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October 16, 2002

Let's Talk About US Terrorism

Salon has a good reminder that state terrorism has been a normal weapon of US policy and of its allies, most dramatically in Guatemala where a CIA-engineered coup in 1954 would lead to 200,000 deaths from civil war and US-backed death squads.

Appropriately with all the US repression of this reality, the story highlights a book by Daniel Wilkinson called Silence on the Mountain: Stories of Terror, Betrayal, and Forgetting in Guatemala.

There is blood on America's hands from that terrorism we supported -- and there is no other word for the death-driven reign of fear inflicted on the peasants of Central America -- and we cannot seriously fight a "war on terrorism" without acknowleding our government's own sins.

The US-supported murders of Guatemalans in no ways justifies the unrelated murders of Sept 11, but they do justify the suspicion of the global community of seeing the US military as an instrument of freedom, when for so many people in developing nations, it has been a supporter and even trainer of terrorist government death squads.

Posted by Nathan at October 16, 2002 12:22 AM

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The closely-related and somewhat later "secret war" in El Salvador (ca. 1979-198?) is another case.

This war was, in my opinion, the beginning of craven media complicity in the official story. The media would primarily report about "covert aid" (which everybody knew about) and "alleged massacres" (of which there were eyewitness survivors, with plenty of physical remains of victims to be seen) and killings by "unknown assaillants" (who were government forces, some of them trained by us). Then they would put a little footnote in paragraph 17 or on page 17 saying "other claim that..." and sneak in a truncated version of the truth.

This puts me in my conspiracy-theory zone again, but I believe (without evidence) that after Vietnam and Watergate, rather than the media congratulating themselves on a job relatively well done, instead they vowed that never again would the free press be allowed to shake up American government. They've been acting that way.

Posted by: zizka at October 16, 2002 10:29 AM

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