal of powerful individuals. Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Condoleza Rice, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Colin Powel, Henry Kissinger are just some of the US politicians who are the honorary members of the Bilderberg Group.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a tacit admission during a U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities committee meeting in 2011, arguing that the State Department needs more money to bribe journalists and get a tighter grip on what media reports because the US military-industrial complex is “losing the information war to the likes of Russia Today and Al Jazeera due to the US corporate media having completely abandoned the real news”.“We are in an information war and we are losing that war,” warned Clinton, in a bid to rustle up more money to fund propaganda to compete with foreign news media, sending a clear message that stations such as Russia Today, which regularly provides a platform to the likes of Alex Jones, Max Keiser, Wayne Madsen, Paul Craig Roberts and Webster Tarpley, are winning the infowar against the globalists.
“Our private media, particularly cultural programming often works at counter purposes to what we truly are as Americans,” said Clinton, alluding to the fact that US television has now reached such a lowest common denominator level that it is harming the very fabric of society.
Of course, Clinton, a CFR member and a leading globalist, couldn’t care less about harming the fabric of society, but she is obviously panicked about the fact that the US corporate media is now so distrusted and disparaged that it is rapidly losing its value to the Globalist Elite as a vehicle through which to sell wars and hoodwink the public into swallowing official explanations behind staged crises that are used to eviscerate their freedoms and livelihoods.
It’s clearly evident from Hillary Clinton’s bold public statement, that alternative media is a matter of big concern for the globalists. So, these people will try all they can to either control the flow of information and if not then shut it off completely. This is where battle lines have been drawn and this is where the fate of mankind’s last weapon of free information and knowledge will be decided and entire future of mankind might very well depend on the outcome of this struggle.
We as humans were given our rights by our creator. No government and nor any individual can grant or take our rights away. Our right to speak our mind, our right to fight against oppression and tyranny, our right to make needed changes to our society , our right to oppose corrupt leadership and our right to protect ourselves and our loved ones, these are all unalienable rights that are embedded within our existence. Knowledge and information is the mortar that holds the foundation of human civilisation together. Each generation of mankind right from the days of our cave dwelling, learned new things from experience and observation and then passed on that knowledge to the next generation and then that generation did the same. Hundreds and thousands of generation later, all the accumulated knowledge from all those generations is what we call our culture and our civilisation.
Never in human history had our excess to information ever been curtailed like it is today. The whole essence of human existence is being challenged by denying us our right to information and knowledge. When any civilisation looses its grip on reality and its connection to the present times then this can tend amount to an invitation to destruction. And if we don’t want to end up like those numerous civilisation that came before us and fell to the flow of time, then we have to reclaim our connection to the present. And that can only be achieved by breaking all the shackles that our government has tied our intellect down with. Because only a free and informative populous can preserve a free republic.
Major General Smedley.D.Butler of United States Marine Corps wrote in his book “War is racket”:
“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small ‘inside’ group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.”
Nobody could have ever imagined how right was Major General Butler, when he wrote this book in 1935. Society was not as much resilient and proactive as it is today. These were the years when nobody had any doubts about what their government told them. In those days people believed that Presidents don’t lie, especially to the public and it was precisely this naive and gullible attitude that resulted in deaths of over 420,000 young Americans in Second World War. Manipulation and exploitation of civilians have always been an integral part of any Politician’s arsenal of weapons. Renowned Psychologist Sigmund Freud once stated “Thought process of the civilian populations is like a glass. If you try to bend it with force then it will break and you will end up cutting your hand in the process. But if you heat the glass up and then gently apply force to it, it will bend with ease”. What Freud meant was that public perception cannot be dictated by force, because it will result in Public revolting against the dictator. But if you successfully create artificial crisis within the society and to solve this crisis public would have to agree to your original plan of action”.
This process is also called Problem-Reaction-Solution. First you create a problem for the public, then you wait for the public to react to this problem and when public becomes desperate enough to do anything to solve this crisis, you come and apply the solution or changes that you had always intended to.. But now you can not only implement your desired changes but also win admiration of the public for solving the crisis. This is one of the favorite method of Politicians for manipulating and altering the perception of public. Government of United States of America has time and time again lied to its citizens, in order to manipulate them into supporting some of the most controversial and outright immoral decisions. For example Americans would never have allowed such high expenditures on weapon developement had US government not scared them to death by lying about the level of communist threat posed by Soviet Union towards USA. For 45 years, US government continuously hounded its citizens with an over-exaggerated threat that Soviet Union posed post-Second World War years.
By a well designed propaganda campaign, US government brainwashed American citizens into really believing that Soviet Union was a real threat to the American people. And this perceived threat from USSR really quadrupled after Russia successfully tested its first nuclear bomb in 1954. Reality was totally opposite. After Second World War, Russia was in ruins. Every major city and town had been leveled to the ground by Nazi bombings. Russia’s most important industrial hub Stalingrad was completely obliterated. Famine of 1921 and the war had claimed over 60 million Russian lives. So not only was their economy in tatters but even work force had fallen tremendously. And to assume that a country going through such hardship would still be able to attack the world’s lone superpower on the other side of the world would be utterly ludicrous. Government persuaded US citizens that to keep US secure from Soviet threat we have to increase our military strength and defense capabilities and tragically people went along with it. And this is how US government kept spending nearly 50% of its GDP on weaponisation.And these high expenditures helped to create and sustain the Military Industrial Complex. Had US citizens demanded from their government to stop spending money on weapons and instead spend it on the developement of social, economical and educational sectors, then may be America would not have been in the kind of economic collapse that it is in today. Its hardly an understatement when i say that our leaders have become the masters of deception, when it comes to their abilities of coercing, manipulating and influencing the thought process of the masses into a state that is beneficial for their cause. Now lets discuss some historic and monumental lies, that US Presidents have told American people over the years, which in effect has changed the course of America’s future.
WOODROW WILSON AND THE SINKING OF LUSITANIA
RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner, holder of the Blue Riband and briefly the title of world’s biggest Ship. She was launched by the Cunard Line in 1906, at a time of fierce competition for the North Atlantic trade. As German shipping lines tended to monopolise the lucrative passage of continental emigrants, Cunard responded by trying to outdo them for speed, capacity and luxury. Lusitania and her running mate Mauretania were fitted with revolutionary new turbine engines, able to maintain a speed of 25 knots. Equipped with lifts, wireless telegraph and electric light, they provided 50% more passenger space than any other ship, and the first class decks were noted for their sumptuous furnishings. The year was 1915, and Europe was completely engulfed in the first war to be fought at a global stage, the very First World War. Britain and Germany were locking horns on a daily basis. The military strength and technological advancement of Germany was proving out to be little too hot to handle for the United Kingdom. United Kingdom and its allies were on the verge of collapse. But American public was not all interested in risking their lives for saving Britishers, whome they themselves were fighting against 140 years ago. Both England and France were substancially disliked by the Americans because of the roles that these two countries played during the Colonial years of America.
AMERICAN AID TO UNITED KINGDOM
So US President decided to send military, monetary and logistical aid to Britain and France. But by 1915, German submarines the infamous U-Boats had a huge presence in the Atlantic Ocean and were monitoring the sea traffic to and from America. Out of every 100 Supply ships sent to Britain, only 30 were reaching Britain. This was becoming a matter of huge concern for US President Woodrow Wilson, he knew that if destruction of supply ships continued then he won’t be able to hide this operation from American public anymore. To safeguard the vessels supplying aid to Britain, a new plan was formulated. To avoid being attacked by German U-Boats, USA and UK decided that from now on they would used unmarked civilian ships especially large cruise liners to send supplies to Britain.
This solution worked perfectly for sometime. An international law known as Cruiser Rules, prohibited any kind of attack to be launched at a civilian vessel by the Naval vessels of any nation. Hence whenever any German U-Boat spotted a civilian ship on its way within UK and US, they stood down. But Germany was well known for their Intellegence gathering abilities, German spies were literally everywhere in Britain. So it didn’t take much time for them to realise what was happening. Soon Germany realised that US was supplying weapons and ammunition to Britain by transporting them in civilian vessels. Using civilian vessels to transport military weapons and personnel was itself an illegal activity according to Cruiser Rules. Hence U-Boats started attacking and sinking American and British Vessels which were transporting weapons and ammunitions to Britain.
ZIONIST PLAN TO DRAG AMERICA INTO THE FIRST WORLD WAR
Soon, Britain was once again crippled by the German Navy and as a result British troops fighting in Europe were at the verge of defeat. At this point seeing that Britain was desperate, a group of German Zionist Jews approached Britain and presented a proposition to them. These Zionist Jews assured Britain that they could make America enter the war, but in return they wanted Britain to handover Palestine to them. Majority of the Middle East was under British rule so they agreed to the demand. As most other international industries, a significant proportion of shipping industry was owned by Zionist Jews. These were the same guys who owned most Multinational Corporations. These people were the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, Morgans, Carnegies and Warburgs. Amongst themselves these families owned 70% of the world’s wealth. And they owned Cunard Line Shipping Corporation also. These people collaborated with US President Woodrow Wilson who was their agent in America. After all it was Wilson who helped this Banker Elite to take control of US currency and economy when he helped them setup private owned Federal Reserve as the Central Bank of America in 1913
By this time German Navy had already identified Lusitania as a transport ship which was being used to deliver weapons and ammunition to Britain. During last three journeys between New York and Liverpool, Lusitania had traveled along side upto 5 destroyers and other naval vessels to protect it from U-Boat attacks. US Navy vessels provided protection to Lusitania upto 8 miles outside of British waters because British Waters had been declared warzone by Germany. British Royal Navy provided protection to Lusitania the remainder of its journey. Britishers knew that U-Boats were present in and around British Isles. So they ordered Naval Destroyers not to join up with Lusitania after US Navy Ships had turned back.
SINKING OF LUSITANIA
On 17 April 1915, Lusitania left Liverpool on her 201st transatlantic voyage, arriving in New York on 24 April. A group of German–Americans, hoping to avoid controversy if Lusitania was attacked by a U-boat, discussed their concerns with a representative of the German Embassy. The embassy decided to warn passengers before her next crossing not to sail aboard Lusitania. The Imperial German Embassy placed a warning advertisement in 50 American newspapers, including those in New York. This warning was printed adjacent to an advertisement for Lusitania’s return voyage. The warning led to some agitation in the press and worried the ship’s passengers and crew. Lusitania departed Pier 54 in New York on 1 May 1915. On 7 May Lusitania was nearing the end of her crossing, as she was scheduled to dock at the Prince’s Landing Stage in Liverpool later that afternoon. She was running parallel to the south coast of Ireland, and was roughly 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale when the liner crossed in front of U-20 at 2:10 p.m. It was sheer chance that the liner became such a convenient target, since U-20 could hardly have caught the fast vessel otherwise. Schwieger, the commanding officer of the U-boat, gave the order to fire one torpedo, which struck Lusitania on the starboard bow, just beneath the wheelhouse. Moments later, a second explosion erupted from within Lusitania’s hull where the torpedo had struck, and the ship began to founder in a much more rapid procession, with a prominent list to starboard. Almost immediately, the crew scrambled to launch the lifeboats but the conditions of the sinking made their usage extremely difficult, and in some cases impossible due to the ship’s severe list. In all, only six out of 48 lifeboats were launched successfully, with several more overturning, splintering to pieces and breaking apart. Eighteen minutes after the torpedo struck, the bow struck the seabed while the stern was still above the surface, and in a manner similar to the sinking of Titanic three years earlier, the stern rose into the air and slid beneath the waves. Of the 1,959 passengers and crew aboard Lusitania at the time of the sinking, 1,195 lost their lives that afternoon in the waters of the Celtic Sea. Just as had been seen with Titanic, most of the casualties were from drowning or from hypothermia. In the hours after the sinking, acts of heroism amongst both the survivors of the sinking and the Irish rescuers who had heard word of Lusitania’s distress signals brought the survivor count to 764. By the following morning, news of the disaster had spread around the world. While most of those lost in the sinking were either British or Canadians, the loss of 128 Americans in the disaster, including American writer and publisher Elbert Hubbard, outraged some in the United States.
The sinking caused an international outcry, especially in Britain and across the British Empire, as well as in the United States, considering that 128 of 139 US citizens aboard the ship lost their lives On 8 May Dr Bernhardt Durnburg, a German spokesman published a statement in which he said that because Lusitania was carrying weapons & ammunitions and also because it was classed as an Auxillary naval vessel, Germany had a right to destroy her regardless of any passengers aboard. Dernburg further said that the warnings given by the German Embassy before Lusitania departed from New York clearly points to the fact that all probable passengers were informed about the risk they would face if they decided to travel on it. Lusitania was indeed officially listed as an auxiliary war ship,and her cargo had included an estimated 4,200,000 rounds of rifle cartridges, 1,250 empty shell cases, and 18 cases of non-explosive fuses, which was openly listed as such in her cargo manifest.
The day after the sinking, the New York Times published full details of the ship’s military cargo. Later it was revealed that the 1250 boxes containing empty shells were in fact 1248 boxes of filled 3″ shell, 4 shells to the box, totalling 103.000 pounds or 50 tonnes. Assistant Manager of the Cunard Line, Herman Winter, denied the charge that she carried munitions, but admitted that she was carrying small-arms ammunition, and that she had been carrying such ammunition for years. The fact that Lusitania had been carrying shells and cartridges was not made known to the British public at the time.
PLAN FALLS APART
The British Government as they were assured by their Zionist collaborators felt that the Americans had to declare war on Germany. But the real issue that Wilson was facing in America was that somehow information about British Government’s deal with Zionist Jew lobby had been leaked within the US Congress. And numerous congressmen had connected the dots and realised the role Woodrow Wilson had been playing in this conspiracy. These Congressmen had warned Wilson that if he tried to get Congressional authority to enter the war than they would blow the cover off this conspiracy which would have meant a certain end of Wilson’s Presidency. So Wilson continued to insist that the German government must apologise for the sinking, compensate US victims, and promise to avoid any similar occurrence in the future. The British were upset at Wilson’s actions – not realising that it reflected the bind Woodrow Wilson was in at that time.
Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigned because he felt the Wilson administration was ignoring Britain’s actions which were in contravention of the International Law and that Wilson was deliberately leading the USA into the war. Jennings’s resignation raised even more doubts about the Woodrow Wilson’s real motives and about his already wavering integrity and morality as the President of United States of America. At this point Wilson realised that any decision regarding America’s involvement in the war would become the last nail in the coffin of his Presidency. So he had no other choice but to wait out the storm.
WOODROW WILSON GETS WHAT HE WANTED
In August of 1915, Woodrow Wilson, British Ambassador Sir Cecil Spring Rice and Zionists met in a meeting in Washington DC. During this meeting a systematic plan to generate public support for entering the war was finalised. In this plan several psychological elements like Propaganda and raising the fear factor were to be utilised upon Americans to manipulate them into supporting America’s entry into the war. And during this operation a Psychological Operation called The Zimmermann Telegram turned out to be most effective. The Zimmermann telegram was a fake 1917 diplomatic proposal portrayed as having sent by Foreign Secretary of German Empire Arthur Zimmermann for Mexico. In this fake telegram Zimmermann had urged Mexico to join the Central Powers, in the event of the United States entering the war on the side of the Entente Powers. The proposal was presented as if it was intercepted and decoded by British intelligence. The plan worked perfectly as the revelation of the message outraged American public opinion.
President Woodrow Wilson quickly siezed the opportunity and moved to arm American merchant ships to defend themselves against German submarines which he announced were attacking US Merchant Ships regularly now. Wilson had previously tried to get Congressional approval for weaponising American Merchant Vessels once. But his proposal at that time was blocked by the same anti-war Congressmen who upto now had successfully halted Wilson’s plans to shove America into the war. In the wake of the Zimmermann Telegram controversy, Wilson siezed his opportunity and once again proposed weaponising of US Merchant ship citing their necessity to be able to defend themselves against German U-Boats which he said were attacking every vessel now. This announcement together with the Zimmerman Telegram and the resentment Americans had towards Germany for sinking of Lusitania pushed US public opinion over the tipping point and on 6 April 1917, the United States Congress followed President Wilson’s request to declare war on Germany and gave him Carte Blanche authority to take any action as he deemed fit.
HUMAN COST: 117,465 DEAD+300,000 INJURED
And Woodrow Wilson marched his troops into the War which had already set the record for being bloodiest war in the history of mankind at that time. As a result 117,465 Americans lost their lives in those muddy trenches of Europe. In the end everybody got what they wanted. Zionist Bankers earned millions of dollars worth interest on the loans they gave to both sides of the war along with Palestine. British Empire saved itself from a humiliating defeat in the hands of Germany and they also prolonged the existence of British Empire as a colonial power by 18 more years. Woodrow Wilson along with the US Congress earned huge favours from the Zionist Lobby. But American people gained nothing from this war, only thing they got from this war was the deaths of 117,465 young American.
BOTTOM LINE: Woodrow Wilson knew that if he sent another arms shipment to Britain via Lusitania, German U-Boats would definitely torpedo it. But he allowed it to happen because he needed this kind of disaster to rally public ‘s support behind his decision for entering the war in Europe. His motives behind American participation in the First World War were not philosophical and humanitarian in any way, all his reasons were more to do with business and global economics than anything else. Wilson was continuously being pressurized by Rothschild, Rockefeller and Morgan banking families who were hoping to earn billions of dollars in profit by charging interest on the money that US would have borrowed from these banks to buildup its weapon arsenal before going to war. Contrary to common belief no war is started spontaneously or in the heat of the moment, there are many things that have to be taken care of before declaring war. For Example billions of dollars are required for ammunition and weapons. Millions of gallons of fuel is required for all transport and combat vehicles. Billions of dollars have to be spent for creating a logistical infrastructure needed for efficient performance of any army. And for all these expenses, Governments borrows huge sums of money from these banking Corporations. That’s why it is said that every war is a banker’s war. And in First World War 117,465 Americans lost their lives just so, these bankers could earn profits. Although it might have been the first global conflict perpetrated by the bankers but it for sure wasn’t to be the last one.
THE PEARL HARBOR DECEPTION
People get very offended when I say to them that President F.D.Roosevelt was one of the most shrewd, immoral, unethical and corrupt president in the history of America. I feel this way because of the way FDR betrayed Americans time and time again throughout his 3 terms as president.
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT’S PROVOCATIONS FOR JAPAN
Despite being a neutral country thus far, President Roosevelt had been trying his best to provoke Japan. FDR tried everything he could to enrage Japan into attacking America. FDR knew it very well that Britain was at war with the Japanese in Indo-China despite this he continued to supply Britain with weapons and financial support, this in itself should have been considered as declaration of war by Japan. But Japanese Government showed a tremendous amount of restrain while dealing with America. Roosevelt had no rights to aid and support Britain while they were engaged with Japan in South East Asia. Roosevelt froze all American accounts of Japanese Corporations and Japanese nationals. Further US halted all trade to and from Japan. Roosevelt knew it very well that Japanese Economy is production based and requires constant supply of raw materials from America and other South American countries.
This was all done to provoke Japan into attacking US first, so that Roosevelt could use this attack as an pretext for entering Second World War. When US Navy started to substancially expand its Pacific fleet stationed on the West Coast, this assured Japanese that US was contemplating an anticipatory attack on them in the Pacific. Hence they decided to attack this ever increasing Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbour at Oahu, Hawaii. Americans at that time were totally against any kind of US military involvement in the Second World War. Roosevelt knew that if he entered the war without public’s support for it, his presidency could be seriously jeopardised. So he needed Japan to attack US to sway public’s perception about the war.
INFORMATION ABOUT COMING JAPANESE ATTACK
Weeks before the attack on Pearl harbour, military analysts at Pentagon had successfully broke the encryption code of Japanese encrypting machines. Now US generals were listening to all every correspondence between Japan and Japanese Embassy in Washington. And from one such correspondence on 29th November, it became apparent that a Japanese task force consisting of 6 Aircraft Carriers, 2 Battleships, 2 Heavy Cruisers, 1 Light Cruiser, 9 Destroyers, 8 Tankers, 23 Submarines, 5 Small Submarines and 414 Aircrafts, was on the way towards a Pearl Harbour. On 1st December, another correspondence between Japanese Embassy and Tokyo, made it clear that attack would happen on early morning of 7th December. Despite getting all this vital information, Roosevelt ordered his Generals to not to convey this message to Commander of Pacific Fleet Husband Kimmel. On 2nd December, Captain of a patrolling submarine in the Pacific saw the approaching Japanese Armada and reported it to the Navy Head Quarters in Washingon immediately. But even this warning didn’t reach those people who needed this information most. On 5th December, Japanese Abassador Kicisaburō Nomura visited White House. He handed over an official letter from Empror of Japan to Roosevelt, informing him that Japan is severing all diplomatic ties with United States of America. Letter also had a warning to United Staes that a naval attack on the western coast of America was imminent in next 3-4 days. But there was no declaration of war made by either Empror or the Japanese Ambassador. And even after receiving so many verifiable and credible reports, Roosevelt, his White House Staff and Joint Chiefs of Staff decided not to inform Commander Kimmel about the impending Japanese attack.
ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOUR AT OAHU, HAWAII
On early hours of 7th December 1941, first wave of 183 planes dived down on th Pacific Fleet of United States of America stationed at Pearl Harbour, Oahu, Hawaii. Within hours of the big inning of the attack, it was over. US suffered staggering losses in the attack. US Navy lost 4 Battleships(sunk), 3 Battleships(damaged), 1 Battleship(grounded), 2 Auxillary Ships(sunk), 3 Cruisers(damaged), 3 Destroyers(damaged), 3 Auxillary Ships(damaged), 188 Aircraft(destroyed), 159 Aircraft(damaged), 2503 Naval Officers(killed) and 1178 injured. And Japan lost 29 of its 414 Planes, 4 Midget Submarines(sunk) and 64 Personnel killed. Roosevelt could have avoided this destruction of infrastructure and life, had he passed on the intel he had about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. Commander of Japanese Task Force Isoroku Yamamoto was himself shocked at the destruction. He radioed back to high command that US had not been warned about the attack, because there were no preparations done to repell the attack. He said that all the ships were conveniently anchored in the middle of the bay, which proved that they didn’t knew about the coming attack. But the Japanese leaders assured Yamamoto that US had been already warned about the attack and also that Roosevelt had been specifically told by Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura that attack will take place on the western coast of United States. Japanese just couldn’t understand why US had not heightened alert on Pearl Harbour despite the attack warnings.
A DAY OF INFAMY
Day after the attack i.e on 8th December 1941, President a Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his famous “day of infamy” speech at the Joint Session of Congree. He called the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbour a dastardly and a surprise. 7th December 1941 was a day that will forever live in infamy because it was a day on which an US President deliberately allowed his own soldiers to die for his own agenda. Attack of Pearl Harbour impacted the mindset of Americans so severely that on 6th December 62% of Americans were against joining the war in Europe and on 9th December more than a million young men had volunteered to go and fight in Europe. Roosevelt was being constantly hounded by the Rothschild and Rockefellers to enter into the war because by staying out of the war, US was not contributing in making vast proffits for these banking families. Roosevelt knew that after the destruction of First World War, Americans will never agree to joining the war in Europe. So with the guidance of Ed Bernays, Roosevelt decided to use attack on Pearl Harbour as his weapon of manipulating the public. And by shoving US into the Second World War he literally signed the death sentence of 420,000 young Americans.
BOTTOM LINE : Franklin Delano Roosevelt was well aware of the impending Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He had received this information from several different sources, so he knew that the intelligence was authentic and accurate. But despite this he deliberately kept this information from the commanders at Pearl Harbor. Because he knew that if several hundred naval officers died in what people would believe was a surprise attack by Japanese Empire then this will enrage Americans and as a result change the population’s sentiments from anti-war attitude to a pro-war mindset. And it was precisely this kind of transformation that FDR required for people to accept and support his decision to enter the war in europe.
COUP IN GUATEMALA (1951)
In 1951, Jacobo Arbenz was democratically elected as leader of Guatemala. Up untill them previous regimes in Guatemala had favoured US Corporation operating in Guatemala. One of the biggest US Corporation in Guatemala was Rockefeller owned United Fruits Company. During previous regimes United Fruit Co had siezed the lands of several small scale farmers to such an extent that by 1951, United Fruits Co owned 41% of agricultural land of Guatemala, Landless peasants were living in sever poverty and starvation.
So when Arbenz came to power he initiated a land reform project in which he gave small patches of land free of cost to landless peasants, in order to make them self sustaining and independent from the exploitation of US Corporations. Jacobo Arbenz also wanted to nationalise Guatemala’s mining industry so that Guatemalan people could benefit from the revenues generated from selling precious metals lie gold, silver, nickel, cobalt and tin.
All major Guatemalan mines in Guatemala were leased and managed by US Corporations. Previous regimes had allowed these corporation to act unilaterally. So all these Corporation were exporting all the mined materials to America by just paying a fraction of products entire value as bribe to previous regimes.
Guatemalan people were getting poor and poorer while these US Corporation were getting rich and richer by exploiting natural resources of Guatemala. This is why Arbenz wanted to nationalise mining industry in Guatemala so that Guatemalans could benefit from sale of their nation’s neutral resources.
Arbenz’s second goal was to turn struggling land less peasants into self sustaining and totally independent farmers to stop them from being exploited by United Fruits Co. This was a threat to United Fruit Co profiteering policies and to monopoly it enjoyed in Guatemala. Because of United Fruit Co being the only food exporter in Guatemala, farmers had no choice but to sell their products to United Fruit Co even if it meant getting a below par price from the corporation. If more and more farmers became independent then they could export their products collectively in large quantities. If this would have happened then no farmer in his right mind would sell his products at such cheap prices to the United Fruits Co. And this would have certainly jeopardised United Fruits Co’s profit making policies. Rockefeller convinced President Truman to do something about this issue.
Truman authorised newly formed CIA take necessary steps to solve this issue. CIA started a propaganda campaign against Arbenz, making him into a communist and an agent Soviet Union. Even though Guatemala didn’t even had any diplomatic relations with Soviet Union at that time, but nevertheless CIA continued with their plan. Then they bribed certain corrupt generals of Guatemalan Army to overthrow Arbenz’s government in a coup. And that’s precisely what happened.
Backed by America Guatemalan Army overthrew Jacobo Arbenz’s democratically chosen government on 27th June 1953. The new regime quickly turned everything to the way it was before Arbenz came to power. This is another example of US Government using lies and deceits to protect America’s economic interests in foreign countries. Sadly this was niether the first nor the last such incident.
BOTTOM LINE : Coup in Guatemala was the earliest case of deliberate regime destabilisation in a foreign country by CIA. When these US corporations like United Fruits Co first arrived in Guatemala, they were primarily exporter of fruits which they purchased from thousands of local farmers. But slowly United Fruits Co started purchasing their own land and started growing their own fruits. Soon United Fruits Co had most of the land under their control and they were the only producers of fruits in the country. But the land reform policy of Arbenz would have once again increased the number of people growing same food products as the United Fruits Co. This would have definitely challenged the monopoly enjoyed by these US Corporations and especially United Fruits Co in Guatemala. So David Rockefeller approached his long time confidante to resolve this situation in Guatemala. Truman ordered CIA to overthrow the Arbenz regime and instead of him install some other leader who would remain loyal to the interests of US and its Corporations. And by loyal I mean, that these leaders would put the economic interests of American Corporations above the welfare and interests of his own people.
COUP IN IRAN(1953)
About the time when Jacobo Arbenz won the election in Guatemala, another country conducted its first democratic elections ever. Iran had been suffering greatly under the monarchical regime of Shah, who was put in power by US and UK governments. Under the reign of Shah, British and American Oil Companies lik BP and SHELL were given absolute authority over vast oil reserves of Iran. The Colonial era had ended but Britain was still adamant about keeping tight grip on natural resources of its former colonies. And wherever British interest lay, so did the America’s. In 1949, there was an assassination attempt made on Shah’s life. But he survived the attack and just one bullet hit him and that too just grazed past his cheek. This incident created a little sympathy in the eyes of Iranian. After Shah returned from hospital he immediately started measures to increase his own powers by amending and changing the Iranian Constitution. And as his powers grew so did his brutality. Under the reign of Shah, Iranian people had been subjected to great oppression and brutality. While Shah along with British and American Corporation were getting rich by selling Iran’s oil, at the same time Iranian people were even struggling to put food on table daily. This gave rise to protests against Shah’s regime all over Iran. Gradually all these protests happening in Iran was unified into a single revolution lead by leader of National Front Political Party Mohammed Mosadegh. Despite numerous attempts of Shah to crush the rebellion by use of force, revolution gained more and more momentum with each passing day along with its leader Mohammed Mosadegh’s popularity. By 1951, opposition to Shah’s regime was shaking the foundations of his monarchy. Eventually fearing for his life Shah along with his famili fled to Baghdad and from there to Rome. That same year election were conducted for the first time without the interference of the Shah.
Mohammed Mosadegh and his political party National Front won the elections with absolute majority. Mohammed Mossadegh was sworn in as Prime minister of Iran. Mossadegh’s main issue with Shah was the allowances he had given to British and American Corporations. These corporations were literally robbing Iranians off their oil. These corporations were dividing the oil shares at a ratio of 9:1. Which meant that these corporations were getting 90% of the share in revenues and Iran was given just 10% of the total revenue. Mohammed Mossadegh believed that Iranian people should be the major benefactors from the revenues generated by selling its oil.
So he wanted to nationalise oil fields of Iran to utilise generated funds by oil trade to improve lives of Iranians. Second Objective of Mossadegh was to overhaul and strengthen infrastructure of education system, health care and transport system. But his decision about nationalisation of Iranian oil was as expected not going well with BP and SHELL. President Harry Truman once again decided to let CIA handle this problem because they had already proved their competence by secretively overthrowing Jacobo Arbenz’s democratically chosen government in Guatemala just few months earlier. Heading CIA’s task team for this operation was the grandson of former US President Teddy Roosevelt, Kermit Roosevelt.
Operation Ajax was the name given to this operation by the CIA. Decision was made to employ similar tactics that were used in successful overthrow of Arbenz’s government in Guatemala. Plan was to paint Mossadegh as a communist who had close ties with Soviet Union. Second step was to pay some Iranian supporters of Shah to conduct violent protests against Mohammed Mosadegh for being a communist. Third step was to conduct several false flag operations within Iraq which were to be blamed on Mossadegh to reduce his public support.
And finally when movement against Mossadegh gained enough momentum then bribed Army officials would overthrow Mossadegh’s government by force. Main architect of the this elaborate plan to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh’s government was Kermit Roosevelt. Soon CIA operatives put the plan in motion. By paying of editors of prominent newspapers, CIA got articles alleging Mossadegh being a communist was printed on the first page of every newspaper. Fake documents about Mossadegh meeting up with Soviet Leaders were forged and released to the newspapers. Rumour soon became like a forest fire and reached even the farthest corners if Iran. After 3 weeks of propaganda, second step was initiated and the supporters of Shah started orchestrating riots all over Iran which gave an illusion to the Iranian that an armed revolution was underway. Although people believed that somebody was waging a revolution against Mossadegh, but they remained away from these incidents.
Majority of Iranians still supported Mossadegh and his policies. After this point thing really got violent. CIA operatives assassinated an Islamic cleric who was widely loved by Iranians. After murdering the cleric, CIA operatives left a forged letter at the crime scene which portrayed as if Mossadegh was threatening this cleric for a long time and now he had decided to eliminate him. At this point Mossadegh’s support started changing. Then finally by bribing Iranian Generals with large sums of money, CIA along with Iranian Army overthrew the government of Mohammed Mossadegh forcefully on 19th August 1953, Shah was reinstated as the monarch ruler or Iran. Shah wanted to execute Mohammed Mossadegh but Kermit Roosevelt advised him that if Mossadegh ended up dead, then rage of Iranian people will not only overthrow your rule but even lynch you outside your own palace. Shah agreed to spare Mossadegh but exiled him from Iran for life.
As soon as Shah came back to power he renewed all contracts and leases with BP and SHELL, and turned everything to the way they were before. CIA fulfilled the wishes of US Government by reclaiming authority over Iranian oil fields but this reinstatement of Shah ended up causing deaths of thousands of innocent Civilians which resulted in Shah’s overthrow once again in 1979.
BOTTOM LINE: Over the years, one thing has been firmly substantiated that one of the biggest factor influencing American and British foreign policy in last 70 years is oil. Both countries have been continuously engaged in regime destabilisation covert operations in many of the Middle eastern countries which include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Whenever a nationalistic government came to power in any of these countries and tried to nationalise their oil industry to use the revenues generated from oil trade, towards development of its people and improvement in their standard of living, CIA and MI6 immediately engaged in covert operations and overthrew that government and replaced it with their puppet regime who will allow American and British Corporations to loot their country ‘s natural resources. In fact the presently ongoing war on terror should be called War for oil, because that would be much accurate analogy for it or better yet “WAR OF TERROR FOR OIL”.
GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT
After the assassination of President Kennedy on 22nd November 1963, Vice-President Lyndon Baine Johnson was sworn in as President. So far Kennedy had resisted the pressure from his Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon to authorise a large scale military action in Vietnam.
Kennedy had made up his mind from the very beginning that he won’t jeopardise lives of young Americans in civil war of some foreign country, half way around world. At the most he was willing to send military advisors to South Vietnam and even those were not allowed to actively engage against the guerrillas.
JFK just was not willing to send young Americans to Vietnam to fight a guerilla war in one of the most inhospitable terrain in the world. Along with sending military advisors, Kennedy also agreed to increase military and monetary aid to South Vietnam.
LYNDON BAINE JOHNSON
When Lyndon Baine Johnson became president, he immediately started feeling the pressure JFK had felt throughout his presidency for authorisation of a full scale military deployment in Vietnam. But Johnson was not as resilient as JFK was and his main concern was, how would American public respond to his decision of sending US troops to Vietnam to fight the communist guerrillas. Johnson’s worst fear was losing the support of American public and he didn’t wanted to do anything that could turn this fear of his into reality. Just like FDR in 1941, LBJ also needed a catalysing incident to fool the American public into supporting the military action in Vietnam.
THE GULF OF TONKIN INCIDENT
On 2nd August 1964, USS Maddox was conducting a signals intellegence patrol (SIP) in the northern region of Gulf of Tonkin. USS Maddox radioed it was under attack from three North Vietnamese Navy P-4 torpedo boats 28 miles (45 km) away from the North Vietnamese coast in international waters.
USS Maddox stated she had evaded a torpedo attack and opened fire with its five-inch (127 mm) guns, forcing the torpedo boats away. Four USN F8 Crusader jets launched from the aircraft carrier USS Tecondoruga then attacked the retiring P-4s, claiming one was sunk and one heavily damaged.
USS Maddox suffering very minor damage from a single 14.5-millimeter machine gun bullet, retired to South Vietnamese waters where she was joined by the destroyer USS Turner Joy.
The North Vietnamese claimed that Maddox was hit by one torpedo, and one of the American aircraft had been shot down. But this was a fabrication by South Vietnamese to exaggerate the impact of the attack.
This account, however, has come into sharp dispute with an internal NSA historical study which stated on page 17: At 1500G, Captain Herrick (commander of the Maddox) ordered Ogier’s gun crews to open fire if the boats approached within ten thousand yards. At about 1505G, the Maddox fired three rounds to warn off the communist boats. This initial action was never reported by the Johnson administration, which insisted that the Vietnamese boats fired first. North Vietnamese interpretation of the attack was that The Maddox when confronted, was approaching Hòn Mê Island, three to four miles (6 km) inside the twelve-mile (19 km) limit claimed by North Vietnam. This territorial limit was unrecognized by the United States.
After the skirmish, President Johnson ordered the Maddox and Turner Joy to stage daylight runs into North Vietnamese waters, testing the twelve-mile (19 km) limit and North Vietnamese resolve. These runs into North Vietnamese territorial waters coincided with South Vietnamese coastal raids and were interpreted as coordinated operations by the North, which officially acknowledged the engagements of 2 August 1964. Others, such as Admiral Sharp, maintained that U.S. actions did not provoke the August 2 action. He claimed that North Vietnamese radar had tracked Maddox along the coast, and was thus aware that the destroyer had not actually attacked North Vietnam and that Hanoi (or the local commander) had ordered its craft to engage Maddox anyway. North Vietnamese General Phung The Tai later claimed that the Maddox had been tracked since July 31 and that it had attacked fishing boats on August 2, forcing North Vietnamese Navy to “fight back.” On August 4, another DESOTO patrol off the North Vietnamese coast was launched by Maddox and the Turner Joy, in order to “show the flag” after the first incident.
This time their orders indicated that the ships were close to no more [less] than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast of North Vietnam. During an evening and early morning of rough weather and heavy seas, the destroyers received radar, sonar, and radio signals that they believed signaled another attack by the North Vietnamese navy. For some four hours the ships fired on radar targets and maneuvered vigorously amid electronic and visual reports of enemies. Despite the Navy’s claim that two attacking torpedo boats had been sunk, there was no wreckage, bodies of dead North Vietnamese sailors, or other physical evidence present at the scene of the alleged engagement.
CAPTAIN HERRICK ALLEGES ATTACKS MIGHT NOT HAVE HAPPENED AT ALL
“Review of action makes many reported contacts and torpedoes fired appear doubtful. Freak weather effects on radar and overeager sonarmen may have accounted for many reports. No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken”.
One hour later, Herrick sent another cable, stating, “Entire action leaves many doubts except for apparent ambush at beginning. Suggest thorough reconnaissance in daylight by aircraft.” In response to requests for confirmation, at around 16:00 Washington time, Herrick cabled, “Details of action present a confusing picture although certain that the original ambush was bona fide.” At 18:00 Washington time (05:00 in the Gulf of Tonkin), Herrick cabled yet again, this time stating, “the first boat probably launched a torpedo at the Maddox, which was heard but not seen.
All subsequent Maddox torpedo reports are doubtful in that it is suspected that sonarman was hearing the ship’s own propeller beat”
PRESIDENT JOHNSON’S BLATANT LIES TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC
Within thirty minutes of the 4 August incident, President Johnson had decided on retaliatory attacks. Even though Captain Herrick himself had reported that due to bad weather none of alleged attacks could be verified. But this was just the kind of opportunity that Johnson was looking for to gather public support for the escalation of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Shortly before midnight on August 4, President Johnson made a speech by radio in which he described an attack by North Vietnamese vessels on two U.S. Navy warships, USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy and requested Congress for the authority to undertake a military response. Johnson’s speech repeated the theme that “dramatized Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnam as the aggressor and which put the U.S. into a more acceptable defensive posture.”Johnson also referred to the attacks as having taken place “on the high seas,” suggesting that they had occurred in international waters.
He emphasized commitment to both the American people and the South Vietnamese government. He also reminded Americans that he had no desire for war. But in this address to the nation Johnson made no indication of the nature and extent of covert land and air measures that already were operational. He didn’t tell the American public that American naval vessels were engaged in covert warfare against North Vietnam at the time of attack. He totally hid the fact that US Navy ships in Gulf of Tonkin had already sunk a number of North Vietnamese patrol boats in the days leading up to the alleged attack. Johnson’s statements were short to “minimize the U.S. role in the conflict; a clear inconsistency existed between Johnson’s actions and his public discourse.”
REACTION OF CONGRESS
While President Johnson’s final resolution was being drafted, Senator Wayne Morse attempted to hold a fundraiser to raise awareness about faulty records of the incident involving the USS Maddox. Morse supposedly received a call from an informant who has remained anonymous urging Morse to investigate official logbooks of the Maddox.
These logs were not made available to Congress before President Johnson’s resolution was presented to them. After urging Congress that they should be wary of President Johnson’s coming attempt to convince Congress of his resolution, Morse failed to gain enough cooperation and support from his colleagues to mount any sort of movement to stop it. Immediately after the resolution was read and presented to Congress, Morse began to fight it.
He contended in speeches to Congress that the actions taken by the United States were actions outside the constitution and were “acts of war rather than acts of defense.” Despite numerous attempts of Senator Wayne Morse to gather enough support to block the resolution, US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution on 7th August 1964 with a vote of 88-2. On 10th August 1974, Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees convened a joint session to discuss the joint resolution along with Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which would give President Johnson the Carte Blanche authority.
After fewer than nine hours of committee consideration and floor debate, Congress voted in favour of a joint resolution authorizing the president “to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, to assist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, requesting assistance in defense of its freedom” Morse’s efforts were not immediately met with support, largely because he revealed no sources and was working with very limited information. It was not until after the United States became more involved in the war that his claim began to gain support throughout the United States government. Morse was defeated when he ran for re-election in 1968. His political career was deliberately destroyed for his attempts to reveal white lies of Lyndon Johnson.
PROPAGANDA AND DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
Evidence was still being sought on the night of August 4 when Johnson gave his address to the American public on the incident. Messages recorded that day indicate that neither President Johnson nor Secretary McNamara was certain of an attack. Various news sources including Time, Life and Newsweek ran articles throughout August on the Tonkin Gulf incident. Time reported: “Through the darkness, from the West and south…intruders boldly sped…at least six of them… they opened fire on the destroyers with automatic weapons, this time from as close as 2,000 yards.” Time Magazine stated that there was “no doubt in Sharp’s mind that the U.S. would now have to answer this attack”, and that there was no debate or confusion within the administration regarding the incident. All major news agencies in America deliberately published totally distorted accounts about the attack on USS Maddox and tried to entice American public into supporting the US action in Vietnam by appealing to their patriotic emotions. On May 4, 1964, William Bundy called for the U.S. to “drive the Communists out of South Vietnam”, even if that meant attacking both North Vietnam and Communist China. Even so, the Johnson administration in the second half of 1964 focused on convincing the American public that there was no chance of war between North Vietnam and the U.S. North Vietnamese General Giap suggested that the DESOTO patrol had been sent into the Gulf to provoke a North Vietnamese attack which would give US an excuse for escalation of the war.
Various government officials and men aboard the Maddox had suggested similar theories. American politicians and strategists had been planning provocative actions against North Vietnam for some time. George Ball told a British journalist after the war in 1976 that “at that time…many people…were looking for any excuse to initiate bombing”. According to Raymond McGovern, a retired CIA officer, President Lyndon Johnson, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy all knew full well that the evidence of any armed attack on the evening of Aug. 4, 1964, the so-called “second” Tonkin Gulf incident, was highly dubious….During the summer of 1964, President Johnson and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were eager to widen the war in Vietnam. They stepped up sabotage and hit-and-run attacks on the coast of North Vietnam”. The Maddox, carrying electronic spying gear, was to collect signals intelligence from the North Vietnamese coast, and the coastal attacks were seen as a helpful way to get the North Vietnamese to turn on their coastal radars.
For this purpose, it was authorized to approach the coast as close as eight miles and the offshore islands as close as four; the latter had already been subjected to shelling from the sea.
In his book “Body of Secrets”, James Bamford who spent three years in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst, wrote:
“Primary purpose of the Maddox “was to act as a seagoing provocateur and to poke its sharp gray bow and the American flag as close to the belly of North Vietnam as possible, in effect shoving its 5-inch cannons up the nose of the Communist navy ….. The Maddox’ mission was made even more provocative by being timed to coincide with commando raids, creating the impression that the Maddox was directing those missions …” Thus, the North Vietnamese had every reason to believe that the Maddox was involved in these actions”.
LYNDON JOHNSON GOT WHAT HE WISHED FOR
Using the Carte Blanche authority given to him by US Congress, Lyndon Johnson authorised Operation Flaming Dart, Operation Arc Light and Operation Rolling Thunder. All these operations dealt with comprehensive Air bombing raids of all major North Vietnamese facilities and infrastructure. Although Johnson never publicly admitted that he had even authorised the bombing in civilian residential areas but he had authorised bombing of the city of Hanoi. These operations required a large US Air Force presence in South Vietnam. So several small airports in Vietnam countryside were converted into US Air bases. Multiple asphalted runways, bunkers, hangars and underground resting areas were constructed.
But as US increased its bombing campaign on North Vietnam, it became evident to VietCong that US Planes were taking off from within South Vietnam. They were thinking that Planes were taking off from US Aircraft carriers in the Gulf of Tonkin. But quicker response time of Planes made them realise that planes were coming from Air bases much closer in proximity. Soon they located all the US Air Force Bases in South Vietnam and started regularly attacking them. One such attack resulted in deaths of 5 US Airmen and destruction of two F118 jets. After several attacks upon them, it became evident that US Air Force bases needed more protection as the South Vietnamese military seemed incapable of providing security.
AMERICAN GROUND WAR BEGINS IN VIETNAM
On 8 March 1965, 3,500 US Marines were dispatched to South Vietnam. This marked the beginning of the American ground war. U.S. public opinion overwhelmingly supported the deployment. In a statement similar to that made to the French almost two decades earlier, Ho Chi Minh warned that if the Americans “want to make war for twenty years then we shall make war for twenty years. If they want to make peace, we shall make peace and invite them to afternoon tea.” Contrary to what President Johnson was telling American public the primary goal of the war was to reunify Vietnam and secure its independence.
President Johnson had long argued without any concrete evidence that the policy of North Vietnam was not to topple other non-communist governments in South East Asia. And CIA did its best to give credence to this outrageous notion by presenting an even more outrageous theory that if South Vietnam fell to communism then it will initiate a domino effect in which several South East Asian countries like Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Australia will fall to communism and the whole of Asia will become a Communist Stroghold.
ESCALATION OF WAR AND INCREASE IN TROOPS. (JOHNSON 1963-1969)
1955 No soldiers + Aid worth 1 billion dollars to South Vietnam 1959 No soldiers + Additional aid of 1.5 billion dollars to S.Vietnam 1961 No soldiers + Additional aid of 700 million dollars to S.Vietnam 1962 3000 US Military advisors(non combatants) + Military aid worth 5 billion dollars. 1965 3000 advisors + 3500 US Marines + Military aid worth 3 billion dollars 1966 200,000 US Soldiers + 12 billion dollar for US infrastructure in S.Vietnam + 1 billion of aid 1967 350,000 US troops + aid worth 3.5 billion dollars to S.Vietnam + 1 billion dollars US expenses 1968 536,100 US troops in Vietnam + aid worth 10 billion dollars in Vietnamisation process 1975 95% troops withdrawn from South Vietnam
FINAL CASUALTIES (upto 1975)
58,220 US Soldiers lost their lives in the Vietnam war. Approximately 3.5 million South East Asian died (including South and North Vietnamese, Laosians, Cambodians. Civilians and Soldiers both included and figure does not include Khmer Rouge victims). All Asian victims dies as a result of actions taken by US Army, Air Force, Navy and CIA.
Had Lyndon Johnson decided not to escalate and expand war into North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia millions of Asian lives and thousands of American lives could have been saved. During Lyndon Johnson’s presidency the total number of troops stationed in South Vietnam increased from mere 3000 to 536,100. He deployed more than half a million US soldiers in Vietnam. For an escalation that was achieved by lying to the American public, this was one of the costliest interventions for America. Basically Lyndon Johnson’s lies claimed over 58,000 lives of US Soldiers. After causing so much pain and suffering for American public he behaved as if by not accepting his party’s presidential nomination, he was doing American people some favour and as if he himself was making ultimate sacrifice.
Questions about Vietnam war have always been passionately debated by the both sides of the spectrum. Accepting that Vietnam War was an unjustified invasion of a sovereign nation and its people is a proposition that Vietnam veterans simply just can’t accept, because agreeing to the statement that Vietnam war was an unjustified and immoral war, would also mean that all their friends, comrades and brothers in arm died for an unjustified and immoral goal. And they just can ‘t do that. They just can’t betray the memories of their fallen brethren by saying that they died for a meaningless cause. And nor should they be forced to do so.
BOTTOM LINE: Vietnam War was just one of many conflicts that rose because of the specific geo-political policies and America’s communist phobias during the Cold War. Everything during Cold War was either red(communist) or red-blue-white(USA). President Lyndon. Johnson knew that no attack had taken place in the gulf of Tonkin, but this was the just the kind of incident that he needed to distract people from real issues and shove them into a crazed frenzy of of rage and retribution. And Johnson used this momentary lapse in judgement of the people and the Congress, and got Gulf of Tonkin resolution passed. Resolution gave Johnson basically Carte Blanche authority to do whatever he deemed fit to contain the so called communist expansion in South East Asia. Johnson deliberately lied and distorted the facts about the incident in the gulf of Tonkin and it was because of his lies, that he got Carte Blanche authority, which allowed him to send US troops into South Vietnam. As far as American people were concerned, quite like Vietnamese people this war was being imposed on them too, irrespective of the fact that whether they wanted it or not. At first in 1965 Johnson deployed 3500 US Marines, by 1967 this number rose to 130,000, by 1968 there were 300,000 US soldiers in Vietnam and by the end of 1969 the number had reached an all time high during the war, 525,000. And in the end, the lies and deceits of Lyndon Johnson claimed the lives of 58,220 Americans and over 2 million Vietnamese civilians.
COUP IN CHILE(1973
In the year 1969, Chilean people democratically chose Salvador Allende as their new President. At that time Chile had been going through tough times because of US Corporations in Chile were exploiting the natural resources, under the reign of previously corrupt US backed regimes. Allende was very proponent of nationalisation of Chilean resources because of that US Corporations in Chile were very vary of Allende and had tried their level best by to sabotage his election by pouring large sums of money to Allende’s opponents.
But despite that Allende won the election by a small margin because Chilean people were striving for change in the country and their best chance of change was Salvador Allende. Salvador Allende favoured Marxist Political ideology, because of this he was at extremely good relations with Cuban President Fidel Castro and Soviet Union.
This irritated the US President Richard Nixon and his national security advisor Henry Kissinger. Moreover Nixon was being pressurised by his Corporate Wall Street friends to remove Allende from Presidency. President of the Pepsi Co and ATT were the people who were demanding immediate action against Allende in Chile.
ATT’s subsidiary company ITTCorporation at that time owned 70% of Chitelco a Chilean telecommunications company and if Allende had nationalised the telecommunication industry then ATT would have lost millions of dollars. Second Corporation which felt threatened by Allende’s nationalisation policies was Pepsi Co. Pepsi upto that time had been given huge subsidies and allowances by the previous US backed corrupt Chilean Governments. And if Allende had come to power, he would certainly have removed all these illegal allowances enjoyed by Pepsi Co. So along with ATT, Pepsi Co was the other US Corporation that was pressurising Nixon to act against Salvador Allende.
A memo declassified in 1990, quoted Henry Kissinger talking about Allende regime in Chile in 1970, “I don’t know why we should sit and watch another Latin American country fall to communism, just because of the stupidity of its people”. This statement clearly reveals Henry Kissinger’s disregard and contempt for fee choice of South Americans to choose their own government and their democratic rights. Once Nixon gave Kissinger authorisation to overthrow Allende’s government, then Kissinger took charge of the operation. Like most other country’s Chile had a transitional period of 60 days for the old regime to hand over the reigns to the new President after his presidency had been confirmed by the Chilean Congress. While Allende was waiting for confirmation from the Chilean Parliament, Kissinger with the help of CIA operatives in Chile contacted corrupt Chilean Military Generals to bribe them to orchestrate a coup against Allende before he was confirmed by the Parliament.
But Chilean military replied back to Kissinger that as long as General Rènè Schneider was in charge of the Military, no such actions can be taken by Chilean Armed Forces. General Rènè Schneider was a hardcore constitutionalist and was extremely loyal to the Chilean people and Government.
To successfully overthrow the Government of Salvador Allende, General Schneider had to be dealt with. To achieve this objective Kissinger authorised a plan for kidnapping Gen.Schneider with help of local Chilean mercenaries directed by CIA operatives. Despite all the preparations that went into formulating the plan, the kidnapping attempt failed miserably. At this moment the US Embassy in Santiage got wind of the CIA operation against Allende and Schneider.
US Ambassador to Chile Nathaniel Davis personally wrote to the President that Salvador Allende posed no threat to American interests in Chile. When he didn’t receive any reply from White House, Davis threatened to resign if CIA continued with their operations against Allende and Schneider. Davis was thinking that Henry Kissinger and the CIA were conducting this operation without any authorisation or knowledge of President Nixon.
After he threatened to resign, he was called to Washington DC by President Nixon. Only after meeting President Nixon, did Davis realise that it was all the doing of Kissinger and Nixon. Nathaniel Davis tried to persuade Nixon that Salvador Allende posed no threat to United States but little did he know the threat that was worrying Nixon was economical and not geo-political. Davis later revealed that when he met President Nixon, Nixon was punching his palms and calling Allende an insect that had to be squished before it spreads to others Latin American countries”.
Nixon persuaded Nathaniel Davis that if any covert operation was launched against Allende regime, he will be notified of it beforehand. Nathaniel Davis returned to Santiago, knowing well enough what was going to happen. General Schneider who had foiled two attempts of corrupt military officers organising a coup against Allende and also an abduction attempt against him was becoming an eyesore for the corrupt Generals in the Chilean Army. Moreover these Generals were being bribed by US to overthrow the Allende regime. So now they had double reasons for eliminating General Schneider. Henry Kissinger was personally contacting CIA operatives in Chile to receive updates on the operation.
On October 22, 1970, the coup-plotters again attempted to kidnap Schneider. His official car was ambushed at a street intersection in the capital city of Santiago. Schneider drew a gun to defend himself, and was shot point-blank several times. He was rushed to a military hospital, but the wounds proved fatal and he died three days later, on October 25. The attempt to kidnap him was because Schneider was the army Commander-in-Chief and considered a constitutionalist, which in practical terms meant that he would not support a coup. This incident and his death provoked national outrage, and caused the citizens and the military to rally behind the just-elected Allende, who was ratified by the Chilean Congress on October 24.
It also helped to ensure an orderly transfer of power to Allende. Military courts in Chile found that Schneider’s death was caused by two military groups, one led by Viaux and the other by General Camilio Valenzuela. Viaux and Valenzuela were eventually convicted of charges of conspiring to cause a coup, and Viaux also was convicted of kidnapping. The lawsuit asserted that the CIA had aided both groups, but the charges were never satisfactorily proven, with the expectation of tens of thousands of dollars and also machine guns given to them by the CIA. On October 26, 1970, President Eduardo Frei Montalva named General Carlos Prats as Commander-in-Chief to replace Schneider. Ironically this happened at the same time that $35,000 were given by the CIA to the kidnappers as “humanitarian” assistance. When press questioned Kissinger about his involvement in General Schneider’s murder, he replied that United States doesn’t engage in assassinations of foreign officials. But later on Kissinger’s every lie was revealed when the CIA operative who paid the alleged kidnappers $35,000 stated in the Chirch Committee that Kissinger was himself directing him about the operation and had every detail about the operation.
In the mean time Allende was sworn in as President of Chile. He immediately started nationalising several public services like water supply and health care. Salvador Allende started strengthening health care infrastructure in the remote regions of the Chile. Another one of Allende’s major projects was of providing milk and foods to the schools so that children can be fed properly. Before Allende took office 70% of Chile’s children were suffering from malnutrition and Chile had an infant mortality rate of 30%. Within a year of Allende’s presidency malnutrition level of children in Chile had fallen below 15% and infant mortality rate below 10%. This was really a testament to his commitment to improving lives of people of Chile. Salvador Allende’s government introduced special projects in which landless peasants were given a small patch of their own land to farm on. Aim behind this policy was to end the stranglehold of poverty on Chile’s population. Allende stopped giving all unjust allowances to US Corporation that previous governments had given them.
First company to get affected by it was Pepsi Co whose director was already shouting in the ears of Richard Nixon to do something. Allende’s finance minister introduced a budget in which he completely removed all taxes of people earning less than $ 30,000 per year and increased income taxes for multinational companies and other rich industrialists. This really pissed of members of Christian Democratic Party of Chile which was a party primarily comprising of individuals who were either involved in big industries themselves or were primarily supported by those industrialists. CDP launched a public campaign against Salvador Allende’s government and started asking Army to intervene and remove Allende from office. But the main reason behind CDP’s disagreement with Allende’s policies was that CDP was primarily funded and controlled by US Corporate Houses like ATT, Pepsi Co, United Fruits Co etc. In 1970, the U.S. manufacturing company ITT Corporation a subsidiary of AT&T owned of 70% of Chitelco, the Chilean Telephone Company, and funded El Mercirio, a Chilean right-wing newspaper. The CIA used ITT as a conduit to financially aid opponents of Allende’s government.
On 28 September 1973, ITT’s headquarters in New York City, was bombed by the Weather Underground for the alleged involvement of the company in the overthrow of Allende. CIA(US) backed dissidents slowly started convincing the Military Generals that Allende had to be removed from power by a coup. Henry Kissinger personally assured General Augusto Pinochet that US would recognise him as a legitimate leader of Chile. Kissinger just asked for one thing that after siezing power, Pinochet would adopt a pro US Corporate stance in policy making and open Chilean economy for free market trading. Offcourse Pinochet agreed. On 11th September 1973, Chilean Army revolted against Allende and overthrew his government in a coup.
Just prior to the capture of La Moneda(the Presidential Palace), with gunfire and explosions clearly audible in the background, Allende gave his farewell speech to Chileans on live radio, speaking of himself in the past tense, of his love for Chile and of his deep faith in its future.
He stated that his commitment to Chile did not allow him to take an easy way out, and he would not be used as a propaganda tool by those he called “traitors” (he refused an offer of safe passage), clearly implying he intended to fight to the end.
President Salvador Allende’s final address to the Chilean people, moments before he committed suicide on 11th September 1973:
“Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Keep in mind that, much sooner than later, the great avenues will again be opened through which will pass free men to construct a better society. Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!”
Shortly afterwards, the coup plotters announced that Allende had committed suicide. An official announcement declared that the weapon he had used was an automatic rifle. Prior to his death he had been photographed several times holding an AK-47, a gift from Fidel Castro. He was found dead with this gun. But this was not true. Allende shot himslelf in the head with a pistol just before the soldiers broke through the door.
After the death of Allende as promised US praised and recognised General Augusto Pinochet as legitimate ruler of Chile. As soon as Pinochet came to power, he immediately started an extermination campaign against Allende’s friends, family and supporters. Then Pinochet changed the economic policies of Chile and turned it into a free market country which opened gates for US Corporations to flood into Chile and exploit all its natural resources at a dimes value. Anybody and everybody who voiced his opposition against Pinochet ended up in Pinochet’s own version of concentration camps where dissidents were tortured and executed.
Majority of the victims of Pinochet’s barbarity were poor Chileans who were starving to death while US Corporations were getting rich by exploiting their land. Pinochet’s murderous regime lasted for 17 years in which he murdered more than 500,000 innocent people. In 1998, Spanish court issued arrest warrants against Augusto Pinochet in relation to murders of two Spanish citizens in year of 1972 in Santiago, Chile.
Augusto Pinochet had fled to UK after he was removed from power in 1990. And he was arrested by Scotland Yard and extradited to Spain. After Pinochet’s arrest, in another case of murders in Chile, a French judge ordered US Government to handover all its documents about US and CIA’s involvement in Coup against Salvador Allende. This really shook that old bastard Henry Kissinger because all those documents would reveal that it was he himself who carried out both operations of assassination of Gen. Schneider.
But then US President Bill Clinton pardoned Henry Kissinger of all wrong doing. And that old bastard didn’t even spend a single night in prison for his involvement in deaths of Schneider, Allende and thousands of innocent Chileans.
BOTTOM LINE: Coup d’état in Chile was the same old modus operandi that CIA was famous for. They had employed similar tactics in Guatemala and Iran in 1953, in which they overthrew the democratically chosen governments. It’s quite an irony that the country that considers itself a messenger of freedom and democracy and the protector of humanity, would turn out to be the biggest threat to freedom, democracy and for the whole humanity. In Chile, Salvador Allende ‘s government was the first ever government in the history of Chile, that was truly committed to the development and welfare of its people. Chile up to now had been plagued by corrupt Governments who had allowed US Corporations to steal the natural resources of Chile without paying a single dime to the Chilean people. Allende was adamant about changing this senseless theft of Chile ‘s natural resources. He wanted to nationalise Chile’s vast mining and oil industry, which were currently being plundered by US Corporations. And this is why he became a target for American Government and especially an eyesore for Nixon and Henry Kissinger. And on 11th September 1973, US murdered Salvador Allende and along with him they also murdered his dream of a prosperous and rich Chile. US replaced Allende with ruthless dictatorial rule of Chilean Army’s General Augusto Pinochet, whose genocidal policies ravaged Chile for next 27 years and claimed nearly 500,000 Chilean lives.
IRAN CONTRA CONSPIRACY
After CIA overthrew the democratically chosen government of Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, Shah was reinstated as the legitimate ruler of Iran. Shah was an avid supporter of US and UK and by collaborating with them Shah was working against the welfare and interest of the Iranian people. Shah had given foreign corporations like British Petroleum and SHELL absolute control over the Iran’s vast oil reserves. As long as these corporations agreed to the ratio of 50:50 for sharing the revenues generated by the sale of oil with the him, Shah cared little about what else these corporations were doing. When CIA reinstated Shah as the ruler of Iran, they advices Shah to create a secret intelligence service called SAVAK, whose only job would be to eliminate the political and social dissidents of Shah’s policies and his rule. Objective of this organisation would be to induce tremendous fear in the mind of the common man.
CIA trained SAVAK operatives in various techniques of interrogation and torture and above all in the art of espionage. Soon murders, broad daylight shootings, abductions, agonising screams of anguish during torture and disappearances became a norm for SAVAK. CIA’s main reason behind setting up SAVAK was to keep Shah’s dissidents in check and to reduce the chances of another revolution rising up in Iran to remove Shah from power, like in 1951. SAVAK is recognised as the organisation that is responsible for highest number of human right abuses in the history by the renowned UN Organisation Amnesty International. Amnesty estimates that SAVAK was responsible for deaths of over 210,000 innocent Iranian civilians and unlawful imprisonment of upto 300,000 Iranians. Cruelty and brutality of SAVAK was the main reason behind rise of another revolution in 1979.
ANOTHER COUP IN IRAN (1979)
In 1979, Iran was once again amidst a revolution. After suffering 26 years of criminal, brutal, exploitory and murderous regime of the Shah, Iranian people finally rose against the tyrant. During the reign of the Shah, his very own Gestapo known as SAVAK murdered thousands of Iranians who had courage to speak out against the Shah. For 26 years, Shah used SAVAK to purge his political enemies and public dissidents. Shah with his British and American collaborators, exploited the vast oil reserves of Iran without paying a single buck to the Iranian people. Shah continued to buil vast estates overseas in Europe and America and on other hand Iranian people kept sliding deeper and deeper into poverty.
Finally an Imam rose up against this tyrannical regime of the Shah. He was widely respected and loved by the Iranian people. His name was Ayatollah Rehollah Khomeini. Ayatollah saw Iranian people were missing the guidance and advice that Mohammed Mossadegh gave them during 1951 uprisings. Ayatollah concluded that without an unifying leader, this uprising will not last much longer.
So he took on the role of a political, religious and spiritual leader for Iranian people. By mid-December 1978 the Shah’s position had deteriorated to such a point that he himself realised that his days of power were gone now, so only thing he was asking of revolutionaries was to allow him to live in Iran.
In late December, he requested to leave the country temporarily for medical treatment but once again his request was turned down. On January 16, 1979 the Shah and the empress were allowed to leave Iran temporarily for medical reasons. By that time Shah had already transferred his vast wealth into Swiss and American banks, so there was no logical reason for returning to Iran where he was possibly going to be executed for the atrocities that he had committed during 26 years of his reign.
So Shah fled from France to United States. Scenes of spontaneous joy and celebrations broke out all over the country and within hours almost every sign of the Pahlavi dynasty was destroyed. Eventually an interim government by the Army was setup to carry out, all day to day functions of the government untill the elections were conducted.
US EMBASSY IN TEHRAN STORMED BY REVOLUTIONARIES
In November 1979, a group Iranian students who were also avid followers of Ayatollah Khomeini decided to occupy US Embassy in Tehran for a short period of time. Their main objective was to use the media attention to spread their message to the world. Iranians stated that their motivation was fear of another American backed coup against their popular revolution, as was done in 1953. They claimed that in 1953, the American embassy acted as a “den of spies” from which the American coup was organized. Documents were later found in the embassy suggesting that some workers in the embassy were actually CIA operatives.
After the Shah’s entry into the United States, the Ayatollah Khomeini called for street demonstrations. On November 4, 1979, in guise of conducting a demonstration, organized by Iranian student unions loyal to Khomeini, gathered at the main gates of the Embassy. Another reason behind this attempt to occupy the US Embassy was the leverage to demand the return of the Shah to Iran for trial in exchange for the hostages. Around 6:30 a.m. on November 4, 1979, the ringleaders gathered between 300 and 500 selected students, thereafter known as Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, and briefed them on the battle plan.
A female student was given a pair of metal cutters to break the chains locking the embassy’s gates, and she hid them beneath her chador. At first, the students’ plan to only make a symbolic occupation, release statements to the press, and leave when government security forces came to restore order was reflected in placards saying “Don’t be afraid. We just want to set-in”. When the embassy guards brandished firearms, the protesters retreated, one telling the Americans, “We don’t mean any harm”. But as it became clear the guards would not use deadly force and that a large angry crowd had gathered outside the compound to cheer the occupiers and jeer the hostages, the occupation changed.
According to one embassy staff member, buses full of demonstrators began to appear outside the embassy shortly after the Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line broke through the gates. When Iran’s foreign minister told Ayatollah Khomeini about the situation, Ayatollah got enraged and told him to kick the students out of the embassy.
At that time Ayatollah Khomeini didn’t knew that the Embassy takeover was lead by his supporters. When Ayatollah Khomeini was told that it was his avid supporters who had led the takeover of the embassy, he issued a statement supporting the seizure and calling it “the second revolution”, and the embassy an “American spy den in Tehran”. The occupiers bound and blindfolded the embassy Marines and staff and paraded them in front of photographers. In the first couple of days, many of the embassy staff who had sneaked out of the compound or not been there at the time of the takeover were rounded up by Islamists and returned as hostages. Six American diplomats did however avoid capture and took refuge in the British embassy before being transferred to the Canadian Embassy, and others went to the Swedish embassy in Tehran for three months. A joint Canadian government and CIA covert operation, known as the Canadian caper, managed to smuggle them out of Iran using Canadian passports and a cover story disguising them as a Canadian film crew on January 28, 1980.
HARDLINERS ENTER THE PICTURE
During the early days of the hostage crisis, US President Jimmy Carter refused to negotiate with the Islamic Students occupying the embassy citing the core American policy of not negotiating with the terrorists. But US public pressurised Carter to negotiate with the the Iranians as the people holding the hostages were not terrorists in any way but rather were Islamic Students. Initially the leaders of the Students inside the embassy told American negotiators that they should not be considered kidnappers and that they only ask for the Shah to be returned to Iran to stand in trial for his atrocities against Iranian civilians. US negotiators kept telling the students that Shah was in very bad shape and any attempt to move him would cause his death.
And this was all proved when Shah died from his medical condition in July 1989. After Shah’s death, students saw no reason to continue the occupation anymore and were considering withdrawal from the embassy in August 1980.
By August 1980, Iran was being invaded by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces in the west. Most Iranians believed that Saddam Hussein was encouraged to attack Iran be US Government in an attempt to mount pressure on Iranian Government for the release of the hostages.
Secondly ever since this hostage crisis began in November 1979, in an attempt to cripple Iranian authority in the region, US had requested to all European countries to halt weapons and arms sale to Iran. The invasion by Iraq combined with the weapon sale embargo, really started to hurt Iran’s capability to defend itself. So when hardliners in the Khomeini camp heard about the withdrawal of students from the US Embassy, they saw an tremendous opportunity to turn the tables on America. Students in the embassy were asked to leave the Embassy and were replaced by Khomeini hardliners.
RONALD REAGAN MAKES A SECRET DEAL WITH IRANIAN FOR RELEASE OF HOSTAGES
In the mean time Ronald Reagan won the presidential elections and during the government’s transition period, he traveled to Tangiers in Algeria to negotiate with the Iranian delegation in a meeting mediated by government of Algeria. At this summit Iranian delegation demanded an agreement by the US Government for the multi billion dollar sale of US made weapons and arms to Iran. According to the experts Reagan agreed and signed the deal and it was agreed that sale and delivery of weapons will be done over a period of two years and will only begins after the release of all remaining hostages.
In an undestading between Ronald Reagan and Iranian it was finalised that all hostages would be released within minutes of Reagan’s sworn in ceremony as the President of United States. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as 40th President of the United States of America on 20th January 1980. And as per the agreement between Regan and Iranians, all 52 of remaining hostages were released minuted after Reagan’s sworn in ceremony. And with this a 444 days long ordeal, one of the longest international hostage crisis in the history ended.
REVOLUTION IN NICARAGUA
For over six decades Nicaragua was ravaged by the US backed dictatorial regime of Samosa family. Samosas were put in power by US President Woodrow Wilson with the use of US Marines Corps to crush the rebellion against the Samosas in Nicaragua in the year 1917. Since that day, Nicaragua had remained under the control of Samosa family where one generation was replaced by next generation in powerful political and military positions in Nicaragua. From the year 1917 to 1978, Nicaraguans were exploited, oppressed and subjugated by the tyrannical rule of Samosa family. Samosa family aided and collaborated with notorious US Corporations in the systematic heist of Nicaragua’s natural resources like copper and silver mining and large scale farming of fruits. By the year 1975, Anastasio Samosa and the Samosa family had become one of the richest families in all of Latin America.
On the other hand by 1975, 70% of Nicaraguans were living below poverty line, 80% of population was suffering from starvation and at an average were eating one meal every two days, infant mortality rate was 50%, 90% of the Nicaraguan children were suffering from chronic malnutrition, average life expectancy of Nicarguan people was 45 years and 95% of the population was illiterate. Anastasio Samosa was a very sadistic dictator who never shied from getting his political dissidents tortured, decapitated, kidnapped and exterminated by his very own Gestapo like force called Presidential guards. One of the Samosa’s favourite methods of execution was throwing victims into the Volcano from a helicopter. Experts estimate that about 300,000 Nicaraguans lost their lives during the reign of Anadtasio Samosa. From above mentioned social conditions, human right abuses and the shear desperation of Nicaraguan people to improve their life, a revolution was born. This revolution was named after a famous Nicaraguan Revolutionary in early 1910s called Sandino who died in a battle against US Marines in 1917.
The revolutionaries called themselves Sandinistas and their main objective was to end the tyrannical regime of Samosa family and establish the very first government chosen by the people themselves. In 1979, Sandinista revolutionaries successfully defeated government forces. Anastasio Samosa with the rest of his family fled to Miami.
As soon as Sandinistas came to power they nationalised all major projects regarding natural resources of Nicaragua and kicked out all the US Corporations who had been a constant ally of Samosas in the exploitation of natural resources of Nicaragua. Sandinista government started several projects that specifically dealt with the issue of starvation and malnutrition.
Within a couple of years infant mortality dropped to below 15%, child malnutrition below 20%, starving population under 20% and population below poverty line to less than 30%. Sandinistas initiated a project of establishing medical care centers in the each and every village, so that people don’t have to rush to town in case of a medical emergency.
One of the biggest projects of the Sandinistas was establishing over 5000 schools all over Nicaragua which brought the illiteracy rate below 15% from 95% two years ago. Most importantly Sandinistas started a land reform project in which poor landless peasants were given small patches of land free of cost in order to make them independent and self sustained. All these developments worried US Government that if other populations of Latin American countries saw what Sandinistas were achieving in Nicaragua, then they might also adopt similar tactics in their country. US corporations had all of South America in their stranglehold and were making billions of dollars worth of profits by robbing these Latin American people off their resources.
Poverty and hunger had become a common condition for most of the people in South America. But if these people saw how Sandinistas had successfully eradicated all these social issues, then that might motivate them to break free of US Corporate shackles too. So in mind of US President Ronald Reagan, Sandinistas had to be eliminated at any cost. And once again if you have something illegal and unethical to do then who else would you call other than CIA. CIA contacted nearly 15,000 former Presidential Guards who had all fled to Honduras fearing that they too will be put on trial for the atrocities they committed during Anastasio Samosa’s reign.
CIA sent it experts to Honduras to train and rearm these Presidential guards to wage a guerilla war against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. These guard were given a new name Contras, and were told to conduct small scale raids to the villages close to the border of Honduras and Nicaragua.but what CIA didn’t realise was that these people were a sadistic force who took pleasure in murdering people in most horrible ways.
Soon hundreds and thousands of Nicaraguans became a target of these people and ended up getting murdered by these Contras. Soon News about the atrocities committed by a CIA supported group called Contras reached Washington. Ronald Reagan tried his level best to decieve US Congress by portraying Contras as patriotic freedom fighters who were fighting for the rights and freedom of Nicaraguans. But Congress saw right through these lies and passed a Bipartisan Congressional Resolutions which outlawed all and any kind of support to the Contras whether it be weapons and arms aid, logistical and training aid or monetary aid. And this resolution further endorsed that any kind of activity in contradiction to the resolution would be considered as treasonous act. Ronal Reagan still wanted to support Contras in their murderous activities but he was prohibited by the Congress from using Government funds to aid the Contras anymore. He had to find some other alternative method of generating funds while keeping it hidden from US Government.
HOW IRAN-CONTRA CAME TOGETHER?
As Ronald Reagan was contemplating how to generate funds for supporting Contras in Nicaragua, he was delivered the very first order list of weapons from the Iranian government. This where he realised that the deal with the Iran was a top secret operation which was secured by national security clause. So he realised that it was nearly impossible for the contents of the deal to fall in wrong hands. Hence Reagan along with his faithfuls in CIA, Department of Defense, Whitehouse staff and handful of Military Generals decided that the proffits made by selling weapons and arms to Iran, would be used to support Contras in Nicaragua. Col.Oliver North in the National Security Council was put in charge of the operation. Exact value of weapons sold to Iran is still unknown but experts believe total value of Weapons had to be around $12-18 billion dollars. And approximate proffits made from the sale would be in the range of $500-800 million.
DISCOVERY AND SCANDAL
After a leak by Iranian Mehdi Hashemite, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the arrangement on November 3, 1986. This was the first public reporting of the weapons-for-hostages deal. The operation was discovered only after an airlift of guns was downed over Nicaragua. Eugene Hasenfus, who was captured by Nicaraguan authorities, initially alleged in a press conference on Nicaraguan soil that two of his coworkers, Max Gomez and Ramon Medina, worked for the CIA. He later said he did not know whether they did or not. The Iranian government confirmed the Ash-Shiraa story, and ten days after the story was first published, Reagan was shocked but decided to announce his ignorance about the Nicaraguan part of the scandal.
President Reagan appeared on national television from the Oval Office on November 13, stating:
“My purpose was… to send a signal that the United States was prepared to replace the animosity between [the U.S. and Iran] with a new relationship… At the same time we undertook this initiative, we made clear that Iran must oppose all forms of international terrorism as a condition of progress in our relationship. The most significant step which Iran could take, we indicated, would be to use its influence in Lebanon to secure the release of all hostages held there.”
The scandal was compounded when Oliver North destroyed or hid pertinent documents between November 21 and November 25, 1986. During North’s trial in 1989, his secretary, Fawn Hall, testified extensively about helping North alter, shred, and remove official National Security Council (NSC) documents from the White House.
According to the New York Times, enough documents were put into a government shredder to jam it. North’s explanation for destroying some documents was to protect the lives of individuals involved in Iran and Contra operations. It was not until years after the trial that North’s notebooks were made public, and only after the Nationsl Security Act and Public citizens sued the Office of the executive counsel under the Freedom of Informatio Act. During the trial North testified that on November 21, 22, or 24, he witnessed Poindexter destroy what may have been the only signed copy of a presidential covert-action finding that sought to authorize CIA participation in the November 1985 Arms shipment to Iran.
US Attorney General Edwin Meese admitted on November 25 that profits from weapons sales to Iran were made available to assist the Contra rebels in Nicaragua. On the same day, John Poindexter resigned, and Oliver North was fired by President Reagan. Poindexter was replaced by Frank Carlucci on December 2, 1986. In one of his books author/journalist Bob Woodward chronicled the role of the CIA in facilitating the transfer of funds from the Iran arms sales to the Nicaraguan Contras spearheaded by Oliver North.
Then Director of the CIA, William J Casey allegedly admitted to Woodward in February 1987 that he was aware of the diversion of funds to the contras confirming a number of encounters documented by Woodward. The controversial admission occurred while Casey was hospitalized for a stroke. On May 6, 1987, William Casey died the day after Congress began its public hearings on Iran–Contra.
WHAT CAUSED SO MUCH UPROAR?
There were many different reasons that this Scandal caused so much uproar and outcry by the people and politicians alike.
- One of the reasons was that after the overthrow of Shah’s regime in Iran, US Government and leaders including Reagan had called Iran an Islamin terrorist haven. Reagan himself had accused Iranian Imam Ayatollah Khomeini a leader of a terrorist front operating in Iran and that Iran under his leadership poses the biggest threat to the national security of USA and its allied countries in Asia and Europe. But despite all these claims Reagan willingly agreed to sell US made weapons to the Iran that according to Reagan was a threat to USA.
- Second reason was that despite knowing the facts that Contra rebels were nothing more than Samosa’s very own Gestapo, CIA and Ronald Reagan decided to support and aid them to wage a war against a democratically chosen government of Sandinistas in Nicaragua. And even after getting the reports that Contras were engaged in and committed brutal, violent and most heinous crimes against humanity, Ronald Reagan Administration still continued to support them.
- Even after congress prohibited Ronald Reagan from supporting the Contra rebels who by now had murdered over 40,000 Nicaraguan civilians, Ronald Reagan autonomously decided to continue his support to the Contras by illegal means.
- Another thing that troubled many Amricans was that according to constitution US Congress is the ultimate authority in Government and nothing can supercede its position in the hierarchy of authority. But Ronald Reagan knowingly acted in total contradiction to the decision of US Congress. If a President thinks that he is entitled to supercede US Congress then what is stopping him from becoming a dictator.
- US support to the Contras resulted in deaths of over 250,000 Nicaraguan people. These people were just trying to improve their lives and break free from the oppression of US Corporations and US Government. But their vision was a little too close to the ego of American imperialism so Ronald Reagan lied and betrayed American a public to stop and eliminate these innocent Nicaraguan civilians. And tragically this cost that all South American countries are forced to pay every one a while.
BOTTOM LINE: I think the Iran-Contra Scandal really reveals the extent of moral and ethical decay that is rampant within the political system of America. Like Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter before him, Ronald Reagan’s presidency was also plagued by scandals and controversies. Just the idea of funding a ruthless and genocidal group like Contras, with the profit made during the illegal sale of US made weapons to Iran, is totally mind boggling. And the shear arrogance in which the people who carried out this whole operation, admitted their role in this scandal was unbelievable. People like NSC member Oliver North, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, CIA Head William Casey and National Security Advisor John Poindexter who were all involved in this scandal didn’t even spend a night in jail for their involvement in the murder of over 400,000 innocent Nicaraguans. And their ringleader Ronald Reagan continued and even won another term as President of United States.
IRAQ AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
The year was 2003, war was still raging on in Afghanistan. Fictional terrorist group called Al Qaeda was still engaged in a bitter war in the mountains of Hindukush. This was a time of uncertainty but even in this time of uncertainty George Bush and his cronies were certain about one thing, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The UN weapons inspector who lead an UN contingent of weapons inspectors to Iraq was refuting all claims being made by George Bush and his minions as lies. Everyday George Bush was telling a new lie about Saddam Hussein’s WMDs. He was even claiming that he knows the location of these WMDs as well.
UNITED NATIONS WEAPONS INSPECTIONS
Following the passage of Resolution 1441 in United Nations, on 18 November 2002, weapons inspectors of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission returned to Iraq for the first time since being withdrawn by the United Nations. Whether Iraq actually had weapons of mass destruction or not was being investigated by Hans Blix, head of the Commission, and Mohammed Elbaradei, head of International Atomic Energy agent. Inspectors remained in the country until they withdrew after being notified of the imminent invasion by the United States, Britain, and two other countries. In early December 2002, Iraq filed a 12,000-page weapons declaration with the UN.
After reviewing the document, UN weapons inspectors, the US, France, United Kingdom and other countries thought that this declaration failed to account for all of Iraq’s chemical and biological agents. Many of these countries had supplied the Iraqi regime with the technology to make these weapons in the 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war. On December 19, US Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that Iraq was in “material breach” of the Security Council resolution. Blix has complained that, to this day, the United States and Britain have not presented him with the evidence which they claim to possess regarding Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. On January 16, 2003, inspectors discovered 11 empty 122 mm chemical warheads.
These components had not been previously declared by Iraq. Iraq dismissed the warheads as old weapons that had been packed away and forgotten. After performing tests on the warheads, UN inspectors believed that they were new. While the warheads are evidence of an Iraqi weapons program, they were in no way connected to chemical or biological weapons. Unless some sort of chemical agent was also detected in the shells, they cannot be linked to any kind of chemical or biological weapon. No such evidence was ever found. Hans Blix believed there to be large quantities of weapons materials still unaccounted for. Other UN inspectors blamed Blix for having a biased attitude in favour of the United States and Britain’s claims. Despite finding no evidence of any biological and chemical weapons, Hans Blix was adamant about Iraq possessing WMDs and this claim was being challenged by all other UN Inspectors.
This created a big divide between Blix and rest of the team. Finally On January 27, 2003, UN inspectors reported that Iraq had cooperated with monitors and no evidence of any biological and chemical weapons was ever found. But Blix issued another statement regarding his believes that Iraq had not demonstrated a “genuine acceptance” of the need to disarm unilaterally. In addition, by the 28th, a total of 16 Iraqi scientists had refused to be interviewed by inspectors. The United States claimed that “sources” had told them that Saddam Hussein had ordered the death of any scientist who speaks with inspectors in private. No scientist has confirmed this, and Iraq has insisted that they were not putting pressure on the scientists.
All members of the weapons inspection team criticised Hans Blix about his biased approach for the inspection. But many other UN inspectors were not so conservative in their criticism of Blix. A couple of UN inspectors accused Hans Blix of being an biased investigator who was secretively working for validating claims made by US and UK governments. In the wake of all this controversy, Hans Blix gave an interview to a renowned news agency in which he clearly stated that he is absolutely sure that Iraq possesses no biological and chemical WMDs. Furthermore he blamed George Bush and Tony Blair for trying to manipulate the findings of the UN team of inspectors. Blix denied all rumours about any kind of disagreement between him and other inspectors. Hans Blix finally stated that according to him Iraq doesn’t possess any kind of Biological or Chemical weaponry and if US and UK decided to take any kind of military action against Iraq, that action would be totally illegal.
COLIN POWELL’S PRESENTATION AT UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
After 9/11, Colin Powell’s main job was to gather as much international support for developing a coalition force to invade Iraq to destroy the alleged Weapons of mass destruction. And one of the most significant factor that would have possibly generated massive support for the invasion of Iraq was Colin Powell’s presentation about Iraq’s WMDs at the plenary session of United Nations Security Council. On February 6, 2003, Powell appeared before the UN to “prove” the urgency to engage a war with Iraq. Although the presentation failed to change the fundamental position of the Security Council, including France, Russia, China and Germany. But what Powell did succeed in was hardening the overall tone of the United Nations towards Iraq.
Powell also claimed that Iraq harbored a terrorist network headed by Al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. Colin Powell had no evidence to support his claim, on the other hand there was a lot of evidence pointing to the contrary of what Powell was claiming. Powell also showed photos of what he said was a poison and explosives training camp in northeast Iraq, operated by Al-Qaeda. When this camp was visited by a British journalist two days later, all that was found was a few dilapidated buildings and no evidence or signs of any terrorist activity, chemical or explosives.
Powell alleged that these training camps had been operating with help from Iraqi agents, despite them being in the northern Iraqi Kurdistan “a no fly zone” and thus outside of de facto Iraqi control. Powell also claimed that Iraqis visited Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and provided training to al-Qaeda members, although thousands of Arabs from many countries did the same. US intellegence agencies found no evidence of any substantive collaboration between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.
While Colin Powell’s statement to the UN may have been accepted as “proof” by many in the US, this was not the case in Europe, where there was widespread scepticism of any links between Iraq and al-Qaeda.The British government’s intelligence services did not believe there was any link at all, given the mutual hatred between Islamists hard liners and the secular regime in Baghdad. Colin Powell even showed a Computer-generated image of an alleged mobile production facilities for creating biological and chemical weapons. These images were presented by Powell as fool proof evidence of Iraq’s biological and chemical capability at the UN Security Council. Absence of more substantial proofs undermined the credibility of Powell’s presentation. Russian experts have always questioned the likelihood of such mobile facilities, which are extremely dangerous and difficult to manage.
SORRY NO WMDs HERE
When no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, Colin Powell was asked about his statements in the United Nations Security Council. Colin Powell replied to the questions by saying that we were misled by the inaccurate intellegence reports from CIA and Military intellegence units. At the time of presentation, Colin Powell repeatedly suggested that he had studied all the WMDs related documents to the absolute limit and only made up his mind after careful evaluation of all these documents.
But when asked about the WMDs in TV interview with Barbara Walters, Colin Powell claimed that everything that he was given or everything he had was inaccurate and possibly older intellegence reports. Later in the Interview Colin Powell described the mistakes he made during his campaign to gather international support for invasion, a blot on his long illustrious career as a soldier. Even now Colin Powell was not ready to admit that he had lied in the United States Security Council, and shifted all blame towards CIA analysts who had deliberately lied to him about the intel on Iraq, probably at the behest of US President George Bush and his entourage.
Colin Powell would later admit that few claims he made in his speech at United Nations Security Council had no factual basis and were completely unreliable. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Powell contended that prior to his UN presentation, he had merely four days to review the data concerning WMD in Iraq.
A Senate report on intelligence failures would later detail the intense debate that went on behind the scenes on what to include in Powell’s speech. State Department analysts had found dozens of factual problems in drafts of the speech. Some of the claims were taken out, but others were left in, such as claims based on the yellow cake forgery. The administration came under fire for having acted on faulty intelligence, particularly what was single-sourced to the informant known as Corveball (former Iraqi Army Offocer now living in exile). Powell later recounted how Vice President Dick Cheney had joked with him before he gave the speech, telling him, “You’ve got high poll ratings; you can afford to lose a few points.” Powell’s longtime aide and Chief of Staff from 1989–2003, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, later characterized Cheney’s view of Powell’s mission as to “go up there and sell it, and we’ll have moved forward a peg or two. Fall on your damn sword and kill yourself, and I’ll be happy, too.” The war that was initiated on lies led to the death of over 1.5 million Iraqi civilians.
And this number is rising every single day. But the people who are responsible for this was and deaths of 1.5 million civilians are still roaming freely and not a single one of them have been brought to justice. George.W.Bush, Dich Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleza Rice and especially Colin Powell should all be charged with war crimes and hung if found guilty. A society where one group of people are incarcerated indefinitely without showing any evidence to prove their guilt and where another group that deliberately lied and those lies led to the deaths of 1.5 million people, still roam freely, cannot be called a fair society.
UN SANCTIONS: CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
Its hardly a mystery anymore that why did US invade Iraq. No it was not to free Iraqi people. They were already free and the only hardship that was their in their lives was either due to first gulf war or due to UN embargo on Iraq. It was all done to control the vast oil reserves of Iraq. And this theory was further validated by actions of Obama administration to destabilise Libya and Syria. Because after Iraq these two countries were the biggest exporters of oil behind Saudi Arabia. It was all done for economic reasons and it had nothing to do with humanitarian reasons.
Moreover if that bastard George W Bush was so worried about the weapons of mass destruction that he alleged that Iraq still possessed than first person he should have dealt with would have been his very own Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. Because it was Donald Rumsfeld who made a deal for selling Chemical and Biological Weapons to Saddam Hussein on 20th December 1983, when he was appointed as Special Envoy for Middle East by President Ronald Reagan. Donald Rumsfeld met with Saddam Hussein at a time when Iraq-Iran war was going on. So main purpose of Donald Rumsfeld’s visit to Baghdad was that he wanted to discuss the prospect of Iraq becoming a crucial US ally in the Middle East to counter the Syrian and Iranian expansion of influence in other Arab countries.
Just 2 days before Rumsfeld met with Saddam, Saddam Hussein had attacked the Kurdish Villages with nerve gas which had resulted in more than 10,000 deaths of Kurdish civilians. And many even claim that the weapon that Saddam used on Kurdish rebels was supplied by US itslef. So for US to claim in 2003 that Iraq was a threat to world because of its chemical and biological weapons, which ironically US itself delivered it to Saddam, is totally a ridiculous theory and should be considered an insult by any competent person, because thinking that people would believe this nonsense certainly reflects that US government thinks that it citizens are incapable of rational thinking.
In the end everything comes down to this fact that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and nor did he had any desires to own them. After the first Gulf War of 1991, US Airforce had destroyed all the majority of Iraqi civilian infrastructure deliberately to cripple Iraq.
US Forces had destroyed over 15 water treatment plants, electricity generating units, big Pharnaceutical companies which provided bulk of the medicinal requirements i.e over 80% of Iraq’s medicine requirements were supplied by these companies. Another favourite target of US pilots was food processing plants. One such plant that fulfilled 75% of Iraq’s requirement of milk by producing powdered milk, was completely destroyed.
So quite understandable Saddam Hussein had several other more pressing issues to ponder about before any other consideration.
Mortality rate of Infants was at more than 50% and with wide spread poverty and hunger even pregnant mothers were suffering from malnourishment. There was no supply of clean drinking water, electricity, adequate food and medicine to ensure the safety of both mother and child. And this was a constant state of affairs in Iraq ever since 1991, when United Nations placed economic sanctions on Iraq halting all international aid from entering into the country.
What I don’t get is what was the function of the UN sanctions on Iraq? I can understand the ban on sale of Iraqi oil, but what I simply can’t understand is the need of sanctions about halting the medicine and food supply to Iraq. During the years of UN embargo on Iraq, as many as one million children mostly infants died from easilly curable diseases like diarrhea, pnemonea and viral infections. Ban on delivery of repair and reconstruction material to Iraq meant that Iraqi’s were not even able to repair water treatment plants which were deliberately bombed by NATO forces. And unhealthy drinking water was the main cause of children falling ill. What did those little babies had to do with anything? There was no power supply to the majority of Iraqi rural area because most of the electricity generating plants were bombed and destroyed by NATO bombings and then tools to repair them were not allowed to be supplied to Iraqis.
This UN embargo that claimed lives of more than a million Iraqi children was a genocide and a crime against humanity and the Secretary General of UN during this embargo should be indicted for these crimes. Main purpose of UN was to establish peace and help the needy by humanitarian efforts, but this shameless institute has been reduced to nothing more than another ally of NATO. I think United Nations has lived out its usefulness for the humanity and should be dissolved now.
BOTTOM LINE: By 2003, everybody knew that Iraq had no Chemical or Biological weapons capability. Even UN inspectors who conducted elaborate inspections of key facilities in Iraq stated that Iraq had fully co-operated with them and that they were sure that Iraq possessed no WMDs. Despite this Bush administration remained adamant and defiant about their claims that Iraq still possessed WMDs. It was all for black gold “Oil” and the attitude of Washington about Oil is more the merrier. I believe that if it came out that Narnia has huge oil deposits then we’ll see Obama within hours claiming that Narnia possesses weapons of mass destruction and that US is invading Narnia to free its furry creatures from oppression…..
I was quite surprised by the fact that how few people today know about East Timorian Genocides and many have never even heard the name of East Timor. I think its a responsibility of every individual to inform others about what happened in places like East Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia, Panama, Nicaragua, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Grenada and Dominican Republic, so that it doesn’t happen again, just as stated by George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. If we wish none of these horrible chapters of humanity to ever be repeated again then we need to inform everyone about the horrific facts about these tragedies.
BRIEF HISTORY OF EAST TIMOR
East Timor is a small island about 400 miles North of Australian mainland and the city of Darwin. It is one of the islands in the Indonesian archipelago. In the mid 19th century most Asian countries were under colonial rule of European powers especially Britain, France, Spain and Portugal. At that time Indonesia was a Dutch colony and Timor was a Portugese colony. Potugese had been in control of Timor since 1703, but Dutch who had captured a number of Portugese strongholds in South Asia were contesting their claim on Timor.
A brief war between the Dutch and Portugese broke out over the claim on Timor. After some brief skirmishes between Dutch and Portugese forces, a truce was declared and negotiations began for the island of Timor. So in 1860 as an agreement between Dutch and the Potugese, Island of Timor was partitioned into two separate States. East Timor was to be under Potugese rule and West Timor was to be controlled by Dutch. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, Sukarmo a vibrant nationalist leader declared Indonesia’s independence from the Dutch and thus West Timor became a part of Indonesia.
Life of an average Timorian under Portugese rule was quite peaceful and uneventful. Unlike many other colonies of the time, Portugese colonials hardly ever interfered with the lives and culture of East Timorian people. Reason for this was not that the Portugese were humane, accommodating, considerate or anything like that. Reason was that Portugese colonials simply never considered East Timor and its people were worth, going through all that trouble for making social, cultural and economic changes in the country. So basically they allowed East Timorians to do whatever they wanted. And this created an unusually harmonious environment in East Timor even under the Portugese Colonial rule.
During Second World War, East Timor fought on the side of allies and halted Japanese advancement towards Australia. The East Timorese single handedly saved Australia from Japanese occupation but in the process they paid a hefty price for their decision to protect Australia. If they had wished so, they could have easilly allowed Japanese forces to use East Timor to launch attack on Australia. Japanese had already assured that they had no interest in occupying East Timor, their only motivation was to use East Timor to launch air and ground attacks on Australia. But East Timorese decided not to allow Japanese to use their land to wage a war on their neighbour Australia. 60,000 East Timorians died in their battle against Japanese forces but eventually they defeated Japanese and forced them to flee from the island. It was a great gesture of solidarity and sacrifices by East Timor towards Australia. But little did they knew that the same Australia was going to stab them in the back three decades later.
INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT IN EAST TIMOR
In 1973, Timorese people started a movement for independence of East Timor from its colonial rulers. And as the freedom movement gained momentum, several factions within East Timor rose up to claim its legitimacy as true voice of Timorese people. A small scale violent struggle between various groups ensued, at the end of which two parties were left standing. These parties were Timorese Democratic Union(UDT) and Revolutionary Front for Independent East Timor(FRETILIN). Both these parties decided to make a coalition for the cause of independence of East Timor. President Suharto of Indonesia who had seized power in a coup d’état against Sukarmo, had his eyes on East Timor for a long long time and was just waiting for departure of Portugese from the island before claiming it.
Realising the importance of a political presence in East Timor, Indonesian Governent’s agents infiltrated into East Timor and established their own political party called Timorese Popular Democratic Associatiom (APODETI). APODETI was highly infiltrated by Indonesian sympathisers or by Indonesians themselves. The true purpose of APODETI was to facilitate the annexation of East Timor by Indonesia by purely political and non military means. Indonesian leader Suharto thought that if APODETI can successfully form the new free government in East Timor that he can legitimise the annexation of East Timor by claiming that the government of East Timor(APODETI) had asked for the annexation by Indonesia.
Soon Suharto regime deliberately created discord between the UDT and FRETILIN coalition which lead to the end of their alliance. Timorese Democratic Union or UDT was a political party mainly consisting of wealthy families of East Timor, so Suharto easilly coerced them into joining hands with APODETI. Thus a new alliance between UDT and APODETI was formed. FRETILIN had always opposed the existence of APODETI because they considered it an Indonesian allied party, which it was. In 1975, Potugese Decolonisation Commission convened a meeting in Macau to solve the issue of East Timorian independence and settle the dispute between parties. FRETILIN boycotted this meeting in protest of APODETI being also invited to the summit. In the absence of FRETILIN, both UDT and APODETI claimed that FRETILIN’s actions were deliberate attempts to slow down the decolonisation process of East Timor.
As later claimed by senior member of FRETILIN, José Ramos Horta that decision to boycott the meeting in Macau was a disastrous political mistake by the Party High Command. Soon after the talks in Macau, public perception about FRETILIN changes drastically as people started viewing it as a disruptive element that was not interested in peaceful transition of East Timor. And quite expectedly, soon tensions between UDT and FRETILIN rose to such a level that East Timorians were fearing a violent take over of the interim government by either of the parties. Soon after in mid-1975 with the support of Indonesian backed APODETI, UDT overthrew the interim Potugese government in a coup d’état. A bloody civil war broke out between UDT and FRETILIN which claimed lives of 4000 people. The violence forced the interim Portugese government to flee to the nearby island of Atauro.
After two weeks of bitter fighting between UDT and FRETILIN, FRETILIN forces defeated UDT and forced its members to flee into Indonesian controlled West Timor. People of East Timor were relieved that the hostilities and violent fighting in East Timor had ended finally. They were finally free and capable to shape their own destinies the way they wanted. But this period of happiness and content was short lived as a wave of unimaginable violence, pain, suffering and death, likes of which people of East Timor had never seen before, was speeding towars them.
OPERATION KOMODO: COVERT ATTACKS BY INDONESIA IN EAST TIMOR
Once they had gained control of East Timor, FRETILIN faced attacks from the west, by Indonesian forces known as Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia(ABRI) and by a small group of UDT troops. Indonesia captured the border city of Batugadé on 8 October 1975; nearby Balibó and Maliana were taken eight days later.
At the start of November, the foreign ministers from Indonesia and Portugal met in Rome to discuss a resolution of the conflict. Although no Timorese leaders were invited to the talks, FRETILIN sent a message expressing their desire to work with Portugal. The meeting ended with both parties agreeing that Portugal would meet with political leaders in East Timor, but the talks never took place. In mid-November, Indonesian forces began shelling the city of Atabae from the sea, and captured it by the end of the month. Frustrated by Portugal’s inaction, FRETILIN leaders believed they could ward off Indonesian advances more effectively if they declared an independent East Timor. National Political Commissioner Mari Alkatiri conducted a diplomatic tour of Africa, gathering support from governments there and elsewhere. According to FRETILIN, this effort yielded assurances from twenty five countries including the People’s Republic of China, the Soviet Union, Mozambique, Sweden, and Cuba to recognise the new nation.
On 28 November 1975, FRETILIN unilaterally declared independence for the Democratic Republic of East Timor. UDT and APODETI leaders in and around Balibó responded next day by making their own Declartion that region under their control was now independent from East Timor and officially part of Indonesia. But this Balibo Declaration was drafted by Indonesian intelligence and signed on Bali. Nobody in the international community other than US, UK and Australia took the second declaration seriously, cause it was obvious to everyone that it was formulated by Indonesians themselves. Portugal rejected both declarations, and the Indonesian government approved military action to begin its annexation of East Timor.
Reports of Indonesian troops landing on East Timorian beaches had been surfacing all over East Timor for quite some time. These landings were a part of Operation Komodo launched by Indonesia Secret Service. Aim of Operation Komodo was to infiltrate the cities and villages of East Timor with Indonesian operatives disguising as FRETILIN troops. Then these agents were to launch a wide scale campaign of violence and terror against East Timorese population. In Operation Komodo, Indonesian operatives attacked innocent civilians in their homes, churches and schools whilst disguising themselves as FRETILIN soldiers.
Aim was to make Timorese people believe that FRETILIN was committing all these attrocious acts at which point Indonesian operatives in UDT and APODETI would demand Indonesian intervention to save them from communist forces of FRETILIN and this would provide a pretext for Indonesian forces to invade East Timor. Operation was a complete failiure as people easilly recognised Indonesian operatives primarily because they couldn’t even speak Timorese. But none the less, after the attacks Indonesian sponsored UDT and APODETI wept some crocodile tears and officially asked for Suharto’s help to save Timorese people from the atrocities committed by FRETILIN against them. This provided Suharto the pretext that he needed to legitimise his decision of invading East Timor in the eyes of international community.
FORD, KISSINGER AND SUHARTO MEET IN JAKARTA
In 1945, after the surrender of Japan at the end of Second World War, Indonesian leader Sukarno declared the independence of Indonesia from the Dutch. Initially Sukarno supported a US based democratic governance system. But soon he got disillusioned from the concept of western democracy. Soon Sukarno moved Indonesia from democracy towards authoritarianism, and maintained his power base by balancing the opposing forces of the military and the Communist Party of Indonesia(PKI).
An attempted communist coup d’état on 30 September 1965 was countered by the army, who led a violent anti-communist purge during which the PKI was blamed for the coup and effectively destroyed. Around 500,000 people are estimated to have been killed in this purging campaign of military.
US involvement in affairs of Indonesia began when their backed pawn General Suharto of Indonesian Military snatched power from previous President Sukarmo in 1966. Soon after US launched a global campaign for motivating big corporations to invest in Indonesia which resulted in quick rise of Indonesia’s economy and strength. In years from 1970-75, Indonesia became one of the biggest buyers of US made weaponry. At this time Indonesia was also one of the biggest recipient of US military aid in South Asia. Primarily the US equipment from South Vietnam was being given to Indonesia as military aid.
On 5th December 1975, US President Gerald Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrived in Jakarta and met with Indonesian President Suharto. US government had been a supporter of Suharto regime ever since he took over the reign of Indonesia in 1966. During the meeting between Ford, Kissinger and Suharto, Kissinger reportedly said to Suharto that he should annex East Timor as quickly and as silently possible. But Suharto’s main concern was that if he attacked East Timor than US might stop selling weapons to Indonesia because it had been a policy of USA in the past that they didn’t allowed their sold weapons to be used in an offensive manner, and if they were used in an offensive manner then they halted all weapons trade with that nation.
To this Ford and Kissinger replied that they promise that there will be no opposition from America on the issue of annexation of East Timor by Indonesia. Henry Kissinger even proposed a substantial increase in supply of weapons to Indonesia from US which included F16 fighter jets, naval frigates, naval destroyers and attack helicopters. But Kissinger persuaded Suharto to postpone his attack on East Timor till he and Gerald Ford depart from Jakarta.
Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford were completely informed about Suharto’s intentions of invading East Timor and furthermore they were affirmative towards all of Suharto’s plans. They even promised military assistance to Indonesia in case it was attacked by Communist forces of China or Soviet Union. They knew that Soviet Union, China and Cuba had promised support to East Timorese leaders so they relieved Suharto’s fears about getting attacked by some other communist countries. At 11:00 am, 7th December 1975, Air Force One left the Indonesian airspace and at about 12:30 pm first shells fired from Indonesian Naval destroyers hit the East Timorian capital Dilli.
INDONESIAN INVASION OF EAST TIMOR
On 7 December 1975, Indonesian forces invaded East Timor. Operasi Seroja (Operation Lotus) was the largest military operation ever carried out by Indonesia in its brief history. Troops from FRETILIN’s military organization FALINTIL engaged ABRI forces in the streets of Dili, and reported 400 Indonesian paratroopers were killed as they descended into the city. By the end of the year, 10,000 troops occupied Dili and another 20,000 had been deployed throughout East Timor. Massively outnumbered, FALINTIL troops fled to the mountains and continued guerilla combat operations. Indonesian soldiers in towns, particularly Dili, were reported to have indiscriminately killed civilians, including the rape and killing of women and children.
Indonesian soldiers repeatedly targeted and murdered innocent civilians of East Timor. There numerous incidents in which Indonesian troops forced all the villagers into the village church or other large building and locked them in. Then they soaked the outside of building with gasoline and lit it ablaze with hundreds of villagers consisting men, women and children still inside. Witnesses reported screams of anguish of villagers being burned alive.
Another favourite tactic of Indonesian forces for committing mass killings of innocent civilians was by lining them up in fields and then gunning everyone down with machine guns. They lured villagers into the fields under the guise that they were merely trying to assess whether there were any FRETILIN rebels among their midst. And when villagers were all lined up for identification process they were gunned down.
Any and all East Timorese civilians suspected of being FRETILIN supporters were horrendously tortured in front of their families and then executed. Indonesian soldiers repeatedly decapitated their prisoners and then posed for pictures holding the severed heads of their victims. I think this clearly shows the level of savagery and brutality in which Indonesian soldiers operated in East Timor.
First team of Indonesian soldiers landed on the southern beaches of the East Timorian capital of Dilli. East Timorese people were totally unaware about the Indonesian invasion yet and they were all going about their chores of daily life. This is when they were indiscriminately gunned down by Indonesian soldiers in the streets of Dilli. Indonesian soldiers raped and then killed hundreds of young women and girls in their own houses.
Many other survivors of Dilli Massacre claim that they saw hundreds of severed heads lined up in the street. Most people who heard about what was happening locked themselves in their houses. When these people didn’t open their doors for Indonesian soldiers then these soldiers threw grenades into the house from windows and set the house ablaze and if anybody came out of the house trying to escape from fire, they were gunned down by the soldiers outside.
As per East Timorian national census done in July 1975, there were approximately 5000 people living in the Southern locality of Dilli which was the first place that was attacked by Indonesian soldiers. But after the December 7th attack, there were less than 500 survivors left in that area. And this was not an isolated case, this is what happened in all of the East Timor’s towns and villages. Many coastal towns and villages were deliberately bombed and shelled by artillery, naval ships and bomber airplanes despite knowing for sure that there were no combatants in these areas and all residents were civilians.
Despite knowing what was happening in East Timor, United States along with its western allies simply turned a blindeye towards these heinous crimes against humanity. But the most shocking fact was that US increased its supply of arms to Indonesia as more and more dead bodies piled up in East Timor. According to an American diplomat “a lot of ammunition was being used to kill thousands of people, that meant we needed to increase our supply of ammunitions to Indonesia and that’s what we did”.
In March 1976, UDT leader Lopez da Cruz reported that 60,000 Timorese had been killed during the invasion. A delegation of Indonesian relief workers agreed with this statistic. In an interview on 5 April 1977 with the Sydney Morning Herald. Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik said the number of dead was “50,000 people or perhaps 80,000”. But all these numbers were significantly minimised to hide the true face of Indonesian murderous policies in East Timor.
The real number of civilians killed in the invasion was somewhere between 100,000 and 120,000. Reason for uncertainty about the exact toll of the dead is because Indonesian soldiers often disposed hundreds and thousands of dead bodies by burying them in unmarked mass graves and locations of many such mass graves was still unknown. Indonesian Officials deliberately counted only those victims whose bodies were found and knowingly ignored thousands of victims who were buried in mass graves all over East Timor.
Despite of all these indiscriminate atrocities being committed by Indonesian forces in East Timor, they were still not able to wipe out the FRETILIN resistance against the Indonesian occupation. In fact these barbaric and heinous crimes committed by Indonesian Army, ultimately strengthened the position of FRETILIN. Many hundreds and thousands of men and women decided to join the resistance as members of FRETILIN after either experiencing themselves or witnessing, the brutal acts of genocide committed by Indonesian soldiers. The FRETILIN engaged in guerilla warfare tactic of hit and hide, they usually hid in the secluded jungles of the mountainous regions of East Timor
The Indonesian government presented its annexation of East Timor to the rest of the world as a matter of anti colonial unity. A 1977 booklet from the Indonesian Department of Foreign “De-colonisation of East Timor” paid tribute to the “sacred right of self-determination” and recognised its very own created puppet party APODETI as the true representatives of the East Timorese majority. It claimed that FRETILIN’s popularity was the result of a “policy of threats, blackmail and terror”. The island’s original division into east and west, Indonesia argued after the invasion, was “the result of colonial oppression” enforced by the Portuguese and Dutch imperial powers. Thus, according to the Indonesian government, its annexation of the 27th province was merely another step in the unification of the archipelago which had begun in the 1940s.
But what the Indonesians never answered was that, were East Timorese people ever asked what they wanted? Shockingly niether the United Nations and nor any other western nation was asking this question that, were East Timorians ever even given a chance to choose what they wanted?
Not so surprisingly, the governments of United States of America, United Kingdom, Australia and France praised the policies of President Suharto and the actions of Indonesian Army for peaceful unification of East Timor with Indonesia. Yes they used the word “peaceful”. Suharto was most often praised by British PM Margaret Thatcher for his policies in East Timor and refered to him as an avid humanitarian. Gough Whitlam the former Prime Minister of Australia also hailed Suharto as a true leader for his efforts in incorporation of East Timor into Indonesia.
INDONESIAN OCCUPATION OF EAST TIMOR
After the invasion of East Timor, Indonesian forces braced themselves for a long halt. They were not going anywhere because they had never intended to leave East Timor even after it became a part of Indonesia. Bloody massacres, murders, rapes, torture, unjust incarceration and unjustified use of force became a norm in East Timor. The dehumanisation of Timorese people by Indonesia was beyond comprehension. When a journalist asked Suharto about the alleged killings of children by Indonesian forces, he quite blatantly replied “when you kill the snakes in your garden, do you spare some just because they small. No you don’t and same way we don’t”. This was the true face of the man Margaret Thatcher called an avid humanitarian.
After Indonesia’s violent occupation of East Timor began, the only country in the whole world that instantly recognised East Timor as a legitimate part of Indonesia was Australia. Australia not only recognised East Timor as a part of Indonesia but even presented a resolution at the United Nations for officially declaring East Timor as a part of Indonesia. Mind you this was the same East Timor which had saved Australia from Japanese occupation in Second World War by sacrificing 60,000 of its own civilians. Had they wanted to they could have just allowed Japan to use East Timor as base of operations for carrying out invasion of Australia. But Timorese people refused to allow their land to be utilised for invading their neighbour and lost more than 60,000 lives in the process. And Australia paid them back by stabbing Timorese people in the back. Infact even before Suharto started covert operations in East Timor, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam publicly said to Suharto to annex East Timor because he thought East Timor was so poor and backward that just wouldn’t survive on its own in the region.
In 1987 the real reason for Australia’s disdain for East Timor was revealed when Indonesia and Australia started their share negotiations about the vast petroleum and natural gas reserves in the region of Timor Sea knows as the Timor Gap. At a time when Indonesia was committing vast human right abuses in East Timor, the Finance Minister of Indonesia Ali Alatas and Australian Finance Minister Gareth Evans were seen drinking champagne while celebrating the signing of the Timor Gap Treaty. At a time when civilians of East Timor were being systematically massacred, these two individuals were celebrating the heist of East Timor’s resources with champgne.
East Timor remained under the occupation of Indonesia up untill 1999. Indonesian occupation of East Timor that lasted for 23 bloody years was filled with unspeakable acts of cruelty and brutality that caused deaths of over 2 million East Timorese people. The wave of terror, violence, brutality, cruelty, pain and suffering that Indonesia unleashed upon the people of East Timor was beyond comprehension of any civilised person and likes of which world had never seen before. Acts committed by Indonesians were one of the worst crimes against humanity ever documented. The majority of these 2 million victims were slaughtered and then buried in numerous mass graves scattered all over East Timor. This was specifically done by Indonesian authorities to leave no hard evidence for Human Rights Organisations to accurately estimate the number of people murdered by Indonesian Forces during 23 years of their occupation of East Timor.
Throughout the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, Indonesian military employed various tactics which can only he describes as means of ethnic cleansing. What Indonesian Army wanted to achieve was to wipe out or atleast reduce the population of East Timor to such a level that Timorese people just wouldn’t pose any significant resistance to the Indonesian occupation. The mass killings of millions of people in East Timor clearly point that there was certainly secret Indonesia policy of extermination of the entire population of Timorese people. Otherwise how can one explain the murder of one third of the population of East Timor by Indonesiam forces.
THE BALIBÓ FIVE AND TOTAL MEDIA BLACKOUT
When Indonesian operatives started killing innocent civilians in disguise of FRETILIN members, there was a team of journalists present in East Timor. Indonesian authorities were not aware of their presence in the region. These reporters witnessed Indonesian soldiers committing most heinous crimes against unarmed civilian population of East Timor. Indonesian soldiers were trying to demonise FRETILIN by committing these crimes in their name. As I stated before idea was to create so much anti-FRETILIN emotions among the general population that in the end Timorese people would willingly ask Indonesian forces to come to protect them from FRETILIN rebels. But the entire operation which was codenamed Operation Komodo was a complete failiure.
But somehow Indonesian Soldiers became aware of the presence of five foreign journalists in the area. Army feared that if these journalists had witnessed the covert acts of Indonesian Operation Komodo then they would tell the outer world what was Indonesian Army really upto. Hence capture and execution of these five journalists became a priority of Indonesian Army.
The group comprised two Australians, reporter Greg Shackleton aged 29, Tony Stewart aged 21(Sound Recordist from New Zealand), Gary Cunningham aged 27(cameraman for HSV-7 in Melbourne) two British nationals Brian Peters aged 24(Cameraman TCN-9 or Nine Network Sydney) and Malcolm Rennie aged 29( Reporter for TCN-9 or Nine Network Sydney).
While the men were aware that Indonesian troops were to mount an attack on the town, they believed that, as journalists, they would not be considered military targets. Greg Shackleton was filmed painting an Australian flag and the word ‘AUSTRALIA’ on the wall of a house in the town square.
A little after midnight while the five journalist were asleep, a team of about 30 Indonesian soldiers entered the house. They shot many journalists in legs to immobilise them. Then they hung all five journalists upside down from their feets. What followed was one of the most horrible attack on journalists in the history. Indonesian soldiers then chopped of genitals of the five men and stuffed it in their throats. Although many believe that these five unfortunate souls would have lost conciousness from the shear pain and loss of blood and eventually would have died of asphyxiation and basically would have drowned in their own blood. Indonesian soldiers later claimed that the journalists were killed by mistake but this was a total lie. How could they have mistaken, when the reporters had clearly marked their house by writing Australian and painted Australian flag on the outside walls of the house?
Villagers who saw Indonesian soldiers enter the house reported that the soldiers knew that reporters were staying in that house and in fact they had been asking around all day about the whereabouts of Greg Shackleton and his colleagues. They told that they saw upto 30 soldiers enter the house which was followed by upto 8 gun shots. Then villagers reported that they heard loud screams of anguish from the house and in about an hour everything went totally silent. Villagers totally rejected the Soldiers claim that reporters were killed by mistake. They argued how do you torture somebody for an hour by mistake. Villagers told that journalists were killed deliberately by Indonesian soldiers to coverup their disruptive actions in East Timor. The five victims of this dastardly attack later came to be known as the “The Balibó Five”.
Senior diplomats told the 2007 coroner’s inquest of their understanding that “the killing was done by the Indonesian military and that it was deliberate”.
Balibo House Trust, established in 2003 with seed funding from the Victorian government and television stations 7 and 9, now owns this house and preserves it as a community learning centre. A commemorative plaque outside the house pays tribute to those five brave souls who laid their lives in line of their duty.
Following this incident, Indonesian Army besieged the entire Island of East Timor and declared it no entry zone for reporters and journalists. They totally cordoned off the entire Island of East Timor from all foreign nationals irrespective of the fact whether they were journalists, Red Cross workers, UN human right watchers or Amnesty International workers. And this trend continued for the most part of 23 years of Indoneaian occupation of East Timor.
According to the UN charter and the Geneva Convetion Journalists active in the war zones are protected under Article 79. Any and all kinds of violence against journalists is to be considered war crimes. But to this very day not a single soldier or General who ordered the execution of five journalists have been charged for their crimes. Most shocking was the reaction of Australian government who blamed the journalists themselves instead of the Indonesian soldiers for the incident. To this very day Australian government has not asked Indonesian government for an official explanation for the incident.
The total sealing of the island of East Timorese clearly proves that the Indonesian troops didn’t wanted the world to see what atrocities they were committing in East Timorese. This is the first case of its kind where Press had been banned from an active war zone for such a long period of time and where journalists and war correspondents were repeatedly targeted by the Indonesian Army.
INDONESIAN WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN EAST TIMOR
It will require thousands of articles to specify the true extent of human right abuses committed by Indonesian troops in East Timor. The shear brutality, cruelty and violent nature of the crimes against committed against Timorese people were at an unimaginable magnitude the extent of which world had never seen before. Indonesian war crimes even makes Atilla the Hun look like a perfect gentleman.
Tortures, beatings, decapitations, chopping of limbs, rapes, infanticide, mass shootings, death by shooting squad, mutilation of victims while they were alive, cannibalistic acts, almost any sadistic method of execution you can think of was committed in East Timor. The shear dehumanisation of Timorese people by Indonesian soldiers is far beyond any of ours worst nightmares.
Indonesia kept East Timor shut off from the rest of the world, except for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, claiming that the vast majority of East Timorese supported integration. This position was followed closely by the Indonesian media such that an East Timorese acceptance of their integration with Indonesia was taken for granted by, and was a non-issue for, the majority of Indonesians. Starting in September 1977, Indonesian forces began what Catholic officials in East Timor called an “encirclement and annihilation” campaign. 35,000 ABRI troops surrounded areas of FRETILIN support and killed hundreds of men, women, and children. Air and naval bombardments were followed by ground troops, who destroyed villages and agricultural infrastructure. Thousands of people were brutally murdered during this period.
Indonesian forces moved hundreds of thousands of people into camps, where they were imprisoned and subjected to hunger. FRETILIN radio claimed Indonesian planes dropped chemical agents, and several observers including the Bishop of Dili reported seeing napalm dropped on the countryside. In 1981 the Indonesian military launched Operasi Keamanan (Operation Security), which some have named the “fence of legs” program. 50,000 East Timorese men and boys were ordered to march through the mountains, sweeping guerrillas into the central part of the region.
The operation failed to crush the resistance, and popular resentment toward the occupation grew stronger than ever. As FRETILIN troops in the mountains continued their sporadic attacks, Indonesian forces carried out numerous operations to destroy them over the next ten years. In the cities and villages, meanwhile, a non-violent resistance movement began to take shape.
At the same time, Indonesian forces carried out a widespread campaign of killing, torture, disappearances, political imprisonment, and other abuses of human rights. Starting in 1981 Indonesian officials sent thousands of prisoners to Atauro Island Concentration Camp where Amnesty International described the conditions as “deplorable”. Massacres by the Indonesian military have been documented across East Timor. In September 1981, 400 civilians were killed in Lacluta, and in August of 1983, 200 people were burned alive in the village of Creras, with 500 others killed at a nearby river. An eyewitness who testified before the Australian Senate stated that soldiers deliberately killed small children by smashing their heads against a rock.
Those suspected of opposing integration were often arrested and tortured. In 1983 Amnesty International published an Indonesian manual it had received from East Timor instructing military personnel on how to inflict physical and mental anguish, and cautioning troops to “Avoid taking photographs showing torture (of someone being given electric shocks, stripped naked and so on)”.
In his 1997 memoir East Timor’s Unfinished Struggle: Inside the Timorese Resistance, Constãncio Pinto describes being tortured by Indonesian soldiers: “With each question, I would get two or three punches in the face. When someone punches you so much and so hard, it feels as if your face is broken. People hit me on my back and on my sides with their hands and then kicked me…. [In another location] they psychologically tortured me; they didn’t hit me, but they made strong threats to kill me. They even put a gun on the table.
” In Michele Turner’s book Telling East Timor: Personal Testimonies 1942–1992, a woman named Fátima describes watching torture take place in a Dili prison: “They make people sit on a chair with the front of the chair on their own toes. It is mad, yes. The soldiers urinate in the food then mix it up for the person to eat. They use electric shock and they use an electric machine….”
CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN BY INDONESIAN ARMY
Indonesian military abuses against women in East Timor were numerous and well-documented. In addition to suffering arbitrary detainment, torture, and extrajudicial execution, women faced rape and sexual abuse sometimes for the crime of being related to an independence activist. The scope of the problem is difficult to ascertain, owing to the intense military control imposed during the occupation, compounded by the shame felt by victims. In a 1995 report on violence against women in Indonesia and East Timor, Amnesty International USA wrote: “Women are reluctant to pass on information to non-governmental organizations about rape and sexual abuse, let alone to report violations to the military or police authorities.”
In 1999 researcher Rebecca Winters released the book Buibere: Voice of East Timorese Women, which chronicles many personal stories of violence and abuse dating to the earliest days of the occupation. One woman tells of being interrogated while stripped half-naked, tortured, molested, and threatened with death. Another describes being chained at the hands and feet, raped repeatedly, and interrogated for weeks. A woman who had prepared food for FRETILIN guerrillas was arrested, burned with cigarettes, tortured with electricity, and forced to walk naked past a row of soldiers into a tank filled with urine and feces.
SÃNTÃ CRUZ MASSACRE
In October 1991 a delegation to East Timor consisting of members from the Portugese parliament and twelve journalists was planned during a visit from UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights on Torture, Pieter Kooijmans. The Indonesian government objected to the inclusion in the delegation of Jill Jolliffr an Australian journalist who it regarded as supportive of the FRETILIN independence movement and bowing to the protests of Indonesian government Portugal canceled the delegation.
The cancellation demoralised independence activists in East Timor, who had hoped to use the visit to raise the international profile of their cause. Tensions between Indonesian authorities and East Timorese youths rose in the days after Portugal’s cancellation. On 28 October, Indonesian troops had located a group of resistance members in Dili’s Motael Church. A confrontation ensued between pro-integration activists and those in the church; when it was over, one man on each side was dead.
Sebastião Gomes, a supporter of independence for East Timor, was taken out of the church and shot by Indonesian troops, and integration activist Afonso Henriques was stabbed and killed during the fight.
A number of foreigners had come to East Timor to observe the Portuguese delegation, including independent US journalists Amy Goodman and Allan Nairm and British cameraman Max Stahl. They attended a memorial service for Gomes on 12 November, during which several thousand men, women, and children walked from the Motael Church to the nearby Santa Cruz cemetery. Along the way, members of the group pulled out protest banners and East Timorese flags and chanted slogans. Organizers of the protest maintained order during the protest although it was loud, the crowd was peaceful and orderly, by most accounts. It was the largest and most visible demonstration against the Indonesian occupation since 1975.
During a brief confrontation between Indonesian troops and protesters, a number of protesters and a Major in Indonesian Army Gerhan Lantara were stabbed. Stahl claimed Lantara had attacked a group of protesters including a girl carrying the flag of East Timor, and FRETILIN activist Constâncio Pinto reported eyewitness accounts of beatings from Indonesian soldiers and police.
When the procession reached the cemetery, the leading section of the procession entered the cemetery while many continued their protests before the cemetery wall, waving flags and chanting pro-independence slogans. Indonesian troops had been standing by during this time, then a new group of 200 Indonesian soldiers appeared and began shooting. Fleeing people ran through the main entrance and deeper into the cemetery and were pursued by the soldiers.
The massacre was witnessed by Amy Goodman and Allan Nairm. Allan Nairm was himself attacked by Indonesian soldiers and attack on him was caught on videotape by Max Stahl, who was filming undercover for Yorkshire Television. As Stahl filmed the massacre, Goodman and Nairn tried to shield the Timorese protestors from the being shot down by Indonesian soldiers by standing between them and the Indonesian soldiers. Then soldiers began beating Goodman and when Nairn tried to protect her, the soldiers repeatedly struck his head with their rifles which fractured his skull.
Australian Authorities subjected the camera crew to a strip-search when they arrived in Darwin. It was obvious that they had been tipped off by Indonesia.
The video footage was used in the documentary In Cold Blood: The Massacre of East Timor which was broadcasted on ITV in UK. Stahl’s footage, combined with the testimony of Nairn and Goodman and others, blew the covers that Indonesia had tried so hard to hide the brutality of their occupation of East Timor with, from the rest of the world. The images of the Sãntã Crúz massacre caused outrage around the world. The documentary In Cold Blood: The Massacre of East Timor won the inaugural Amnesty International UK Media Awards in 1992.
At least 250 East Timorese were killed in the massacre. One of the dead was a New Zealander, Kamal Bamadhaj, a political science student and human rights activist based in Australia. Indonesian authorities described the incident as a spontaneous reaction to violence from the protesters or a “misunderstanding”. Human Rights Activists totally rejected the claims of Indonesian Army that it was protestors who initiated the confrontation and as evidence they cited the history of mass violence committed by Indonesian troops in places such as Quelicai, Lacluta, and Kraras.
Their allegations were further validated by a series of statements from politicians and officers in Indonesia, justifying the military’s violence. Commander-in-Chief of the Indonesian forces Try Sutrisno said two days after the massacre “The army cannot be underestimated. Finally we had to shoot them. Delinquents like these agitators must be shot, and they will be”.
In response to the massacre, activists around the world organized in solidarity with the East Timorese. Although a small network of individuals and groups had been working for human rights and self-determination in East Timor since the occupation began, their activity took on a new urgency after the 1991 massacre. TAPOL, a British organization formed in 1973 to advocate for democracy in Indonesia, increased its work around East Timor. In the United States, the East Timor Action Network was founded and soon had chapters in ten cities around the country. Other solidarity groups appeared in Portugal, Australia, Japan, Germany, Malaysia, Ireland and Brazil.
The television pictures of the massacre were shown worldwide, causing the Indonesian government considerable embarrassment. The coverage was a vivid example of how growth of new media in Indonesia was making it increasingly difficult for the Suharto’s “New Order” to control information flow in and out of Indonesia. It wasn’t like mid 70s anymore where nobody paid attention to what’s happening around the world, this was the age of mass media where everybody knew everything happening anywhere. And because of this amazing surge in media power the Indonesian government was coming under increasing international scrutiny.
Copies of the Santa Cruz footage were distributed back into Indonesia allowing more Indonesians to see the actions of their government uncensored. A number of pro-democracy student groups and their magazines began to openly and critically discuss not just East Timor, but also the “New Order” and the broader history and future of Indonesia.The massacre prompted the Portugese Government to increase its diplomatic pressure on Indonesia to find a resolution to the problem of East Timor. Even in Australia, there was a lot of criticism about federal government’s recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty over East Timor.
FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS DURING INDONESIA’S OCCUPATION OF EAST TIMOR
The role western governments played in the East Timorian crisis by aiding and helping Indonesia and the Suharto regime was just as pivotal in this whole tragedy as the Indonesian itself. Its a fact worth mentioning that without the weapons that Indonesia bought from UK, US and France, Indonesia would never have been able to inflict as much damage to East Timor as it was able to. The shear disregard for humanitarian consequences of selling weapons to Indonesia by these western countries was a shameful and disgusting attitude and was certainly not worthy of nations who consider themselves as leaders of humanity.
US Involvement in the East Timor Crisis
Right before the Indonesian invasion of East Timor on the 7th December 1975, US President Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger arrived in Jakarta to meet with President Suharto. As it was revealed years later, the main topic of discussion between them was the invasion of East Timor and the continued sale of weapons by America to Indonesia. Suharto was fearful that if he used the US made weapons against the East Timorians, then US might halt the sale of weapons to Indonesia. This was because of America’s policy that if weapons sold by them were utilised to attack other nation, then they would immediately seize the sale of weapons to that nation.
To this Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford replied that US would not create any problems for Indonesia if it attacked East Timor. Furthermore Henry Kissinger promised a substantial increase in military aid as well as weapons sale to Indonesia. In 1975, US was in process of evacuating its military equipment worth billions from Vietnam after its withdrawl from Vietnam. So rather than spending millions of dollars for transporting these outdated equipments to America they decided to give outdated weapons to Indonesia as military aid. Other far newer weapons like artillery guns and jet fighters were being separately sold to Indonesia.
In the meeting of 7th December, Henry Kissinger promised to sell more than 100 aircrafts to Indonesia in coming months. But both Ford and Kissinger were worried about the public outcry in the US if it was revealed that both of them had given their affirmation to the Suharto’s plans of invading East Timor. So they persuaded Suharto to postpone the attacks untill their departure from Jakarta.
Upon reaching US, Kissinger was shocked to know that the news about his meeting with Suharto had already leaked into the US media. Henry Kissinger had witnessed first hand what public opposition could do to a politician. Massive public outcry against Vietnam war had forced President Lyndon Johnson to withdraw from presidential race in 1969 and another public scandal a year earlier had resulted in the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
So he didn’t wanted to end up the same way. So just for the matter of safeguarding his position, he halted the supply of weapons to Indonesia in January but later resumed the weapons sale in June of the same year, While Suharto’s soldiers were murdering innocent civilians in East Timor, US was supplying several tonns of ammunitions to Indonesia per month. And as the brutality of Indonesians soldiers increased so did the supply of ammunitions from America. In other words Americans were literally giving the Indonesians the bullets that they were using to kill innocent East Timorese people by the thousands.
At later stages of the invasion, Indonesians even used US supplied OV10 Broncos to bomb East Timorian towns and villages with cluster white phosphorus and napalm bombs which were also supplied by America. US adopted a policy of silence on the matter of Indonesian invasion of East Timor. A week after the invasion of East Timor the National Security Council prepared a detailed analysis of the Indonesian military units involved and the U.S. equipment they used.
The analysis revealed that virtually all of the military equipment used in the invasion was U.S. supplied. While the US Government claimed to have suspended military assistance from December 1975 to June 1976, military aid was actually increased substantially during this period. The US also made four new offers of arms, including supplies and parts for 16 OV-10 Broncos which, according to Cornell University Professor Benedict Anderson were “specially designed for counter insurgency operations. The policy continued under the Carter Administration. In total, the United States furnished over $250,000,000 of military assistance to Indonesia between 1975 and 1979.
The UN’s Commission for Reception Of Truth and Reconcilliation for East Timor (CAVR) stated in the “Responsibility” chapter of its final report that America’s political and military support to Indonesia was fundamental to the Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor between 1975 and 1999. The report also stated that, US supplied weapons were crucial for Indonesia’s ability to intensify military operations after 1977. These operations included massive napalm and white phosphorus bombing campaigns to eliminate every shred of Resistance from the remote regions of East Timor.
Australian Involvement In The East Timor Crisis
In September 2000 the Australian Department of foreign trade and affairs, released previously secret files that showed that comments by the Gough Whitlam’s Labor Government may have encouraged the Suharto regime to invade East Timor. Despite the unpopularity of the events in East Timor within some segments of the Australian public, the Fraser, Hawke and Keating governments allegedly co-operated with the Indonesian military and President Suharto to obscure details about conditions in East Timor and to preserve Indonesian control of the region.
There was some discord towards policy with in the Australian public, because of the deaths of the Australian Journalists and arguably also because the actions of the Timorese people in supporting Australian Forces during the Battle of Timor in World War II were well-remembered. Protests took place in Australia against the occupation, and some Australian nationals even participated in the resistance movement.
As the Indonesian forces embarked for their invasion of East Timor, their movements were noticed by the CIA and Australian Naval Intellegence a Office at Darwin(400 miles South of East Timor). Despite knowing that there were a number of Australian humanitarian and Red Cross workers present in East Timor, Australian Authorities decided not to inform Australian citizens of the impending invasion by Indonesian forces. Reason for not informing Australian citizens was that informing anyone on the island about the invasion, would have nullified the element of surprise that Indonesian Forces had planned for.
After the Indonesian invasion of East Timor and resulting occupation, Indonesian President Suharto was looking for some kind of validation for Indonesia’s decision to annex East Timor from its allies. So Australia at that moment became the first and the only country that officially recognised East Timor as a legitimate part of Indonesia. Later Australia even tried to push a resolution in UN for official recognition of East Timor as an Indonesian territory. Despite all the support that East Timorese people gave Australia in their battle against Japanese forces in the Battle of Timor Sea, some Australian politicians really despised East Timorese people.
In 1973, Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam allegedly told President Suharto of Indonesia to occupy East Timor in a quick and decisive offensive action, because he believed that East Timor was such a poor and illiterate country that its autonomous existence in the region was just not viable. And to ensure the unified progress of the region, it was better if East Timor was under Indonesian control.
But in 1989, the true motives of Australian Government were revealed when both Indonesiam and Australian commenced their first leg of negotiations over their respective shares in vast oil and natural gas reserves in the region of Timor Gap in the Timor Sea. Finally an agreement called The Timor Gap Treaty was signed by the Indonesian Finance Minister Ali Alatas and Australian Finance Minister Gareth Evans. At a time when hundreds and thousands of innocent East Timorese were being slaughtered by Indonesian soldiers, both these Finance Ministers were drinking champagne to celebrate their successful heist of East Timor’s natural resources.
There was another incident in East Timor and Australian Government’s reaction to it created a huge outcry and disgust against them. This tragic incident was the brutal killings of five journalists in East Timorian town of Balibó by the Indonesian Soldiers. Two of the five murdered journalists were Australian. Australian Reporter Greg Shackleton (aged 29) and Gary Cunningham aged 27(cameraman for HSV-7 in Melbourne). One New Zealander Tony Stewart aged 21(Sound Recordist). And two British nationals Brian Peters aged 24(Cameraman TCN-9 or Nine Network Sydney) and Malcolm Rennie aged 29( Reporter for TCN-9 or Nine Network Sydney).
There was no official response to these brutal killings what so ever. Even though any kind of attack on journalists in War Zone is considered a war crime, no Indonesian Soldier or General was ever charged for the murders. Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s response to this incident was “I had warned them of situation over there, they went there anyway despite my warnings. They should never have gone there and now there’s nothing we can do”. Well Mr. XPM, you could have atleast asked for an official explanation from Indonesian Army.
There were witnesses there who testified that the reporters were deliberately tortured for hours before they were killed. Australian government should have filed charges in the International Criminal Court. But I guess Australian governments love for oil and desperation to appease Suharto was much more valuable then the lives of its citizens.
Australian governments saw good relations and stability in Indonesia as providing an important security buffer to Australia’s north. Nevertheless, Australia provided important sanctuary to East Timorese independence advocates like José Ramos Horta who based himself in Australia during his exile. The fall of Indonesian President Suharto caused a shift in Australian policy by the Howard Gobernment in 1998 and helped precipitate a proposal for a referendum on the question of independence for East Timor. In late 1998, the Australian government drafted a letter to Indonesia setting out a change in Australian policy, suggesting that East Timor be given a chance to vote on independence within a decade.
The letter upset Indonesian President B.J.Habibie, who saw it as implying Indonesia was a “colonial power” and he decided to announce a snap referendum. A UN controlled referendum held in 1999 showed overwhelming approval for independence, but was followed by violent clashes and a security crisis, instigated by anti-independence militia. Australia then led a United Nations backed International Peace keeping Force to East Timor to end the violence and soon order was restored. While the intervention was ultimately successful, Australian-Indonesian relations would take several years to recover.
United Kingdom’s Involvement in the East Timor Crisis
British involvement in the East Timorian crisis was much like United States of America’s involvement. Britain primarily supplied huge amounts of military weapons to the Indonesian Armed Forces. This trade of arms with Indonesia began under the Government of James Callaghan in 1976. Under Callaghan the trade agreement was limited to Indonesian Officer’s training at British Military Bases in UK. But this weapons trade between UK and Indonesia increased exponentially after Margaret Thatcher became the British Prime Minister in 1979.
In April 1978, Indonesia, seeking to increase its aerial capabilities, placed the first of multiple orders for the Hawk. The Indonesian Air Force received more than 40 Hawks in the 1980s and 1990s. In June 1991, BAe and Indonesian Aerospace (IPTN) signed an major agreement for collaborative production of the Hawk, and more orders of the Hawk were anticipated. Further Hawk exports were eventually blocked due to concerns over Indonesian human rights, particularly in East Timor.
During the Government of Margaret Thatcher, Britain became biggest seller of weapons and arms to Indonesia. Everything from guidance systems, radars, combat aircraft, Precision Guided Missiles, Training systems, Heavy Load Vehicles, Transport Aircrafts to trainer aircrafts were being supplied to Indonesia. In the year 1987, record number of companies sold equipments to Indonesia. Some of these companies were Ferranti Defense Systems, Marconi Systems, British Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, Pilatus Britten Norman, Racal Communications, ALVIS, Plessey Radar, Target Technologies, Rolls Royce, Lucas Aerospace, Short Brothers, Royal Ordinances, Weston Simfire, Irvin Great Britain, Land Rover, Dunlop Holdings, Solartron Simulation Systems, Dunlop GRG Division, Louis Newmark Ltd, Decca Radar and Racal Avionics.
Britain’s Minister for Trade and later Minister for Defence Procurement Alan Clark was overseeing the sale of weapons to Indonesia throughout the 1986-1992. He repeatedly faced public opposition for selling weapons to a country which was engaged in human right abuses. But these things just didn’t bother Clark, he was a cold hearted materialist and human suffering never bothered him in the least.
In 1996, Alan Clark was interviewed by renowned investigative Journalist John Pilger for his documentary “East Timor: Death of a nation“. Pilger asked Clark,
JOHN PILGER: “Did it bother you personally that you were causing such mayhem and human suffering (by supplying arms for Indonesian war in East Timor)?”
ALAN CLARK: “No, not in the slightest, it never entered my head.”
JOHN PILGER: “I ask the question because I read you are a vegetarian and you are quite seriously concerned about the way animals are killed.”
ALAN CLARK: “Yeah..?”
JOHN PILGER: “Doesn’t that concern extend to the way humans, albeit foreigners, are killed?”
ALAN CLARK: “Curiously not. No.”
These were the kinds of individuals who were making important decisions and policies that affected lives of millions and millions of people all over the world. When in 1992, Margaret Thatcher was forced to resign, Alan Clark also left the politics. After Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, John Major became the new Prime Minister of Britain. With John Major came even bigger weapons trade agreement between Britain and Indonesia. In 1993, Suharto placed an order for 100 BAe Hawk multirole aircrafts. With the first delivery of 10 Hawks, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Douglas Hurd personally visited Indonesia and as a goodwill jesture gave Suharto soft loan worth £65 million. This money was loaned to Indonesia in form of Ammunitions and weaponry.
Beginning in May 1997, Britain spent £1m on training Indonesia’s military. 24 senior members of the Indonesian armed forces were trained in UK military colleges and 29 Indonesian officers studied at non-military establishments. By the year 1999, Indonesia had entered the 25th Year of its occupation of East Timor. And throughout these 25 years, Indonesia had murdered between 2-2.5 million people. And there is no way in hell that Suharto regime could have done so much damage on their own, had Americans and Britishers not supported them wholeheartedly by supplying them with devastating weapons.
END OF THE INDONESIAN OCCUPATION
Throughout the period of Indonesian occupation of East Timor, Indonesian President Suharto maintained an ironclad grip over East Timor. No media personnel were allowed in East Timur regardless of whether they were foreign or local. By sealing off East Timor from the rest of the world, much of attrocities committed by Indonesia remained a secret. By making propaganda movies, Suharto regime had even fooled the Indonesian people. Majority of the Indonesians were told and hence they believed that East Timorians love the idea of merging with Indonesia. They honestly believed that the majority of the East Timorian population were demanding unification with Indonesia in 1975, but their corrupt leaders especially FRETILIN opposed unification with Indonesia. So they started committing atrocities on pro-unification supporters. And to stop this violence from spreading to other parts of East Timor, Suharto sent his soldiers to protect the people of East Timor.
So whenever they heard of Indonesian troops committing attrocities in East Timor, they assumed that FRETILIN guerrillas disguised as Indonesian soldiers were committing these crimes and to demonise the Indonesian soldiers. At the propaganda techniques used by Indonesian authorities on their own civilians worked so perfectly that some people even today believe that East Timorians just love Indonesia.
Eventually with the rise in crimes committed by Indonesian forces in East Timor, more and more news started to leak out. With the arrival of 90s came an technological evolution that changed the way news media worked forever. In the 70s and 80s nobody knew what was happening half way around the world, but with the emergence of global media grid, in the 90s everybody knew about everything happening anywhere. And this blew the cover off the crimes Indonesia was committing in East Timor. Especially the incident at Santa Cruz which later came to be knows as Santa Cruz massacre. The images of this gruesome massacre revealed the truth about Indonesian army’s crimes in East Timor.
Even in countries like Australia, America and Britain who had been supporters of Indonesian policy in East Timor, civilians started rising up against their respective leaders demanding a change of policy regarding East Timor issue. First Nation to backtrack because of public pressure was Australia. In 1998, new Australian PM John Howard sent an official letter to Jakarta notifying the leadership that Australia has changed its policy regarding East Timor comprehensively and will no longer consider East Timor as a part of Indonesia. Portugal had been carrying on the torch of justice for East Timor alone for last 25 years but now they got a new ally in Australia. By this time President Suharto had also been removed from power. Now the new President of Indonesia was former Defence Minister Habibie. Australian PM and Portugal’s President asked Habibie to free East Timor. This enraged Habibie because this implied that Indonesia was like an imperialist power who had made East Timor its colony.
In a fit of rage, Habibie asked UN to conduct a referendum in East Timor to answer the question of East Timor for once and for all. Habibie like millions of Indonesians also falsely believed that East Timorians wanted unification with Indonesia. His advisors tried to persuade him to delay the referendum otherwise this referendum will become a matter of big humiliation for Indonesia, but Habibie was convinced that East Timorians would vote for unification with Indonesia because like many Indonesians he was also fooled by Suharto’s propaganda.
Several Pro-unification groups in East Timor threatened people of East Timor that if anybody went to vote on the day of referendum, then that person won’t see another day. Others warned about a river of blood flowing through streets of Dilli if people voted for independence rather than unification with Indonesia. There was reasonable fear in minds of peace activists that terrorised by the threats of militias, majority of people won’t cast their votes. But all their fears disappeared on the day of the vote, 30 August 1999, was generally calm and orderly. 98.6 percent of registered voters cast ballots, and on 4 September UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that 78.5 percent of the votes had been cast for independence. Brought up on the “New Order”‘s insistence that the East Timorese supported integration, Indonesians were either shocked by, or disbelieved that the East Timorese had voted against being part of Indonesia.
Many accepted media stories blaming the supervising United Nations and Australia who had pressured Habibie for a resolution. It was beyond belief for Indonesians who had all these years believed that the stories of mass killings coming out of East Timor were mere accusations of leftist groups who didn’t wanted East Timor to unify with Indonesia. So they were ready to believe any stupid theory but not the truth.
Within hours of the results, paramilitary groups had begun attacking people and setting fires around the capital Dili. Foreign journalists and election observers fled, and tens of thousands of East Timorese took to the mountains. Islamic gangs attacked Dili’s Catholic Diocese building, killing two dozen people. On the next day, the headquarters of the ICRC was attacked and burned to the ground. Almost one hundred people were killed later in Suai, and reports of similar massacres poured in from around East Timor. The UN withdrew most of its personnel, but the Dili compound had been flooded with refugees. Four UN workers refused to evacuate unless the refugees were withdrawn as well, insisting they would rather die at the hands of the paramilitary groups. At the same time, Indonesian troops and paramilitary gangs forced over 200,000 people into West a Timor, into camps described by Human Rights Watch as “deplorable conditions”.
When a UN delegation arrived in Jakarta on 8 September, they were told by Indonesian President Habibie that reports of bloodshed in East Timor were “fantasies” and “lies”. General Wiranto of the Indonesian military insisted that his soldiers had the situation under control and that no outside help was required.
AUSTRALIAN & UN PEACEKEEPING FORCE FOR EAST TIMOR
The violence was met with widespread public anger in Australia, Portugal and elsewhere and activists in Portugal, Australia, the United States and other nations pressured their governments to take action. Australian PM John Howard consulted United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and lobbied US President Bill Clinton to support an Australian led international peace keeper force to enter East Timor to end the violence. The United States offered crucial logistical and intelligence resources and an “over-horizon” deterrent presence, but did not commit forces to the operation because they feared this would strain relations between US and Indonesia.
Indonesia’s President Habibie was very fearful of UN Sanctions. Indonesia was already going through a time of economic recession and was completely dependent on the revenues from foreign trade. So already being in dire economic straits, Indonesia relented and President Habibie announced that Indonesian troops will withdraw from East Timor within a fortnight and allow Australian led UN Peacekeeping Force to enter East Timor.
On 15 September 1999, the United Nations Security Council expressed concern at the deteriorating situation in East Timor, and issued UNSC Resolution 1264, calling for a multinational force to restore peace and security to East Timor, to protect and support the United Nations mission there, and to facilitate humanitarian assistance operations until such time as a United Nations peacekeeping force could be approved and deployed in the area.
The International Force for East Timor or INTERFET, under the command of Australian Major General Peters Cosgrove, entered Dili on 20 September and by 31 October the last Indonesian troops had left East Timor. The arrival of thousands of international troops in East Timor caused the militia to flee across the border into Indonesia, from whence sporadic cross-border raids by the militia against INTERFET forces were conducted.
The United Nations Transitional Administration of East Timor (UNTAET) was established at the end of October and administered the region for two years. Control of the nation was turned over to Government of East Timor and independence was declared on 20 May 2002. On 27 September of the same year, East Timor joined the United Nations as its 191st member state. The bulk of the military forces of INTERFET were Australian—more than 5,500 troops at its peak, including an infantry brigade, with armoured and aviation support—while eventually 22 nations contributed to the force which at its height numbered over 11,000 troops.
Australian troops really helped in rebirth if East Timor as a free nation. During a terbulent time when people of East Timor were living in fear, Australian Soldiers provided them security and self confidence to step into this new era of independence and sovereignty.
SOME BITTER FACTS
Precise estimates of the death toll are difficult to determine. The 2005 report of the UN’s Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconcilliation in East Timor(CAVR) reports an estimated minimum number of conflict-related deaths of 120,000. Of these, the report says that approximately 36,000 were either killed or disappeared, and that approximately 84,000 died from hunger or illness in excess of what would have been expected due to peacetime mortality. These figures represent a minimum conservative estimate that CAVR says is its scientifically-based principal finding. The report did not provide an upper bound, however, CAVR speculated that the total number of deaths due to conflict-related hunger and illness could have been as high as 183,000. The truth commission held Indonesian forces responsible for about 70% of the violent killings
Researcher Ben Kiernan says that “a toll of 150,000 is likely close to the truth,” although one can throw out an estimate of 200,000 or higher. The Center for Defence Information also estimated a total close to 150,000. A 1974 Catholic church estimate of the population of East Timor was 688,711 people. Buy in 1982 the church reported only 425,000. This led to an estimate of 200,000 people killed during the occupation, which was widely reported around the world. Other sources such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also support an estimate of over 200,000 killed.
According to specialist Gabriel Defert on the basis of statistical data available from the Portuguese and Indonesian authorities, and from the Catholic Church, between December 1975 and December 1981, approximately 308,000 Timorese lost their lives, this constituted about 44% of the pre-invasion population. Similarly Indonesian Professor George Aditjondro, formerly of Salatiga University in Java, concluded from his study of Indonesian Army data that in fact 300,000 Timorese had been killed in the early years of the occupation.
Kiernan, starting from a base population of 700,000 Timorese in 1975 (based on the 1974 Catholic Church census) calculated an expected 1980 population of 735,000 Timorese (assuming a growth rate of only 1% per year as a result of the occupation). Kiernan concluded that as many as 180,000 may have died in the war.
Many observers have called the Indonesian military action in East Timor an example of genocide. In a study of the word’s legal meaning and applicability to the occupation of East Timor, legal scholar Ben Saul concludes that because no group recognised under international law was targeted by the Indonesian authorities, a charge of genocide cannot be applied. However, he also notes: “The conflict in East Timor most accurately qualifies as genocide against a ‘political group’, or alternatively as ‘cultural genocide’, yet neither of these concepts are explicitly recognised in international law.” The occupation has been compared to the killings of the Khmer Rouge, the Yugoslav wars and the Rwandan Genocide.
According to Amnesty International as many as 20,000 young women and girls were forcefully sterilised under threats of killing their families. 1200 Foreigners were also killed during the years between 1975-99. Majority of these 1200 foreigners were Red Cross volunteers, Australian activists and volunteers working for a number of NGOs and International journalists and reporters.
UN also created an organisation for East Timor to search for mass graves and excavate the bodies and then by DNA testing help people to bury their loved ones. As of 2012, more than 3,000 mass grave sites have been discovered containing from as few as one victim to the largest mass grave containing more than 1000 bodies.
Accurate numbers of Indonesian casualties are not known, however, some estimate up to 10,000 Indonesian troops died during the 1976–80 period. Rummel estimates that 10–15,000 Indonesians died in the war. The complete names of around 2,300 Indonesian soldiers and pro-Indonesian militias killed during the entire occupation is engraved into the Seroja Monument located in Armed Forces Headquarters in Cilangkap, south of Jakarta. But in comparison to the East Timorians killed during the occupation these numbers are minuscule.
In 2001, Former President of Indonesia Suharto stated that had US President Gerald Ford and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, not given their consent for the invasion, there is no way he would have gone ahead with the invasion. He further revealed that Indonesia in mid 70s was totally dependent on US for military weapons and financial aid, Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger were well aware of it that is why they not only gave their consent for the invasion but even enticed him to do so by offering him large caches of weapons for use in the invasion.
Diego Garcia, most people only recognise this name as largest US military base outside America. And I am sure many would have never even heard of it. Identity of Diego Garcia goes much deep into the sand of the Island than the US asphalt runways on the surface. Diego Garcia, this name might not mean much to us but for some people this name is their culture, their traditions, their dreams, their memories, their identity and above all their motherland.
Some Britishers revere their country as a global symbol of culture, civilisation and ethical morality. They claim that this world we live in, just wouldn’t had been the same if British Empire hadn’t spread civilisation to all the dark corners of the world. These people take an unusual amount of pride and honour in what British Empire bestowed upon the people of their former colonies. They credit the Colonial British Empire for upliftment of social and cultural developement of the former British Colonies.
Like millions of people around the world and even thousands of Britishers, I view the former British Empire as a parasitic institutions that stole and robbed the indegenous civilisations, where ever it laid foot. Only when you don’t get any respect from others, you need to attach a title in front of your name to force others to respect you. And One other thing British empire was and still is famous for is its elaborate titles like Sir, Lord, Baron, Baroness, Queen Mother and many more. After all why would anybody in their right mind respect thieves, bandits, murderers, torturers and tyrants.
British Empire ravaged many ancient civilisations with their unquenchable lust for wealth and power. Just like a blood sucking parasite, British Empire stole and looted as much wealth from their colonies as much they could. And then just how a parasite that has sucked as much blood that it possibly could, let’s go off the victim, British Empire too freed their colonies when there was nothing else left to loot from them.
I think it very naive of some people to think of British empire as godsent blessing for people of their former colonies. British empire has only provided the people of its colonies pain, suffering and unimaginable anguish and for this they have looted all the wealth that they could find in their colonies. As a matter of fact, Whatever Britain own today, whether it is gold, wealth or Crown Jewels, they have stolen it all from other people. They are nothing more than glorified thieves, which guess most governments in the world today are especially USA. And this theft is still continuing to this very day.
HISTORY OF DIEGO GARCIA
The Chagos archipelago, Maldives and Mauritius was initially under French control but later it became a British Colony. Diego Garcia is a small island in Chagos Archipelago of the Indian Ocean. Chagos Archipelago is made up of thousands of small islands that also include Maldives. Like most other Islands Diego Garcia was uninhabited untill its discovery in early 14th century. But its name comes from a Spanish Sailor Diego Garcia Moguer who rediscovered it in 1544.
|Image of Diego Garcia taken from plane in 1986
By the 1800, several families mainly of African, Indian and Malay descent had settled in Diego Garcia. In 1812 British forces led by Gen.Wellington defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo. Subsequently, Treaty Of Paris was signed by Britain and France in 1814, according to which all French Territories in Indian Ocean now belonged to British. After the changeover Diego Garcia was managed by Britain from nearby British Colony of Mauritius from 1814 to 1965.
Diego Garcia was a serene island with a population of nearly 3000 people. Majority of the inhabitants of Diego Garcia were fishermen, small scale farmers and hired labourers who worked at nearby coconut plantations. People of Diego Garcia had a very peaceful and friendly nature. One of the biggest quality of Garcians was they were avid dog lovers and at an average in every house there were atleast two dogs. Certain Garcians had even trained their dogs to catch fish for them. They lived a simple but fulfilling life and were completely content living on this small island that they considered their paradise.
In 1914 the island was visited by the German light cruiser SMS Emden half-way through its historic commerce raiding cruise during the first months of World War I.In 1942 the British established RAF Station Diego Garcia as an advanced flying boat unit at the East Point Plantation, staffed and equipped from No 205 and No 240 Squadrons, then stationed on Ceylon. Both Catalina and Sunderland aircraft were flown during the course of World War II in search of Japanese and German submarines and surface raiders. Following the conclusion of hostilities, the station was closed on 30 April 1946. In 1962 the Chagos Agalega Company of the British colony of Seychelles purchased the Societe Huiliere de Diego et Peros and moved company headquarters to Seychelles.
PLAN FOR THE US NAVAL BASE AT DIEGO GARCIA
After the Second World War Britain and United States of America signed a mutual defence agreement. This agreement allowed US to establish bases in the British Territories. Americans were looking for an idle location to set up their Naval Office in the Indian Ocean. Main objective was to find a location from where key areas of the Middle East like Iran and Iraq can be monitored. Second objective was to find a location that would bring both China and Russia in the range of US Bombers.
|Currently more than 300 Aircraft and over 4000 US Personnel are stationed at Diego Garcia|
When the search for possible location for the proposed US Naval base began, US was very wary of impact that any such base would have on the host nation. US were in favour of choosing an uninhabited island to avoid the UN’s decolonisation requirements and the resulting political issues of sovereignty and anti-America sentiments. Response of soon to be freed Mauritius government to the US plans for setting up a naval base in their vicinity was unknown. People of Mauritius were always greatly influenced by the policies of Indian Government, and as relations between India and US were already going through a rough patch, many were certain that Mauritius would also firmly oppose any kind of US Naval buildup in its neighbourhood.
To devoid Mauritius of causing any future issues, the British Colonial Office recommended to the UK Government in October 1964 to detach the Chagos from Mauritius. In January 1965, the US Embassy in London also formally requested the detachment of the Chagos as well. Ultimately in mid 1965 Mauritius was granted independence from the British Empire but on a conditional division of Chagos Archipelago. Chagos archipelago was divided up and Chagos Islands like Diego Garcia were separated from Mauritius and Reunion islands. On November 8, the UK created the the Colony of British Indian Ocean Territories(BIOT)by an Order in Council. Purpose of creating this colony was to give British Government an autonomous right over entire Chagos Archipelago.
On December 30, 1966, the U.S. and UK signed a 50-year agreement to use the Chagos for military purposes with a condition that each island would be completely uninhabited. Reason for this condition was that any such agreement regarding an inhabited land requires a review and scrutiny by the UN’s Special Committee of the case in regard to guidelines setup by Decolonisation Committee also known as “Committed of 24”. It was the sole function of the Decolonisation Committee was to eradicate and avoid any human suffering caused by Colonial Powers. UK government was trying to
|Residents of Diego Garcia outside BIOT Commissioner Bruce Greatbach’s office
bypass the rules and regulations that ordinarily must be followed in order to exchange, sell or lease an inhabited piece of land owned by a Colonial Country to any other country. And to satisfy the stipulation that all of Chagos Archipelago was an uninhabited area, UK government declared that all the current inhabitants of Chagos especially Diego Garcia were temporary settlers and that there were no indigenous population on the islands.
People whome UK government were reffering to as temporary settlers, were the third or fourth and in some cases fifth generation of their families to be born on the island. Roots of these Chagossians to the island date back as far as 250 years. But the British Government was hell bent on making it appear that these indigenous populations of Chagos were mere temporarily settlers who had settled on the Chagos Islands very recently.
FORCED EXPULSION OF THE CHAGOSSIANS AND GARCIANS
Agreement had been already signed and statements about Chagosians being temporary settlers had already been made. So only thing left for Britishers to do was remove about 3000 indegenous people from the Island of Diego Garcia. Starting in March 1969, Chagossians visiting Mauritius found that they were no longer allowed to get on the steamer home. They were told their contracts to work on Diego Garcia had expired. This left them homeless, jobless and without means of support. It also prevented word from reaching the rest of the Diego Garcia population.
|Heartbroken, sad and tired. Eyes of this elder Chagossian man say it all.
Relatives who travelled to Mauritius to seek their missing family members also found themselves unable to return.They were forcefully denied entry into the Diego Garcia Island. Many people from Diego Garcia regularly traveled to more advanced Islands like Mauritius for variety of reasons such as to recieve medical care, education and part time jobs. And all these people were denied entry back into Diego Garcia. Within just few days the population of Diego Garcia was reduced to 2300 from being 3000 just few days earlier.
Frustrated by loosing their friends and family, residents of Diego Garcia stopped leaving the islands totally. To psychologically break the will of the people, Britishers adopted a brutal and unhumane tactic. As I mentioned earlier dogs played an important part in the lives of residents of Diego Garcia. People were avid dog lovers and every family on the island had atleast two dogs as their pets. Obviously they loved their pets, so Britishers decided to use this love of the Garcians to hurt them. They announced that every dog on the Island must be put down. British soldiers went house to house and snatched their beloved pets and killed every single one of them. Children were left crying by the sudden loss of their beloved pets.
|A Chagossian Copra farmer working(1963)
This brutal action of British Soldiers made many Garcians fearful for their lives and well being of their loved ones. This lead to exodus of many families who fleed from their homes in fear for their lives. There was a hidden message from the Britishers to Garcians in their cruel act of killing all the dogs on the island. And the message was if you oppose us, next time we will do it you what we have done to your dogs. BIOT commissioner Bruce Greatbach was the guy who ordered all dogs on the island to be killed. Marcel Moulinie, who was in charge of managing the island, carried out this task by using raw meat to lure them into a shed for drying copra, gassing them with exhaust from U.S. military vehicles, and then setting their carcasses ablaze.
After this shameful incident the total population of Diego Garcia was reduced to less than 1700 peolple. In 1965, as part of a deal to grant Mauritian independence, the Chagos Archipelago had been split off from the Colony and was now called British Indian Ocean Territory. The territory’s new constitution was set out in a statutory instrument imposed unilaterally without any referendum or consultation with the Chagossians. Nothing about this constitution adhered to the concepts of Democracy. On April 16, 1971, The United Kingdom issued a policy called BIOT Immigration Ordinance #1 which made it a criminal offense for those without military clearance to be on the islands without a permit.
Between 1967 and 1973, the Chagossians, then numbering some 1700 people, were threatened, attacked and then forcefully expelled by the British government, first to the island of Peros Banhos 160 kms away from their homeland. And then in year 1973, Garcians and Changossians were once again forcefully moved to Mauritius. A number of Chagossians who were evicted reported they were threatened with being shot or bombed if they did not leave the island. One old man reported to Washinton Post journalist David Ottaway that an American official told him, “If you don’t leave you won’t be fed any longer.” Meanwhile, food stores on the island were allowed to deplete in order to pressure the remaining inhabitants to leave.
The forced expulsion and dispossession of the Chagossians was for the purpose of establishing a US air and naval base on Diego Garcia, with a population of between 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. soldiers and support staff, as well as a few troops from the United Kingdom. So British government pulled a whole community of their citizens from their birthplace, land of their forefathers and from sacred ground in which their anscestors were laid to rest. But above all they were expelled from their homes and their motherland for aiding imperialistic policies of US.
|Nordvaer arrives at Port Louis, Mauritius with last few Chagossians
In 1972, last remaining Inhabitants were forcefully hurled like cattle onto a ship called NORDÆR. This ship was not suitable for transporting human beings and was largely used a cargo and livestock transport. Chagossians were not allowed to stay on the deck and were forced to remain in the cargo hull of the ship. It was stinking, dark and damp place but nevertheless Chagossians were forced to stay here. Instead Thorougbred Horses being transported from India to rich British Plantation owners in Mauritius were kept on the deck. Reason for this was to keep horses in a relatively dry environment with plenty of fresh air. While horses were breathing plenty of fresh air on the deck, Chagossians were forced to stay in a dark cargo hull full of hundreds of bags filled with bird fertiliser which is mainly made up of bird droppings. The ammonia like smell from the bags fertilisers was extremely nauseating and pungent. Chagossians were not even provided ample mattresses to sleep. They were only given one third the number of mattresses of the amount that was actually needed. Most men allowed their wives and children to sleep on mattresses and they slept on the stinking bags of bird shit. I think this is the prime example of how Britishers viewed Chagossians.
AFTER THE EXODUS
After three long days locked up in that stinking dungeon, Chagossiabs were immediately dumped on the docks of Port Louis. From there they were marched into a partially collapsed and badly damaged residential units in the slums of Port Louis. There was no provision for water or electricity in the nearly collapsed residential complex which seemed like it had been abandoned long time ago. The buildings were filled with garbage and absolute filth. Niether the British Government and nor the Mauritian government bothered to give the Chagossians even a day of food supplies. Chagossians who had arrived at Port Louis in Nordvær, were only allowed to bring one suitcase of their belongings with them. All the rest of their stuff was left behind at Diego Garcia. They had no money, no job, no food, no water, no clothes and now also no dignity. At Diego Garcia most of Chagossians were copra farmers where as Mauritius was mainly a sugarcane growing country, hence they were not able to find any job suiting to their skills and not even as a labourer.
Although British Government was primarily responsible for the suffering of Chagossians, but I think it is very important to mention here that the Mauritian Government was also equally responsible for worsening and prolonging the suffering of Chagossians. Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was the Prime Minister of Mauritius at the time Chagossians were forcefully moved to Mauritius. He was well informed by British about the arrival of refugees from Chagos. Had he wished to help and aid Chagossians, he could have easilly done it. I mean how much money is required to feed 3000 people and to provide one room clean units for each family to stay in. This expense might be beyond the capability of a single man but for a country, this is at best negligible.The shear disregard shown by the Mauritian Government for the welfare of the Chagossians is beyond belief for any educated and civil human being.
Having lost their home forever, living a disgraceful life in deplorable conditions and watching their children, brothers, sisters slowly starve to death broke the spirit of many young Chagossians. The heartbreak and pain caused by the loss of their homes slowly and gradually diminished the spark of life within them. All of a sudden there was a epidemic of suicides amongst the young Chagossians. A whole community of British citizens was dying a slow excruciating death and this caused a lot of public outcry against the British a Government.
So finally in 1972, the British Government allocated £650,000 for compensation to the 426 Chagossians families displaced to Mauritius. This money was intended to be paid directly to the families, and was given to the Mauritian government for distribution. Here the PM of Mauritius once again showed his shameless side and withheld the money that he was supposed distribute amongst the Chagossians. Mauritian government, however, withheld the money until 1978. In response to litigation by islanders, the British Government contributed an additional £4 million, which was again turned over to the Mauritian Government, which distributed it in a series of disbursements between 1982 and 1987.
Even to this very day, the Chagossians refugees are still living in same ruins where they spent their first night in Mauritius. Children are still suffering from malnourishment and starvation, Chagossians elders and infants are dying of easilly treatable diseases and majority of Chagossians even struggle to earn even a single days requirements. Compelled by their conditions many young women and girls had to resort to prostitution to feed their families.
US NAVAL BASE
|Air Force One arrives at Diego Garcia|
Between 1971 and 2001, the only residents on Diego Garcia were UK and United States military personnel and civilian employees of those countries. These included contract employees from the Phillipines and Mauritius, including some Ilois. During the combat operations from the atoll against Afghanistan (2001–2006) and Iraq (2003–2006), a number of allied militaries were based on the island including Australian, Japanese and the Republic of Korea. According to David Vine, “Today, at any given time, 3,000 to 5,000 U.S. troops and civilian support staff live on the island.” The inhabitants today do not rely on the island and the surrounding waters for sustenance. Although some recreational fishing for consumption is permitted, all other food is shipped in by sea or air.
PROTESTS BY CHAGOSSIANS
The Chagossians had been left homeless in an island where unemployment already stood at 20 percent. Moreover, their trade was copra farming which was not translatable to the local economy as Mauritius’s chief crop was sugar cane. The Chagossians also spoke a patois with an accent unique to Diego Garcia, and claimed they were discriminated against on Mauritius because of that.
|Chagossians protesting outside British High Court in London 2006
A few of the literate exiles put together a petition that they presented to the British High Commissioner, asking for a house and a plot of land for each family, so that they could support themselves. The Commissioner immediately delivered this petition to the Mauritian Government.
Mauritian opposition party the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) began to question the validity under international law of the purchase of the Chagos and the removal of the Chagossians.
In 1975, David Ottaway of the Washington Post wrote and published an article titled “Islanders Were Evicted for U.S. Base” which related the plight of the Chagossians in detail.
This prompted two US Congressional committees to look into the matter. They were told that the ‘entire subject of Diego Garcia is considered classified’.
In November 1975, the Sunday Times published an article titled “The Islanders that Britain Sold”.
|Chagossians protesting outside British High Court in London 2006|
That year, a Methodist preacher from Kent, Mr George Champion, began a one-man picket of the FCO, with a placard reading simply: ‘DIEGO GARCIA’. This continued until his death in 1982.
In 1976, the government of the Seychelles took the British government to court. The Aldabra, Desroches and Farquhar Islands were separated from the BIOT and returned to the Seychelles as it achieved independence in 1976.
In 1978, at Bain Des Dames in Port Louis, six Chagossian women went on hunger strike and there were demonstrations in the streets (organised by the MMM) over Diego Garcia.
In 1979, a Mauritian Committee asked Mr. Vencatassen’s lawyer to negotiate more compensation. In response to this, the British Government offered £4m to the surviving Chagossians on the express condition that Vencatassen withdraw his case and that all Chagossians sign a “full and final” document renouncing any right of return to the island.
All but 12 of the 1,579 Chagossians eligible to receive compensation at the time signed the documents. The document also contained provisions for those that could not write, by allowing the impression of an inked thumbprint to ratify the document. However, some illiterate islanders claim that they were tricked into signing the documents and that they would never have signed sincerely had they known the outcome of their signatures.
COURT CASES AND APPEALS BY CHAGOSSIANS
In 2000 the British High Court granted the islanders the right to return to the Archipelago. However, they were not actually allowed to return, and in 2002 the islanders and their descendants, now numbering 4,500, returned to court claiming compensation, after what they said were two years of delays by the British Foreign Office.
On 10 June 2004 the British government made two Orders in Council under the Royal Prerogative forever banning the islanders from returning home, to override the effect of the 2000 court decision. A Royal Prerogative is a process in which politicians write whatever objectives they want to achieve but can’t achieve them politically, on a legal note and get it rubber stamped by the Queen. A Royal Prerogative order is considered paramount authority. As of May 2010, some of the Chagossians were still making return plans to turn Diego Garcia into a sugarcane and fishing enterprise as soon as the defence agreement expired (which some thought would happen as early as 2016). A few dozen other Chagossians were still fighting to be housed in the UK.
On 11 May 2006 the British High Court once again ruled that the 2004 Orders-in-Council were unlawful, and consequently that the Chagossians were entitled to return to the Chagos Archipelago. On 23 May 2007, the UK Government’s appeal against the 2006 High Court ruling was dismissed and they took the matter to the House of Lords. On 22 October 2008, the UK Government won on appeal, the House of Lords overturned the 2006 High Court ruling and upheld the two 2004 Orders-in-Council and with them the Government’s ban on anyone returning.
Although Chagossians tried their level best to appeal at the European Court for Human Rights and at International Criminal Court, but at both institutions their application was rejected at the bases of no jurisdiction in the matter.
As of 2012, The Chagossian Refugee Group was preparing for another case against the British and American Governments to be lodged at the UN. Aim is to get a preliminary hearing on the issue before the Diego Garcia lease is extended for another 30 years. If they can get a hearing on the case before 2016, then the presiding judge can place an indefinite stay on any lease renewal agreements.
|Diplomatic cable signed by D.A. Greenhill, dated August 24, 1966, stating “Unfortunately along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Man Fridays.”|
In early March 1967, the British Commissioner declared BIOT Ordinance Number Two. This unilateral proclamation was called the Acquisition of Land for Public Purposes (Private Treaty) Ordinance and enabled him to acquire any land he liked (for the UK government). On 3 April of that year, under the provisions of the order, the British government bought all the plantations of the Chagos archipelago for £660,000 from the Chagos Agalega Company.
It has been suggested that the plan was to deprive the Chagossians of an income and so encourage them to leave the island voluntarily. In a memo dating from this period, Colonial Official head Denis Greenhill (later Lord Greenhill of Harrow) wrote to the British Delegation at the UN:
“The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours; there will be no indigenous population except seagulls who have not yet got a committee. Unfortunately, along with the seagulls go some few Tarzans and Manfridays that are hopefully being wished on Mauritius”.
Another internal Colonial Office memo read:
“The Colonial Office is at present considering the line to be taken in dealing with the existing inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). They wish to avoid using the phrase ‘permanent inhabitants’ in relation to any of the islands in the territory because to recognise that there are any permanent inhabitants will imply that there is a population whose democratic rights will have to be safeguarded and which will therefore be deemed by the UN to come within its purlieu. The solution proposed is to issue them with documents making it clear that they are ‘belongers’ of Mauritius and the Seychelles and only temporary residents of BIOT. This devise, although rather transparent, would at least give us a defensible position to take up at the UN”.
Advocates of the Chagossians claim that the number of Chagossian residents on Diego Garcia was deliberately under-counted in order to play down the scale of the proposed depopulation. Three years before the depopulation plan was concocted, the British Governor of Mauritius, Sir Robert Scott, is said to have estimated the permanent population of Diego Garcia at 1,700. In a BIOT report made in June 1968, the British government estimated that only 354 Chagossians were third generation ‘belongers’ on the islands. This number subsequently fell in further reports. Later that year, the British government asked for help from the legal department of their own Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in creating a legal basis for depopulating the islands. The first paragraph of the FCO’s reply read:
“The purpose of the Immigration Ordinance is to maintain the fiction that the inhabitants of the Chagos are not a permanent or semi-permanent population. The Ordinance would be published in the BIOT gazette which has only very limited circulation. Publicity will therefore be minimal”.
The government is therefore often accused of deciding to clear all the islanders by denying they ever belonged on Diego Garcia in the first place and then removing them. This was to be done by issuing an ordinance that the island be cleared of all non-inhabitants. The legal obligation to announce the decision was fulfilled by publishing the notice in a small-circulation gazette not generally read outside of FCO staff.
In 1970, British MP Tan Dalyell, heard about what was happening to the Chagossians and gave notice that he intended to ask a number of questions in Parliament. Within days of Dalyell’s notification, Eleanor Emery, head of the Indian Ocean Department at the FCO, drafted a ‘memorandum of guidance’ for internal circulation. The reason for the memorandum, she stated, was ‘a recent revival of public interest in the British Indian Ocean Territory’.
She then stated:
“We shall continue to try to say as little as possible to avoid embarrassing the United States administration”,
“Apart from our overall strategic and defence interests, we are also concerned at present not to have to elaborate on the administrative implications for the present population of Diego Garcia of the establishment of any base there”.
“We would not wish it to become general knowledge that some of the inhabitants have lived on Diego Garcia for several generations and could, therefore, be regarded as ‘belongers'”,
“We shall advise ministers in handling supplementary questions to say that there is only a small number of contract workers from the Seychelles and Mauritius, engaged to work on the copra plantations”.
“Should an MP ask about what would happen to these contract labourers in the event of a base being set up on the island, we hope that, for the present, this can be brushed aside as a hypothetical question at least until any decision to go ahead with the Diego Garcia facility becomes public”.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… According to leaked diplomat cable obtained by Wikileaks and released in 2010, in a calculated move in 2009 to prevent re-settlement of the BIOT by native Chagossians, the UK proposed that the BIOT become a “marine reserve” with the aim of preventing the former inhabitants from returning to their lands. The summary of the diplomatic cable is as follows :
“HMG would like to establish a “marine park” or “reserve” providing comprehensive environmental protection to the reefs and waters of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official informed Polcouns on May 12. The official insisted that the establishment of a marine park — the world’s largest — would in no way impinge on USG use of the BIOT, including Diego Garcia, for military purposes. He agreed that the UK and U.S. should carefully negotiate the details of the marine reserve to assure that U.S. interests were safeguarded and the strategic value of BIOT was upheld. He said that the BIOT’s former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve”.
ALLEGATIONS OF POLUTION ON DIEGO GARCIA
|Southern Marsh of Diego Garcia totally devastated from Sulfuric acid dumping. This lagoon was once a paradise for sea creatures. Now nothing will grow here.|
It emerged in 2014 that—for three decades, in violation of environmental rules—the American navy had been dumped hundreds of tonnes of sewage and waste water into a protected lagoon on Diego Garcia. In response to the revelations, the chair of the Chagos Refugees Group UK Branch, Sabrina Jean, noted:
“When we Chagossians lived on our islands, the seas and lagoons were pristine. […] For many years we have been pressing BIOT to conduct an environmental audit of the effects of the US occupation. This has been consistently refused, with the explanation that the impact of the occupation is minimal. We can now see that throughout this period there have been no controls on the pollution”.
2013 PETITION TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT BY CHAGOSSIANS
On the 16th of March 2013, an internet petition was launched in the UK from the HM Government e-petitions website in the UK. This was written in order to pressure the UK Government to rethink its past actions in light of the fact that the lease on the Chagos Islands is scheduled to run out in December 2014.
The petition is as follows (see http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/62457):
- Return the Chagos islanders to the Chagos Archipelago
- The Chagos islanders were forcibly evicted from the Chagos Archipelago in 1973. This eviction was to pave way for a US military base which would be rented by the UK Government to the US for a £14 million discounted price on the Polaris missiles. The 2,000 Chagossians were relocated to the Seychelles and Mauritius, where they have lived ever since. In 2006, the Islanders won a High Court ruling which should allow them to return to the Islands. But since then, the Government has prevented their return by creating a marine park to protect the wildlife of the area and to also stop the Chagossians from fishing in the waters. I ask that the Government rethink their policy towards the Chagossians who had been living in the islands for hundreds of years, and allow the Islanders to return to their rightful home.
What happened to people of Diego Garcia can happen to anyone else. These innocent and peaceful people who had nothing to do with either United Kingdom nor with United States of America. They had been living on these islands long before the Britishers came to the island. Chagossians had been living on Diego Garcia for many generations. Most families at Diego Garcia were the fourth and Fifth generation of their family to be born on the island.
Two of the worlds most corrupt governments in the world, decided everything amongst themselves and paid no regard to the indegenous people living on that island. They uprooted these people from their culture and motherland so that Americans could play soldier at one more place in the world.
What has happened and what is still happening to the Chagossian people is a very sad and a heartbreaking tragedy. But all is not lost, even 79 year old Grandmother is still protesting against the injustice done to her people 40 years ago.
Write letters to your respective congressmen, show your support for the cause of Chagossian people. Because they are the people whose whole country was stolen.
For last 50 years, Vietnam War has been one of the most emotionally and intellectually debated subjects in America and even globally. Was the Vietnam War a just cause? Should America have interfered in the internal issue of Vietnamese people? What was the reason for which 58272 young Americans lost their lives?
American society in the 60’s and 70’s was divided because of two totally contradicting ideologies. One half of American society supported the war because they believed that US troops in Vietnam were fighting for the freedom of South Vietnamese people and for the sake of peace in the world while other half totally opposed war because they saw this war as a unjustifiable attack on the sovereignty of the poor Vietnamese purely for economic and financial motives. People who believed in anti-war ideology argued that lives of thousands of young Americans are being needlessly sacrificed in Vietnam. Hence they were demanding immediate end to the war and for the return of all US troops from Vietnam.
A wave of hate and hostility was sweeping throughout America, especially between pro and anti war supporters. But oblivious from this ever increasing civil tension back home, more than 500,000 American soldiers stationed in South Vietnam were engulfed in an epic struggle of life and death. They had no interest and nor the time for such things. Only thing occupying their mind was survival, only thing worth pondering over was, how can they stay alive for one more day? They all were tired and wounded to the core of their being by watching their friends fall one by one, all around them. Only thing they wanted to defeat was death and only thing they were striving for was life.
By the year 1969, the American belief of a quick and decisive victory in Vietnam had been shattered. US troops serving in Vietnam themselves believed by 1969 that the war was a lost cause. But question that was troubling the world was how did weak and meager Vietnamese people endured the wrath of American military power and technological superiority and remained resilient to the very end. Answer to this question lies in the history of Vietnam. Throughout the history, Vietnam was constantly under attack by its larger and stronger neighbours.
During last thousand years, Vietnamese people had constantly fought the oppressive foreign invaders like China, Cambodia and Thailand. During the peak of colonialism, European powers had most of the South East Asia under their grip. British were in control of India, Burma and Thailand. And France were controlling the region they called Indo-China which included Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. During the the Second World War most of the region ruled by European colonial powers was captured by Japanese.
RISE OF HO CHI MINH AND VIETMINH
While the war in Europe was still raging, a freedom struggle was gathering momentum in Vietnam. In 1944 resistance group known as VietMinh under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh liberated Hanoi from the Japanese. After liberating the capital, Ho Chi Minh immediately announced the Independece and sovereignty of Republic of Vietnam. And British forces defeated Japanese in the southern city of Saigon. A record 200,000 Japanese troops surrendered to British forces. After the surrender of Japanese Empire to Americans in pacific theatre, Second World War was finally over. But France was still adamant of maintaining colonial rule over Indo-China. France refused to recognise the Declaration of Independence announced by Ho Chi Minh and French troops began to return to Vietnam. But VietMinh leader Ho Chi Minh had only two things in mind, to drive out the French from Vietnam and to win absolute autonomy for Vietnamese people.
As soon as French troops started returning to Vietnam they were immediately attacked by VietMinh. In 1945 France was at its weakest because of the devastation caused by Second World War hence to assist French in their ongoing battle with VietMinh, Britain decided to rearm and deploy 200,000 Japanese POWs to combat communist forces of VietMinh. But even deployment of 200,000 Japanese was not enough to halt the VietMinh’s approach towards Saigon. By 1948 VietMinh had captured 75% of Vietmam as well as areas adjoining Vietnamese border with Laos and Cambodia. VietMinh leader Ho Chi Minh was master tactician of gorilla warfare, his plan of continously flooding Southern Vietnam with VietMinh troops and weaponry by a mountainous route named after him, the Ho Chi Minh trail was very successful. French were suffering high casualties in their battle against VietMinh which was generating huge outcry and anti war sentiments within France.
THE FALL OF DÍÉŃ BÍÉŃ PHÙ
In 1950, Russian leader Joseph Stalin and Chinese premier Mao Zhedong declared their recognition and support for the Republic of Vietnam and to Ho Chi Minh as its legitimate leader. This piled even more pressure of French forces to quickly defeat VietMinh before they were even more strengthened by Soviet and Russian aid.
To launch an all out attack on Hanoi in North Vietnam, French troops decided to build up a command base on the border of Vietnam and Cambodia. This base was named Dien Bien Phu and more than 25,000 French troops were stationed there to launch an offensive against VietMinh. But soon all their plans of an offensive were reduced to desperation for survival when the base of Dien Bien Phu was surrounded by more than 80,000 VietMinh soldiers. A long bloody battle ensued in which French and VietMinh troops fought with everything they had for every inch of Dien Bien Phu. VietMinh forces completed their encirclement of Dien Bien Phu by fall of 1950, severing the all connection of French troops with other French bases. During this time French were totally dependant on parachute drops of supplies and reinforcements at Dien Bien Phu, but soon the noose around the Dien Bien Phu’s neck was tightening. Eventually by the order of French High Command, the French troops in Dien Bien Phu waved the white flag and surrendered to the VietMinh forces.
GENEVA PEACE ACCORD BETWEEN FRANCE AND NORTH VIETNAM
By the end of 1950, a cease fire was in place in Vietnam and peace talks between VietMinh and France were well underway under the watchful eye of Unites States of America in Geneva. VietMinh representatives had arrived at the peace talks as victors which they were and because of that they were expecting freedom of the all of Vietnam from its colonial rulers. But they were shocked to know that France and United States had no desire to allow the entire Vietnam to fall under communist rule of VietMinh. Peace talks entered a deadlock when VietMinh negotiators demanded the withdrawl of every French soldier from VietNam. At one point during the peace talks VietMinh representatives also most withdrew from the negotiating table and US President had to threaten them with nuclear attack to force them back to the negotiations.
- VietMinh were required to relinquish all occupied territories with in Laos and Cambodia as both countries were freed from French rule and were to be recognised as two sovereign nations.
- Vietnam was divided into two separate States at the 17th Parallel.
- Northern half was to be governed by VietMinh on a communist model with Ho Chi Minh as its leader.
- Southern half of Vietnam was to be ruled by an interim government for six months to allow France to safely withdraw from the region. And a referendum was to be conducted after six months to allow the people of South Vietnam to freely decide whether they wanted to join the northern communist state or to choose their own democratic Government.
- North Vietnam was to station 80,000 of VietMinh troops in Southern city of Saigon and similarly 60,000 of South Vietnamese soldiers were to be stationed in northern city of Hanoi. This was done to ensure that both parties would remain loyal to the Geneva peace accord and fulfill all its conditions.
- At 17th parallel a 3 mile demilitarised zone created on both sides of the border to avoid any skirmishes from taking place.
AMERICAN INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM CRISIS
Up untill 1950, USA had remained totally neutral in the crisis of Vietnam and had no desire to get involved in the conflict. But all this was about to change soon. In fall of 1950, the communist forces of North Korea invaded South Korea in an attempt to reunite entire Korean Peninsula under one communist rule. When UN forces led by United States forced the North Korean communist forces to withdraw back into their territoriy, they were completely caught off guard by powerful Chinese attack. UN troops were now engaged in full scale war with more than 300,000 Chinese troops. Eventually the Korean War ended in a deadlock and boundaries were restored to the way they were before the North Korean attack on South. USA suffered huge loss of life in the Korean War but they also realised the threat, communist China was posing in South Asia. Because of this USA decided that it will stop the spread of communism at any cost in South East Asia. American leaders feared that if one more country fell to the communism, it will start a domino effect in which all countries in South East Asia will fall one by one to communism. Hence they were determined to stop the spread of communism any further.
HO CHI MINH THE IDEALIST
Although disappointed by the terms of the treaty, North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh still complied to all terms of the accord. French established an interim government lead by Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam upon their withdrawl. But Diem had no desire to step down from presidency after six months. And he proved this when he refused to conduct the referendum, that was agreed upon to allow South Vietnamese people to freely choose their own fate, in the Geneva peace accord. In 1955, American advisors in Saigon pressurised Diem to conduct election even if it was just a sham, to show South Vietnam’s compliance to the Geneva Peace accord. So a completely rigged election was conducted under the supervision of Diem’s brother Ngo Dinh Nhu.
And as expected Diem emerged as the winner by 98.2% votes. This was just the beginning of the corruption and injustices committed by Ngo Dinh Diem. Soon after the French withdrawl from South Vietnam, Diem started a wave of oppression and exploitation of South Vietnamese people. Within a year of coming to power in South Vietnam, Diem family had became the wealthiest in whole of Vietnam. But while Diem was becoming richer and richer, the condition of South Vietnamese people was worsening with every passing day. Nearly 80% of the population in South Vietnam were starving to death because of wide spread poverty.
After refusing the demands of Ho Chi Minh to again conduct a fair referendum, Diem immediately started a campaign of persecution and extermination of the 80,000 VietMinh soldiers that were stationed in Saigon. Diem then ordered the South Vietnamese troops stationed in Hanoi to conduct attacks on the North Vietnam Army(NVA). But the troops in Hanoi refused to follow his orders and defected to North Vietnam. While the North Vietnam was going through a wave of transformation and developement under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, the humanitarian situation in South Vietnam was getting worse and worse. Ho Chi Minh was still loved and widely supported by the South Vietnamese people and on other hand the depth of hate and contempt of South Vietnamese people, for Ngo Dinh Diem was deepening. A resistance group called VietCong started conducting gorilla attacks on bases and offices of South Vietnamese Government.
President of North Vietnam Ho Chi Minh had so far resisted the urges of his followers to commence a military campaign against the dictatorial regime of South Vietnam, to end the suffering of South Vietnamese people and to reunite the nation of Vietnam. So far Ho Chi Minh had tried to settle the humanitarian crisis in South Vietnam by utilising his relations with Soviet Union and China to put diplomatic pressure on America to make the Diem regime in South comply to the conditions of Geneva accord. He warned Ngo Dinh Diem to immediately stop the persecution of South Vietnamese people and release the imprisoned VietMinh soldiers. But neither America and nor Diem paid any attention to Ho Chi Minh’s warnings. Infact to add salt to wound, America made South Vietnam a signatory in the South East Asian Treaty Organisation(SEATO) which mutually binded both nations in a mutual defense agreement. Hence now any form of attack on South Vietnam was to be considered as a declaration of war on United States itself. This made Ho Chi Minh accept the fact that there was no way of reuniting Vietnam without getting America involved in the conflict.
NORTH VIETNAM SUPPORTING THE VIETCONG GORILLAS
In 1958, Ho Chi Minh finally got tired of watching his people being mistreated and persecuted in South Vietnam, hence he started supporting the gorilla fighters of VietCong by providing them logistical, monetary, weaponry and personnel aid. Minh also decided to send 10,000 NVA soldiers to infiltrate into South Vietnam to support and train the VietCong gorillas in their war against the Diem regime.
VietCong bolstered by support from North Vietnam, immediately started attacking and capturing enemy strongholds in South Vietnam. South Vietnam forces were suffering heavy losses in the hands of VietCong gorillas. By 1960, South Vietnamese Government was being put under tremendous pressure by a string of simultaneous attacks by VietCong gorillas in and around Saigon. President of South Vietnam, Ngo Dinh Diem urged American president Dwight.D.Eisenhower for immediate assistance saying that South Vietnan was facing a real possibility of falling to communist gorillas. Eisenhower having seen the attrocities committed by Soviet Communist forces in Second World War, absolutely hated communists. So Eisenhower immediately sent military aid worth 5 billion dollars consisting of Fighter Planes, B52 Bombers, Tanks/Armoured Vehicles, Attack/Patrol Boats and Rifles, to the South Vietnamese Government. Eisenhower also deployed 3000 US Military officials to South Vietnam to train the ARVN(Army of Republic of Vietnam) troops in gorilla warfare and to teach them how to use and operate the American weaponry.
Escalation of American involvement in South Vietnam was a troubling news for Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnamese leadership. Fearing that they will not be able to match the firepower of US weaponry, Ho Chi Minh asked Chinese premier Mao Zhedong for help. Mao Zhedong immediately supplied nearly 100,000 AK47 rifles to North Vietnam to arm the VietCong gorillas in South. By this time VietCong numbers in South Vietnam had swelled to over 300,000 and were posing serious threat to the government of South Vietnam. And by 1961 the Government of South Vietnam was on brink of defeat and possibility of South Vietnam falling to communist forces was becoming more and more realistic.
PRESIDENT JOHN FRANK KENNEDY
John Frank Kennedy had just started his presidency and the issue of Vietnam was low on his list of priorities. But unlike Kennedy, US Joint Chiefs of Staff were adamant about launching a full scale military engagement in South Vietnam. At that moment President Kennedy was not willing to risk American lives in a gorilla war half way around the world. Hence, Secretary of defense Robert Macnamara devised a plan that satisfied both President and Joint Chiefs of Staff. This plan called for a military aid worth 12 billion dollars to be given to South Vietnam to strengthen its armed forces so that it can withstand even a large scale invasion from North Vietnam or even China.
The decision of strengthening South Vietnamese defensive forces worked perfectly and with the help of newly delivered American helicopters the ARVN troops started to overpower the VietCong gorillas and registered major victories in southern highlands. To combat the strengthened forces of South Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh started using supply routes through Laos and Cambodia to supply weapons and ammunitions to the VietCong gorillas. These secret jungle supply routes came to be known as Ho Chi Minh trails. North Vietnamese government immensely supplied anti aircraft guns and artillery guns to the VietCong gorillas via Ho Chi Minh trail.
Soon the South Vietnamese forces and their American advisors started feeling the pinch of Anti-Aircraft guns and heavy artillery fire. South Vietnamese forces started incurring heavy losses in their battles with VietCong gorillas. By this time American advisors in South Vietnam had realised that there was no chance of ARVN forces defeating the VietCong gorillas without a substantial US engagement in Vietnam. But President Kennedy was not interested at all in risking lives of American soldiers in another country’s civil war. And despite being as corrupt as he was, even Ngo Dinh Diem didn’t wanted a direct American involvement in the conflict. Diem too had realised that if American troops engaged in direct battle with VietCong it will surely result in mass civilian casualties. Both Presidents were under considerable pressure of their Generals who wanted a strong American engagement in the war.
CIA ORCHESTRATED COUP IN SOUTH VIETNAM
CIA agents in Saigon conspired with the disgruntled ARVN Generals to overthrow Diem’s government in a coup d’état. President Kennedy was totally unaware of CIA’s plans because Kennedy had always loathed the agency for its unethical actions in Guatemala which had resulted in death of his friend Jacobo Arbenz.
Hence there were serious trust issues between CIA and JFK. CIA brass in Washington gave green light to the operation but only on one condition that President Diem and his family will be allowed a safe passage out of the country. Eventually Diem became aware of the coup being planned against him by ARVN generals and the CIA. He immediately went to the American Embassy in Saigon to meet Ambassador Henry Cabot who was liaison between Diem and Kennedy administration. But to his shock Cabot refused to meet with him, it was at that moment when Diem realised that the whole plan of coup against him was orchestrated by the Kennedy’s special envoy to South Vietnam
W. Averell Harriman and Ambassador Cabot behind president Kennedy’s back. These individuals had been demanding direct American involvement in Vietnam for a long time but Diem’s refusal to do so was a big obstacle in their path. They believed that by eliminating Diem they can pave the path for direct American engagement in South Vietnam.
ASSASSINATION OF JFK AND EXECUTION OF DIEM
Despite the orders from Pentagon, Harriman assured the ARVN generals that US forces would make no attempt to rescue Diem. CIA operative Lucien Conein even paid $42,000 to the ARVN generals to orchestrate the coup. ARVN general Duong Van Minh and his co-conspirators overthrew the government on 1 November 1963 in a swift coup. On 1 November, the generals called the palace offering Diem exile if he surrendered. However, that evening, Diem and his entourage escaped via an underground passage to Cholon, where they were captured the following morning on 2nd November. Both Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother were assassinated under orders from Duong Van Minh, while they were attempting to reach Vietnamese Joint General Staff headquarters. Diem was buried in an unmarked grace in a cemetery next to the house of the U.S. ambassador.
The news of Diem’s death came as a huge shock to the entire Kennedy administration. US Vice President Lyndon Johnson suspected that CIA had something to do with this incident, but he decided to wait for President Kennedy’s return from two day visit of Texas, to discuss this with him. But as fate had it, President Kennedy never returned from Texas.
On November 22nd 1963, President John Frank Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. With in a period of three weeks, two men who were opposing direct American engagement in Vietnam had been eliminated and now path for American troops to enter South Vietnam was paved.
PRESIDENT LYNDON JOHNSON
At midnight 23rd November 1963, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as 36th President of Unites States of America. Remaining loyal to the wishes of President Kennedy, Johnson too refused to send American troops into Vietnam. But slowly as pressure of US Generals started pilling on President Johnson, he tried to accommodate the US Generals by launching a full scale bombing campaign on military installations in North Vietnam. On 2nd August, 1964 Shrewd US Generals created a hoax of US naval vessel Maddox being attacked by North Vietnamese attack boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.
This false flag incident provided a pretext for the American involvement in South Vietnam. President Johnson had been delaying the full scale engagement in South Vietnam, fearing a public backlash. But the hoax of Gulf of Tonkin generated enough public support for Johnson to deploy US troops in Vietnam. Five days after the staged hoax of Gulf of Tonkin, on 7th August 1964 US Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that authorised President Johnson to take any steps that he deemed necessary to solve the crisis on South Asia.
General Westmoreland was in charge of operations in Vietnam. President Johnson asked General Wesmoreland, that how many soldiers would be required to defeat the VietCong? Gen.Wesmoreland told President Johnson that at least 400,000 US troops would be enough for defeating the VietCong Gorillas. President Johnson was willing to send whatever Gen.Wesmoreland asked for. By the end of 1966, US troops in Vietnam were 130,000. By the end of 1967, number had risen to 330,000. And by the end of 1968, total number or US soldiers in Vietnam was 440,000. And during the peak of Vietnam War there were more than half a million US soldiers stationed in Vietnam. When debating about the war most people cite this number of 500,000 to overpowering presence of US soldiers in Vietnam. But what most people didn’t realise was that for every single combatant soldier more than 3 personnel were required for logistical and administrative duties. This included aircraft maintenance engineers, personnel needed for delivery of supplies, US naval personnel on board aircraft carriers and destroyers and the personnel at the US high command. So even when more than 500,000 American troops were stationed in Vietnam, there were only about 1,20,000 active combatants in Vietnam.
Up untill Vietnam war, US troops had no experience of fighting a gorilla war in lush rainforests of Asia. Little experience that some senior officers had was from Second World War when they were fighting Japanese forces on pacific islands of Guadacanal and Papua New Guinea. None of the combating troops had any experience in gorilla warfare. And the thing that was most troubling for US troops was the hot, damp and humid weather of Vietnam. Diseases like malaria and cholera were rampant throughout the Vietnam war, with one out of every ten soldiers getting sick with malaria or cholera. And for the fresh recruits who had just arrived in Vietnam after graduating from Army schools, Vietnam was like hell on earth. They had never expected that they would have to engage enemy in such deplorable conditions.
OPERATION ROLING THUNDER AND OPERATION FLAMING DART
US involvement in Vietnam War had started well before 1965 when first marines landed in Vietnam. Since 1961, US Air Force had been assisting in deployment of South Vietnamese Soldiers at remote locations with helicopters. By 1962, US Air Force and planes from aircraft carriers were taking part in campaigns against VietCong gorillas. At an average 40 sorties were being conducted over South Vietnam in 1962. After the death of JFK, President Lyndon Johnson had approved air strikes in NVA and VietCong bases on the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos and Cambodia.
After the hoax attack in Gulf of Tonkin was successfully staged, US congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that gave President Johnson absolute authority to use whatever measures he deemed fit to solve the crisis in South East Asia. And on 6th August 1964, day after the Gulf of Tonkin resolution was passed, President Johnson approved strategic strikes at Military, Airforce and Naval targets in North Vietnam. Consequently Operation Flaming Dart was launched and US bombers started targeting the strategic targets in North Vietnam.
Operation Flaming Dart called for precise and accurate bombing raids over Hanoi and other important defense bases in North Vietnam. Operation Flaming Dart turned out to be a colossal strategic disaster for US because it resulted in huge civilian casualties. Furthermore during Operation Flaming Dart less than 20% of the pre-approved targets were actually hit by the bombers. 14 US planes were downed in the operation. At the time of Operation Flaming Dart a soviet contingent headed by Alexei Kosygin was visiting Hanoi. Watching the devastation caused by US bomb raids, Alexei Kosygin asked Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev to supply North Vietnam 50 Mig21 interceptor fighters and more than 500 Soviet Suface to Air missiles. In the end Operation Flaming Dart resulted in substantial increase in Soviet and Chinese military aid to North Vietnam.
After the failiure of Operation Flaming Dart, President Lyndon Johnson was reluctant in authorising further air strikes in North Vietnam. Eventually he concede to the demands of Joint Chiefs of Staff for authorising Operation Rolling Thunder. By this time North Vietnam had acquired huge quantities of Anti-Aircraft Guns and Land to Air missiles from China and Soviet Union. As a result during the very first campaign of Operation Rolling Thunder, US lost 6 air crafts over the North Vietnamese skies. But this bombing raid was considered a strategic victory because most of North Vietnamese Railway Routes towards South were totally destroyed. More than a dozen ammunition depots were also destroyed both in North Vietnam and also on Ho Chi Minh trail.
Although US had lost bomber aircrafts in the Operation too, but the damages induced to the North Vietnam logistical infrastructure was considered as a huge strategic victory. But this was nothing more than a wishful thinking because damage caused by these raids wasn’t crippling for North Vietnam. Whatever railway routes, bridges, ammunition depots and fuel tanks were destroyed in these raids were repaired or replaced with a week of the attacks.
Second reason why, Operation Rolling Thunder and Operation Flaming Dart were such a colossal strategic failures was the number of US aircrafts shot down during these raids. By the start of Operation Rolling Thunder, North Vietnam had already acquired Russian 100 Mig21 fighters. Their pilots were being trained at Chinese Air Bases. Hence the North Vietnamese pilots were highly competent and were quite capable of defending their country from US Air Raids. By 1967, North Vietnam had also received over 1000 SAMS(Surface To Air Missile Systems) from Russia. These were highly advanced radar guided anti-aircraft missiles that had a range of 20 nautical miles and were capable of hitting targets flying above 10,000 feet altitude. Over next three years Russia and China would supply North Vietnam with over 1400 Fighters and over 5000 SAMS. SAMS had a kill ratio of 3:20 which meant for every 20 missiles launched, three enemy aircrafts were destroyed. All these advancements in air defense systems resulted in huge aircraft losses for US.
Operation Rolling Thunder continued for three and a half years and ended up causing more damage to US than to the North Vietnam. In total US lost 902 Aircrafts and lives of over 818 pilots during the three year campaign. About 260 US pilots were captured when they had to bail out over North Vietnamese cities and were now held as POW. North Vietnam lost 120 MIGs and lives of 100 pilots during their skirmishes with American fighters. About 10 planes were downed by friendly fire. And the US Bombings resulted in the deaths of 182,000 civilians.
SEARCH AND DESTROY
Right from the beginning of US operations in Vietnam, US Generals and Commanders had decided to conduct search and destroy campaigns against VietCong gorillas. Search and destroy campaigns worked like this, whenever US forces got any intellegence about the location of VietCong gorillas, they immediately started measures to encircle the gorillas and to cut off their escape into Cambodia. Then artillery cannons and Fighter bombers would commence initial assault on VietCong camps and bases. And finally US troops would be deployed via helicopters in the target area.
After this US troops would conduct an expeditionary search into the jungle to eliminate any and all VietCong gorillas. Although US troops conducted hundreds of search and destroy campaigns but they were not finding large VietCong contingents but despite that they were losing much more of their soldiers in ambushes and boobytraps orchestrated by VietCong gorillas.
General Westmoreland was convinced that only way of defeating VietCong was to lure or force them to fight an open war, because only then US would be able to inflict high damages to VietCong with its supreme Air and Ground fire power.
VIETCONG AND THEIR INFRASTRUCTURE
Contrary to the believes of US planners, VietCong was not an indisciplined and unorganised rash tag organisation like they believed it to be. VietCong gorillas were guided and trained by experienced Officers of NVA. VietCong forces were organised and run in a militaristic structure. They had different units, battalions, regiments and divisions designated to conduct operations in a highly efficient and disciplined manner. VietCong followed their own rules of engagement and withdrawl depending on the kind of situation they were facing.
VietCong gorillas were specialists in digging tunnel systems which they utilised for conducting surprise attacks and escaping if they were being overpowered by enemy. These tunnels systems were many miles long and had upto five different level. One tunnel system in the region of Iron Triangle in South Vietnam was more than 20 miles long. This tunnel system was the area HQ of VietCong in South Vietnam. It consisted of kitchens, sleeping rooms, planning rooms, hospitals, ammunition storage depots and some even had 5-6 mile long tunnels connecting two separate tunnel systems.
During the initial stages of American engagement in Vietnam, US Soldiers were completely oblivious of these tunnel systems. Often during search and destroy missions, they used to find abandoned VietCong bases. They usually left after setting the abandoned base above on fire, totally unaware of the fact that the entire base and the VietCong force was safe just beneath their feet. Sometimes during search and destroy campaigns, when VietCong gorillas were getting overpowered by US troops then entire VietCong regiments used to disappear into these tunnels, escaping totally unscathed. And US troops had no clue about where did VietCong disappeared into.
Slowly and steadily from the information provided by VietCong POWs and things learned from invaluable combat experiences, US troops finally found these tunnel systems. They destroyed as many entries into these tunnels as many they were able to discover. But this method hardly ever made a difference because each tunnel system havd dozens of entries and many of these entries were so well disguised that US troops had no chance of finding each of these entrances. Most often US troops would destroy whatever entrances they can find and then they withdrew thinking that they had destroyed the entire cave system, leaving majority of the cave system and VietCong gorillas completely intact.
By 1968, US campaigns of search and destroy were failing miserably. Out of 100 search and destroy operations conducted, US forces would only be successful on 5 occasions in engaging with the enemy. Most of VietCong gorillas were instructed not to engage in direct fight with US forces. Rather they were told to execute hit and run manouvres and only engage with enemy for 10 minutes at most and then withdraw from that area. US Generals were getting frustrated by the capability of VietCong to start fight wherever & whenever they desired and then end it & vanish into the jungle at their whim. But little did US brass knew that the VietCong were about to change their tactics.
30th January 1968, Day of “Tet” the Vietnamese New Year. This day was a sacred festival for Vietnamese people on which they worshiped and honoured their anscestors. The festivities lasted for two days. Hence an unofficial two day truce was practiced by all parties in respect of Tet celebrations. But this time VietCong had decided to launch major offensive operations in over 100 villages, town and cities in South Vietnam. The idea was to exploit the element of surprise that this attack had to quickly occupy key strategic locations in South Vietnam before South Vietnamese and US Armed forces react to the situation. More than 130,000 VietCong gorillas were to take part in this offensive. Furthermore NVA had planned attacks on some key locations in northern part of South Vietnam.
These attacks were planned with only one motive in mind, to attract the attention of South Vietnamese Government and US Army and to fool them into believing that a major North Vietnamese invasion was happening so that they would relocate majority of their forces near the border, away from populated areas where the real attack by VietCong was scheduled to take place. Although the plan of NVA deception worked to some extent but South Vietnamese and US Army didn’t relocate the troops to the North to such an extent that NVA had hoped for.
2:30 AM, 30th January 1968. VietCong commenced their planned Tet offensive by attacking more than 100 key locations all over South Vietnam simultaneously. Strongest of all these operations was to be carried out in Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. A strong force of 8,000 VietCong gorillas attacked Sigon in the early hours of 30th January. Main targets in Saigon were Independence Palace, US Embassy, ARVN Headquarters, US Military Headquarters, Government Radio and South Vietnamese Naval and Air base. Most of the South Vietnamese troops were on two day holiday for Tet celebrations and even US troops had relaxed the security in and around the city because of expected Tet celebrations in Saigon. Because of these factors VietCong easilly occupied their targets with minimum resistance.
But as soon as the news of attack spread through South Vietnam, ARVN and US forces immediately responded to the crisis. Soon they had all the VietCong targets surrounded and were engaging with the VietCong gorillas inside. And by the morning of 1st February, ARVN and US forces had neutralised or captured more than half of VietCong gorillas who took part in the attacks and the remaining gorillas withdrew from Saigon & other cities and vanished into the jungles.
In total more than 9000 US, NATO & ARVN Soldiers lost their lives in the Tet Offensive. But the casualties suffered by VietCong and NVA were much more devastating. VietCong and NVA lost lives of more than 45,200 of its soldiers and more than 5000 VietCong gorillas were captured. Majority of South Vietnamese, NATO and US fatalities occured in the battles of Saigon City, Historic city of Hue and the US base at Khe Sanh. Both City of Hué and the base of Khé Sánh were attacked by more than 27,000 soldiers of NVA(North Vietnamese Army). Nearly 13,000 NVA soldiers were killed in these two campaigns and about 1000 were captured. But the heaviest toll was paid by civilians in the Tet offensive with more than 14,000 killed and over 12,000 seriously wounded.
BATTLE OF KHE SANH
On 4th Jauary 1968, North Vietnamese Army started their attack on the US Marine base at Khe Sanh less that 3 miles from the demilitarised zone. More than 20,000 MVA soldiers descended upon the Khe Sanh Marine Base. Khe Sanh was located in a valley surrounded by small hills on all sides. Almost all of the adjoining hills had been secured by US marines but NVA were able to capture two of the highest peaks around Khe Sanh. They had established artillery fire bases on both of these hills but only issue was neither of the peaks had direct line of sight of the base. So they had to rely primarily on soldiers radioing in the adjustments to be made in the trajectory of the guns. NVA had another 6 fire bases with battery of artillery guns at distance of about 15 miles from Khe Sanh just inside Laosian borders. These guns fired huge 134 mm shells with unbelievable accuracy and precision and had a range of 21 miles.
Furthermore NVA had entire regiment dug in around Khe Sanh who were firing upto 500 mortar rounds per day. And Khe Sanh base was getting hit by more than 600 artillery shells per day. On 21st January, Khe Sanh base was hit by record 1200 shells in 10 hours. That meant that Khe Sanh was hit at an average 120 times per hour. Majority of the casualties that occured at Khe Sanh base were caused by the artillery shelling and mortar hits.
One regiment of Marine Corps(6000 marines) was stationed at Khe Sanh and supporting them was a battalion of South Vietnamese Army(2000 ARVN soldiers). So in total 8000 soldiers were defending the Marine Combat Base of Khe Sanh. They were up against two full divisions i.e 304th and 325th Divisions of North Vietnamese Army. Assisting them were 15 fire teams of 134 mm gunners. From the very beginning of offensive at Khe Sanh, US planners were expecting an all out invasion from North. But North Vietnamese Commanders had no intentions of engaging in stand piece battles with US Marines because they knew any such attempt would result in substantial casualties because of superior US air and artillery firepower.
So they rather adopted the tactics used in First World War and started digging miles long trenches to facilitate their approach towards the base. Initially US marines were unable to detect the ever closing trenches just outside their perimeter because NVA utilised precise artillery fire to cover the progressing trenches. Because of the continous artillery fire, US marines rarely ventured out of the base perimeter which allowed NVA troops to reach as near as 1000 feet of the Khe Sanh base.
But soon the trench system of NVA was discovered by the US Recconaissance aircraft. Initially US Marines tried their level best to destroy the NVA trenches with artillery and mortar shells but as it was revealed in First World War, it takes more than 1000 direct mortar hits to destroy 100 yards of trench. Hence damage induced on the NVA trenches was minimal. So US planners decided to bring in the big guns and these big guns were mammoth B52 bombers. B52 bombers dropped over 8 thousand tonns of bombs less that 1000 yards from the marine base, this was the first time such an enormous bombing campaign was carried out so close to the friendly base. And with in two days 90% of the NVA trenches had been completely obliterated.
The later part of the Khe Sanh offensive involved an organised attack by MVA gunners on the air crafts delivering supplies at the Khe Sanh base and the neighbouring US controlled peaks. NVA artillery gunners were so efficient and accurate that they were able to hit a US Hercules C130 while it was landing on the airstrip in the base. NVA were also successful in destroying more than 6 helicopters trying to deliver supplies to US soldiers holding positions at hills around Khe Sanh. But soon an organised air bombing and artillery shelling roaster was designed to save the supply helicopters from enemy fire.
And just like the attacks started suddenly, they also seized the same way. Crippled by the huge loss of men to American Air bombing and artillery campaigns, the NVA forces realised that there was no possibility of destroying or capturing Khe Sanh Marine base without calling in 3 more divisions. Hence they decided to withdraw from the Khe Sanh ending a 77 day siege of the base. In the end the Battle of Khe Sanh resulted in deaths of 274 US marines and significant injuries to 1000 marines. ARVN suffered 600 casualties with 100 dead and 500 wounded. But these numbers were nothing in comparison to casualties suffered by NVA. More than 15,000 of the soldiers in the two divisions which attacked Khe Sanh ended up dead. And more than 4000 suffered serious injuries. Attack on Khe Sanh was a disasterous move by NVA command and it assured NVA commanders that any such mass deployments will never work against the American troops and further that they have to rely on hit and run gorilla tactics.
AFTERMATH OF TET AND KHE SANH OFFENSIVES
Tet Offensive turned out to be a disaster for the VietCong and NVA. VietCong lost nearly 30% of its soldiers who were the best fighters they had. Secondly Tet Offensive resulted in major loss in public support for VietCong gorillas and their movement.
After Tet Offensive majority of South Vietnamese urban population started viewing VietCong as a brutal and murderous communist terrorist Group. But little did VietCong knew that this disaster of theirs was about to have such an impact on American public that it would ignite a flame that would eventually become an enraging inferno and result in withdrawl of US troops from Vietnam.
As news coverage of the Tet offensive started showing gruesome images of VietCong gorillas getting killed in Saigon, throughout households in America, it made people realise the brutality in which this war in Vietnam was being fought. Majority of population was sickened by the fact that US Soldiers were getting killed in order to stop an oppressed and mistreated population from fighting for their freedom. They started realising that this struggle in Vietnam would have ended long time ago had US not intervened in another country’s civil war.
BODY COUNT METHOD
One of the most controversial method, employed by US Forces was the Body Count Objectives. Traditionally during wars, the levels of successes and failures were calculated from area of land won or lost in the battle. But this method only made sense if one enemy had invaded others country. Situation in Vietnam was totally different because on most occasions VietCong gorillas deliberately abandoned their bases to counter the US Forces’s approach. Hence here winning or losing land made no difference at all because VietCong gorillas were active in patches throughout the South Vietnam. Clearing the VietCong bases in front of you didn’t necessarily meant that there were no bases behind you either.
So to measure the level of success and failiure in Vietnam, a totally new approach was utilised. US Generals had estimated that VietCong had nearly 300,000 gorillas active in South Vietnam. So they decided to utilise enemy body count as a measure of progress because they assumed that once abode count reached 300,000 this would mean that victory has been achieved. But one thing that US Generals forgot to take into equation was that number of cadres joining the VietCong per month was also increasing with the progress of the war.
The real controversy that body count method caused was that each and every platoon was allocated a fixed quota of bodies that they had to achieve in order to be allowed to return to base. For example if a platoon was allocated the target of 100 VietCong Gorilla combatants then they were not allowed to return to the base unless they had successfully killed 100 VietCong Gorillas. This strategy resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilian villagers, as US soldiers started shooting at everything and anything that they can find, just to meet their quota and return to the base. A lot of reports about Human Right abuses and war crimes committed by the US forces started surfacing in 1968.
US CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY IN VIETNAM WAR
In 1968, the Vietnam War Crimes Working Group (VWCWG) was established by the Pentagon task force in the wake of the My Lai Massacre, to attempt to ascertain the veracity of emerging claims of war crimes by US armed forces in Vietnam, during the Vietnam War period.
The investigation compiled over 9,000 pages of investigative files, sworn statements by witnesses and status reports for top military officers, indicating that 320 incidents had factual basis. The substantiated cases included 7 massacres between 1967 and 1971 in which at least 137 civilians were killed; seventy eight further attacks targeting non-combatants resulting in at least 57 deaths, 56 wounded and 15 sexually assaulted; one hundred and forty-one cases of US soldiers torturing civilian detainees or prisoners of war with fists, sticks, bats, water or electric shock. Over 800 alleged atrocities were investigated but only 23 soldiers were ever convicted on charges and most served sentences of less than a year. A Los Angeles Times report on the archived files concluded that the war crimes were not confined to a few rogue units, having been uncovered in every army division that was active in Vietnam. But these numbers were not even one tenth of number of casualties that were actually caused US Forces.
In 2003 a series of investigative reports by the Toledo Blade uncovered a large number of unreported American war crimes particularly from the Tiger Force unit. Some of the most violent war criminals included men such as Sam Ybbara and Sergeant Roy E. “the Bummer” Bumgarner, a soldier who served with the 1st Cavalry Division and later the 173d Airborne Brigade.
In 1971 the later U.S. presidential candidate, John Kerry testified before the US Senate and stated that over 150 U.S. veterans testified during Winter Soldier Investigations and described war crimes committed in Southast Asia.
“They told the stories of times that they had personally raped, cut off the ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”—John Kerry testifying before the U.S. Senate in 1971
According to testimonies given by soldiers who served in Vietnam:US soldiers and many willingly participated in attrocious crimes against humanity in the Vietnam War. More than 1200 young Vietnamese girls and women were raped by US Soldiers. Youngest of these girls was 11 year old girl. Out of these 1200, about 800 ended up dead. Many were killed after they were raped. Many died of injuries sustained during the rape and from beatings before or after the rape. On almost all of these incidents, women were raped by many Soldiers. One incident that was reported was of 25 soldiers raping a 15 year old girl. Some girls and women were raped in front of their parents and all of the villagers.
US soldiers repeatedly shot innocent men, women and children for no apparent reason. US soldiers would come into a village, round up all of the villagers and just open fire on them. Most publicised incident was of the massacre of over 200 innocent civilians in a village called My Lai.
But what media didn’t report was that this was not a single incident. Such attrocities were committed daily and much more regularly than what media made it look like.
Several US Soldiers reported that they witnessed innocent Vietnamese civilians being stabbed and while they were still alive, their body was cut open and all their internal organs were pulled out. Other testimonies reported of innocent civilians being decapitated by knives and then their heads were put on sticks pushed into the ground.
Approximately 60,000 innocent civilians were allegedly killed by US Soldiers. About 15,000 of these were killed in mass executions where every villager in the village was murdered, not even dogs, cats, buffaloes, pigs and cows were spared. About 800 were the rape victims who later died or were killed. About 20,000 people were killed by deliberate bombings and shelling of civilian villages who had nothing to do with VCs. About 10,000 of these are reported to have died because of exposure to Agent Orange and CS. And about 4,000 innocent Vietnamese were killed during or after they were interrogated. And nearly 10,000 were killed in most sadistic manners like being pushed out of planes for fun or during friendly challenges between US Soldiers like whoever kills the most gooks, wins. The shear sadistic nature of crimes committed against innocent Vietnamese people is mind boggling. Its hard to believe that any normal sane person would do such things. But reality is they did committ these atrocities and nobody was ever made to pay for their crimes.
Nick Turse, in his 2013 book, Kill Anything that Moves, argues that a relentless drive toward higher body counts, a widespread use of free-fire zones, rules of engagement where civilians who ran from soldiers or helicopters could be viewed as Viet Cong, and a widespread disdain for Vietnamese civilians led to massive civilian casualties and endemic war crimes inflicted by U.S. troops. One example cited by Turse is Operation Speedy Express, an operation by the 9th Infantry Division, which was described by John Paul as “Many My Lais”.
Air force captain, Brian Wilson, who carried out bomb-damage assessments in free-fire zones throughout the delta, saw the results firsthand. “It was the epitome of immorality…One of the times I counted bodies after an air strike—which always ended with two napalm bombs which would just fry everything that was left—I counted sixty-two bodies. In my report I described them as so many women between fifteen and twenty-five and so many children—usually in their mothers’ arms or very close to them—and so many old people.” When he later read the official tally of dead, he found that it listed them as 130 VC killed.
Another controversial action of US Forces in Vietnam was the extensive use of Agent Orange. US planes sprayed more than 200,000 gallons of Agent Orange over the suspected VC villages and bases. Agent Orange is an pesticide that contains very lethal dioxin toxin and when sprayed over an area, no vegetation would grow there for decades. If Agent Orange comes in contact with human skin, it causes unbearable pain because of slow tissue burns and results in peeling of skin. Even washing with water has no effect on the burn and pain.
If inhaled, agent orange results in a slow and agonising death as victims lungs and trachea slowly burns up. Agent Orange has also been associated with genetic mutation of the new born children whose parents came in contact with Agent Orange. During the course of the Vietnam war US sprayed 200,000 gallons of Agent Orange over approximately 6 million acres of rice paddies, lush rain forests and villages which makes up about 1/4 th of entire land in Vietnam.
In 1965 Presudent Lyndon Johnson authorised a special operation known as the Phoenix Program to be carried out by Central Intellegence Agency the infamous CIA. Phoenix program called for a covert operation in South Vietnam to identify the VietCong supporters and sympathisers and to eliminate them.
In 1965, US troops had just landed in Vietnam and were conducting search and destroy operations in South Vietnam. In these missions, upon getting an intellegence about the location of VietCong gorillas, a platoon of US Soldiers was sent to search for the rebels, to engage and eliminate them. But soon US soldiers realised that VietCong gorillas enjoyed great deal of support and help from Vietnamese villagers. Although this might have been true in some cases, but to brand every villager in Vietnam a VC sympathiser was an utterly irresponsible decision.
Hence to identify VC supporters, sympathisers or even VietCong themselves being in disguise of common villagers from the rest of the population, President Johnson authorised Phoenix program which was to be conducted by both CIA operatives and Military Intellegence Officers.
What followed after that were some of the most heinous crimes against civilians committed by any intellegence agency in the history of espionage. CIA operatives along with members of US Marine Corps committed mass murders of thousands of villagers without conducting any enquiry that whether the accused villagers were connected in any way to VietCong or not. All villagers were lined up in the fields and were just mowed down by M15 bullet rounds. Not even women and children were spared. And in many cases even dogs, cats, buffaloes, cows, goats and pigs were shot, I think this clearly shows the sadistic side of American troops. Innocent civilians were stabbed with knives in front of their families and while they were still alive, US Soldiers then used to slash open their abdomen and pull out their internal organs. And all this was done in front of that person’s family.
A famous quotes from one of the soldiers in Vietnam clearly portrays the mindset of US Soldiers in Vietnam, when asked how did they identified if a villager was a VC or not, soldier replied “a dead Vietnamese was always a VC, so basically anybody you kill will be considered a VC”. During the course of Phoenix Progran(1965-1969) approximately 80,000 villagers were executed on suspicions of being a VietCong gorilla or a VietCong supporter. Yet you won’t find any US politician seeking justice for all these innocent Vietnamese civilians who were murdered by mentally sick and sadistic soldiers.
US WITHDRAWL FRON VIETNAM
By 1971, it was becoming quite apparent to US Military planners that Vietnam War was a lost cause and cannot be won. Even after 7 years of relentless and bloody war, the number of VietCong gorillas had doubled since the time when US entered the war. So main reason why US entered into the Vietnam conflict was to neutralise the VietCong threat in South Vietnam and they weren’t even able to achieve this goal. Any further participation of US Forces seemed unnecessary and illogical. Newly elected President of United States Richard Nixon had campaigned on promises of ending the war in Vietnam. So people now were demanding Nixon to fulfill his promise. The Anti-War movement had spread throughout the country by now. Public support for Vietnam War had reduced to less than 20%. And there was no militaristic solution in sight for the conflict of Vietnam. Hence US President Richard Nixon initiated the Paris peace talks with leaders of North and South Vietnam in 1971. A peace accord was signed by all parties in 1973 which paved the path for US withdrawl from South Vietnam.
After withdrawl of US troops from South Vietnam, North Vietnam violated the Paris Peace Accord and openly invaded South Vietnam. Despite all the military weapons and assets left behind by the US, North Vietnam fell in just 3 days. Finally Vietnam was reunited as a single sovereign nation under a communist government. So reason for which US waged war for eight years and lost 58,282 of its soldiers, turned out to be totally illogical and impractical because whatever they were fighting to avoid happened any way. This meant that lives of over 2.5 million Vietnamese civilians, 200,000 VietCong Rebels, 500,000 South Vietnamese soldiers, 300,000 North Vietnamese soldiers, 210,000 North Vietnamese civilians, 10,000 Laotians civilians and rebels, 5,000 Cambodian civilians and 58,282 US Soldiers were sacrificed for nothing. All these lives were lost in vain. Had US not intervened in Vietnam’s internal conflict in 1959, this war would have ended within days. South Vietnam as in 1975, had no significant defensive capability in 1959 either, so North Vietnam would have defeated South Vietnam without causing any significant damage of infrastructure and life of Vietnamese people.
Now you know what happened in Vietnam War and what role America played in it. Can you judge now that whether US should have intervened in Vietnam’s civil war? I think answer to this question may vary from person to person. To answer this complex question, we need to ask ourselves that what was the real motives behind intervening in Vietnamese civil war. Some people will say that answer to this question is simple, US intervened in Vietnam to save South Vietnamese people from horrors of communism and to halt the spread of communism through out South East Asia. But reality is that the whole theory of communists trying to take over the world and to destroy America was nothing more that a scary tale parents tell their kids so that they don’t wander out in the dark.
Truth of the matter is that Soviet Union was not even capable of invading and occupying Eastern Europe much less attacking United States of America. Russia was in ruins after the end of Second World War. All of its major cities like the industrial centre of Russia the city of Stalingrad were in ruins. They had been totally devastated by the nazis. Russia had lost over 20 million of its people in the war. And just two decades before that Russia had lost upto 50 million civilians in the famin of 1921. Hence there was no communist danger from Russia to America. What American leaders did was they deliberately over exaggerated capabilities of Russia and China to facilitate their invasions of foreign nation, which they did primarily for economic and corporate motives. After being continously involved in wars for more than three decades, the majority of US economy had became dependant on wars for sustenance. The military industrial complex would not have lasted any longer if there hadn’t been any more wars. So to save the war dependant economy of America, US leaders under the influence of Corporate oligarchs decided to commence a campaign of continous wars some small scale like the invasion of Grenada and some full fledge wars like Vietnam war and Korean War.
Waging continous wars requires huge amounts of weapons and this is where the military industrial complex comes in. US waging continous wars would mean that the business would be very brisk and profitable for the Corporations supplying weapons, aircrafts, vehicles and ammunitions. And to buy all these things US needed huge sums of money and they got this money in form of debts from international banking corporations like World Bank and International Mometary Fund. And these corporations would earn substantial proffits from interest on the loans. You would think that why would government engage in tactics that only benefits the Corporations and generates debt for itself? But isn’t that the very crisis US is going through with its national debt estimated to be 13 trillion dollars. But many experts believe that even this number of 13 trillion is not the accurate number. They estimate US national debt to be around 130 trillion dollars.
So now just for the sake of argument assume that real motives behind Vietnam War were economical and financial . Now think, were 3 million lives worth these economic benefits? Did Vietnamese people deserved the brutality and cruelty that they were subjugated to by US Soldiers? Were 58,272 American lives worth losing over monetary gains?
If you say yes to all these questions then I think you are not the kind of person I wrote this article for.