Thursday, March 20, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 9: The Mortal Sin of Self-Defense Segment 6/7
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3. From Illusion to Reality

Let us depart now from the world of ideological constructions and turn to the events that were unfolding. As noted, Nicaragua called for a meeting at U.N. headquarters to implement the August 1989 Tela accords of the Central American presidents, now restricted to Nicaragua in accordance with U.S. dictates. The participants were to be the Nicaraguan and Honduran governments, representatives of the contras, and the International Verification and Support Commission.

Honduras immediately rejected the invitation to participate, stating that it had no responsibility for the U.S.-run forces based in its territory and no intention of carrying out its commitment under the Tela accords to implement the demobilization of the contras by December. If the contras maintain armed camps in sectors of Honduras that they have taken over after having expelled local residents, and launch attacks into Nicaragua from their Honduran bases, that is not the affair of sovereign Honduras. The purpose of these maneuvers was to ensure that the U.N. meeting, rather than providing a mechanism to implement the peace process (which the White House and Congress had long been committed to disrupt), could be portrayed as a victory for U.S. force; that is, as a reluctant Sandinista recognition of the legitimacy of the contras in a face-to-face meeting of the sort that "we have called for for a long time" (White House Spokesman Marlin Fitzwater).27 By removing Honduras from the discussions, the U.S. could also protect its policy of sustaining the contras in violation of the Tela accords.

Washington's tactics were perfectly understandable and in accord with long-term strategic goals. Preference for force over diplomacy is traditional, reflecting comparative advantage. But by 1986, U.S. elite opinion was overwhelmingly opposed to reliance on the contras (80% of "leaders," according to polls). Rational observers understood that economic and ideological warfare provide more cost-effective means to strangle and destroy a weak impoverished country dependent on its relations with the United States, and do not have the negative side effect of arousing domestic and international opinion. At the same time, the elite consensus is that the U.S. terror states must be maintained, and their leadership -- defined as "democrats" -- protected from any challenge as they fulfill their function of serving privilege and wealth, while murdering and torturing anyone who gets in the way. The Reaganites, with their insistence on violence for its own sake, were increasingly isolated.

By 1988, it had become clear that contra forces could no longer be sustained as a major military force within Nicaragua. But it was also clear that a mercenary army in Honduras and a low level of regular terrorism would prevent demobilization in Nicaragua, guarantee further suffering among its people, and in general advance the primary goal of strangling the country and bringing its recalcitrant population to comprehend that survival requires submission to the will of the master of the hemisphere. In May 1988, a Defense Department official explained that "Those 2000 hard-core guys [maintained by the U.S. within Nicaragua] could keep some pressure on the Nicaraguan government, force them to use their economic resources for the military, and prevent them from solving their economic problems -- and that's a plus... Anything that puts pressure on the Sandinista regime, calls attention to the lack of democracy, and prevents the Sandinistas from solving their economic problems is a plus." Contra commander Israel Galeano, in an August 1989 interview, said that "we're sure we'll be able to make sure the Sandinistas can't live in peace." By then the contras were recognized to be solely a military force, all pretenses about their democratic credentials having been abandoned. An American official frankly remarks that "we knew all along that [the military] were in charge," exactly as in "the fledgling democracies"; the "political apparatus" was "grafted on" by the U.S. In reality, the primary purpose of the failed graft was to offer grist for the mill of the propagandists, now no longer necessary.28

These U.S. policies merely recapitulate the basic terms of the program that the Administration adopted in 1981, outlined by ex-CIA analyst David MacMichael in his World Court testimony: to use the proxy army (as its backers termed it in internal documents) to "provoke cross-border attacks by Nicaraguan forces and thus serve to demonstrate Nicaragua's aggressive nature," to pressure the government to "clamp down on civil liberties within Nicaragua itself, arresting its opposition, demonstrating its allegedly inherent totalitarian nature," and to undermine its shattered economy.29

As already discussed, the U.S. from the first moment dismissed with contempt the August 1987 (Esquipulas II) agreement of the Central American Presidents. The U.S. at once rapidly escalated the illegal supply flights to the contras that the accords expressly prohibited while the press cooperated by virtually suppressing these crucial facts, diverting attention from the client states and their massive violation of the accords, and feigning vast indignation over far lesser abuses in Nicaragua. By January 1988 the U.S. and its ideological system had completed the demolition of the unwanted accords. In March 1988, Nicaragua and the contras reached a temporary cease-fire, agreeing that further U.S. aid to the contras should be delivered only by "neutral organizations" and restricted to repatriation and resettlement. OAS Secretary General Soares was assigned the responsibility of monitoring compliance with the agreement. Congressional doves at once joined the White House in support of legislation to violate these conditions. Contra aid, Congress decreed, was to be administered by the State Department through USAID for the purpose of maintaining the contras as a military force in Honduras. Secretary General Soares wrote to Secretary of State George Shultz to protest this flagrant violation of the agreement, eliciting the usual silence. A year later, the story repeated. On February 14, 1989, the Central American presidents reiterated their agreement that U.S. aid to the contras should be restricted to "the voluntary demobilization, repatriation or relocation in Nicaragua and in third countries" of contras and their families. Congress proceeded at once to violate this request by providing direct aid to maintain the contras in Honduras, in a "historic agreement" with the White House that was hailed by the press as "consistent with the regional pact" that it flagrantly violated.30

The official media tale then and since is that the U.S. was faithfully complying with the agreements. When President Ortega wrote in the New York Times that U.S. aid was being sent to the contras in violation of the Central American agreements, few could understand what he meant.31 His remarks could therefore be dismissed as more thuggish Commie twaddle. To the rules of the game we must add yet another: truth is an utter irrelevance when it does not serve power.

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27 Mark Uhlig, NYT, Nov. 3; Adam Pertman, BG, Nov. 4, 1989. Honduras later agreed to observe the talks, though not to take part; BG, Nov. 7.

28 Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 1988. Galeano, AP, Oct. 28; Mark Uhlig, NYT, Nov. 5, 1989.

29 See Culture of Terrorism, 121.

30 For details, see Necessary Illusions, and chapter 2, above. On the subversion of the accords generally and the crucial media role in facilitating the process, and the earlier record of barring diplomatic settlement, see Culture of Terrorism, chapter 7; Necessary Illusions, particularly chapter 4, Appendix IV, sec. 5. This record is almost completely suppressed in the media and is destined to be eliminated from history, along with earlier similar successes in undermining diplomacy. For examples from Indochina, see Towards a New Cold War, chapters 3, 4; Manufacturing Consent, chapter 5, sec. 5.3.

31 Ortega, Op-Ed, NYT, Nov. 2, 1989. 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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