Target Afghanistan

FRFI 163 October / November 2001

‘You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war,’
US newspaper proprietor William Randolph Hearst in 1897, before the US duly acquired Cuba.

‘Afghanistan is the place where the Reagan doctrine paid off…The unravelling of the cold war began there,’
US ambassador to Pakistan 1988-91.

Within one week of the destruction of New York’s World Trade Centre and the attack on the Pentagon, the US Navy despatched two aircraft carrier battle groups towards Afghanistan. The British Royal Navy readied over twenty vessels scheduled for exercises off Oman to join the US fleet. For over 200 years British armed forces have paved the way for ‘free trade and civilisation’ in the Middle East and Central Asia. The result has been an arena of constant war. Now the US and British governments intend to demonstrate that the problems of the world can be solved by mass destruction from the air. Instead of four hijacked airliners there will be tens of thousands of bombers, jets, missiles, shells and helicopter gun-ships.

 

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US imperialism on the defensive

In early March, George Bush scuttled round Latin America, visiting Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay in a desperate effort to mend his political fences as the masses press their demands for a divorce from US imperialism. In response Venezuelan President Chavez took the opportunity to shadow Bush and expose his politics. ALVARO MICHAELS reports.

Hillary Clinton explained why Bush had to make the visit when she said recently: ‘Look at what’s happening in Latin America...where we are seeing anti-American regimes gain ground. We don’t engage with bad guys, so we don’t engage with, you know, Chavez and try to...see if there is any way to pull him back, or at least prevent others from following his lead.’ The US Government Accountability Office estimates that if Venezuela were to suddenly cease exporting oil to the US, the latter could experience a reduction of its gross national product of up to $23 billion.

 

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US-Colombian warmongers

FRFI 202 April / May 2008

On 1 March two members of the FARC-EP Central High Command, Raul Reyes and Julian Conrado, and twenty three other members of the 48th Front were butchered inside Ecuador. At least five smart bombs exploded within a 50-metre radius during a night attack, an impossible achievement for the Colombian Air Force. Two days before the attack, US Admiral Joseph Nimmich met with Colombian military leaders in Bogota with the stated purpose of ‘sharing vital information in the fight against terrorism.’ US intelligence located the base after Reyes used his satellite phone to arrange the goodwill release of four prisoners – ex-members of the Colombian Congress – to Venezuelan officials two days earlier. Chavez described Colombia as the ‘Israel of Latin America’.

 

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US ratchets up pressure against Cuba

As the US Presidential election looms closer, it is time once again for the US administration to declare open season against Cuba in order to garner maximum votes for George Bush from the reactionary Miami-based Cuban exile population – votes that proved crucial to Bush’s fraudulent victory in 2000. But the transparency and cynicism of recent US manoeuvres against Cuba makes them no less damaging for the socialist island, particularly in the menacing climate of the current US ‘War on Terrorism’. While Cuba remains on the official US list of ‘terrorist states’, any hostile act by the United States can only be viewed as an attempt to provoke a response which could provide a green light for US military action. However, Cuba continues to parry the thrusts of the US and its lackeys and expose the hypocrisy and brutality of imperialism, while consolidating key alliances with other countries of Latin America. JIM CRAVEN and JUANJO RIVAS report.

United Nations vote
This renewed spate of attacks began in the run-up to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (HRC) meeting in April, as the United States, using threats and bribes, touted round the United Nations for any country shabby or desperate enough to play what Cuban Foreign Minister Roque has called ‘the role of the empire’s lackey’. By such measures the United States was able to force through its annual motion at the HRC, criticising Cuba for so-called human rights abuses for its jailing of 75 counter-revolutionaries in April 2003. Yet despite its best efforts, the US won by just one vote, enabling Cuba to claim a moral victory. Last year Costa Rica submitted the US motion as proxy; this year it was Honduras, lured by the possibility of a slice of a $3.5bn US Millennium Challenge Fund. Roque made it clear that Cuba rejects the spurious resolution approved in Geneva and will not abide by any of its stipulations.

 

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The bloody trail of Luis Posada Carriles

On 17 May, the United States reluctantly arrested CIA agent and terrorist Luis Posada Carriles on immigration charges. Posada entered the US illegally and lived in Miami for two months while US authorities turned a blind eye (see FRFI 185). Now the US administration is in a quandary, caught between loyalty to a man who has for decades been a faithful operative in its bloodiest operations and its self-professed ‘war on terror’. In particular, the US cannot accede to Venezuela’s request to extradite Posada to face trial for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian aeroplane in which 73 passengers were killed. For, as recently declassified FBI and CIA files reveal, Posada’s testimony could expose a vile and sordid relationship with the US intelligence services that stretches back over 40 years. Whatever crimes, including torture, murder and terrorism, Posada has committed – and he has left a trail of bloody footprints the length and breadth of Latin America – he has committed in the name of US imperialism.

 

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US hypocrisy on ‘terrorism’ exposed

On 15 November, a Los Angeles Times editorial condemned the US’s stance on self-confessed bomber and terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, stating that ‘dithering on the part of the US is leaving the nation open to charges of hypocrisy in the war on terror – specifically, to the charge that some forms of terrorism are more acceptable than others’.

Luis Posada Carriles has admitted bombing hotels in Havana, attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro and having played a leading role in blowing up a Cubana flight in October 1976, killing all 73 people aboard (with prior CIA knowledge). Yet, 18 months after his arrest in the United States, he has yet to be charged. He remains detained solely on immigration issues.

Both Cuba and Venezuela have requested Posada’s extradition and have been rejected. In May 2005 a judge ruled he should be deported to another country, but none of the six proposed by the US is willing to take him. In November, a federal judge gave the US government until 1 February 2007 to bring a case against Posada or he will be freed.

 

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US court frees terrorist Posada Carriles

On 4 May, US District Judge Kathleen Cordone declared that the ‘shocking and outrageous’ tactics of the US government in ‘manipulating the legal system’ in the case of Luis Posada Carriles left her with no choice but to dismiss the indictment against him for immigration fraud. Mass murderer Posada, already on bail since 19 April, was free and the US government, in essence, off the hook.

Cordone made it clear that, while aware that Posada was a ‘political hot potato’, she could not indict him on terrorist charges if the government refused to bring them. ‘The realm of this case is not terrorism. It is fraud’.

 

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USA - Obama: one leap forward – and ten steps back

FRFI 206 December 2008 / January 2009

With Barack Obama’s election, the United State has taken a big leap forward – not because it has elected a black person President, but because of what had to happen for him to be elected.

Leap forward
In its analysis of the US, FRFI has emphasised the changes in the US working class: the declining importance and power of the better-off workers, the labour aristocracy, and the growing significance of people of colour - particularly of the Latino population. We argued four years ago that the decline of the labour aristocracy and the political demoralisation of the most oppressed workers had undermined the class coalition with liberal middle-class whites which formed the political basis for the Democratic Party – and that this cost it the Presidential election in 2004: ‘This Presidential election marked the exhaustion of the political strategy which the Democratic Party has been following for the last half-century’ (FRFI 182). We have argued that political progress in the US can only be achieved if the left organises with the most oppressed workers, black people and Latinos.

 

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USA inc. Too big to fail?

FRFI 206 December 2008 / January 2009

US finance capital has gone through extraordinary turbulence in the last few weeks. Through a torrent of financial measures, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) has now become the main participant in the US money market, since it is the only bank that lenders trust. The entire total of handouts, bail-outs, loans and guarantees now comes to a staggering $8.5 trillion – more than half the annual production of the US. The national debt is now over $10 trillion. Debt on this scale is unprecedented. Can it be sustained? Is the US ‘too big to fail’?

In past issues of FRFI we have shown how derivatives, exotic financial instruments, have proved to be so toxic to the financial system that leading US financial institutions have had to be nationalised or taken over to survive – or else allowed to go bankrupt. In our last issue, we showed that since the toxic assets have no market, they are difficult to price, hence cannot be used as security collateral in exchange for loans. The entire US money market began to freeze up; in place of credit, a furious hunt for cash began.

 

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US elections: facing the system’s insoluble contradictions

FRFI 207 February / March 2009

The United States has a new President, the 44th. Undeniably the election of a black citizen to the most powerful job in the world is a major landmark and welcome signal of change. Equally undeniable is the vast, palpable feeling of excitement amongst working-class and middle-class citizens about the possibilities for change and of goodwill toward the new President. Indeed, it is not only US citizens who have welcomed Obama’s election. But we have to look beyond these surface impressions to establish what this development means for US imperialism. US correspondent STEVE PALMER reports.

One of the consistent themes of our coverage of the Bush administration has been that many of its policies have been controversial amongst the ruling class: the Iraq war was clearly unnecessary, badly executed and rife with corruption; the war in Afghanistan has failed to strengthen the local puppet regime or to undermine support for the Taliban; the contempt for science manifest in pretending away global warming, impeding stem-cell research and in industry-manipulated drug approval; the bungled handling of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina; needless alienation of foreign allies, such as France; the insistence on legalising torture; Guantanamo; the imposition of the Global Gag Rule linking aid to the ban on abortion and family planning advice anywhere in the world, and so on.

 

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