Friday, March 21, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 8: The Agenda of the Doves: 1988 Segment 9/11
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6. Foreign Agents

At home, the spectrum ranges from doves to hawks, though there are also some odd creatures who express skepticism about the very doctrines of the faith, those who McGeorge Bundy once called "wild men in the wings," succinctly capturing the common view.25 Abroad, there are moderates and extremists. The moderates are those who accept the basic norms, crucially, the need to maintain a favorable climate for business operations, investment, and resource extraction. They hold the middle ground, confronting the extremists on all sides. The extremists are a motley crew, including advocates of social reforms that challenge privilege, excessive nationalism, or other such disorders. Another category of extremists are the perpetrators of atrocities that we find embarrassing and therefore choose not to attribute to our moderate friends, who, in reality, are often directing them or fronting for them in the service of our cause. The moderates range from such figures as Mussolini, Suharto, Saddam Hussein, assorted Latin American and Caribbean mass murderers and dictators, and so on, to figureheads of the Duarte variety who are constructed to salve the liberal conscience while arms flow to the killers. Moderates become villains if they attack U.S. interests.

Let us turn now to the extreme doves among the Central American moderates. This quest carries us to Costa Rica, the one Western-style democracy. As noted earlier, the U.S. always regarded this experiment with some ambivalence, despite the commitment of the political leadership to safeguarding the needs of investors and serving U.S. interests generally. Its leading figure, José Figueres, was always most sensitive to the needs of business and particularly foreign investors, and supportive of U.S. policies (see chapter 12, p. 385-6). In the Kennedy period, he advocated secret funding from the CIA for projects of the "Democratic Left," and dismissed later revelations of CIA funding as "silly and adolescent" while praising the CIA for the "delicate political and cultural tasks" it was performing "thanks to the devotion of the liberals in the organization." He particularly valued the contributions of Jay Lovestone and other U.S. labor bureaucrats, who had worked effectively to undermine the labor movement in Latin America and elsewhere for many years. Figueres supported the Bay of Pigs invasion, anticipating "a quick victory by the democratic forces which have gone into Cuba" and later expressing his regrets for their "lamentable" defeat. He suggested that the Dominican Republic be used as a base for intervention in Cuba, though only after his enemy Trujillo was deposed. When the Johnson administration invaded the Dominican Republic to prevent the reestablishment of the constitutional government under the democratic capitalist reformer Juan Bosch, Figueres pleaded for understanding of Johnson's actions which, he held, were necessary to avoid his impeachment.26

As the U.S. geared up for its attack on popular organizations and social reform in Central America in the 1980s, Costa Rica continued to cooperate, though with insufficient enthusiasm by Reaganite standards. Figueres became a nonperson in the media -- apart from ritual invocation of his name in the course of denunciations of Nicaragua -- because of his completely unacceptable reactions to the Sandinista revolution, the U.S. attack against Nicaragua, and Reagan administration efforts to reverse Costa Rican exceptionalism. Other leading figures of Costa Rican democracy also remained beyond the pale, among them, former president Daniel Oduber, who had the poor taste to observe that the "thugs" who threaten "the lives of Central Americans and their families...are not the Leninist commissars but the armed sergeants trained in the United States." Ex-president Rodrigo Carazo, who had assisted the Sandinistas in overthrowing Somoza (a long-time enemy of Costa Rica), was described by Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Thomas Enders as "a thieving crook." The Monge government of the early 1980s was better-mannered, joining in the contra war and acceding to U.S. pressure to rebuff Sandinista efforts to create a demilitarized zone along the border. But it too had its faults. Thus the media could hardly be expected to report the observations of Monge's Vice-Foreign Affairs Minister Gerardo Trejos Salas on how the U.S. "strongly pressured" Costa Rica and its client states as "Washington tried by all means available to block the signing of the Contadora Peace Act."27

President Oscar Arias was at first profoundly disliked by the Reagan administration, but by 1988 he was tolerated, and in liberal circles, always regarded with great respect. His credentials as an authentic dove were made official by the Nobel Peace Prize he won for his initiatives leading to the Esquipulas accords of August 1987. His record is therefore instructive with regard to the agenda of the doves.

Internally in Costa Rica, Arias promoted a neoliberal economic model, participating in the dismantling of the social democratic institutions. He also presided over the Reagan-backed restoration of the police to a "camouflaged army" and the increase in human rights violations by the security forces,28 though these remained far below the level of his Central American colleagues. Arias supported the system of obligatory press licensing condemned by the Inter-American Human Rights Court, rejecting its ruling that state licensing limits freedom of expression and refusing to comply with it. Unlike Figueres, he did not -- at least in commentary in the United States -- condemn the media structure of Costa Rica, where, though the media are free from censorship or state terror, in practice "Costa Ricans often can obtain only one side of the story, since wealthy ultraconservatives control the major daily newspapers and broadcasting stations," the Council on Hemispheric Affairs and the Newspaper Guild observed. Figueres complained bitterly that "the oligarchy owns the newspapers and the radio stations, by which it has heavily influenced public opinion in Costa Rica" in support of U.S. policies for the country and the region.29 In these respects, Costa Rica was always in violation of the Esquipulas accords (often misleadingly called "the Arias plan"), which require free access of "all ideological groups" to the media.

Shortly after his inauguration in early 1986, Arias joined newly-elected president Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala in opposing overt U.S. violence against Nicaragua. These moves brought Costa Rica into line with general Latin American opinion and elite opinion in the United States, which, by then, was overwhelmingly critical of the contra effort as unsuccessful and too costly. Both presidents pressed for a political settlement, to the dismay of the Reaganites though with the general support of the political class and the business community in the United States.

Arias always accepted the basic norms, describing Washington's client states as "democracies" and condemning the Sandinistas for failing to observe the regional standards to which the terror states conform. At a meeting of Central American presidents in May 1986, he objected to Daniel Ortega's being included among the leaders "freely elected by the majority wills of their respective countries." By his standards, the U.S. clients were democratic leaders, elected under conditions of freedom and the rule of law. In taking this stand, Arias again lined up with hawk-dove doctrine in the United States, in opposition to a broad range of other opinion, including Amnesty International, Americas Watch, and all bona fide human rights organizations, none of which exhibit his tolerance for the death squad democracies and their practices; and with regard to Nicaragua, including Costa Rica's leading democratic figure, José Figueres, and virtually all of the large number of election observers from Western governments, human rights groups, the professional association of Latin American scholars, and others. Arias also repeatedly called upon the USSR and Cuba to halt arms shipments to Nicaragua, so that it would be left defenseless against U.S. terror, the U.S. having successfully pressured its allies to refrain from providing Nicaragua with means of self-defense. But he is not on record with objections to military support for Washington's terror states and the "thugs" who run them.30

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25 Bundy's reference was to those who questioned the basic assumptions of the "first team" that was directing U.S. policy in Vietnam; Foreign Affairs, January 1967. See Manufacturing Consent, 175f.

26 See Charles Ameringer, Don Pepe (U. of New Mexico, 1978); Necessary Illusions, 111f., and appendix V, sec. 1.

27 Oduber, cited in Kenneth M. Coleman and George C. Herring, eds., The Central American Crisis (Scholarly Resources Inc., 1985). Carazo, Monge, see Roy Gutman, Banana Diplomacy (Simon and Schuster, 1988), 67, 302n. The charge against Carazo, possibly accurate, was that he had profited from gun-running. Oduber's record may also be none too savory (see p. 118), but that has never been a problem here. Trejos Salas, see Culture of Terrorism, 135.

28 See chapter 7, pp. 223f.

29 COHA-Newspaper Guild, Survey of Press Freedom in Latin America, 1986. On Figueres's attitudes, see Necessary Illusions, and sources cited.

30 Gutman, Banana Diplomacy, 327ff., 359. 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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