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United States backed Genocides: From Guatemala to Congo

By GLEN FORD | BLACK AGENDA REPORT | MARCH 28, 2013

Guatemala has put its U.S.-backed genocidal maniac on trial, but Washington continues to protect its agents of mass murder in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “There is no auditorium big enough to hold the all the living Americans who should justly be charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”

The man who unleashed a genocide against the Maya Indians of Guatemala, former dictator and general Efrain Rios Montt, went on trial for his crimes against humanity in Guatemala City, this week. By all rights, the 86 year-old Montt should be joined in the dock by scores of still-living United States officials, including former President George Bush the First.

“The genocide would have been impossible without the United States.”

Back in 1954, the CIA overthrew the reformist government of President Jacobo Arbenz, whose land reform measures had angered the United Fruit Company. The U.S. termination with extreme prejudice of Guatemalan democracy ultimately led to a 36-year rebellion and civil war, with the Americans backing a succession of dictators.

General Montt was the most monstrous. In the 1980s, his regime declared total war on the Mayan people of the country’s highlands. Whole villages were massacred and entire regions laid waste as the military attempted to drain the human sea in which the guerilla movement swam. Army documents show clearly that the native Maya were targeted for extermination because of their ethnicity; that all Maya – a majority of Guatemala’s population – were considered enemies of the state. Rios Montt is the first Latin American former head of state to be charged with genocide in his own country.

However, this crime is not Rios Montt’s, alone. The genocide would have been impossible without the United States, which had run the show in Guatemala since 1954 and had armed the general to the teeth. The U.S. corporate media like to call President Ronald Reagan the “Great Communicator” but, in Guatemala, he was the Great Exterminator, encouraging and financing General Rios Montt’s orgy of mass murder.

Reagan described the racist butcher as “a man of great personal integrity and commitment” who was “getting a bum rap.” All told, a quarter million or more Guatemalans died in the 40 years since the CIA robbed them of their democracy and independence.

“The Maya were targeted for extermination because of their ethnicity.”

In 1999, when the civil war was over, President Bill Clinton apologized for the harm done to Guatemala by the United States. But by then, Clinton had already set in motion a far larger genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a U.S.-sponsored holocaust that has so far claimed 6 million lives.

In a just world, Slick Willie would join an auditorium full of Obama, Bush and Clinton administration operatives who, over the space of 16 years, made eastern Congo the charnel house of the planet. Susan Rice would have a place of prominence in this vast assemblage of criminals, as among the most culpable for the worst bloodbath since World War Two.

In fact, there is no auditorium big enough to hold the all the living Americans who should justly be charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. There are too many – great crowds of them from each administration, especially in the last ten years, since the invasion of Iraq. Imperialism in its last stages maintains an ever-lengthening Kill List.

Guatemala is coming to grips with its past, in a trial that will probably last a few months. The United States has an infinity of crimes to answer for.

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North Korea threatens to attack U.S. bases in Japan and Guam

BY JACK KIM | REUTERS | MARCH 21, 2013

North Korea said it would attack U.S. military bases on Japan and the Pacific island of Guam if provoked, a day after leader Kim Jong-un oversaw a mock drone strike on South Korea.

The North also held an air raid drill on Thursday after accusing the United States of preparing a military strike using bombers that have overflown the Korean peninsula as part of drills between South Korean and U.S. forces.

North Korea has stepped up its rhetoric in response to what it calls “hostile” drills between South Korea and the United States. It has also been angered by the imposition of fresh U.N. sanctions that followed its February 12 nuclear test.

Separately, South Korea said a hacking attack on the servers of local broadcasters and banks on Wednesday originated from an IP address in China, raising suspicions the intrusion came from North Korea.

“The United States is advised not to forget that our precision target tools have within their range the Anderson Air Force base on Guam where the B-52 takes off, as well as the Japanese mainland where nuclear powered submarines are deployed and the navy bases on Okinawa,” the North’s supreme military command spokesman was quoted as saying by the KCNA news agency.

Japan and U.S. Pacific bases are in range of Pyongyang’s medium-range missiles.

It is not known if North Korea possesses drones, although a report on South Korea’s Yonhap news agency last year said it had obtained 1970s-era U.S. target drones from Syria to develop into attack drones.

“The (drone) planes were assigned the flight route and time with the targets in South Korea in mind, Kim Jong-un said, adding with great satisfaction that they were proved to be able to mount (a) super-precision attack on any enemy targets,” KCNA reported.

It is extremely rare for KCNA to specify the day on which Kim attended a drill. It also said a rocket defense unit had successfully shot down a target that mimicked an “enemy” Tomahawk cruise missile.

North Korea has said it has abrogated an armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War and threatened a nuclear attack on the United States.

Although North Korea lacks the technology to carry out such an attack, Washington said it would deploy more anti-missile batteries in Alaska to counter any threat.

PYONGYANG HAS HACKED SOUTH KOREA BEFORE

The hacking attack brought down the servers of South Korean broadcasters YTN, MBC and KBS as well as two major commercial banks, Shinhan Bank and NongHyup Bank.

South Korean communications regulators said the attack originated from an IP address based in China.

An unnamed official from South Korea’s presidential office was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying the discovery of the Chinese IP address indicated Pyongyang was responsible.

Investigations of past hacking incidents on South Korean organizations have been traced to Pyongyang’s large army of computer engineers trained to infiltrate the South’s computer networks.

At least one previous attack was traced to a Chinese IP address.

South Korea’s defense ministry said it was too early to blame the North but said such a cyber capability was a key part of its arsenal. Experts say thousands of North Korean engineers may have been recruited for the purpose.

“Throughout the world, states that create cyber warfare and engage in those types of activities are precisely the same countries that develop nuclear weapons,” Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said.

“North Korea has strongly stepped up development of asymmetrical strategy with nuclear development and many types of ballistic missiles as well as a special forces of 200,000 strong.”

War Council Pawns meet in Israel

By BILL van AUKEN | GLOBAL RESEARCH | MARCH 21, 2013

Starting a two-day visit to Israel on Wednesday, US President Barack Obama issued bellicose threats against both Syria and Iran. The visit, which plainly has the character of a US-Israeli war council, makes clear that ten years after the US invasion of Iraq, US imperialism is preparing even greater crimes in the Middle East.

The Democratic president threatened the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad that it would “be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists,” adding that if evidence showed that such a weapon had been used it would be a “game-changer.”

On Iran, Obama repeated his vow “to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon” and that “all options are on the table,” while recognizing Israel’s “right” to take unilateral action against Iran. There “is not a lot of daylight” between the US and Israel on Iran, he said.

Obama’s remarks came one day after the tenth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. No speeches or ceremonies were organized by the Obama administration or the US Congress Tuesday to mark the onset of a war to which 1.5 million Americans were sent, and where nearly 4,500 died and hundreds of thousands suffered either physical or psychological wounds.

Silence, in this case, denotes guilt. Both political parties, every branch of government, the media and the US corporations were directly complicit in what unquestionably stands as the greatest war crime of the 21st century: an unprovoked war, launched on the basis of lies, against a virtually defenseless nation, claiming some one million lives and leaving an entire society in ruins.

America’s ruling elite is now pressing for even greater and more destructive conflicts, in the face of mass public opposition to war. In Orwellian fashion, familiar and discredited pretexts of “weapons of mass destruction,” terrorism and the promotion of “democracy” are being recycled, this time to justify war against Syria.

On Capitol Hill there was a drumbeat of calls for new Middle East wars. Adm. James Stavridis, the chief of the Pentagon’s European Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday on extensive planning by NATO for intervention in Syria. “We are looking at a wide range of operations, and we are prepared if called upon to be engaged as we were in Libya,” he said.

Under serious consideration, according to Stavridis, is the establishment of a “no-fly zone.” Calls for such a no-fly zone in Libya, approved by the United Nations Security Council in March 2011, led to a US-NATO bombing campaign and war for regime change.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Carl Levin, (Democrat, Michigan) led the questioning. The day before, he had spoken at the Council on Foreign Relations, calling for the establishment of “a protected zone along the Turkish-Syrian border” and the use of military force to “go after some Syrian air defenses and after some of the Syrian air power.”

Resolutions were introduced in both the House and the Senate calling for stepped-up arming and training of Western-backed “rebels” fighting to overthrow Assad.

Meanwhile, the apparent use of a chemical weapon that claimed the lives of over 30 Syrians Tuesday prompted renewed demands for direct US intervention on Capitol Hill.

The Syrian government charged that the Western-backed fighters fired the rocket carrying the chemical warhead. By all accounts, the device hit a government-controlled village outside of Aleppo. Opposition sources said that most of the victims were Syrian government soldiers, while sources in Syria described them as Alawite civilians, a population that largely supports Assad.

Lawmakers invoked Obama’s earlier threats that the use of chemical weapons in Syria represented a “red line” that would prompt US intervention. “If today’s reports are substantiated, the President’s red line has been crossed, and we would urge him to take immediate action to impose the consequences he has promised,” Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain said in a joint statement.

Graham went further in an interview, calling for sending US ground troops into Syria to secure its chemical weapons, an operation that the Pentagon estimated would require 75,000 soldiers and Marines.

The twisted logic of this campaign is that the two-year-old sectarian civil war that the US and its allies in Europe, Turkey and the Persian Gulf monarchies have fomented, funded and armed has weakened the Assad regime to such an extent that its chemical weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists.

However, these terrorists, such as the Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra and other jihadist militias, are the principal shock troops of the Western-backed war for regime change.

As for the claim that Washington is promoting “democracy” in Syria, there could be no more telling refutation than the “election” Monday of the prime minister for a new “interim government” to be installed on Syrian territory seized by the so-called rebels. The winner, chosen by barely 35 members of a Syrian National Council formed under the tutelage of the US State Department, was Ghassan Hitto. A US citizen and Texas-based IT executive, he left Syria as a 17-year-old over 30 years ago.

The ideological pretexts for a US war in Syria are even less coherent than the ones used to carry out the war in Iraq a decade ago. The real driving forces are the same. What is involved is a predatory war aimed at redrawing the map of the Middle East to suit the interests of US imperialism and assure its hegemony over the region’s energy resources. War for regime change in Syria is part of a broader campaign for war with Iran and carries with it the threat of drawing in Russia and China, as well.

While the American ruling establishment may want to bury the memory of the Iraq war, working people have drawn their own conclusions, with poll after poll showing the overwhelming view that it should never have been fought.

The attempt to foist a new war on the American people, using the same warmed-over lies, comes together with a deepening assault on jobs and living standards and continuous revelations of the criminality of the financial aristocracy, in whose interests these wars are fought. Such a volatile mixture is a recipe for social explosions within the United States and the development of a mass political movement against imperialist wars in Iraq, Syria and beyond.

 

North Korea supposedly targeting Japan as Korean Peninsula conflict heats up

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 18, 2013

North Korea said today that Japan is “no exception” if the North decides to carry out a preemptive nuclear strike on whomever it considers as threats. The announcement came after Tokyo announced possible additional sanctions from the UN as a consequence of Pyongyang’s third nuclear test.

In a dispatch issued today by the North Korean agency, KCNA, the secretive communist regime accused Japan of trying to “add fuel to the fire” in the already “serious situation on the Korean peninsula, where a bullet can cause accidental nuclear war. ”

In his usual bellicose tone, the office, which includes an editorial in the party, “Rodong Sinmun”, warns that “it would be a terrible mistake to think that Japan is safe in case of triggering a war on the Korean peninsula”.

In early March, North Korea announced that its army is ready to launch nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States, a new threat after the new sanctions were approved by the UN in retaliation to the third atomic test that the communist country carried out last February 12.

“If the Japanese reactionaries haywire in complicity with EE.UU., they will face a terrible blow, and the Korean people will be able to unleash their long-suppressed resentment,” concluded the editorial.

In addition, North Korea has radicalized his usual threats after the beginning of military exercises called Key Resolve and Foal Eagle currently being done by the U.S. Army and South Korea in the region.

The beginning of these maneuvers, considered by Pyongyang as a threat to the country, prompted North Korea to cut off the only line of communication with South Korea, located in the border village of Panmunjom, and declare void the armistice reached after the Korean War between 1950-1953.

U.S. and South Korea carry out military drills in defiance of North Korean threats

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MARCH 11, 2013

South Korea and the U.S. began joint military exercises on Monday, at a time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula has reached one of the most tense levels in recent years.

Pyongyang has called the military exercises an invasion and announced the cancellation of the armistice treaty that ended the Korean War (1950-1953). The conflict ended with a ceasefire that never became a final peace treaty.

The maneuvers, called Key Resolve will last 11 days and, though they are largely conducted by computer simulation, it includes the participation of more than 10,000 U.S. troops and 3,500 South Koreans.

The U.S. military has said that the maneuvers, which are part of a broader, two-month campaign, began on March 1 and are not related to the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula. Washington has a contingent of 28,500 troops in South Korean territory.

Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Workers Party of North Korea, has confirmed the “end all” of the armistice treaty of 1953 and warned about the volatility of the situation.

“With the ceasefire ended, no one can predict what will happen on this land from now on,” said the daily. Pyongyang has also canceled all non-aggression pacts with the South, like the one signed in 1991, which set the peaceful resolution of disputes and prevents accidental military skirmishes.

Military exercises are especially important this year, say the Americans, because it is the first time the South Korean Joint Chiefs planned and executed the joint maneuvers. It is expected that in December 2015 Seoul will assume operational control of the combined forces in case of war.

The North said last Friday that, beginning Monday it will break all non-aggression pacts with the South and cut direct communication lines, in response to sanctions adopted last week by the Security Council of the UN against the Asian country for nuclear testing that took place in February.

The South Korean Ministry for Unification has confirmed that Pyongyang broke the connection. Both parties usually speak twice a day, but the North has not responded to the calls made this morning. The hotline was installed in 1971, and since 2010 Pyongyang has canceled the lines of communication five times.

But at least two other channels of communication between their military and aviation administrations are still functioning. The South Korean Defense Ministry has said that North Korea plans to launch its own large-scale military maneuvers along its eastern front this week. Those maneuvers will include the participation of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The North Korean artillery bases on islands near the disputed sea border with the South have placed their guns in firing position. “The North seems to be increasing its military activities,” said Kim Min-seok, spokesman for the South Korean Defense Ministry.

The regime of Kim Jong-un has intensified the usual bellicose rhetoric in recent weeks, saying that a second Korean war is “inevitable” and threatened to carry out “preemptive nuclear strikes” against the U.S. and South Korea.

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