We are continuing to publish on our site the fragments from the book AMERICA’S PLANSFOR WORLD HEGEMONY, by Romanian author Calistrat M. Atudorei which was published in English version very recently by printing house ”ePublishers” in Bucharest.
Chapter 4/2. American Military Interventions during the Cold War
Laos, 1964–1973: The Most Bombed Nation in History
The theater of war in Vietnam expanded to Laos, too, in the same confrontation through intermediaries (proxy-war type) between the communist and capitalist forces. Laos set a tragic record, declared in 2016 by Barack Obama himself, as President of the United States. According to BBC News,Obama characterized Laos as “the most heavily bombed nation in history.” The BBC reported that the bombs were falling like the rain, “eight bombs a minute were dropped on average during the Vietnam war between 1964 and 1973—more than the amount used during the whole of World War Two.”23
The Economist noted that in the 1960s and 1970s, the inhabitants of the country had to hide in caves in order to survive US bombing. Nevertheless, “By the time the campaign ended in 1973, a tenth of Laos’s population had been killed. Thousands more accidental deaths would follow from unexploded bombs left in the soil.”24
A CNN 2016 issue also brought further details indicating that more than two million tons of explosives were launched on Laos and the operation was conducted by the CIA. Most bombs were “cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets.” The report shows that 80 million unexploded bombs remained and “to this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed.” Thus, over a period of 40 years after the end of the war, “more than 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance (UXOs)25 since the war ended, and currently, 50 people are maimed or killed every year.” Among the victims there were mainly farmers and children who accidentally hit those bombs. Another tragedy is that more than 10,000 localities, i.e. “a quarter of Laos villages are contaminated with unexploded munitions”26 and therefore large areas of the country’s anyway poor surface cannot be used as agricultural land.
The CIA official website admits that Laos operations were “the largest paramilitary operations ever undertaken by the CIA” which is why they were generically called the “The Secret War in Laos.” The CIA director at that time, Richard Helms, stated in an interview in 1981 that: “This was a major operation for the Agency… It took manpower; it took specially qualified manpower; it was dangerous; it was difficult.” Yet—he concluded satisfied and with total indifference to the destruction of a country—CIA did “a super job.”27 At that time, the bombings were “covered” (kept secret) by the international press, being operated largely through Air America, a CIA-hidden company.
Still, a fundamental question is this: why so much spite to bomb a small and very poor country in Southern Asia? Here is the explanation we may find on the CIA’s website, formulated by Professor William Leary of the University of Georgia:
Laos represented one of the dominos in Southeast Asia that concerned President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Although the country had little intrinsic value, its geographical position placed it in the center of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. If Laos fell to the Communists, Thailand might be next, according to the Domino Theory. And the collapse of Thailand would lead to Communist domination of Southeast Asia and perhaps beyond.28
Hence, this is the explanation of a genocide, whose disastrous consequences still continue today: for US strategists Laos was nothing more than a simple domino piece.
Cuba, 1960–1997: Embargo and Hundreds of Attacks Against Castro
Cuba adopted as early as 1959, under Fidel Castro’s leadership, a line of communist governance, supported in this regard by the Soviet Union. The big problem was that thereby the Cuban island has come to represent—as symbolic and concrete reality—a threat to the US hegemony in Latin America. Precisely for this reason Cuba was systematically attacked by the United States since the 1960s through countless military operations and economic sanctions. What saved Cuba from the fate of other states that dared to follow the communist route was the protection received from the USSR in 1962, which conspicuously installed some dozens of nuclear missiles on the Cuban territory, just 90 miles far from the US border. The situation created tremendous tension on the international stage because it seemed that a shattering nuclear war would follow. The incident was recorded in history under the name of “Cuban missile crisis.”
In 1964, the US State department Policy Planning Board expressed concern that
The main danger we face with Castro lies in the impact that his regime itself has on left-wing movements in the Latin American countries. Castro represents a successful defiance of the US, a negation of our whole policy for a century and a half for the Western Hemisphere.29
As the way of weapons was no longer a valid option for attacking Cuba (given the protection it received from the Russians), America opted for other methods.
One of these targeted the killing of the Cuban president, Fidel Castro. During the 49 years while he was in charge of Cuba, there were over 600 attempts to assassinate Castro, most of them orchestrated by the CIA. British television made a documentary on the subject, entitled 638 Ways to kill Castro30. All these attempts failed, and Fidel Castro died of natural causes at the age of 90 in 2016.
But the main method of undermining the Cuban regime was that of the economic war. The embargo on Cuban merchandise and business was extremely tough and violated all economic treaties. That is why the US embargo was firmly condemned by almost all relevant international forums and even declared illegal by the Judicial Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS). The European Union appealed to the World Trade Organization on this issue. In 1997, Clinton administration gave an official response to these accusations stating, inter alia, that White House is conducting “three decades of American Cuba policy that goes back to the Kennedy Administration” and seek to force a regime change in Havana.31 The US administration added that “WTO has no competence to rule on US national security or to compel the US to change its laws.”32 Eventually, Washington withdrew from the proceedings, making it impossible for mediators to resolve the issue through international debates at institutions level.
American demagogy can be easily spotted from its rhetoric to Cuba. The 30 years invoked by the representatives of America as an effort to change the Cuban regime were based on the policies of the Cold War and the containment of the Soviet Union. Yet, the USSR did not exist in 1997, which highlights that the real motivation of sabotaging Cuba was nothing else than the craving to neutralize a nationalist virus in the region.
Nicaragua, 1982–1990: How a Prosperous Country Can Quickly Be Ruined
Nicaragua was also scene of confrontation between the two power poles of the world during the Cold War. Since 1979 at the country’s leadership arose the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de LiberaciónNacional—FSLN), backed by the Soviet Union. The country began to thrive and following the economic progress of the 1980s, Nicaragua was publicly mentioned by the World Bank, UNICEF and other international agencies which appreciated that its progress is ”remarkable” and conduct to “laying a solid foundation for long-term socio-economic development.”33
But the United States had a different vision. In 1983, the Secretary of State George Schultz described Nicaragua before the USA Congress as “a cancer, right here in our land mass, which we need to cut it out.”34
In order to “solve” the situation, President Reagan agreed as early as 1981, with the Congress’ approval, that the Central Intelligence Agency was “covertly channeling money and arms” to the rebels, as well with “training by the US Army’s Special Forces at rebel bases in Honduras.”35 The information was published in 1986 by New York Times. The rebels were a group of anticommunist counterrevolutionaries in Nicaragua, generically named “the Contras.” In 1982, they received from the CIA a sum of money that NYT estimates at 90 million dollars.
The involvement of the CIA immediately inflamed the confrontations, which led to a civil war that lasted nearly seven years, until 1989. Apart from supporting the rebels, the United States also got directly involved in militarily attacking Nicaragua. News published in 1987 recorded that the US State Department confirmed that American forces that intervened directly in Nicaragua received official orders to go “after soft targets,”36 i.e. unarmed civilians. This measure prompted strong protest reactions from human rights organizations. In turn, the supporters of American politics hurried to offer the supreme argument of American invasion: the ideal of democracy. For example, political commentator Michael Kinsley wrote an editorial for the Wall Street Journal, in which he responded to the Americas Watch human rights defense organization that “sensible policy [that meets] the test of cost-benefit analysis” in which we see on the one hand “the amount of blood and misery that will be poured in, and the likelihood that democracy will emerge at the other end.”37 In other words, slogans justifying the so-called salvage value of the intervention, even if it was actually violent and had a purpose other than what was stated.
In parallel, the United States carried out an economic sabotage campaign and interrupted shipping in the area by planting underwater mines in several ports in Nicaragua. The government of Managua addressed the International Court of Justice and brought a long and highly documented list of allegations to the United States. There were presented considerable evidences of “unlawful use of force” including the deliberate killing of civilians. On the issue of mining to block harbors, Nicaragua complained that American action represents “not just an effort to reduce trade and vital communication with the outside world, but also a death threat to third parties involved in trade and to international peaceful travel.”38 The International Court of Justice decided in 1984 that the United States acted illegally on multiple fronts and “violated international valid treaties.”39 It is an important fact: the United States was found guilty by an international tribunal. This precedent is rarely mentioned.
The effect of the American campaign against the state of Nicaragua was that optimistic expectations that emerged in the early 1980s for this state have completely been scattered. In the nine years of civil war “around 40,000 people were killed, and the country was ravaged by the guerrilla warfare.”40 In 1990, Nicaragua became the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, after Haiti. More than half of the active population emigrated in order to find better-paid jobs.
Iraq, 1991: 1.7 Million Dead, but “The Price is Worth It”
This intervention is also known as the First Gulf War and it had a particular strategic importance for the United States’ and the UK’ economy. The official version of Iraq’s aggressiveness, which, allegedly due to Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial ambitions, would have annexed Kuwait, is a roguish forgery, set-up through diplomatic and especially media means. In order to understand the subtleties of the true causes of the events, we will have to make a brief incursion in the history of Iraq’s last one hundred years. A great help in this respect is the paper by Ralph Schoenman, Iraq and Kuwait: A History Suppressed.41 An article that summarizes and updates the excellent work by Schoenman is written by David Klein—Professor at the University of California—titled Mechanisms of Western Domination: A Short History of Iraq and Kuwait.42
The first revealing data belong to the period after the First World War, in the years 1918–1920. France and the United Kingdom divided then the Ottoman Empire and the Arab nation for their own colonial interests, especially for the economic ones. Iraq’s oil company was established in 1920 with 95% of its shares going to the UK, France and the US. In 1921 and 1922, to weaken Arab nationalism, Britain blocked Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf by separating the Kuwait territorial entity from the rest of Iraq. These British colonial policies and other similar ones made Kuwait province to become the main concern of the Arab national movement in Iraq and a symbol of Iraqi humiliation by the British. Therefore, Iraqis protested and evinced through diplomatic ways the historical truths.
Following the Second World War, British leadership was gradually replaced by the neo-colonial rule of the United States over the Middle East. The strategy of Kuwait’s forced separation from Iraq continued.
In mid-July 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq. In the same year, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor, proposed to Saddam Hussein to invade Iran and annex Khuzistan, thus giving access in Gulf to Iraq through the narrow Shatt-al Arab waterway. The US hoped to use Iraq to counter the radicalism of the Khomeni regime in Iran, which spread among the oppressed peoples of the Emirates and toward Saudi Arabia. There were made promises to Saddam Hussein of guaranteed financial support in the form of loans from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other nations. As a reward, Iraq was erased in 1982 from the list of so-called state sponsors of terrorism, drafted by the US State Department, and Iraq began to frantically buy weapons from American companies. At the same time, without Hussein’s knowledge, the US and Israel armed the Iranians secretly in order to push Iranian and Iraqi forces fight one against the other. The consequence was that about half a million Iranians and Iraqis killed each other in the Iran-Iraq war.
The war with Iran brought Iraq to ruins. When Saddam Hussein started the war that would last eight years against Iran, Iraq had $40 billion in surplus in foreign exchange reserves. But at the end of the war, the nation had $80 billion in debt. Iraq was pressed to repay the 80 billion to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with interest.
Meanwhile, when Iraq was preoccupied with the war with Iran, US-controlled Kuwait captured other 2,331 square kilometers of Iraqi territory by pushing the border northward. This was presented to Iraq as an accomplished fact and gave Kuwait access to the oil field in Rumaila.
Let us keep in mind that the main source of income for Iraq was oil. That is why, in order to further weaken Iraq, under the shadow of Washington, Kuwait kept increasing oil production until 1990. Thus, the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quotas were undermined, with the Iraq oil price dropping from $28 per barrel to $11. It seriously ruined Iraq’s economy. The calls from Iraq, Iran, Libya and other countries to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to stay at OPEC’s old production levels were encountered by the US with increasing naval activity in the Persian Gulf, meant to intimidate.
In February 1990 Saddam Hussein brought up into discussion, at the Amman summit, the topic of the relationship between oil production and the large concentration of U.S. Navy forces. Following this discourse, the Western media launched bogus allegations on Saddam’s missiles, chemical weapons, and nuclear potential. The situation became extremely tense for the Iraq, who reached on the verge of collapse. Against this background, the US set up an extremely tempting trap for Iraq.
According to New York Times, in September 1990 US Ambassador April Glaspie informed Hussein that “We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait,” meaning allegedly that the United States will not necessary help Kuwait if it were to be attacked. Also, a week before Iraq’s invasion in Kuwait, Margaret Tutwiler, the State Department spokeswoman, reiterated that “We do not have any defense treaties with Kuwait, and there are no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait.” Or, as Representative Lee H. Hamilton noted at a hearing before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, John Kelly, the assistant of the Secretary of State asserted “over and over again [that US] have no defense-treaty relationship with any Gulf country.”43
As expected, Saddam Hussein fell into the trap. On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and quickly gained control of the country.
The surprise for Iraq was that the United States, together with the United Nations, required the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces. Since it did not happen, on January 16, 1991, the US and other allied forces from 34 nations started the Desert Storm military operation on Iraq and its armed forces in Kuwait. The bombings deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure, including water treatment plants. Former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, and the International Action Center reported devastating effects on the population. The US-led coalition used inclusively depleted uranium, leading to an unprecedented number of cases of cancer and congenital malformations in the years to come. It was estimated that at least 300 tons of radioactive uranium remained in Iraq’s soil after the war, following the bombings. Shocking details of the noxious effects were reported by Dr. Doug Rokke at a lecture called The Scourge of Depleted Uranium44, presented at UNESCO in 2001. Dr. Rokke was asked precisely by the Washington Military Command to assess the effects of the radioactive bombs launched during the Desert Storm. The findings were so severe—in virtually affecting all vital systems and in massive and very long-term environmental contamination—that he expressed at the end of the lecture a call that such bombs should never be used again.
Unfortunately, the US aggression on Iraq continued through economic sanctions, which further devastated the general condition of the population. In line with a study by journalist NafeezMosaddeq Ahmed, by 1999 the blockade imposed on Iraq by the United States through the UN Security Council led to the tragic result that “more than 1.7 million Iraqi civilians had died as a result of the sanctions, between 500,000 and 600,000 of whom were children.”45
The situation was assumed by the US Secretary of State at that time in an interview during the 60 Minutes TV show of May 12, 1996. In that show, moderator Lesley Stahl said about the US blockade against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” The Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s response was mind blowing: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price… we think the price is worth it.”46 It is useless to make any other commentaries. This dialogue revolted a whole world through the cynicism expressed live by a high official of Washington.
(To be continued)