Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Muammar Gaddafi

Cash rolls?
PATRICK COCKBURN. Tuesday 15 January 2013

As long as the cash rolls in, the West appears untroubled by Gulf monarchies’ ideology

Note: Remember this article was published in 2013. The world parties engaged in the war in Syria all knew the financial resources of the funding for terrors. The Western nations just delivered the purchased weapons and training and logistical support.

The West has portrayed Gulf leaders as natural allies in promoting democratic revolutions.

France is expecting the “Arab” monarchies of the Gulf to help the campaign against jihadi Islamist rebels in Mali, its Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (a Zionist) said today.

On a visit to the UAE, Mr Fabius outlined different ways of helping; through materials, or through financing – an ironic request given that private donors from these countries are believed to be the main supporters of  al-Qa’ida in Iraq and Syria.

The US and Western states have long looked to the Gulf monarchies to fund their actions in the Muslim world and beyond. Sometimes the funding has been direct, such as the financial and material aid Qatar gave the Libyan rebels in 2011.

At others, it has been indirect subsidies to groups, such as the Afghan mujahideen who were fighting the Soviets, with whom the West did not want to be quite so publicly associated.

Mr Fabius said that donors would meet towards the end of January in Addis Ababa, to finance an African push against al-Qa’ida. He said: “Everybody has to commit to fighting against terrorism. We are pretty confident that the Emirates will go in that direction as well.”

Relations between the US and its West European allies on the one side and the absolute monarchies of the Gulf on the other have been highly contradictory since the “Arab” Spring began two years ago. The West has portrayed the kings and emirs of the Gulf, ruling some of the most undemocratic states in the world, as natural allies in promoting and financing democratic revolutions in Libya and Syria.

A further contradiction is that Saudi Kingdom and the Sunni rulers have encouraged the salafis across the Muslim world – fundamentalist militants advocating a literal interpretation of the Koran – through paying for schools and mosques. While most of the salafi are non-violent, their ideology is similar to that of al-Qa’ida. (From where did Cockburn get this statement?)

Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya was an important donor and investor in sub-Saharan Africa and it is unlikely that the Gulf Arabs will be prepared to spend as much money.

Even Syrian rebels say the funds they receive come episodically and are inadequate, leading to widespread looting by rebel commanders.

While France is justifying its intervention in Mali by claiming it is all part of the “war on terror” its action may stir up further turmoil in the region. Interestingly, one rebel group in the north, the separatist MNLA that wants a homeland for Tuareg in northern Mali, is reported to have backed the French intervention

Note: As the Syrian army has practically re-conquered most of Syria and reached the Golan Heights and all the southern border with Jordan, Qatar, The Emirates and even Saudi Kingdom are conducting secret negotiations to re-open their embassies in Damascus.

Could Anti-black racism be related to Arab slave trade?

Confronting anti-black racism in the Arab world

The Arab slave trade is a fact of history, and anti-black racism in the region is something that must be addressed.

Susan Abulhawa posted on Aljazeea this July 7,2013

In response to an essay I wrote recently regarding the “essential blackness” of the Palestinian struggle, I received this reaction, among others: “What about Arab anti-black racism? Or the Arab slave trade?”

The Arab slave trade is a fact of history and anti-black racism is a fact of current reality, a shameful thing that must be confronted in Arab societies. Though I claim no expertise on the subject, I think that applying notions of racism as it exists in the US will preclude a real understanding of the subject in the Arab world.

I spent much of my youth in the Arab world and I do not recall having a race consciousness until I came to the United States at the age of 13.

My knowledge of Arab anti-black racism comes predominantly from Arab Americans. Like other immigrant communities, they adopt the prevailing racist sentiments of the power structure in the US, which decidedly holds African-Americans in contempt.

Migrant workers from African countries often face abusive conditions in the Middle East [AP]

This attitude is also becoming more prevalent in Arab countries for various reasons, but mostly because Arab governments, particularly those that import foreign labour from Africa and Southeast Asia, have failed to implement or enforce anti-discrimination and anti-exploitation laws.

(It is mainly a colonial expression to discriminate among the indigenous people and the colonial people, whether the colonizer is western, Islamic or Chinese. My folks worked and traded in Africa during French colonialism and they brought back the expression “3abeed” (slaves) to mean Blacks)

In many Arab nations, including Kuwait where I was born, workers are lured into menial jobs where their passports are confiscated upon arrival and they are forced into humiliating and often inhuman working conditions. They have little to no protection under the law and are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, including extraordinarily long working hours, withholding of salaries, sexual, mental, and physical abuse, and denial of travel.

The recent case of Alem Dechesa brought to light the horrors faced by migrant workers in Lebanon.

Dechesa, a domestic worker from Ethiopia, committed suicide after suffering terrible mental and physical abuse at the hands of her Lebanese employers, whose savage beating of her in front of the Ethiopian Consulate went viral last year.

Defining beauty

An extension to Arab anti-black racism is an aspiration to all that our former – and current – colonisers possess. Individuals aspire to what is powerful and rich, and the images of that power and wealth have light skin, straight hair, small noses, ruddy cheeks and tall, skinny bodies.

That image rejects melanin-rich skin, coiled hair, broad or pointy noses, short stature, broad hips and big legs. So we, too, reject these features, despising them in others and in ourselves as symbols of inferiority, laziness, and poverty. That’s why the anglicising industries of skin bleaching and hair straightening are so profitable.

And yet, when Palestine went to the UN for recognition of statehood, the vast majority of nations who voted yes were southern nations. The same is true when Palestine asked for admission to UNESCO. In fact, when the US cut off funding to UNESCO in response to its members’ democratic vote to admit Palestine, it was the African nation of Gabon that immediately stepped up with a $2m donation to UNESCO to help offset the loss of income.

It was not Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait, or Qatar, or Lebanon, or Sweden, or France. It was Gabon. How many Palestinians know that, much less expressed gratitude for it?

So concerned are Palestinians with what the European Union and the United States think of us.

So engrossed are we in grovelling for their favour and handouts as they support a system of Jewish supremacy pushing our ancient society into extinction. We dance like clowns any time a European leader spares us a thought. Have we no sense of history? No sense of pride? No comprehension of who is truly standing with us and who is sabotaging us?

In a world order that peddles notions of entire continents or regions as irreducible monoliths, the conversation among Arabs becomes a dichotomous “Arab” versus “African”, ignoring millennia of shared histories ranging from extensive trade and commerce, to the horrors of the Arab slave trade, to the solidarity of African-Arab anti-colonial unity, to the current state of ignorance that does not know history and cannot connect the dots when it comes to national liberation struggles.

Arab slave trade

When I was researching the subject of the Arab slave trade, I came upon a veritable treasure of a website established by The African Holocaust Society, or Mafaa [Swahili for “holocaust”], a non-profit organisation of scholars, artists, filmmakers, academics, and activists dedicated to reclaiming the narratives of African histories, cultures, and identities. Included in this great body of scholarly works is a comprehensive section on the Arab slave trade, as well as the Jewish slave trade, African-Arab relations over the centuries, and more, by Owen Alik Shahadah, an activist, scholar and filmmaker.

Reading this part of our shared history, we can see how a large proportion of Arabs, including those among us who harbour anti-black racism, are the sons and daughters of African women, who were kidnapped from Eastern African nations as sex slaves.

Unlike the European slave trade, the Arab slave trade was not an important feature of Arab economies and it predominantly targeted women, who became members of harems and whose children were full heirs to their father’s names, legacies and fortunes, without regard to their physical features.

The enslaved were not bought and sold as chattel the way we understand the slave trade here, but were captured in warfare, or kidnapped outright and hauled across the Sahara.

Race was not a defining line and enslaved peoples were not locked into a single fate, but had opportunity for upward mobility though various means, including bearing children or conversion to Islam.

No-one knows the true numbers of how many African women were enslaved by Arabs, but one need only look at ourselves to see the shadows of these African mothers who gave birth to us and lost their African identities.

But while African scholars at the Mafaa Society make important distinctions between the Arab and European slave trades, enslavement of human beings is a horror of incomprehensible proportions by any standard, and that’s what it was in the Arab world as it was – or is – anywhere.

There are some who argue that the Arab slave traders were themselves indistinguishable from those whom they enslaved because the word “Arab” had cultural relevance, not racial.

One-way street

This argument goes hand-in-hand with the discredited excuse that Africans themselves were involved in the slave trade, with warring tribes capturing and selling each other. But no matter how you look at it, the slave trade was a one-way street, with Africans always the enslaved victims.

I know of no African tribe that kidnapped Europeans and put them in bondage for generations; nor do I know of an African tribe that captured Arab women for centuries and made them sex slaves.

I think humanity has truly never known a holocaust of greater magnitude, savagery, or longevity than that perpetrated against the peoples of Africa. This Mafaa has never been fully acknowledged and certainly never atoned for – not that the wounds or enduring legacies of turning human beings into chattel for centuries can ever be fully comprehended or atoned for. But one must try, because just as we inherit privilege from our ancestors, so do we inherit their sins and the responsibility for those sins.

Gaddafi’s role

The late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi understood this and he used his power and wealth to try to redeem our shared history. He was the first Arab leader to apologize on behalf of Arab peoples to our African brothers and sisters for the Arab slave trade and the Arab role in the European slave trade.

He funnelled money into the African Union and used Libya’s wealth to empower the African continent and promote pan-Africanism. He was a force of reconciliation, socialism, and empowerment for both African and Arab peoples. Gaddafi’s actions threatened to renew African-Arab reconciliation and alliances similar to that which occurred at the height of the Non-Aligned Movement during the presidencies of Jamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.

Thus, NATO’s urgency to prevent “massacres” and “slaughter” in Libya was manufactured and sold wholesale. The fear of African-Arab solidarity can be seen in the way the US-backed Libyan insurgency spread rumours that “black African” mercenaries were committing atrocities against Libyans. Gaddafi became an even bigger threat when an agreement was reached with the great anti-imperialist force in South America, Hugo Chavez, to mediate a solution to the uprising in Libya.

Now both of these champions of their people are gone, and the so-called Libyan revolutionaries are executing “black Africans” throughout the country. Gone, too, is NATO’s worry about slaughter in Libya, and another high-functioning Arab nation lies in ruin, waste and civil strife – primed for rampant corporate looting.

I wrote previously that the Palestinian struggle against the erasure of our existence, history and identity was spiritually and politically black in nature. So, too, are other struggles, like that of migrant workers throughout many Arab nations. These are our comrades. They are the wretched, exploited, robbed, and/or, at last, liberated.

I refer to Black as a political term, not necessarily a racial or ethnic descriptor. In the words of Owen Alik Shehadah: “Black People is a construction which articulates a recent social-political reality of people of colour (pigmented people). Black is not a racial family, an ethnic group or a super-ethnic group.

Political Blackness is thus not an identity but a social-political consequence of a world which after colonialism and slavery existed in those colour terms.

The word “Black” has no historical or cultural association, it was a name born when Africans were broken down into transferable labour units and transported as chattel to the Americas.”

But that word has been reclaimed, redefined, and injected with all the power, love, defiance, and beauty that is Africa. For the rest of us, and without appropriating the word, “black” is a phenomenon of resistance, steadfastness – what we Palestinians call sumud – and the beauty of culture that is reborn out of bondage and oppression.

Right to look the other way

Finally, solidarity from Africans is not equivalent to that which comes from our European comrades, whose governments are responsible for the ongoing erasure of Palestine.

African peoples have every reason to look the other way. Ethiopians have every reason to say: “You deserve what you get for the centuries of enslavement and neo-enslavement industry by your Arab neighbours.” African Americans have every reason to say: “Why should I show solidarity with Arabs who come here to treat us like white people do, and sometimes worse?”

Malcolm X once said: “If I was that [anti-American], I’d have a right to be that – after what America has done to us. This government should feel lucky that our people aren’t anti-American.”

We can substitute the word “Arab” for “American” in that sentence and it would be a valid statement. And yet, Africa is right there with us. African American intellectuals are the greatest champions of our struggle in the United States. The impact of solidarity from four particular individuals – Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis and Cynthia McKinney – can never be overestimated.

Last month, the former South African ambassador to Israel refused a “certificate” from Israel confirming the planting of trees in his name. In his letter, he called Israel a racist, apartheid state and said the gift was an “offence to my dignity and integrity”. He added: “I was not a party to, and never will be, to the planting of ’18 trees’, in my ‘honour’, on expropriated and stolen land.”

I would like my countrymen to think long and hard about this until they truly comprehend the humbling beauty of this solidarity from people who have every reason to be anti-Arab. I wish my countrymen could look through my eyes. They would see that black is profoundly beautiful.

They would see that Africa runs through our veins, too. Our enslaved African foremothers deserve to be honoured and loved by their Arab children. And it is for us to redeem their pain with the recognition and atonement long owed.

Arriving at this understanding is a good starting place for reciprocal solidarity with nations and peoples who are standing with us, in heart and in action.

Susan Abulhawa is a Palestinian writer and the author of the international bestselling novel, Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury 2010). She is also the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine, an NGO for children.

Follow her on Twitter: @sjabulhawa

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Rape victims during Gadhafi to be compensated? And rapes after this chaotic “Revolution”

Rape is a taboo subject in most countries, particularly in conservative North African States such as Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco…

Women raped during Libya’s 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler (40 years) Muammar Gaddafi should be recognized as war victims, Libya cabinet has said.

The same treatment as the wounded ex-fighters, the raped women would be entitled to compensation.

Why for only those during the uprising?

Rape was also and consistently used as a weapon during the reign of Gadhafi.

And what of the raped victims after the demise of Mu3ammar?

And why the selected “to be compensated” 60 raped victims will be equally distributed from the main 3 regions in Libya?

The BBC posted this February 20, 2014

Libya Gaddafi rape victims to be compensated

Libyan women with taped mouths take part in a silent march in support of the women who were raped during the conflict in Libya, in Tripoli -26 November 2011
Rape is a taboo subject in the the conservative North African country

Its decree, which needs congressional approval, would put the women on the same level as wounded ex-fighters and entitle them to compensation.

Pro-Gaddafi forces are alleged to have used rape as a weapon.

As Libya marks three years since the uprising began, voters are electing a body to write a new constitution.

“Start Quote

Unidentified woman at the Libyan-Tunisian border

Some victims can’t go to school… they are suffering in silence and reconciliation efforts are suffering”

Libyan Justice Minister Salah al-Marghani told the BBC that the decree offers 12 measures, including financial assistance and physical and psychological health care.

Money would also be available for things “like sending the parents of victims to Hajj – this is to elevate the status of victims, so they are not looked at as a burden”, he said.

The justice ministry says it will not wait for the national congress to pass the decree in order to avoid further delays.

It will be made up of 60 people – 20 from each of Libya’s three regions.

No burden‘ to the family or the community?

During the revolution, the International Criminal Court said it had collected evidence that Col. Gaddafi had ordered the rape of women as a weapon against rebel forces.

The BBC’s Rana Jawad in the capital, Tripoli, says recognizing rape victims is an unprecedented move in the conservative North African state, where it is a taboo subject.

Our reporter says it is not clear how many will come forward, but it is believed hundreds of women were raped.

Voters spoke to the BBC’s Rana Jawad at a polling station in Tripoli

Officials hope it will allow the country’s national reconciliation efforts to move forward as it is seen as a significant step towards transitional justice, our correspondent says.

“Some victims can’t go to school… they are suffering in silence and reconciliation efforts are suffering from all these outstanding issues,” Mr Marghani told the BBC.

Libya has been facing increasing challenges across the country, with worsening security conditions and political divisions that have stalled progress since the conflict ended, our reporter says.

According to the AFP news agency, only 1.1 million of 3.4 million eligible voters have registered for Thursday’s vote, compared to 2.7 million for the election of the interim parliament 19 months ago.

People look for their names at a polling station in Benghazi, Libya - 20 February 2014
Many Libyans have not bothered to register to vote

Is Libya starting to face up to Gaddafi regime’s sex crimes?

The young woman introduced as “The Revolutionary” was breaking a taboo in Libya: She is speaking out about how she and other women had been raped by Muammar Gaddafi’s men in the early months of the country’s uprising.

Of all the crimes committed during Muammar Gaddafi’s rule and the revolution, rape is perhaps the most difficult to address because so few are willing to testify about it

On Time Lives this July 3, 2013, Bahiya Kanoun, former deputy minister of social affairs, recalls:

Bahiya Kanoun is pictured in her office in Tripoli May 13, 2013. Image by: ISMAIL ZITOUNY / REUTERS
“They arrested me publicly at Nasser University,” she said, recalling how guards in Tripoli came for her and two other young women who expressed support for the revolution that led to Gaddafi’s overthrow.

“They told me, ‘We are only going to take you away for questioning, and then we will bring you back’.”

Instead, a local official told the men: “Take these girls to Mu3tassim and enjoy them tonight.” Mutassim was one of Gaddafi’s sons and a military commander in the capital; he was later captured and killed.

The two unmarried women were taken away and never seen again. The Revolutionary, who was married and pregnant, was taken to a prison near Tripoli, where she was stripped and raped. She miscarried in prison.

The three victims’ crime had been to criticise Gaddafi in a video clip broadcast on an international television channel.

Many people, male and female, were raped as punishment for opposing Gaddafi’s government, but The Revolutionary is one of the few who agreed to talk about her suffering.

In Libya, rape victims are often ostracised, and discussion of the crime remains taboo.

There are small signs of change, with the government promising action to help victims, but the issue remains so sensitive that aid groups sometimes hide their efforts to help victims to avoid causing an outcry.

The Revolutionary, a woman in her 20s, spoke on condition of anonymity from behind a black veil, only her eyes showing. With the pain of recollection, her voice gradually rose to a shrill pitch.

“Our captors wanted to insult us and to take away our dignity,” she said. “The youngest girl there was 14; the oldest was my mother’s age. The women were stripped and subjected to all kinds of torture.”

The torture included electrocution, she told a conference session attended by Reuters. She gave her account at a hotel in Tripoli as part of an event earlier this year organised by the Libya Initiative, a project that brings together various rights groups to promote healing and a just society in post-war Libya.

“Imagine how many women put up with this. It should be recognised,” she said. “But the country is not paying attention to any of these criminals. Maybe they are outside now, standing guard at checkpoints.”

Campaigners say it is important to acknowledge the crimes committed during Gaddafi’s 42-year rule and the revolution that led to his downfall in 2011. They say the painful process is “necessary for stability and the construction of a society based on truth, justice and democracy”.

Souad Wheidi, an activist creating an archive of the sex crimes committed during the revolution, stood next to The Revolutionary as she addressed the conference, comforting her when the girl broke down as she reached the end of her story.

The activist has campaigned for government action and such efforts appear to be having an effect.

Shortly after the Tripoli meeting, the Libyan prime minister proposed a new law to recognise rape and the need for resources to be allocated to victims as a matter of urgency.

“At last, it is a major victory,” said Wheidi, who is confident the law will be passed. “It will bring huge psychological relief after years of stupid injustice against the many people, both male and female, who have been touched by this reality.”

FACING UP TO RAPE

The victims of rape during Libya’s uprising may number in the hundreds, according to the International Criminal Court, which has collected evidence that forces loyal to Gaddafi used rape as a weapon to spread fear among the opposition.

Of all the crimes committed during Gaddafi’s rule and the revolution, rape is perhaps the most difficult to address because so few are willing to testify about it.

There are good reasons for this: victims who speak out risk being shunned or even killed by their families.

Human Rights Watch notes that even after the war, a number of centers in Libya continue to provide havens for women “for no other reason than that they had been raped, and were then ostracised for ‘staining their family’s honour'”.

Victims are also reluctant to come forward because bringing a charge of rape to a Libyan court may be seen as an admission of having had unlawful sex. A rape claim can even result in the victim being prosecuted.

The prevailing, dismissive attitude to rape is reflected by a government ministry set up to support victims of the civil war. The ministry has never offered any help to rape victims. The ministry said such aid was beyond its remit, which is to search for missing people and support families of those killed in the war.

The head of Libya’s human rights commission, congress member Amina Al-Mghirbi, said a draft of a new law to help rape victims was “almost ready”. She added: “It will be approved as soon as possible and contain compensation for treatment as well as settlements.”

In the absence of government support, a number of local groups have pursued their own initiatives. One project is led by Bahiya Kanoun, who escaped from Libya during the revolution after she was branded an enemy of Gaddafi for feeding information from the wives of military men to rebels in the east of the country.

Kanoun began working in refugee camps set up in Tunisia, where thousands of other Libyans fled during the fighting. Kanoun’s training in psychology and her Libyan origin put her in the rare position of being able to help rape victims. Clinics at the camps started calling her in regularly.

One of the privileges Libya can afford – thanks to pumping 1.6 million barrels of oil a day – is to send thousands of students to university abroad on higher education scholarships or business courses. Kanoun wants the government to place rape victims in these existing sponsorship programmes – without revealing what happened to them to anyone, including their families.

Part of the reason Kanoun, who comes from a prominent Libyan family, hopes to succeed is her credibility with the government. She briefly served as a deputy minister of social affairs before deciding she preferred to work independently.

To promote her ideas, Kanoun met Libya’s Minister of Higher Education with a colleague, Maria Nicoletta Giada, who is president of Ara Pacis Initiative, an organisation dedicated to conflict prevention and resolution that is backed by the Italian foreign ministry. Both women said the minister’s response was encouraging.

But Giada cautioned that the road from promises to implementation on a significant scale would be long. “We will have to see if his words translate into actions,” she said.

OVERCOMING TRADITION

In Tripoli, it is still difficult to offer social services to women, much less advertise them. Another group, Phoenix Libya, is experimenting with ways to protect women from violence under the guise of other forms of assistance.

It advertises economic support, like classes in English or marketing, and activities for children. But its underlying aim is to give help to women who either have been, or are, subject to abuse of one form or another – without agitating their husbands or fathers, who may even be the perpetrators.

“It’s difficult to build trust. There’s no culture of speaking out,” said Ibtihat Nayed, one of the founders. “We don’t advertise psychological or social support. We are trying to be discreet about that.”

Women’s rights groups say the attitudes of ordinary men are a greater obstacle to helping women than government inertia in a country where many women have to answer to male relatives.

Amnesty International, along with other international organisations involved in Libya during the eight-month civil war that ended Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, said it had not documented a single case of rape because victims would not speak out.

“We think (multiple rapes) might have happened but do not have any evidence,” said Amnesty International. “Everyone said, this happened, but not in our town. It was in the town next door.”

“Brief history of U.S. imperialism…”: Still believe the government is telling the truth…

imperialismthe policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation, especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly: the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence.

Sydney Schanberg wrote: “We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that, this time around, the government is telling us the truth.” 

 posted on Oct.11, 2012:

“For some, the Iraq invasion in 2003 seems unprecedented, as if nothing of the sort had ever happened before.

Nearly a decade later, it happened again with Libya in 2011. In both cases, Americans were told there was an imminent threat, and military action must be taken to stop it. In both cases, the ‘threat’ was nothing more than fabrication (Iraq) and exaggeration (Libya).

These events are often analyzed separately, associated with the individual administrations in charge at the time. One might see the Iraq War as belonging to the “Bush Administration”, and the Libya War as belonging to the “Obama Administration”.

If you examines all of the U.S. interventions, it becomes clear that the problem is not one of certain administrations or individuals, but a manipulative system, which has dominated American foreign policy for decades.

 

4,000 U.S. troops occupy Corpus Christi, Texas; 1846 1846, Mexico: U.S. President Polk leads a national sentiment of manifest destiny“, designed to expand federal rule from the east to west coast, including territory already occupied by natives. Polk offers to buy land from Mexico, but Mexico refuses.

Texas, owned by Mexico, seeks U.S. residents to “settle” there and “help grow the population”. However, these “settlers” eventually grow dissatisfied with Mexican rule and form a rebellion, thus beginning the Mexican-American War.

As a result, the U.S. gains control of Colorado, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico.

1853, Japan: Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy sails into Tokyo Harbor aboard the frigate “Susquehanna”, forcing Japan to sign a treaty permitting trade, and the opening of Japanese ports to U.S. merchant ships.

1893, Hawaii: Hawaii has a large population of American sugar cane planters, whalers, and missionaries. In 1887, a U.S. base at Pearl Harbor is constructed. When King David Kalakaua dies in 1891, his sister Lydia Paki Kamekeha Liliuokalani takes the throne and tries to restore Hawaii’s monarchy to absolute power.

However, Hawaii Supreme Court justice Sanford Dole stages a bloodless coup backed by the U.S. military on January 19, 1893 and dethrones the Queen, forcing her to plead with U.S. President Grover Cleveland for reinstatement.

By 1895, the Queen abdicates the throne. President William McKinley’s administration annexed Hawaii, giving the U.S. control over coaling stations in the Pacific. 

1898, Cuba: The U.S. blames Spain for destroying the USS Maine, despite evidence that the explosion which caused the sinking came from an internal – not external – source. As a result of the war, Cuba assumes independence, Puerto Rico becomes an American possession.  The U.S. acquires from Spain, Guam and the Philippines. 

1899, Philippines: Through the Treaty of Paris (1898), Spain gives control of the Philippines to the United States for $20 million. The Filipino-American War begins shortly after.

Known in U.S. history books as the “Philippine Insurrection“, it was America’s first true overseas war, lasting from 1898 to 1902.

In those 3 years, as many as 70,000 Americans die, along with close to 2 million Filipinos.

(The US wanted to plant rubber trees in order to circumvent the monopoly of the British Empire that was hiking prices of rubber in order to repay its loans…) 

1899, Somoa: Rivalries between French, British, German, and American forces, all valuing Pago Pago Harbor as a refueling station for coal-fired shipping and whaling, leads to the partitioning of Samoa.
The last chief of Somoa before U.S. rule, the Tui Manu’a Elisala, is forced to sign a deed of cession following a series of U.S. naval trials. 
1903, Panama: Seeking a canal through Panama — a province of Colombia — the U.S. attempts negotiations and payments, all of which fail. President Roosevelt is outraged, stating that “we may have to give a lesson to these jack rabbits“.

Stockholders of the New Panama Canal Company arrange a “revolution” in Panama and fund the rebels, assisted by the U.S. Navy. Shortly after, Panama declares its independence from Colombia. 

1906, Cuba: The United States assumes temporary military control of Cuba under the Platt Amendment, following the reelection of an American puppet government which caused a nationalist uprising.

Two years later, the U.S. builds a naval base at Guantanamo Bay and claims rights to it in perpetuity. 

1910, Nicaragua: The U.S. seeks to establish a canal through Nicaragua, but instead chooses Panama. When Nicaraguan President José Santos Zelaya solicits funds to build a second inter-oceanic canal for Germany and Japan, Washington turns against him.

After Zelaya’s government executes two Americans for aiding anti-government rebels, Washington breaks diplomatic relations, threatens naval intervention, and forces Zelaya into exile. 

1914, Mexico: Mexican officials detain several drunken U.S. Marines from the U.S.S. Dolphin, which is docked in the port of Tampico, Mexico, after they accidentally enter a restricted area. The Mexican government quickly releases them, and issues an apology.

Regardless of the regret expressed by Mexican President Victor Huerta, U.S. Admiral Henry T. Mayo demands that Mexican troops salute an American flag as a sign of contrition. President Huerta refuses the salute; three days later, President Wilson orders American warships to Tampico Bay.

Wilson insists that his anger is not directed at the Mexican people, but at Huerta, “and those who adhere to him” because he refused to salute the American flag as an official apology.

By the end of 1914, U.S. Marines had seized Tampico, forced an apology from Huerta, and demanded his resignation from power.

Tampico, Mexico was considered the world’s largest oil port in 1901. Some of the richest oil fields were discovered within a 100-mile radius of the port between 1914-1918.

1914, Europe: United States claims to be neutral as Germany, France, and Britain engage in conflict. U.S. banks and weapons manufacturers continue selling to France and Britain, leading to the German sinking of the ship, Lusitania, and eventual U.S. entry to World War 1.

1917, Russia: Woodrow Wilson funds the “White” side of the Russian civil war. In the summer of 1918, he authorizes a naval blockade of the Soviet Union to help stop the Russian Revolution. American forces penetrate westward from Vladivostok to Lake Baikal, supporting Czech and White Russian forces.

The White Russian forces disintegrate by 1920, and this intervention helps fuel anti-western sentiments throughout Russia during the Cold War years. 

1924, Honduras: Civil war breaks out after liberal president Rafael Lopez Gutierrez establishes a dictatorship. The U.S. lands Marines in the country to “protect its interests”. Gutierrez is killed in March, and the revolution ends in May.

1925, Mexico: The U.S. and Mexico narrowly avoid war after Mexico threatens U.S. oil contracts.

1945, Japan: The United States becomes the first country to use atomic weapons in warfarekilling thousands of Japanese civilians in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

United States Strategic Bombing Survey of 1946 had concluded:

“air supremacy over Japan could have exerted sufficient pressure to bring about unconditional surrender and obviate the need for invasion. Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey’s opinion that … Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.” 

 (The bomb was dropped to pressure Japan to a quicker surrender because Russia army had already entered Korea and was about to occupied all of Korea from the Japanese forces…)

1950, Korea: Without the approval of Congress, President Harry Truman sends troops to fight in Korea, asserting an inherent right to do so as Commander-in-Chief.

The Korean War ends three years later, leaving behind 33,600 American casualties, 16,000 UN-allied, 415,000 South Korean, 520,000 North Korean, and an estimated 900,000 Chinese.

1953, Iran: British intelligence agencies join with the C.I.A. to overthrow the Iranian government out of fears it will nationalize oil production. (Oil production was nationalized and the Shah had fled to exile)
1954, Guatemala: Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán, the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, issues land reforms which threaten the interests of U.S.-based United Fruit Company. C.I.A. Director Allen Dules, along with his brother, both have stakes in the company. United Fruit Company heavily lobbies the U.S. government to take action.
The C.I.A. begins training rebels, and sets up a radio station across the border, led by fake rebels, to instigate a revolution. Eventually, the Guatemalan President is sent into exile. 

1961, Cuba: US mercenaries depart Nicaragua and invade Playa Girón, Cuba. They suffer a historical defeat known as the “Bay of Pigs.”

 
1961, Iraq: Abdel Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq, threatens western oil interests, causing the U.S. and Britain to begin arming Kurdish rebels in the country.

In 1963, Kassem is forced out of power, put on trial, and eventually shot to death. By 1968, Saddam Hussein takes power in the country, backed by the C.I.A.

1964, Vietnam: The USS Maddox is gathering intelligence off the coast of North Vietnam when a group of North Vietnamese torpedo boats approach the ship. The Maddox opens fire, the North Vietnamese respond with torpedoes, but they are eventually driven away. The exchange prompts the US government and news media to report that North Vietnamese torpedo boats launched an “unprovoked attack” against the Maddox while it was on a “routine patrol“.

Two days later, Captain John J. Herrick of the USS Maddox sees two “mysterious dots” on his radar screen, determines they are torpedo boats, and sends an emergency cable to headquarters in Honolulu reporting that the ship is under attack.

Shortly after, Herrick sends another cable: “Freak weather effects on radar and over eager sonar men … No actual visual sightings by Maddox. Suggest complete evaluation before any further action taken.”

Less than an hour later, Herrick sends a third cable, saying he is now uncertain of what had happened; however, by this time, President Johnson is already announcing a major military escalation in Vietnam.

By the end of the Vietnam War, millions of Vietnamese civilians have perished, along with more than 50,000 U.S. soldiers.

1970, Cambodia: President Richard Nixon announces that U.S. troops are invading Cambodia, the country west of Vietnam through which the North Vietnamese are allegedly supplying their troops. For more than a year prior to the announcement, the U.S. had been conducting bombing raids in the country. 

1982, Iraq: U.S. backs Iraq against Iran, supplying Saddam Hussein with intelligence, diplomatic aid, and chemical weapons (which would later be used to massacre innocent people).

1985, Nicaragua: . Congress authorizes $38 million over two years in “non-military” aid to Nicaragua’s Contras. 

1986, Libya: Islamic militants bomb a Berlin discotheque, killing two American soldiers. The White House uses this opportunity to retaliate, and President Reagan authorizes the bombing of Libya without the authorization of Congress. At least 100 civilians are killed.

One year prior, the National Security Council had discussed a plan to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi using exiles in a coup, although the idea was eventually abandoned. 

1990, Iraq: In August, U.S. fighter jets, aircraft carriers, battleships, and half a million American troops are deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend against a possible attack from Iraq. Between its own oil fields, and those of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, western governments allegedly fear Iraq could gain control over the majority of the world’s oil reserves.

Dick Cheney secures the U.S.-Saudi occupation agreement, ensuring there will be no set withdrawal date from Saudi Arabia, thereby allowing U.S. forces to remain. 

Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein eventually annexes Kuwait, triggering the first Iraq War.Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire province of Basra, and included much of modern-day Iraq. Up until that point, Iraq had not recognized Kuwait’s sovereignty, and the border between Iraq and Kuwait had never been clearly defined.The US ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, claims that when she gave Iraq indications that the US would not oppose an invasion of Kuwait, she did not expect Iraq to take “all of Kuwait“.

1999, Yugoslavia: U.S.-NATO bombs drop over the country allegedly to prevent a “massacre”, though this claim is challenged. More than 2,000 civilians are killed.

A street in Belgrade destroyed by NATO bombs

There are indications that basic infrastructure is deliberately targeted during this campaign. For example, a statement by Lt. Gen. Michael Short, US Air Force, quoted in the Washington Post, May 1999, reads:

“If you wake up in the morning and you have no power to your house and no gas to your stove and the bridge you take to work is down and will be lying in the Danube for the next 20 years, I think you begin to ask, ‘Hey, Slobo, what’s this all about? How much more of this do we have to withstand?’ And at some point, you make the transition from applauding Serb machismo against the world to thinking what your country is going to look like if this continues.”

2001, Afghanistan: Over the summer, negotiations between western oil companies and the Afghan Taliban to build a pipeline across the country fall through. Niaz Naikm (former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan) reveals that senior American officials told him during this time that military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan is planned to occur “before the snows [starts] falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest“.  After 9/11, this objective is realized.

2003, Iraq: Following western propaganda about Iraq’s alleged “weapons of mass destruction” program, President George W. Bush launches an invasion of the country. This comes after 10 years of western-backed “no-fly zones“, and crippling economic sanctions.

By 2011, most US forces leave the country; however, a noteworthy presence remains, including a $700 million dollar embassy in Baghdad, Iraq — the largest U.S. embassy in the world, and a 46-aircraft air service for over 15,000 diplomats working for the State Department. 

2009, Yemen: U.S. aidmissiles — and eventually, aerial Predator drones — are deployed to the country to fight “al-Qaeda” affiliates. From a strategic perspective, Yemen is important because it allows access to a vital world-wide oil shipping chokepoint.

2010, Pakistan: U.S. Predator drones begin attacking targets along the Afghan-Pakistan border, killing dozens of civilians in the process.

2010, South Korea: On the evening of March 26, 2010, the Cheonan, a South Korean ship, is conducting a routine naval patrol when an explosion unexpectedly tears into it, splitting the vessel in half and killing 46 sailors. Shortly after, western powers blame North Korea for the attack, though North Korea denies responsibility.

The attack gives the United States an opportunity to prolong its control over South Korean forces until 2015, and also extend its stay at nearby Japanese military bases.

2011, Libya: The U.S. claims Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is ‘massacring’ demonstrators protesting his regime; however, these accusations are drastically overblown. Regardless, a US-backed, NATO-imposed “no-fly zone” is enabled, responsible for murdering hundreds of Libyan civilians.

Many of the NATO attacks target Gaddafi, with one such strike taking the lives of his three grandchildren — two toddlers, one infant. Gaddafi himself is eventually captured and killed.

Two years prior, Gaddafi planned to nationalize Libya’s oil reserves, the largest in Africa.

It is perhaps too easy to look at U.S. foreign policy by the standards of the post-9/11 world, forgetting all that happened before.

Without an accurate understanding of the past, we’ll always be doomed to repeat it

See also: 

The aforementioned information is deliberately presented in a relatively simple context for brevity. I encourage you to explore the sources referenced, and continue learning through your own research.
For such a purpose, the following links may also be of interest:
America’s Global Neocon War – Bush-era neocons are still very much directing foreign policy in the United States, ultimately aiming for conflict with Russia and China
Democrats merge with GOP, form War Party – Bush helped Republicans justify needless war, Obama has helped Democrats; now, there is no mainstream anti-war partyThe Sinking of the Cheonan – South Korea blames the North for sinking a warship in 2010, giving the U.S. a reason to extend its military presence in the regionThe United States of Predator Drones – From Afghanistan to Yemen, from Yemen to Mexico, from Mexico to your back yard, drone use has drastically expanded and shows no signs of slowing downWar Made Easy – documentary about news media manipulation of public opinion to gain support for various war efforts throughout the last 50 years

Why We Fight – documentary about 9/11, U.S. foreign policy, and defense companies

Lies My Teacher Told Me

A People’s History of the United States


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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