What a strange day – veering from dark, blustery squalls to fine, golden sunlight. In between the rainfall, I nipped out and tried to capture some of the rich colours I could see:
“Washington has been channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the political opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez – including those who briefly overthrew the democratically elected leader in a coup two years ago.” (Source: The Independent)
This is the truth behind the US government’s self-righteous blustering about democracy and terrorism: they don’t give a shit.
If a country democratically elects a government that won’t allow their political philosophy (free market capitalism) a toehold then, as much as the Stalinist Soviet Union used to, they’ll do their best to de-stabilise that country by pouring in funding to anti-democratic groups.
Many, many times, this funding has been direct, like that given to the terrorist Contras in Nicaragua. Sometimes, other measures were employed to get a US-friendly result:
“Jeremy Bigwood, a Washington-based freelance journalist who obtained the documents, yesterday told The Independent: ‘This repeats a pattern started in Nicaragua in the election of 1990 when [the US] spent $20 per voter to get rid of [the Sandinista President Daniel] Ortega. It’s done in the name of democracy but it’s rather hypocritical. Venezuela does have a democratically elected President who won the popular vote which is not the case with the US.'”
The most frightening thing about this US policy is the total lack of concern as to the character of the groups funded. It’s no secret that the US was a prime supporter of the mujaheddin when they were fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The US supplied arms and training to these extremists, many of whom then went on to careers in the Taliban and now Al Quaeda:
“The war in Afghanistan was the stage for one of the last major stand-offs between the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The Americans at that time had the same goals as bin Ladin?s mujahedin–the ousting of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. In what was hailed at the time as one of its most successful covert operations, America?s Central Intelligence Agency launched a $500 million-per-year campaign to arm and train the impoverished and outgunned mujahedin guerrillas to fight the Soviet Union. The most promising guerilla leaders were sought out and ?sponsored? by the CIA. U.S. official sources are understandably vague on the question of whether Osama bin Ladin was one of the CIA?s ?chosen? at that time. Bin Ladin?s group was one of seven main mujahedin factions. It is estimated that a significant quantity of high tech American weapons, including ?stinger? anti-aircraft missiles, made their way into his arsenal. The majority of them are reported to be still there.” (Source: International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism)
We don’t yet know who committed the atrocity in Spain this week. It may have been ETA but there are fingers now pointing towards Al Quaeda too. It would be a terrible irony if the Spaniards killed and injured in the bombing were paying the price for the political adventurism of the US government.
The same government now bellowing about its war on terror.
“Civil disobedience. . . is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that numbers of people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. . Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
– Howard Zinn