By Stephen Lendman
February 22, 2010
Distinguished historian, scholar and activist Gabriel Kolko studied "the nature and purpose of (American) power (since) the 1870s," calling it "violen(t), racis(t), repressi(ve) at home and abroad (and) cultural(ly) mendaci(ous)." It's been the same since inception, historian Howard Zinn calling colonial America:
"a class society from the beginning. America started off as a society of rich and poor, people with enormous grants of land and people with no land. And there were riots, there were bread riots in Boston, and riots and rebellions all over the colonies, of poor against rich, of tenants breaking into jails to release people who were in prison for nonpayment of debt. There was class conflict. We try to" portray a benevolent nation. We weren't then. We're not now.
We waged war against Native Americans, African-Americans, ordinary Americans, the poor, disadvantaged and women. Since inception, we committed "genocide," according to Zinn: "brutally and purposefully....by our rulers in the name of progress, (who then buried ugly truths) in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth."
At home, profit over human lives and welfare took millions of working American lives. Abroad it was far worse, the result of direct or proxy wars, death squads, torture, occupations, alliances with despots, and neglect. Against indigenous and black Americans, it was worst of all. More on that below.
America's Genocidal Legacy
In his many books, scholar/activist Ward Churchill documented genocide in America. In "A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present," he wrote:
After four centuries of systematic slaughter from 1492 - 1892, "the US Census Bureau concluded that there were fewer than a quarter-million indigenous people surviving," in America, reduced to at most 3% of their original numbers.
Millions were "hacked apart with axes and swords, burned alive and trampled under horses, hunted as game and fed to dogs, shot, beaten, stabbed, scalped for bounty, hanged on meathooks and thrown over the sides of ships at sea, worked to death as slave laborers, intentionally starved and frozen to death during a multitude of forced marches and internments, and, in an unknown number of instances, deliberately infected with epidemic diseases."
Shockingly, "every one of these practices (still continues in new forms). The American holocaust was and remains unparalleled, in terms of its scope, ferocity and continuance over time," thereafter suppressed by denial or silence.
Consider the grimness of the African holocaust, the result of 500 years of colonialization, oppression, exploitation, and slavery, much of it trafficked to America. Black Africans were captured, branded, chained, force-marched to ports, beaten, kept in cages, stripped of their humanity, and often their lives.
Around 100 million or more humans were sold like cattle, many millions perishing during the Middle Passage, a horrifying experience packing human cargo under deplorable conditions in spaces the size of a coffin, in some cases one atop another, in extreme discomfort, with poor ventilation, and so little sanitation that dysentery, smallpox, ophthalmia (causing blindness) and other diseases became epidemics. Conditions below deck were dark, filthy, slimy, full of blood, vomit, and human excrement.
Women were beaten and raped. For some, claustrophobia caused insanity. Others were flogged or clubbed to death. Anyone thought to be diseased was dumped overboard like garbage. Arrivals with three-fourths of departing cargos were considered successful voyages. The Middle Passage claimed as many as half of those trafficked, estimated by some up to 50 million.
Howard Zinn called American slavery "the most cruel form in history: the frenzy for limitless profit that comes from capitalistic agriculture; the reduction of the slave to less than human status by the use of racial hatred, with that relentless clarity based on color, where white was master, black was slave." Is it any different today?
In this environment, blacks were helpless, mistreatment common. Slavery grew with the plantation system. It was "psychological and physical. Slaves were taught discipline....the idea of their own inferiority to 'know their place,' to see blackness as a sign of subordination, to be awed by (their master's) power," to subordinate their will to his.
Zinn described "a complex web of historical threads to ensnare blacks for slavery in America:" poor settlers needing labor, the profit motive, racism, status, and human exploitation to get them - elements today affecting wage slaves and others in agriculture, domestic service, restaurant and hotel work, sweatshop factories, prostitution and sex services, and on US offshore military bases employing forced labor under horrific conditions.
The Conquest and Occupation of the Philippines - the Beginning of "The American Century" (1898 - 1902)
In 1898, President William McKinley created a pretext for war with Spain, forced the Spanish government to cede the Philippines, occupied the country, fought a dirty war, and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Filipinos. Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him, continued the carnage, and won a Nobel Peace Prize.
Expressing his outrage on October 15, 1900, Mark Twain said:
"....I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem....And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land....We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields, burned their villages, turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors, (and) subjugated the remaining ten million by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket...."
He proposed a new American flag "with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones." He was appalled that General Jacob Smith ordered his troops to:
"Kill and burn....this is no time to take prisoners....the more you kill and burn, the better. Kill all above the age of ten....turn (the country into) a howling wilderness."
Occupied Haiti Being Readied for Plunder, Exploitation, and Genocide
On January 20, the Nation magazine's John Nichols offered a disgraceful imperial defense and misreading of Haiti's plight in his article titled, "Obama's Fine Moment," saying:
"Barack Obama has responded to the devastating earthquake in Haiti with precisely the combination of dignity and determination that Americans....expected when they elected him. (He showed) a spirit that has the potential to reassure not just Haitians but Americans."
After its calamitous January 12 earthquake, the reality is far different. Haiti is now occupied for the duration. Conditions on the ground are horrific. Essential aid is obstructed and limited. The likely death toll tops 300,000 and hundreds of thousands more injured, many seriously. A health emergency exists. Malnutrition is rampant, clean water scarce, sanitation nearly non-existent, and tents are available only for a small fraction of those needing them, forcing hundreds of thousands to live in the open.
Diarrheal illnesses and acute respiratory infections are widespread, and signs of other outbreaks are apparent, including tetanus, measles, TB, malaria, dengue fever, diphtheria, typhoid, and others. Their calamitous potential represents a real and growing danger, threatening hundreds of thousands of lives - unaided Haitians perhaps left on their own to perish.
In his February 19 article headlined, "Poor Sanitation in Haiti's Tent Camps Adds to Risk of Disease," New York Times correspondent Simon Romero ignored the tent shortage, but cited public officials warning about the danger of "major disease outbreaks, including cholera.."
Already "a spike in illnesses like typhoid and shigellosis (a form of dysentery)" is evident. Unmentioned are the many others breaking out, the result of contaminated food, water, and flies that "become vectors by taking fecal waste from one place to another," according to Dr. Robert Redfield, co-founder of the University of Maryland's Institute of Human Virology. He added that rain increases the likelihood of spreading diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and many others.
The latest OCHA report understates the seriousness. Saying food aid has "reached over 3.4 million people," unexplained is it's being obstructed, way inadequate, sporadic, and left out entirely are poor areas like Cite Soleil. Also, the half million Haitians who've left or been forced out of Port-au-Prince are largely on their own. Most Haitians have no clean water, use what they can, and risk contracting widespread waterborne diseases, compounding the spreading airborne ones.
OCHA does highlight poor sanitation, only 17,000 tents for 1.2 million or more Haitians without shelter, most living in the open as the rainy season approaches, risking mounting death tolls for deaths from spreading diseases and too little done to treat them.
Yet as of February 25, $680 million in aid has been raised, way over the UN's initial $570 million goal, now upped to nearly $1.5 billion. Where's the money? Why isn't it delivering aid? Why is so little available and conditions on the ground horrific and worsening?
The post-2004 East Asian tsunami is instructive. Around $1.2 billion in aid relief was raised, mostly used for development, not victims. They got nothing, were forced into permanent shantytowns, and are still there. High-end tourism took precedence over rebuilding their homes and restoring their way of life.
That's what Haitians now face - permanent displacement on their own to facilitate plunder, exploitation and perhaps mass deaths because of no aid, too little, and no disease prevention or treatment.
If genocide is planned, that's the model. Henry Kissinger's secret 1974 National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) was an earlier one. Shaped by Rockefeller interests, it was an action plan for global population reduction - culling unwanted, unneeded "useless eaters."
The scheme involved:
-- mandatory birth control;
-- involuntary sterilizations;
-- legalized abortion;
-- indoctrination of children; and
-- other coercive methods, including withholding disaster relief and food aid when most needed.
The plan specifically said America would conceal its role to avoid charges of imperialism, so would induce the UN and NGOs to do its dirty work.
NSSM 200 was never renounced. Only certain portions were amended, so the basic idea remains policy to achieve global population control by reducing unwanted numbers.
Earlier, compliance was a prerequisite for development aid, the idea being to reduce world head counts by 500 million by 2000. Kissinger wanted control of global resources and new US grain markets in countries like India, Brazil, Nigeria, Mexico and Indonesia, culling populations to facilitate it.
USAID directed Brazil's program, and organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Family Health International were involved. After 14 years of involuntary sterilizations, the Brazilian Health Ministry estimated 44% of women from 14 - 55 were sterile, including 90% of African descent, the result of extermination by subterfuge, perhaps the same scheme planned for Haiti.
Involuntary birth control, sterilization, starvation, or similar schemes is genocide - precisely what Haitians face by starvation, depravation, disease, neglect, and forced toxic vaccinations.
In early February, a vaccination program began, children under seven for rubella and DPT (diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus), older children and adults for diphtheria and tetanus. Besides involuntary sterilization, Dr. Viera Scheibner, the world's foremost vaccine expert, explains the other dangers in her writing.
She says all vaccines contain harmful toxins, undermine human health, weaken the immune system, often causing the diseases they're designed to prevent. A host of auto-immune ones result, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, ALS, arthritis, fibromyalgia, rashes, chronic fatigue, memory loss, seizures, dizziness, ulcers, non-healing skin lesions, neuropsychiatric problems, anaemia, chronic diarrhea, and others contributing to serious illnesses and early deaths.
Vaccines can also be bioengineered with deadly toxins able to debilitate, cause disease, and spread epidemics. Given America's genocidal history, perhaps the Obama administration plans one for Haiti. It bears watching and quoting the Genocide Convention.
Its definition under Article II includes "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (and)
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Genocide is "an odious scourge....a (high) crime under international law....condemned by the civilized world." Historically, its member states commit the worst of them, directly or through proxies, America especially guilty for over two centuries, including the modern era.
America's Genocidal Wars - WW II Terror Bombings
Unlike strategic bombing to destroy an adversary's economic and military might, terror bombings target civilians to break their morale, cause panic, weaken an enemy's will to fight, and inflict mass casualties and punishment.
Geneva and other international laws prohibit it. The Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907 Hague IV Convention's Article 25 states:
"The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or building which are undefended is prohibited."
Fourth Geneva protects civilians in time of war prohibiting violence of any type against them and requiring treatment for the sick and wounded. The 1945 Nuremberg Principles forbid "crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity." These include "inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war," including indiscriminate killing and "wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity."
In his book, "The Good War: An Oral History of World War II," Studs Terkel explained its good and bad sides through people who experienced it. The good was that America "was the only country among the combatants that was neither invaded nor bombed. Ours were the only cities not blasted to rubble."
The bad was that it "warped our view of how we look at things today (seeing them) in terms of war" and the notion that they're good or why else fight them. This "twisted memory....encourages (people) to be willing, almost eager, to use military force" as a way to solve problems, never mind that they exacerbate them. Wars are never just, in the nuclear age are "lunatic" acts, and horrific earlier by any standard.
America and Britain's carpet/firebombing of Dresden was barbaric against a defenseless German city and one of Europe's great cultural centers. In less than 14 hours, it was ruined, the result of 700,000 phosphorous bombs on 1.2 million people, killing as many as 100,000. City center temperatures reached 1,600 degrees centigrade. Bodies became molten flesh, mostly civilians and wounded soldiers. Dresden had no military importance. Destroying it was morally indefensible. So was firebombing Tokyo.
The war was effectively over, Japan trying to surrender but Roosevelt spurned overtures. He had other plans, one the firebombing Tokyo before the greater ones under Truman in August. On February 24, 1945, one square mile of the city was destroyed before the major March 6 attack demolishing 16 square miles, killing around 100,000 in the firestorm, injuring many more, and leaving over a million homeless. Five dozen other Japanese cities were also firebombed at a time most of the country's structures were wooden and easily consumed.
Yet early in 1945, Japan sent peace feelers, and two days before the February Yalta Conference, Douglas MacArthur sent Roosevelt a 40-page summary of its terms. They were nearly unconditional. The Japanese would accept an occupation, cease hostilities, surrender its arms, remove all troops from occupied territories, submit to criminal war trials, let its industries be regulated, asking only that their Emperor be retained.
Roosevelt categorically refused. So did Truman months before using atomic weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By December, their combined death tolls topped 200,000, but they rose in succeeding months and years. Radiation poisoning kills or causes grievous illnesses, disfiguration, and birth defects. Decades later, they're still being felt. It was gratuitous slaughter against a prostrate country on the verge of surrender, lies then used to justify it.
The attacks were the first salvo of the Cold War, showing the Soviets our strength. Howard Zinn added other reasons - "tin, rubber, oil, corporate profit (and) imperial arrogance."
New Genocides for Old
Post-WW II, America had no enemies nor was any country a threat. Yet millions of North Koreans and Southeast Asians were gratuitously slaughtered to complete Washington's conquest of Asia. In both cases, US confrontations began hostilities, unprovoked acts of war to install client regimes.
Korean expert Bruce Cumings explained "the extraordinary destructiveness of the United States air campaigns against North Korea, from the widespread and continuous use of firebombing, to threats to use nuclear and chemical weapons, and the destruction of huge North Korean dams in the final states of war. (The) air war leveled North Korea and killed millions of civilians. (There was no escape, and by) 1952 just about everything in northern and central Korea has been completely leveled. What was left of the population survived in caves."
Of the North's 22 major cities, 18 were half or more obliterated, the large industrial ones 75 - 100% destroyed, and villages reduced to "low, wide mounds of violent ashes." This was "limited war." Achieving no more than an armistice, a stalemate, America was on a roll. Southeast Asia was next.
Gabriel Kolko called it a predictable consequence of America's ambition, strengths, weaknesses, and quest for world dominance - one conquest at a time on the way to full control.
Like Korea, bombings were horrendous and indiscriminate, dropping eight million tons from 1965 - 1973, threefold WW II's tonnage, amounting to 300 tons for every Vietnamese man, woman and child.
As in Korea, napalm and other incendiary devices were used, plus terror weapons like anti-personnel cluster bombs spewing thousands of metal pellets, indiscriminately hitting everyone in their path.
From 1961 - 1971, dioxin-containing defoliant Agent Orange was used, mainly in the South, Cambodia and Laos. Millions of gallons were sprayed with devastating consequences because dioxin is one of the most toxic known substances, a potent carcinogenic human immune system suppressant. It accumulates in adipose tissue and the liver, alters living cell genetic structures, causes congenital disorders and birth defects, and contributes to diseases like cancer and type two diabetes.
In 1970, Operation Tailwind used sarin nerve gas in Laos, causing many gratuitous deaths. In 1998, former Joint Chiefs Chairman, Admiral Thomas Moorer, confirmed its use on CNN. Then, under Pentagon pressure, the cable channel retracted the report and fired its reporter and producers for refusing to disavow it.
The war also engulfed Cambodia and Laos killing around 600,000, mostly civilians, and destroying dozens of towns, villages and hamlets - again with secret bombings and terror weapons.
Both in Korea and Southeast Asia, three to four million were killed, vast amounts of destruction inflicted, and incalculable levels of human suffering felt to this day. It was genocide by any definition.
So is America's complicity in Palestine, funding Israel's militarism, belligerence and occupation, causing an estimated 300,000 post-1967 deaths and much more, including 3,600 avoidable under aged five ones annually. In an early 2009 report, UNICEF said:
-- "Armed conflict (kills) dozens of children each year....;"
-- since 2000, poverty has dramatically worsened;
-- in the West Bank, militarized control affects access to jobs, schools and health care;
-- in Gaza, conditions are especially horrendous;
-- throughout the Territories, children are threatened by landmines and other unexploded ordnance;
-- "chronic malnutrition affects nearly 10 per cent of children under age five," and in Gaza conditions are "acute;" and
-- daily violence and deprivation take lives and produce anxiety, phobias and/or depression.
By providing Israel with around $3 billion annually in direct aid, undisclosed additional amounts, the latest weapons and technology, and much more, America is complicit in its crimes - what Palestinian scholar Elias Akleh calls a Palestinian Holocaust, he defines as a "genocidal crime against people based on their ethnicity," one that continues daily, especially in Gaza under siege.
The dirty 1970s and 80s Central American wars killed over 300,000 people, tortured hundreds of thousands throughout the Americas, and drove millions into exile. A June 1986 International Tribunal on Genocide in Central America cited the period 1970 - 1986 experiencing sporadic to intense violence:
-- "verging on a near total break-down of the state institutions and open warfare between state governments, competing rebel forces challenging state authorities and indigenous" peoples. "In the course of resurgent violence, acts of genocide and ethnocide (were) committed against indigenous groups. (Allegations) of state sponsored and rebel force sponsored genocide against indigenous peoples (were) repeatedly made throughout the course of the last fifteen years," including massacres, torture, forced military service, land seizures, arbitrary arrests and imprisonments, population relocations, and attacks amounting to genocide under the UN Convention.
"That there is sufficient evidence to warrant the convening of a (genocide) tribunal goes without question."
America was complicit in the 1990s Rwanda massacres, by militarizing Uganda, funding the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and its Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) to displace France and become Central Africa's dominant power, including in eastern Congo. It used its RPA and Ugandan proxies in Congo's civil war for control of its eastern and southern mining resources, killing millions of Congolese (including by disease, malnutrition and related violence) to secure them, including diamonds, gold, copper, tin, timber, coltan and cobalt (from 64 - 80% of world reserves), treasures for the taking, some of them vital for defense purposes.
Operation Desert Storm began on January 17, 1991, a criminal, gratuitous mass slaughter and destruction of essential to life facilities, including:
-- power plants and dams;
-- water purification facilities;
-- sewage treatment and disposal systems;
-- telephone and other communications;
-- schools and mosques;
-- around 20,000 homes, apartments and other dwellings;
-- irrigation sites;
-- food processing, storage and distribution facilities;
-- hotels and retail establishments;
-- transportation infrastructure;
-- oil wells, pipelines, refineries and storage tanks;
-- chemical plants, factories and other commercial operations;
-- government buildings and historical sites; and
-- civilian shelters targeting of innocent men, women and children.
Tens of thousands were gratuitously killed, as many as 200,000 according to independent estimates. Twelve years of genocidal sanctions followed, killing as many as 1.7 million, two-thirds of them children under age five.
From 2003 - 2009, 2.5 million or more died from violent or non-violent causes, again mostly young children, to turn Iraq into a free market paradise, its people reduced to serfs, as part of a greater aim for global dominance and control of world resources and markets.
The 1990s Balkan wars followed the same pattern, dividing Yugoslavia into separate states, culminating with the US-NATO 1999 terror bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - Serbia-Kosovo. For two and a half months, about 3,000 sorties dropped thousands of tons of ordnance plus hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles. As in the Gulf War, virtually all vital infrastructure was targeted as well as factories, other businesses, commercial and government buildings, schools, hospitals, churches, and historical landmarks. All were destroyed or heavily damaged.
An estimated $100 billion in damage was inflicted. A humanitarian disaster resulted. Environmental contamination was extensive. Large numbers were killed, injured or displaced, and two million lost their livelihoods. As in Korea, Southeast Asia, and Iraq, it was genocide under the Convention. Afghanistan and Iraq were next, the latter explained above.
September 11 was the pretext, then beginning October 7, 2001, Afghanistan was bombed, invaded and occupied like Iraq. Planned months in advance, war continues to control Eurasia, the key for world dominance, and no wonder. It has 75% of the world's population, most of its resources and physical wealth, three-fourths of its known oil and gas, and is the grandest of grand prizes for its ruler.
Marjah is the latest Afghan offensive, a PR stunt to show progress and perhaps save face for utter failure to this point, except for the human toll. From 2001 - 2007, UN Population Division data estimated 3.2 million deaths, including 700,000 children under age five.
Through 2009, around 4.5 million have died from violent or non-violent causes, including deprivation, disease, starvation, and neglect with no end of conflict in sight - an Afghan genocide like in Korea, Southeast Asia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, and now Haiti, occupied to be strip-mined for profit, its people mere sacrificial pawns, unneeded ones to be forfeited on its alter - an old story for perhaps the world's most long-suffering people.
For over 500 years, it's been victimized by severe oppression, slavery, despotism, colonization, reparations, embargoes, starvation, unrepayable debt, as well as natural and perhaps engineered calamities, the latest for plunder and exploitation - Haiti's centuries old curse, perhaps greater than ever going forward.
Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.