Saturday, December 23, 2006

Religion, Capitalism, Violence, Oh my!

Pacem in Terris


Almost every Christmas song out there usually as a few lines talking about peace on earth. For example, "Hark! The herald angels sing, glory to the new born king. Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconcilded!"

Its very beautiful, and nice, because everyone sings about peace on earth and goodwill towards men. Im sure everyone means it their own way. Everyone wants peace, but they want it on their terms. Even the most brutal monster in history, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, etc. all wanted peace on earth. However they had a specific ideas about what that peace would look like.

Which is why I believe the President when he says he does not like war and wishes for peace. Im sure he very much does. But he qualifies that with stating that we need to "acheive victory". Meaning like all leaders, he would prefer peace over war; but will use war if he cannot get his way.


Which brings me to the most important question of the season: When we say Peace on Earth, what does that mean?

The question was addressed some years ago, after the Second World War. Im not a great fan of the speaker but this is one of my favorite speeches of the 20th century. The topic of his speech was, in his words, "the most important topic on earth: peace.

"What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time...

"I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary, rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

"First examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again. I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal."

Two years before this speech was delivered, the United States had invaded Cuba, but failed to overthrow Fidel Castro. A year later, the Soviet Union was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. What ensued is referred to as "the most dangerous moment in the history of the world." 40 years later it was revealed just how close we came to the end of the world. A Soviet submarine was being blocked by US ships from reaching Cuba. The three officers on board had been given the authority from Moscow, if all three agreed, to launch a nuclear attack. Two agreed, one did not. Robert Macnamara (Sec of Defense) admitted in 2002 that "
"a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world."

Vasili Arkhipov saved the world from two men, John Kennedy and Nikita Krushchev. We can only wonder how they felt after the crisis ended, realizing that they literally came to the brink of nuclear war.

Said Kennedy a year later, in the speech I quoted from above, "We must rexamine our attitudes toward the Soviet Union." It was the height of the Cold War, and for 15 years Americans had been bombarded with propaganda to hate and fear the Soviets with all their might. Then Kennedy realized, after he came close to doing so, that the idea of war with the Soviets was insane. So he appealed to the compassion of the American people toward the evil empire of the Soveit Union:

"No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue...And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union in the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and families were burned or sacked. A third of the nation's territory, including two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland -- a loss equivalent to the destruction of this country east of Chicago."

It was a turning point in that the US and USSR had been preparing for, and fully expecting, war with eachother from the late 1940's until the Cuban Missile Crisis. But they realized the stakes (world destruction) were too high. It stopped being a real question anymore. The Cold War continued until 1989, but what stopped in 1962 was the expectation of an actual war between the two.


Did it really take that much to stop a war? Two leaders; ignorant, cowardice, shamefully allowing domestic pressures to overcome their integrity and nearly destroy the world?

Today the U.S. is in crisis. We are at war in the Middle East. We illegally invaded a sovereign nation, and for almost four years now we have been destroying that country, helplessly trying to fight illusive insurgents as 600,000 Iraqis die in the process. Meanwhile, the US announced intentions to build a massive fleet off the coast of Iran. Plans for the "Missile Defense Shield", which is an offensive weapons system aimed at Russia and China, continue at pace. Russia and China have reacted by massively increasing their military force, most importantly increasing missiles aimed at the US.

And all the while, the threat of terrorist attack by Islamic extremists grows more likely by the day. The United States continues killing Iraqis, threatening Iran, allowing its Israeli client state to brutalize the Palestinian people, and staunchly defends the most oppressive and tolitarian state in the world, Saudi Arabia. All across the region, the people are oppressed by dictators, which we refer to as "Kings" and "Presidents". And everyday, among the oppressed, more people fall into the lowest depths of evil, on par with the US/Israeli/Arab governments, and join the ranks of terrorist organizations. When they attack, the President announces they hate our freedom, then sends fighter jets to massacre innocent people.

And in the new Year of Our Lord Two-Thousand and Seven, the President has announced, the United States will dramatically escalate the war in Iraq, bringing a "surge" of violence upon the country, in order to acheive victory.

Christmas Wishes

The reason I speak of the Middle East, is that it is, in President Eisehower's words, "the most strategically important area of the world." It is because of its dominant resource, oil. It is not, nor has it ever been, for the United States to take the oil for itself. But it has, and one can read the declassified record planning this, been to control the region, through client states, who will, among other things, follow US orders such as raising or lowering the price of oil.

And that is because for most of the industrial world, Middle Eastern oil is the single most important resource their country uses. Europe and Japan get 99% of their oil from that region. The State Department declared that control o that oil gives the US a "veto power" over Europe and Japan. Which is why the US government in 1945 declared the oil of the region to be "a stupendous source of strategic power and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."

I hope for the United States to leave the region, permanently, unless welcomed there by a legitimate government. I wish for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to end, immediately. Both sides suffer enormously. In a perfect world, the Jews and Muslims could live together in a single, bi-national state. But as that seems unlikely, the Israelis must end their occupation of Palestinian land.

And the United States must make peace with all countries in the region. Contraty to state propaganda, countries like Iran and Syria do not seek confrontation with us. Indeed they both fear us. They would certainly love to make peace with the United States. Our fundamental goal should be a world where people are not denied their rights, the most fundamental of which, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is that "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

In that peace, and security, for the people of the Middle East, we can hope that progress and reforms will take place on their own. History has shown, almost without exception, that is the only way lasting and meaningful changes can take place. Then real, meaningful peace and progress can come. The people of the Middle East, including Israeli's, can come together with the people of the United States and work to solve our differences without threats of war and destruction looming over us.

"For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's futures. And we are all mortal."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Solving Iraq

Oh my God you guys, I just realized something. Oh wow, I totally cant believe I didnt think of this before. I know how to solve our problem in Iraq. The new war slogan:

"Just get out!" A mix between 'just do it' and 'just dont look' (from a Simpsons Halloween episode during the good years.)

Here is my main argument for the logic of withdrawal. Most Iraqi's do not want us there (polls are done monthly by the US govt, British govt and private institutes), Most Iraqi's support attacks on Americans, and Most Americans want us out. Boo yah. There it is.

What about our responsibilities towards preventing Iraq from descending to chaos?
Well they want us out. There. Stop arming everyone, stop imprisoning everyone. Get out. You want to preserve influence, make friends with Iran and Syria. What do they get in return? Take the nuclear issue out of the Security Council and put it back to the IAEA where it belongs, recognize Iran's inalienable right to nuclear energy (which is in the NPT anyway) and give it security assurances in exchange for inspections. Give Syria back the Golan Heights, and the Palestinians Gaza and the W.Bank; after all, all the Arab states plus Iran promised full recognition and peace with Israel if those conditions are met. Then everyone can work together to help Iraq.

Wow ! Thats such a great solution. Most of that is also in the Baker-Hamilton report (except the Iran-IAEA part, it specifically says keep it in the Security Council.)

Oh also I have one more idea. Stop trying to take control over the Iraqi government and economy. Dismiss all tke Baker-Hamilton's report recommendations about "embedding" US officials into the Iraqi government. And stop pushing the "National Oil Law" which would allow a takeover by private foreign investors, and give up on the "International Compact" which is an attempt by the global financial community to takeover the Iraqi economy.

Whap-ba-da loo-bop, a whap-bam boom.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Effects of American Policies

The World's Largest Prison
This post is from a student at Syracuse University, about his mother.
Here is the story of one Palestinian mother, victim of American foreign policy:


Early this morning, I received the sad news that my mother (54 years old) passed away after serious health complications last night.

I am sending this message to you and many other people around the world because I promised my mother before she died to let everybody know that it wasn't cancer that killed her, it was the occupation.

Yes, the Israeli occupation killed my mother, but this time not using missiles and tank rockets, but through collective punishment and humiliation. Most cancer patients (and those suffering other serious diseases) from Gaza go to Egypt for treatment because we don't have the health infrastructure and latest technologies to do so in Gaza. This is a result of the continuous siege and control imposed by the Israelis over the Palestinian cities, especially Gaza. My mother was one of those patients who was diagnosed, at a very early stage, with bone cancer and was supposed to go to Egypt for treatment early June 2006.

Because of the collective punishment policies that Israel imposes, nobody from Gaza was able to travel (in or out) to any place in the world for three months, because the Israelis control the borders. It wasn't until August 25th that my mother was able to make it to Egypt. During these three months, I and many other people both inside and outside of Palestine tried to talk to international and human rights organizations and ask them to intervene and help in this humanitarian situation. Unfortunately, our appeals failed to change the situation or to make any special arrangements. All these requests were rejected by the occupiers. By the time my mother made it to Egypt, it was unfortunately a bit late because the cancer was rapidly growing in her body and at that stage, doctors didn't have much to do but to try the chemotherapy to see if it could help. Unfortunately, this didn't help much and she peacefully passed away last night. My mother is not the only case; she is just one the cases that someone could talk about. In addition to the tens of people being killed by the Israelis every day through the use of traditional weapons, tens, if not hundreds, of others die every day because of lack of access to health services, because of movement restrictions imposed by the Israelis and the restrictions on delivering medicine and health equipment to Gaza and other Palestinian cities.

Siege and movement restrictions don't only separate patients from health services and facilities (or even from local hospitals; many women gave birth at the checkpoints and many other women, children and seniors die before making it to the nearest hospital). They also separate students from schools and universities, believers and worshipers from mosques and churches, and families from seeing each others for many years.

There are currently more than 500 movement restrictions in the West Bank. Five hundred movement restrictions in an area that is probably smaller than most of the cities in the U.S. -- its size is around 2000 square miles and this area is currently surrounded by the new Apartheid Wall. These checkpoints separate villages, cities, refugee camps and sometimes neighborhoods in the same city. These are the same restrictions that made me unable to see my family in Gaza (when I was living in the West Bank) for more than five years. Even when I was here in the U.S. and wanted to go back and see my mother during the last two months, I wasn't able to do so because the borders were still closed (the Rafah border with Egypt, which is the only gate for Gazans to access the world, was open only six days during the last six months).

What really breaks my heart is not the fact that my mother died, because it's something that everybody will experience one day and I really have great faith in God that this may be better for her. What really makes me feel very sad is that, again, because of the occupation, I haven't seen her for more than six years and that I wasn't even able to see her one last time and say goodbye. It also makes me feel very sad because one of the main motivations for me to pursue a Ph.D. was my great mother. When I was six years old my cousin got his Ph.D. and when we were coming back from visiting him my mother asked me this question (she was probably joking at that time as I was a little kid and wouldn't even know what the Ph.D. is, but I know she meant it). She asked me, "Would you do it for me one day and get your Ph.D.?" I kept this in my mind and heart all the time and I was always encouraged by her and her high spirit to succeed and to make it to Syracuse University to get my Ph.D. Unfortunately, she will not be able to see this day and know that yes, I did it for her.

Goodbye my great mother, you were all the time the source of my inspiration and you will always be, even in your physical absence. May God have mercy on you and bless your soul, mother.Friends and colleagues, unfortunately, our world is full of similar sad and unjustified cases of unfairness and humiliation, but always remember, we can always make a difference if we want. Think of it and see what you can do to make others live the same way you and your children live. Even a little change can make a difference.

Please don’t reply to this message, if you really want to support me and to do me and my mother a favor (I am sure she will appreciate it), please forward my message (or post it on your Blogs) to as many people as possible, let them know, and encourage them to make a difference so we can save other lives and souls in the future.



Gaza, a tiny 15 by 3 mile strip, and one of the most densley populated areas on earth, has been sealed off for almost a year now, due to an Israeli-American policy of collective punishment on the Palestinians for electing Hamas into parliament. The USA used its power over the world's financial institutions to cut off all aid going to the Palestinians, including medicine and food. Israel, using American weapons, money, and authorization, sealed off the borders (including the ocean) and keeps the people of Gaza trapped inside, as they starve to death (50% have no reliable access to food).

I emphasize this is not just an Israeli crime, but an American-Israeli crime. Israel, simply put, would be unable to do this on its own. Over the past year at the United Nations, most of the world has reacted in horror trying to stop this. Resolutions to stop the devastation are vetoed by the United States (after passing near majorities in the General Assembly.) The American people bear a particular responsibility, it is our government leading this crime.

Friday, December 08, 2006

How I Was Framed

A colleague of mine, John Schad, recently created a screen name similar to that of a schoolmate of ours, in order to impersonate him online. That person, Swift, has the screen name Hkjbw7. John Schad created the name Hkbjw7. Notice the difference?

John Schad used the fake screen name to go on a rampage, impersonating "Swift" and doing all sorts of horrible things. Many people were tricked. I was one of them.

Unfortunately, John Schad has tried to implicate me in his crime. He, apparently, colluded with his republican friend Matt Groban.

Kevster 5 1 9: hello matt

matsgd: kevin

Kevster 5 1 9: can i ask you something

matsgd: what

Kevster 5 1 9: did you tell swift that i participated with schad in making up a fake screen
name,similar to swifts, to be use in an attempt to impersonate swift

matsgd: yes

matsgd: i belieev i told him it was schad, but schad asked me to tell him you were involved as well. to 'take of heat' so to speak.

Kevster 5 1 9: but i wasnt involved

matsgd: i no

Kevster 5 1 9: then why say I was?

matsgd: shcad told me too

Kevster 5 1 9: Schad committed identity theft and was caught. ALthough you knew the truth, he used you to lie and implicate me in the crime?

matsgd: im tyingto dowork and your annoying me

matsgd: iiwll tells iwft you wer ienvolevd if youd ont stop this

Kevster 5 1 9: thats ok you've said all i needed to hear

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Iraq Study Group, Review (in progress)

Havnt finished reading the Iraq Study Group Report as Im at work but I thought Id comment on the "Executive Summary" at the beginning.

It says one of the consequences for failure is "Al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations." I dispute that. In fact, I believe the opposite is true.

Whether you like Al Qaeda or not, they already HAVE acheived a propaganda victory. The invasion of Iraq was the greatest thing that has happened to Al Qaeda. According to Michael Scheuer, (CIA's foremost expert on Osama bin Laden) "The war in Iraq - if Osama was a Christian - it's the Christmas present he never would have expected"

Since the early 1990's, bin Laden and Al Qaeda propaganda has stated that the United States wants to control the Middle East; and the US secretly wants to invade Iraq to set up a puppet government and permanent military presence. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have been loudly, and constantly stating this all over the Middle East since around 1994.

So a lot of Muslims heard this but said "eh, I dont know. bin Laden is kind of crazy." Then in 2003 the US invaded Iraq (to find WMD! oh he didnt have any? oh well, 'I would have invaded anyway' says Bush). Support for Al Qaeda has, as predicted, skyrocketed. The US govt knew all this by the way.

Any terrorism analyst will tell you, and it is the *official* combined assesment of the combined intelligence agencies of the United States, that the US presence in Iraq has caused and is creating more support for Al Qaeda and terrorism. The CIA concluded in 2005 that Iraq had already become a "base of operations" for Al Qaeda (which this report says we must prevent.)

If we leave Iraq "Al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations."

1. Al Qaeda acheived the greatest propaganda victory in its history by our invasion of Iraq. Everyday that we continue to occupy Iraq, and kill more Iraqi civilians (accident or not) is another fantastic propaganda victory for Iraq.

2. If the US left Iraq, it would difficult to see how that would result in the country becoming a "base of operations" for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda came to Iraq after the US invaded, to kill Americans. They are detested by the Shia majority in the South and the Kurds in the North; the only support they have is a nominal alliance with the Sunni insurgency whose goal is to get the US to leave. They are only there, and allowed to be there, because of the US occupation.

3. If the US leaves Iraq, with no permanent bases, and allows an independent government; this will be a massive propaganda DEFEAT for Al Qaeda, who is arguing that the US intends to keep permanent bases (which is true) and prevent an independent government (which is true.)


Two other consequences if the US withdraws: "The global standing of the United States could be diminished." and "Americans could become more polarized."

1. When I read the first sentence I just laughed and thought the US is so hated, more so then its history, I cant imagine it could get worse. But I realized they arnt talking about that. The US rules the world through fear, it has "street cred". A lot of government elites cheered the invasion for, among other reasons, showing how tough/strong the US is and to send a message to the rest of the world "ha ha, dont fuck with us or you are dead!" (the result being, of course, a race among third world countries to develop nuclear weapons as protection.) If we LEAVE Iraq, it will show weakness (they were obsessed with this after Vietnam).

Well, they are of course correct about this. But what you might miss is this is quite revealing about what their real objectives in Iraq are. We went in for WMD, they werent there. Check. We went in to remove Saddam, check. We went in to establish democracy, Check. Why would it make the US look weak if we left? Because almost everyone in the world, except the American people, know the US wasnt there for those reasons. It invaded to establish a client state in Iraq, controlled by the US, mainly for the oil; and to send a message of force. If we leave now, we fail, and lose our street cred "global standing."

2. "Americans could become more polarized." I agree. The American people overwhelmingly are against the war and a huge majority wants us out within a year, a smaller majorit wants us out now. If we LEAVE Iraq, the American will lose an issue that brought them together. So they will turn to other stuff, like abortion, and become polarized.


Recommendations I want to comment on:

1. "The issue of Iran's nuclear programs should continue to be dealt with by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany." The issue should be dealt with by the IAEA, (International Atomic Energy Agency, division of UN) which is the IAEA's JOB! The Iranians are not doing anything illegal (the NPT, a treaty signed by the US and Iran recognize's the 'inalienable right' to a nuclear energy program.) The US wants the issue in the Security Council because the S.C. is controlled by the US and the other four major nuclear powers (UK,France,China,Russia); as opposed to the General Assembly which is the body of ALL member nations (and the US cant veto anything). The problem with the General Assembly is most countries support Iran's program, because its not illegal. So the US wants the issue turned to the Security Council.

Now, this is pretty irrelevant to the purpose of their report. Its because the report recommends getting Iran involved in solving the Iraq problem. I think they added that to say "But we arnt saying you have to treat Iran with respect; treat them like shit, show them who is in charge. But get their help with Iraq." Yeah see how that works out.


Lastly I'll comment on their recommendation for solving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Now, this is quite simply. Israel should end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and allow a Palestinian State there. Thats been the position of nearly the whole world since the 70's, passes the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly every year (with the US, Israel and Paula/Micronesia voting against) but vetoed in the Security Council. The Arab League passed the 'Saudi Plan' in 2002 which says if Israel does this, every Arab state will recognize Israel, make a full peace treaty, and integrate them into the region. After President Ahmedinjead of Iran said Israel should be wiped off the map; he was reprimanded and the real leader of the country Ayatollah Khameini, announced Iran supports the Arab Plan.

So thats my suggestion for a solution. the US and Israel would rather prefer that Israel takeover large parts of the west bank and push the palestinians into little apartheid cantons for the rest of their lives. Thats why we dont have a solution.

Thats the Executive Summary. Will post on the rest of the report tonight

Iraq Study Group

The Iraq Study Group came out with their report this morning. The President had a live press conference at 8am (ha ha i dont think thats ever happened) to comment on it (I suspect it was that early so nobody would be watching, he doesnt want the report out.)

Anyway the media immediately put articles out about it. Now, the report itself is 160 pages, but the text only takes up a small amount so its probably only like 80 pages. So I imagine that *some* of the people who wrote articles on it actually read it, but I suspect it wasnt a critical reading, they just wanted to find quotes and then write on those. Point in case:

The first *sentence* of the whole report: "There is no magic formula to solve the problems of Iraq." if you go to (its 1:00pm right now) the news headling is this: "'No magic formula' for Iraq."

Anyone who's ever written a book report on a book they didn't read knows the tricks. Don't fool yourself into thinking journalists are somehow above that. They have deadlines too, and they also have a very low bar to jump.

So I printed the whole report off the internet <>.

You can also buy the book if you want (its like 10 bucks, and a PORTION of the proceeds will go to a military families charity).

OR if you dont want to read it and dont trust the media, you can wait til later in the day for me to write up a review. Im going to get an iced coffee right now and read it on my lunch break. Will have a post about it by tonight.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Profiles in Courage

"You shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wants to can leave -- and we will see where this process leads."
(Defense Minister) Moshe Dayan advising what (Prime Minister) Golda Meir should tell the Palestinians
Jimmy Carter now has a book out called "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid". The reason its a big deal is because in America, you never hear about the unspeakable horrors imposed on the Palestinian people by the United States and Isreal. To say they are treated like dogs is inaccurate, dogs are treated much better. But I'll post more about the Palestinians later in the week.
I think its great Jimmy Carter is speaking out for an oppressed people, especially since its taboo to do so in the U.S. And I'll write a whole post about that.
I was watching Jimmy Carter do an interview on a live call-in show on CSPAN this Sunday. I kept trying to call in (to no avail.) But I had no intention of asking him about his book. The whole time I was looking at Jimmy Carter, all I could think about was Oscar Romero.
My post today is a story about a horror forced upon a people that far elcipses what is happening to the Palestinians. A brutal terrorist regime had seized power and declared a war on its own people, correctly described by a UN Commission as genocide.
The American president at the time was Jimmy Carter.
"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916."
-General Smedley Butler, Marine Corps; and in 1933 was the most decorated soldier in US history


Oscar Romero. Catholic priest, later Archbishop of San Salvador. He is currently on the path to becoming a Saint, and has his own statue in Westminster Abbey as one of the greatest of "20th century martyrs". He is hailed as a hero across the world and his name alone will evoke deep emotion across Latin America. However, like the plight of the Palestinians, in the United States the name "Oscar Romero" is completely unknown.
To understand this case, I'll start with a quote that General Smedley Butler gave in 1933. At the time, Butler was the most decorated veteran in American history. Here, he reflexs on his long and distinguished career as one of the few, the proud, the marines:

El Salvador is one of the Central American republics that Smedley said he "helped in the raping of...for the benefits of Wall Street." Instead of direct colonial rule, though, the US relied on quite brutal dictators. The country would be exploited and controlled by US business. But control started slipping in the 1970's. The oppressed, the peasants, the workers, the majority. They began organizing themselves (with a lot of help from the Church) and demanding basic human rights.
This became a concern for the United States, which would prefer to have Central America firmly under its control and to enrich American business. Naturally if the people start organizing themselves against their imposed regime, it becomes a problem.
In 1979 a right-wing military junta seized power in El Salvador. It immediately began a program of terror, not only did they begin slaughtering the peasants of El Salvador, anyone who spoke out against this was immediately killed.
For me to just say the junta terrorized the people of El Salvador would give no justice to what was happening.

Daniel Santiago was an American Jesuit priest who wrote down what he saw. "People are not just killed by death squads in El Salvador-they are decapitated and then their heads are placed on pikes and used to dot the landscape. Men are not just disemboweled by the Salvadoran Treasury Police; their severed genitalia are stuffed into their mouths. Salvadoran women are not just raped by the National Guard; their wombs are cut from their bodies and used to cover their faces. It is not enough to kill children; they are dragged over barbed wire until the flesh falls from their bones, while parents are forced to watch. "
In a gruesome, but common, example, Santiago wrote about "a peasant woman who returned home one day to find her three children, her mother and her sister sitting around a table, each with its own decapitated head placed carefully on the table in front of the body, the hands arranged on top, as if each body was stroking its own head. The assasins, from the Salvadoran National Guard, had found it hard to keep the head of an 18 month old baby in place, so they nailed the hands onto it. A large plastic bowl filled with blood was tastefully displayed in the center of the table."

The military junta was backed and armed by the United States. The press refused to report what was going on. I emphasize the word refused. Many credited people tried to get them to report it. Many respected academics wrote op-eds. The American press refused to publish anything.

Father Oscar Romero was appointed Archbishop of San Salvador (capital of El Salvador.) Much of the Catholic Church (in El Salvad0r) was concerned about the widespread misery and poverty of the El Salvadorian people, and they were being killed off one by one for speaking out. Instead of, say, giving up and focusing on preventing evolution from being taught in schools, Oscar Romero used his position to affect change.
Romero began speaking out on social justice, poverty, widescale torture and oppression and the assasinations that were killing priests and nuns across the country. When the military junta took power in 1979 the horror was escalated to unprecedented scales, with daily massacres and some 3,000 dying every month for the whole year of 1980. Romero was a hero to a people who had never before had a voice, who had never before had anyone take their side.

In early 1980 it was reported that the US was considering a massive increased in military aid to the junta, perhaps hoping they could hurry up and finish the job. Upon hearing this Oscar Romero wrote a letter to President Jimmy Carter.

Romero begged Carter not to send the aid, telling him "your government’s contribution will undoubtedly sharpen the injustice and the repression inflicted on the organized people, whose struggle has often been for respect for their most basic human rights."
Carter decided to send the aid anyway.

The war of terror soon entered into a phase that the UN characterized as "genocidal." Speaking in one of his many broadcasts, Romero addressed the Salvadoran National Guard, "Brothers, you are from the same people; you kill your fellow peasant . . . No soldier is obliged to obey an order that is contrary to the will of God . . . In the name of God then, in the name of this suffering people I ask you, I beg you, I command you in the name of God: stop the repression."

The next day, March 24, was the last day of Oscar Romero's life. He was giving mass that day. As he stood before his congregation, Romero told them "One must not love oneself so much, as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us, and those that fend off danger will lose their lives." Seconds later gunman burst in and, in front of all his parishiners, in the middle of his mass, opened fire and murdered Oscar Romero.
The gunman were later identified. They had been armed and trained by the United States.
As he collapsed before his flock, and lay dying on the floor, Romero looked to those around him and said "May God have mercy on the assassins," then died.
"If they kill me, I shall arise in the Salvadoran people. If the threats come to be fulfilled, from this moment I offer my blood to God for the redemption and resurrection of El Salvador. Let my blood be a seed of freedom and the sign that hope will soon be reality."
Three days later, in the largest demonstration in the history of Latin America, more then 50,000 peasants from around the nation gathered to bury Oscar Romero. Dignitaries from every major country, except the United States, attended. The BBC covered the event live, and millions of people all over the world witnessed something extraordinary. As the people of El Salvador began burying their hero, the Salvadoran National Guard opened fire and began massacring them. Television viewers would see widespread panic, chaos, bombs going off, dignitaries fleeing into the Church where they were trapped for hours.
Admist the bombs, gunfire and chaos as yet another massacre took place; a few brave peasants stood their ground and, with bullets whizzing past their heads, lowered their fallen hero into his final resting place.
"Aspire not to have more, but to be more."
The week of March 30th, 1980, headlines around the world carried news of Oscar Romero and later his horrifying funeral, from Europe to Africa and Asia it was given massive attention. In the United States of America, the nation that armed and trained Romero's assasins, with the freest press in the world, not a word of Romero's death or funeral was even reported. A New York Times archives search of the year 1980 shows the last mention of Romero was in February, a month before he was assasinated, buried on page six in an article titled "U.S. Aid Plan Opposed."
The repression continued for another 12 years. After the people were sufficiently slaughtered and terrorized, the US allowed elections to take place, but with an explicit warning: Vote for our candidate, or the terror will start again. The US canidate won.
Since then, US dictated economic policies (known as 'neo-liberalism', 'structural adjustment programs' or 'the washington consensus) have devastated El Salvador. For many of the impoverished majority, their only source of income is "remittances", which is money sent from Salvadoran relatives living abroad. When elections are held, the US ambassador will announce what candidate should be elected, and warns what will happen if US orders are not followed.
In the last election, FMLN was the opposition party. El Salvador was told, and it was widely (and constantly) reported in the Salvadoran media that George W Bush thinks FMLN are "terrorists" (this was just after the invasion of Iraq) and that the US will "reconsider" its relations with El Salvador if they elect FMLN, and in any case all remitances will be cut off (a death sentence for millions) and all Salvadorans in the US deported. The FMLN was linked to Osama bin Laden and on election day, international observers blocked from leaving the airport. When the votes were counted, the US candidate won.
Three days later, March 24, thousands of Salvadorans marched in a candle lit ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of the fallen leader's murder. Stretching across the capital's main plaza was a banner, which read
""Forgive us, Monsignor, for we have elected your assassins once again . . . "

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
When the Reagan Administration tookover in 1981, the war was expanded. It was not only escalated in El Salvador, but added to the list of targets was Nicaragua. The devastation caused by US-backed death squads in Nicaragua essentially destroyed the country and it today remains the most impoverished nation in Latin America.
At the height of the atrocities, the US government was running a multi-national war of terrorism, deploying death squads all over Central America; destroying peasant movements, labor unions and anything else deemed an obstacle to total US control. The whole effort was being run out of the US Embassy in Honduras by the American Ambassador, John Negroponte.
Where do we find ourselves 20 years later?
After the illegal US invasion of Iraq and prolonged control by US viceroy Paul Bremer; it was announced that we were turing sovereignty over to the Iraqi people, showing that we have no interest in control Iraq or its resources. And since Iraq is now a sovereign nation, it would make sense to send a US Ambassador to occupy the new built American Embassy; which just happened to be the biggest embassay in world history (literally.) And who did Bush send to be the first American Ambassador to Iraq after sovereignty was returned? John Negroponte.
John Negroponte doesn't even speak Arabic. It seems an odd choice. Why the hell would they make John Negroponte the first Ambassador to Iraq?
"El Salvador-style 'death squads' to be deployed by US against Iraq militants"
The London Times, January 10th, 2005
- Its great that Jimmy Carter is speaking out for the Palestinians. But he had a chance to do something when he was President, and he did not. Instead, he wrote a book 30 years after he was elected president; long after he left politics, when he is a few years away from death, and at this point, has got nothing to lose.
- Oscar Romero saw suffering and did something about it. Carter's biggest risk he faced for speaking out was having some jackasses at AIPAC say you are a Jew-hater. Romero risked being killed. And he was. By weapons supplied from Carter.
-For anyone who cares, John Negroponte was replaced by a former oil executive who can speak Arabic. Instead, Negroponte is now the first "Director of National Intelligence". This makes more sense, because Negroponte made his name by conducting a secret, covert terrorist war against the people of Central America; in ways that covered American involvement. That may seem unimportant, but there were some real whackos in the government back then.
- Isn't Life Funny: One of the craziest voices in all this came in 1984. There was a high-level CIA agent who said; Look, if the people of Nicragua dont vote the way we tell them, we should bomb them, just bomb the shit out of them! It's as simple as that.
Twenty-six years later, that man was called to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee. It was today, and it was his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Defense.