Regime Change – some thoughts

First, let me give you a pointer to an interesting article. It will likely open with Word inside your browser. This document shows that, despite the claim of ‘weapons of mass destruction’, several key figures in the Bush administration had long planned to do several things:

  • Prevent anything (breakup of the Soviet Union, for example) from reducing US ‘Defence’ spending
  • Increase American dominance of the world through military power
  • Actively and aggressively pursue American economic and political gain (not for the masses, but mostly for the defence and oil industries, and their insiders)

Some of you will remember Condoleezza Rice’s famous ‘Smoking Gun’ statement. It turned out that the only weapon of mass destruction in Iraq was the American B-52 bomber.

Let me list for you a few cases of regime change in which the United States played a key part:

  • Chile. This brought in Pinochet, the “dragon” of the novel ‘The Last Song of Manuel Sendero’.
  • Cuba. In this article you will find these words: Grau remained president for just over 100 days before Batista, conspiring with the U.S. envoy Sumner Welles, forced him to resign in January 1934. Batista was overthrown by Fidel Castro. US – Cuba relations have been cool for a long time, although they are warming up now.
  • Panama. In this article you will find these words: It is clear that each U.S. government agency which had a relationship with Noriega turned a blind eye to his corruption and drug dealing, even as he was emerging as a key player on behalf of the Medellin Cartel. The history of US intervention in Panama is quite extensive; in this article you will find these words: It is evident that treaties like the Bidlack-Mallarino Treaty were not considered unconstitutional, or illegal, at the time given the fact that they included interference of the U.S. government in internal matters of a sovereign country. It is also evident that Roosevelt speeches made clear that the United States decided to unilaterally break with the Bidlack-Mallarino treaty and, instead of solving the internal Panamanian problem as the treaty forced them to do, helped with the separation of Panama from Colombia. In short, the US separated Panama from Columbia by force, after many other military interventions. How well is Panama doing now? In this article you will find these words: The ensuing litigation has shined a spotlight on the pervasive corruption within the Panamanian legal system. Importantly, a number of U.S. citizens involved in the proceedings, and Mr. Lehman in particular, have systematically and routinely been deprived basic human rights.
  • Nicaragua. I’m sure most of us remember the Iran-Contra affair, whereby the US sold weapons to Iran and used the money to fund the Contras in Honduras, who were operating against the government of Nicaragua. In this article you will see how well Colonel North is received in Nicaragua: To critics, it was like witnessing a criminal return to the scene of the crime: a conflict which cost 30,000 Nicaraguan lives, destroyed the economy and left the country polarised.
  • Venezuela. Despite US coverage that implies Chavez only claimed there was a coup attempt, you will see in this article that he was detained for 47 hours. There you will find these words: However opposition to the Chávez government was particularly strong in the country’s privately owned media outlets, which had long represented the European-descended landowners and business community against the majority indigenous and darker-skinned populations. These upper and upper-middle classes now feared losing long-held economic and political power as a result of Chávez’s many reforms. The new policies of subsidizing basic foodstuffs, redistributing oil revenue and breaking-up large estates was particularly contentious. And these words: The mainstream of Venezuelan media outlets are privately owned, and which side they were on was made abundantly clear in the way events were covered. The privately owned yet “public” media played a key role in the coup, providing continuous coverage of the general strike leading up to it, as well as having supported the dangerous rerouting of coup supporters to Miraflores Palace where pro-Chávez supporters were assembled that same day. Venevision, owned by Gustavo Cisneros, played a key role, with pro-coup leaders meeting there after the 11 April march and appealing to the military to intervene on their behalf. It was also Venevisión that claimed to have filmed “Chavistas” firing from the bridge. This footage was edited by Venevisión in a way that suggested a planned ambush of opposition marchers by pro-Chávez gunmen. And these words: The message, recorded at least two hours before the killings started, accused Chávez of massacring innocent people using snipers, referring to at least six dead and dozens wounded. In other words, the media had their lie planned ahead of the shootings, which were done by anti-Chavez snipers and then blamed on Chavez supporters. I am sure everyone knows how popular the US is in Venezuela today. This from a forty-seven hour regime change.
  • Iraq. No need to beat this one to death, eh?
  • Afghanistan. Ditto.
  • Egypt. This country’s history is more complicated than I can handle here. Here are two articles in Wikipedia. I will content myself by noting that the regime change (no more Hosni Mubarak) in Egypt is not going well.
  • Syria. This is deja vu all over again. We have ?confirmed? reports of limited use of poison gas by the Assad regime. In the article you will see that the evidence was provided by France. Not surprisingly, Russia denies that proof has been presented; Russia has a small naval base in Syria which that government hoped would get larger; it is the only one still operating outside the former Soviet Union territory. Russia calls it a ‘Material-Technical Support Point.’ More on Syria later.
  • Iran. In this article you will find these words: In 1941 Reza Shah was deposed and his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was installed by an invasion of allied British and Soviet troops. In 1953, foreign powers (American and British) again came to the Shah’s aid—after the Shah fled the country, the British MI6 aided an American CIA operative in organizing a military coup d’etat to oust the nationalist and democratically elected Prime Minister. And these: Many Iranians believe the lack of intervention and the sympathetic remarks about the revolution by high-level American officials indicate the U.S. “was responsible for Khomeini’s victory”.Iran today is controlled by Ali Hosseini Khamenei. There is a president and a prime minister, but they hold little power. The previous president, Ahmadinejad, was famous for outrageous statements that angered the West, and occasionally were tempered down by the Ayatollah.

So, what’s my point? Regime change has not, in general, gone very well. The US, and most of the G8, want Bashar Hafez al-Assad removed from power in Syria. Russia is dissenting. America is apparently ‘about to’ provide small arms. (In fact, it appears here that they already have been doing so.) Some reports indicate that the rebels don’t think the US will provide heavy enough equipment. However, the Obama change in position seems to have caused other countries to contribute more, see this article for details.

I think Syria will turn into another Afghanistan: a proxy war fought with weapons supplied by allies of the regime and of the regime’s opposition. When the dust settles and the blood is mostly coagulated, we’ll have another ungovernable country we’re trying to distance ourselves from without appearing to have cost lives for little gain. And of course, a few politicians will gain, and many arms manufacturers will gain.

Now for the dumb question: are we really dumb enough to do this? Is the leadership of the United States of America blind enough to do this? What will it cost, who will benefit, and who will lose? Remember Lenin’s Law: to understand who caused a political event, look to who benefited from it.

James Travers: In Memoriam, and in Respect

James Travers was a respected, award-winning columnist for the Toronto Star.

Mr. Travers actually replied to eMails sent to him by nobodies like myself. ‘Proof’ is at the end of this post. I would like to point out the most amazing, prescient column I have ever read, which can be found here in the Toronto Star website. Click on the link and read it.

Jim Travers was taken from us by complications following an operation, at age 62.

I will copy here a couple of the lines in the column mentioned before.

Jim Travers wrote these words:

Imagine a country where Parliament is padlocked twice in 13 months to frustrate the democratic will of the elected majority. That country is now this country.

Imagine a country that slyly relaxes environmental regulations even as its neighbour reels from a catastrophic oil leak blamed on slack controls. That country is now this country.

There are some twenty-four such remarks in this remarkable column by a remarkable, and apparently fearless, columnist.

I sent the following eMail to Mr. Travers, not really expecting a reply. Of course I had underestimated this gentleman.

From: Jim Bennett
To: Travers, Jim
Sent: Sat Jun 19 15:03:10 2010
Subject: Today’s Column: Imagine a Country
Thanks for a well-written, thoughtful, and (best of all) hard-hitting
We all need to wake up in “that country”.
Jim Bennett

Thanks very much. Much appreciated.
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

So, what’s my point? Go back and click on the link. Read Jim Travers’ article. Then do something about it: write, call, or eMail: your MP, MPP, councillor, mayor, company president. We need to wake up in this country. Otherwise, like Mr. Travers, what’s left of our democracy will also be lost.