Terrorism and Political Repression:
Hallmarks of U.S. Foreign Policy
and political repression are distinct characters of U.S. foreign policy.
Sponsoring state terrorism by fascist dictatorships, undertaking political
assassinations, and creation death squads are among the most common
features of the United States’ foreign policy to secure its power over its
colonies and semi-colonies.
INSTITUTE FOR LABOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (EILER)
Posted by Bulatlat
Since becoming a
capitalist power, the U.S. has been the world’s foremost militarist and
terrorist state. Its global militarism and terrorism, which include
genocide and ethnocide, far surpass the notoriety of the Nazis of Germany
in terms of viciousness, number of victims and magnitude. The American
Indians, who were practically wiped out as a race, were the first victims
of its wholesale terrorism. In the Philippines, the U.S. Army killed 1.4
million Filipinos or about one-fourth of the population during its
conquest of the country so that, in the words of U.S. President William
McKinley, “the U.S. can civilize the Philippines and prepare the Filipinos
The U.S. uses phrases
like “exercising its manifest destiny,” “protecting the free world against
communism,” “protecting the world against terrorism” to impose its will on
the world. In his book Killing Hope, William Blum enumerated 223
instances where the United States employed its military might to subdue
states and peoples to promote its rising imperialist before gaining
superpower status in 1945.[i]
Its militarist record include:
Launching wars on independent peoples and states and other
capitalist powers to colonize vast territories in the North American
continent and expand its national boundaries. Its military forcefully
annexed (through ethnocide) the biggest part of the country from the
Indians and Mexicans. Other parts of the present U.S. territory were
confiscated through wars with other colonial powers like the United
Kingdom, Spain and France.
Launching wars against independent states and against other
capitalist powers to protect its commercial interests abroad.
Launching wars against independent states and against other
colonial powers to establish U.S. colonies that later on became its
semi-colonies. Among its first ventures on this kind establishing colonies
through terrorist war was in the Philippines in the latter years of the 19th
century through the early years of the 20th century.
Joining inter-imperialist global wars to re-divide the world like
its involvement in the First and Second World Wars.
Making war against countries striving for socialism like its
invasion of the then newly established Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) in 1918, its continuing military threat and blockade of Cuba and
its wars of aggression against Vietnam, North Korea and others.
Making war to control a particular country’s strategic natural
resource like its present aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan, and its
declared threat of launching aggression against Iran.
Indeed, political repression and terrorism
are distinct characters of U.S. foreign policy. Sponsoring state terrorism
by fascist dictatorships, undertaking political assassinations, and
creation death squads are among the most common features of the United
States’ foreign policy to secure its power over its colonies and
Instituting fascist dictatorships and
promoting state terrorism
History has shown that the U.S. has had a
hand in the establishment of dictatorships in the Third World. These
regimes employ state terrorism to subjugate their people and secure their
joint interest with the U.S. Usually, these U.S.-sponsored dictatorships
arise out of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-instigated coup d'état
against Third World governments that refuse to kowtow to foreign dictates.
These dictatorships are the most atrocious violators of their citizens’
human rights. Their armed and security forces are notorious for their
employment of torture, illegal arrest, involuntary disappearance,
assassination and other methods learned from their training in U.S.
military schools or from operatives of the intelligence services of the
U.S. like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The biggest numbers of fascist
dictatorships directly instituted or sponsored by the U.S. are in Latin
America. The continent is the first vast expanse of the world that
constituted the so-called Great American Lake.
Among the most notorious Latin American
dictators installed by the U.S. is Castillo Armas of Guatemala from where
the term “banana republic” originated. After a coup d'état
engineered by the CIA and financed by the U.S. multinational firm United
Fruit Company, the Armas regime launched widespread political killing and
torture against the people of Guatemala[ii].
The regime also returned to the United Fruit Company the lands
nationalized and subjected to land reform by the Arbenz government. Since
then, the U.S. has installed one puppet and fascist regime after another
to rule the country.
Another U.S.-installed Latin American
dictator is Anastacio Somoza of Nicaragua. The U.S. government installed
Somoza before leaving the country it subjugated as direct colony from 1927
to 1933. The U.S. established, trained and armed the Nicaraguan National
Guards under Somoza. From 1934 to 1978, the U.S.-controlled National Guard
under the Somoza family dynasty passed their time on Martial Law, rape,
torture, murder, of the opposition, and massacres of peasants, as well as
less violent pursuits such as robbery, extortion, contraband and running
Earlier than 1933, the U.S. in 1924
installed Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.
Trujillo himself was a victim of CIA-instigated assassination in 1961. The
U.S. replaced him with his son Rafael Trujillo, Jr. whose fascism equaled
that of his father.
Then there is the Jose Napoleon Duarte and
Major Roberto d’Aubuisson of El Salvador. Others of equal prominence are
Fulgencio Batista of pre-revolution Cuba, Augusto Pinochet of Chile, the
1963 U.S.-installed military junta in Ecuador, and the dictatorships in
Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Dominican Republic, Bolivia and Panama.
In Asia, one the most notable is Ferdinand
Marcos of the Philippines. Under Martial Law, the Marcos regime murdered,
tortured, massacred and incarcerated without cause tens of thousands of
Filipinos. In Indonesia, Soeharto is accountable for the massacre of
500,000 Indonesians and another 200,000 in East Timor. The Ngo Dinh Diem
and Thieu regimes of Vietnam are the principal collaborators of the U.S.
during the Vietnam War. There is also the present Musharraf regime of
In the Middle East, there is the dictator
Shah Reza Mohammed Pahlavi of Iran. The Iranian Intelligence Agency SAVAK
– created, taught torture techniques and guided by the CIA and Israel’s
Mossad – spread its terrorism even abroad against Iranian citizens who
fought against U.S. imperialism and Pahlavi’s puppetry. The state
terrorism in Iran led the Amnesty International to declare in 1976 that
“Iran has the highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid
system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond
belief.” Ironically, the U.S. upon the overthrow of the Shah
supported the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to sabotage through
intermittent wars the anti-U.S. Islamic regime of Iran. Saddam Hussein is
accountable for ethnocide against its Kurdish citizens and massive
repression of the rights of the Iraqi people.
Another notable U.S.-supported fascist
dictatorship whose extreme notoriety invited worldwide condemnation is the
Duvalier dynasty of Haiti – Francois “Papa Doc Duvalier from 1957 to 1971
and Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier from 1971 to 1986. The military
elements of the Duvalier dynasty are guilty of murdering thousands of
Haitians, of systematic torture, widespread rape, and leaving severely
mutilated bodies in the streets.
Another mark of US foreign policy is the
patronage and direct involvement in political assassinations. Political
assassinations have victimized tens of thousands of people who fight
against imperialism and the puppetry of local reactionaries. U.S.-trained
military elements and intelligence agents of fascist dictatorships
installed by the United States in different parts of the world are the
principal perpetrators of these crimes. Various agencies including the
U.S. State Department, the military establishment and intelligence
agencies especially the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA,
provide systematic planning, intelligence gathering and technical support
for these crimes.
These US agencies are themselves directly
involved in high-profile assassinations against prominent personalities
especially anti-US national leaders of countries belonging to the Third
World. Among the cases of
assassinations where the CIA has been directly involved are the following:[iv]
1949 – Kim Koo, Korean
1950s – CIA/Neo-Nazi hit
list of more than 200 political figures in West Germany to be “put out
of the way” in the event of Soviet invasion
1950s – Zhou Enlai, Prime
Minister of China, several attempts on his life
1950s, 1962 – Sukarno,
president of Indonesia
1951 – Kim Il Sung, Premier
of North Korea
1953 – Mohammed Mossadegh,
Prime Minister of Iran
1950s (mid) – Claro M.
Recto, Philippines opposition leader
1955 – Jawaharlal Nehru,
Prime Minister of India
1957 – Gamal Abdul Nasser,
President of Egypt
1959/63/69 – Norodom
Sihanouk, leader of Cambodia
1960 – Brig. General Abdul
Karim Kassem, leader of Iraq
1950s-70s – Jose Figueres,
President of Costa Rica, two attempts on his life
1961 – Francois “Papa Doc”
Duvalier, leader of Haiti
1961 – Patrice Lumumba,
Prime Minister of Congo
1961 – General Rafael
Trujillo, leader of Dominican Republic
1963 – Ngo Dinh Diem,
President of South Vietnam
1960s-1990s – Fidel Castro,
President of Cuba, many attempts on his life
1960s – Raul Castro, high of
official in government of Cuba
1965 – Francisco Caamano,
Dominican Republic opposition leader
1965-66 – Charles de Gaulle,
President of France
1967 – Che Guevarra, Cuban
1970 – General Rene
Schneider, Commander-in-Chief of Army, Chile
1970 – Salvador Allende,
President of Chile
1970s, 1981 – General Omar
Torrijos, leader of Panama
1972 – General Manuel
Noriega, Chief of Panama Intelligence
1975 – Mobutu Sese Seko,
President of Zaire
1976 – Michael Manley, Prime
Minister of Jamaica
1980-86 – Moammar Qaddafi,
leader of Libya, several plots and attempts upon his life
1982 – Ayatollah Khomeini –
leader of Iran
1983 – Miguel
d’Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
1984 – The nine comandantes
of the National Directorate of Nicaragua
1985 – Sheik Mohammed
Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader
1991 – Saddam Hussein,
leader of Iraq
1998, 2001 to present –
Osama bin Laden, leading Islamic militant
1999 – Slobodan Milosevic,
president of Yugoslavia
2002 – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar,
Afghan Islamic leader, warlord, former U.S. ally
2003 – Saddam Hussein and
Jose Maria Sison – Chief
political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
in the peace talks between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of
the Philippines (GRP).[v]
Training, arming and directing
Blatant pursuit of mass murder is another
characteristic of U.S. foreign policy. Millions of innocent people
striving to abolish imperialist plunder and feudal bondage or trying to
advance socialism in their countries have been victimized. It continues
The US military establishment,
intelligence agencies (e.g., CIA, DIA, NSA) and U.S.-funded institutions
like the USAID are among the principal architects of this continuing
global holocaust. They are instrumental in creating, training, funding,
providing with intelligence data and directing death squads tasked to
eliminate – through mass murder – all enemies of US imperialism worldwide.
Members of these death squads are elements of the regimes’ military and
intelligence establishments, from the criminal underworld, private armies
of local warlords, rightist religious cults and other anti-social
elements. In many instances, military and intelligence agents of the U.S.
serve as “leadership core” or officers of the death squads.
In his CIABASE Files on Death Squads
(gathered from first-hand knowledge and from documented investigative
reports of U.S. newspapers), Ralph McGehee, a former operative of the CIA[vi],
divulged that the CIA provided and maintained a Watch List of anti-US
imperialism elements, groups and organizations throughout the world – in
Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. It imparted this watch List to
the death squads and intelligence agencies of its puppet regimes in the
third world and to other US intelligence agencies of the U.S. for proper
action. According to the same document, the CIA is responsible for the
establishment, training, funding and directing death squads in the
– the U.S.-backed rightist UNITA is
engaged in extra-judicial executions of high-ranking political rivals and
ill-treatment of prisoners.
– General Carlos Guillermo Suarez Mason oversaw the drug-financed
Argentine death squads. Gen. Martin Balza, head of army, and President
Carlos Menem, admitted the role of military in killing and disappearances
of thousands in the puppet state’s "dirty war".
- Amnesty International reported that from October 1966-68 between 3,000
and 8,000 people killed by Bolivian death squads. One such group is the
death squad "Black Hand" whose aim is to eliminate "undesirable" elements
from society. Victims included prostitutes and homosexuals.
- Death squads began appear after 1964
coup. After CIA-backed coup, military used death squads and torture. The
death squads were formed to bolster Brazil’s national intelligence
service. Many death squad members were merely off-duty police officers.
U.S. AID (and presumably the CIA) knew of and supported police
participation in death squad activity. Brazilian and Uruguayan death
squads were closely linked and have shared training. The CIA
co-coordinated meetings between the two countries’ death squads.
– the CIA provided DINA (the Chilean secret police) with intelligence data
for the torture, massacre, and disappearance of thousands of patriotic
citizens after the U.S.-instigated overthrow of President Allende.
– The Columbian military and the Medellin and Cali drug cartels founded in
1981 the death squad MAS (Muerte A Secuestradores). The U.S is an
accomplice. From 1986-1994 alone about 20,000 people were killed by the
death squad. U.S. aid for anti-narcotics was diverted to finance the
– in 1956, the CIA established in Cuba the infamous Bureau for the
Repression of Communist Activities or BRAC, a secret police that became
well known for torture and assassination of Batista’s political opponents.
– a total of 18 public safety program advisers – 6 of whom ere members of
the CIA – organized the death squad La Banda.
– from 1975-76, the Carter and Ford presidencies through the CIA and NSA,
and their Australian collaborators in East Timor supported the genocide
launched by the Soeharto regime against the Timorese people. About 200,000
or one-in-two Timorese died in massacres.
– from 1961 or when the CIA initiated the establishment of the vigilante
group Democratic National Organization (ORDEN), especially during the
height of the El Salvador civil war from 1980-1984, death squads
terrorized the people of El Salvador. This reign of terror U.S.-sponsored
and directed reign of terror is one of the one of the worst in terms of
viciousness and one of longest running terrorism in world history. Even
U.S. citizens pursuing humanitarian efforts in the country including
religious people and private individuals were victimized. The entire world
was shock by the death squads’ viciousness when they assassinated the
country’s religious leader, the human rights activist Catholic Archbishop
Romero while celebrating a mass in the cathedral. The members of the death
squads became the core of the puppet state’s civil defense corps after the
– then CIA formed five squads composed of five agents from the country’s
Social Christian Party. The agency supplied it with the names of 50-500
persons whom it suspected of “subversive activities.
– the discovery of the CIA-initiated Operation Gladio that called for the
establishment of assassination teams in 1952 created a global uproar. The
operation is linked to Bundes Deutscher Judged – a right-wing political
organization in Hesse, Germany. Targeted for assassinations were German
politicians whom the CIA suspected of having cooperating with the Soviet
– the Greek military and police executed and jailed 10,000 citizens
including left-wing militants, pride union members, journalists, writers
and political leaders like the ousted Prime Minister Kanelopoulus and
members of his cabinet, after the CIA-backed coup in 1967.
– the CIA bankrolled a man reported to be behind the right-wing terror in
Central America, its protégé, Mario Sandoval Alarcon, the former Vice
President of Guatemala. He is a pillar of the World anti-Communist League.
He also became the head of the National Liberation Movement (NLM) founded
by the CIA in 1953 as a paramilitary force to overthrow the nationalist
Arbenz government. Alarcon also headed the White Hand or La Mano, which
is responsible for as many as 8,000 Guatemalan deaths in the 1960s.
Another vicious squad is the terrorist organization Ojo Por Ojo (An Eye
for an Eye). The Guatemalan police trained by USAID, was responsible for
the murder and disappearance of 15,000 people. About 2,000 Guatemalans
were assassinated by the police and death squads from November 1970-May
1971 alone. Guatemalan intelligence units and the Archivo, its own death
squad, on the other hand, killed more than 110,000 civilians from
1978-1994. Conservative political leaders in power that does not measure
up to the level of puppetry required by the U.S. are not spared. The CIA
instigated bombings and assassination attempts against the
military-reformist Christian Democratic Party (DCG) President Vinicio
Cerezo whom the agency considered as being too soft against the perceived
enemies of the U.S.
– the CIA created Haiti’s intelligence body, the Haiti National
Intelligence Service (SIN), which became the two Duvalier fascist
dictatorships’ instrument of political terror. The CIA was also
instrumental in the formation of FRAPH, a hit squad, which it guided
together with the U.S.’ DIA in terrorizing the Haitian populace. After the
temporary success of the CIA-instigated coup against the populist Aristide
government, the army and paramilitary forces including the FRAPH killed at
least 4,000 Haitians, tortured thousands, and created tens of thousands of
refugees and 300,000 internally displaced people.
– the CIA created, directed, and together with the FBI trained the death
squads of Honduras including the notorious “Battalion 316.” This death
squad was formed with the knowledge and assistance of the U.S. Embassy in
the country. Battalion 319 is responsible for the murder of 200 Honduran
teachers, students and labor leaders, and opposition politicians had been
murdered. 200 Honduran teachers, students, labor leaders, opposition
politicians in 1984 alone. Other death squads include the National Front
for the Defense of Democracy, the Honduran Anti-Communist Movement
(MACHO), and the Anti-Communist Combat Army. Violence tapered off after
ouster of CIA
backed military commander Alvarez. The then CIA director William Casey and
John Negroponte (who also served as US Ambassador to the Philippines) used
Honduras as launching ground for U.S.-planned military incursions to
subvert the anti-imperialist state of Nicaragua, complementing the Contra
forces with Honduran death squads.
– the CIA provided the murderous monster General Soeharto with a list of
members of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) that helped the regime
in murdering half a million of its citizens after its U.S.-supported coup
to overthrown the then President Sukarno.
– the CIA trained and directed the dreaded
SAVAK that terrorized anti-imperialist elements and members of the Tudeh
Party and other elements that opposed U.S. domination of Iran and the
puppetry of the Shah.
– the CIA Iraq, 1963. CIA supplied lists
of communists to Baath party group that led a coup so that they could be
rounded up and eliminated.
– hit squads of Israeli intelligence Mossad were collaborators of the CIA
in proving training to the Guatematelan and Honduran death squads in Latin
America. They also trained the Inkatha hit squads of the racist South
African regimes that pursued assassinations against members of the African
National Congress during the country’s civil war.
– the CIA collaborated with the intelligence unit SIFAR that later on
renamed SID under General de Lorenzo in implementing the Gladio project in
Italy. The SID entered 150,000 individuals including priests, politicians
and trade unionists into its lists of targets.
– the Mexican DFS (Federal Security Directorate) was a creation of the
CIA. It created, in turn, the Brigada Blanca, a right-wing death squad
that killed thousands of Mexican students and political activists.
– the U.S.-supported, funded, trained and
directed Contras served as hit squads that sabotaged the anti-U.S.
imperialism revolution of Nicaragua. Enrique Bermudez, a Contra leader,
said that in Contra raids on economic targets in Northern Nicaragua,
particularly coffee plantation and cooperatives, any resistance brought
brutal retribution. Commandantes selected those to die. Cutting the
peasants’ throats was a preferred method.
– the CIA collaborated with Norwegian
intelligence to implement Operation Gladio.
– the CIA (with the collaboration of the Philippine armed forces and
intelligence units) formed, trained, directed and funded death squads from
the time of anti-imperialist Huk rebellion in the 1950s and has not ceased
to do so until the present. Divulged documents and the pattern of
intensified state terrorism against the national democratic movement and
the Filipino people today points to the United States and the Philippine
puppet state’s experimenting on the implementation of the “El Salvador
Solution” and the infamous “Operation Phoenix” executed by the CIA and
other U.S. agencies to defeat the advancing people’s revolution.
Puerto Rico – the CIA controls and doing cover-up work for
the widespread murders executed by Puerto Rican police and death squads.
– together with the Mossad-trained Inkatha, South African apartheid’s
fiercest warriors during the civil war was the “Koevet,” an army special
force engaged in campaigns of assassination against the ANC.
– General Saiyut Koedphon of the CSOC admitted to collaborating with the
CIA to counter subversive activities in the country. The Thai death squad
under the Thai Special Branch (Santiban) where the CIA had a presence
formed the Red Guars (Krathin Daeng) that undertook numerous bombings,
killings, assassinations, shootings and harassment of labor leaders,
peasants leaders and students.
– after the CIA-supported coup, from
1960-1969, the agency assisted the Turkish Military Intelligence (MIT) in
drafting plans for countering anti-imperialist elements similar to the
pattern followed in Thailand, Indonesia and Greece.
– The CIA using USAID as cover established the DII or Uruguay Department
of Information and Intelligence. The DII served as a cover for the fascist
state’s death squad.
– the U.S. government employing its combined military, intelligence and
civil establishments propping up the puppet Saigon regime implemented
“Operation Phoenix” that spread absolute terror against the whole
Vietnamese people through wholesale massacre, torture, warrantless arrest,
disappearance, and other forms of the most brutal violations of human
The United States is indeed the most
notorious promoter of global lawlessness and anarchy in world history. The
control of sources of information, vast army of apologists and ideologues,
global dominance of conservative media establishments, and the support of
other imperialist powers have enabled the U.S. to conceal its worldwide
wanton violation of the human rights. Lately, it has once again showed
absolute contempt to international law with its invasion of Iraq.
But no matter how powerful it is, the U.S.
is a mere paper tiger if confronted by a determined resistance of the
oppressed peoples. The victorious war of liberation of the Vietnamese
people against the U.S. brutal war of aggression from the 1960s to 1975
demonstrated to the world’s oppressed peoples the inherent impotence of US
global terrorism. The patriotic resistance of the people of Iraq where the
U.S. is at present experiencing another politico-military nightmare once
again and beyond doubt proves this point.
Originally prepared by Foreign Affairs Division, Congressional Research
Service, Library of Congress, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington,
D.C., 1975. The list is printed in William Blum, “Killing Hope – US
Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II”, Zed Books Ltd., 7
Cynthia St., London NI 9JF, UK, 2003. William Blum is a former US State
Department officer. He left the US State Department in 1967, abandoning
his aspiration to become a Foreign Service Officer because of his
opposition to the Vietnam War. He also wrote the book “Rouge State”.
Ibid. pp. 290-305.
Ibid. pp. 463-464
Not in the book by Blum. Information divulged and condemned by the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
Ralph McGehee joined the CIA in 1952 as a paramilitary officer and served
overseas in Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
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