Saturday, March 29, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 4: Problems of Population Control Segment 10/11
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The president of the Colombian human rights commission is reviewing facts familiar throughout Latin America. Military-controlled National Security states dedicated to "internal security" by assassination, torture, disappearance, and sometimes mass murder, constituted one of the two major legacies of the Kennedy administration to Latin America; the other was the Alliance for Progress, a statistical success and social catastrophe. The basic thrust of policy was established long before, and has been pursued since as well, with a crescendo of support for murderous state terror under the Reagan administration. The "drug war" simply provides another modality for pursuit of these long-term commitments. One will search far for any hint of these fundamental truths in the drum-beating for a war of self-defense against the terrible crimes perpetrated against us by Latin American monsters.

As the first anniversary of the drug war approached, the House Government Operations Committee released a study concluding that U.S. antidrug efforts had made virtually no headway in disrupting the cocaine trade in Peru and Bolivia, largely because of "corruption" in the armed forces of both countries. The "corruption" is illustrated by the stoning of DEA agents and Peruvian police by local peasants led by Peruvian military personnel, and the firing on State Department helicopters by Peruvian military officers when they approached drug-trafficker facilities; in short, by the well-known fact that "the drug dealers' core military power lies in paramilitary groups they have organized with the support of large landowners and military officers," the beneficiaries of U.S. aid, exactly as was pointed out by Alberto Galán at the moment when his brother's murder provided the pretext to set the latest "drug war" into high gear.49

The domestic enemy is likely to be subjected to the same kind of treatment as the poor abroad. In keeping with the general commitments of neoconservatism, the drug war seeks to undermine civil liberties with a broad range of measures, such as random searches based on police suspicion, aimed primarily at young Blacks and Hispanics. The attack on civil rights has aroused some concern, though not because of the increased abuse of the underclass. Rather, it is "the threat to individual rights from the drug war" as it shifts to "middle-class whites who are casual drug users" (John Dillin, reporting on the threat to civil liberties in the lead story of the Christian Science Monitor). "As middle America comes under scrutiny," Dillin continues, "critics expect a growing outcry about violations of civil liberties."50

Power can defend itself. In practice, the capitalist ethic treats freedom as a commodity: a lot is available in principle, and you have what you can buy.

The links between the drug war and U.S. intervention sometimes reach a remarkable level of cynicism. Thus, Colombia requested that the U.S. install a radar system near its southern border to monitor flights from its neighbors to the south, which provide the bulk of the cocaine for processing by Colombian drug merchants. The U.S. responded by installing a radar system, but as far removed from drug flights to Colombia as is possible on Colombian territory: on San Andrés Island in the Caribbean, 500 miles from mainland Colombia and remote from the drug routes, but only 200 miles off the coast of Nicaragua. The Colombian government accused the Pentagon of using the fight against drugs as a ruse to monitor Nicaragua, a charge confirmed by Senator John Kerry's foreign affairs aide. He added that Costa Rica had "requested radar assistance against small flights moving cocaine through the country and was given a proposal" by the Pentagon. Lacking technical experts, Costa Rican officials asked for an evaluation from the British Embassy, which informed them that the U.S. proposal had no relevance to the drug traffic but was designed to monitor the Sandinistas. In its study of the drug cartel, Kerry's Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations had reported that foreign policy concerns, including the war against Nicaragua, "interfered with the U.S.'s ability to fight the war on drugs," delaying, halting and hampering law enforcement efforts to keep narcotics out of the United States -- a polite way of saying that the Reagan administration was facilitating the drug racket in pursuit of its international terrorist project in Nicaragua and other imperatives, a standard feature of policy for decades. The current drug war adds another chapter to the sordid story.51

This too escapes the front pages and prime time TV. In general, the central features of the drug crisis received scant notice in the media campaign. It is doubtful that the core issues reach beyond a fraction of 1 percent of media coverage, which is tailored to other needs.

The counterinsurgency connection may also lie behind the training of Colombian narcotraffickers by Western military officers, which received some notice in August 1989 when, a few days after the Galán assassination, retired British and Israeli officers were found to be training Colombian cocaine traffickers, including teams of assassins for the drug cartel and their right-wing allies. A year earlier, a July 1988 Colombian intelligence report (Department of Security Administration, DAS) entitled "Organization of Hired Assassins and Drug Traffickers in the Magdalena Medio" noted that "At the training camps, the presence of Israeli, German and North American instructors has been detected." Trainees at the camp, who are supported by cattle ranchers and farmers involved in coca production and by the Medell¡n cartel, "apparently participated in peasant massacres" in a banana region, the report continues. After the discovery of British and Israeli trainers a year later, the Washington Post, citing another DAS document, reported that "the men taught in the training centers [where British and Israeli nationals were identified] are believed responsible for massacres in rural villages and assassination of left-leaning politicians." The same document states that one Israeli-run course was abbreviated when the Israeli instructers left "to Honduras and Costa Rica to give training to the Nicaraguan contras." The allegation that U.S. instructors were also present has not been pursued, or reported in the press to my knowledge.52

Go to the next segment.

45 Andean Newsletter, Andean Commission of Jurists, Lima, Sept. 1989.

46 New York Times, Sept. 16, 17, 18. Ursula Marquez, Guardian (New York), Oct. 11, 1989; Colombian Human Rights Committee, POB 3130, Washington DC 20010.

47 Joseph Treaster, NYT, Dec. 6, 1989.

48 Colombia Update 1.4, Dec. 1989.

49 See p. 116. House study, WP-BG, Aug. 21, 1990, p. 76. Apparently missed by the New York Times.

50 Dillin, "Nation's Liberties at Risk?", CSM, Feb. 2, 1990. See also Seth Mydans, "Powerful Arms of Drug War Arousing Concern for Rights," NYT, Oct. 16, 1989.

51 Michael Frisby, "Colombians rap US plan on radar base," BG, April 5, 1989, citing Richard McCall. For review of the Kerry Commission report, see Washington Spectator, Aug. 15, 1989; Jay Hatheway, Z magazine, October 1989.

52 NBC Nightly News, Aug. 25, 1989; DAS report, Bogotá, July 20, 1988, reproduced in Pax Christi, Impunity; Eugene Robinson, WP, Aug. 9, 1989. A comment by Tina Rosenberg, op. cit., may be a reference to the July 1988 DAS report on the alleged presence of U.S. instructors. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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