THE COLDER WAR
by John Pilger
[John Pilger is an award winning journalist, author,
and documentary film-maker.]
LAST week, the US government announced that it was
building the biggest-ever war machine. Military spending
will rise to $379 billion, of which $50 billion will pay for
its "war on terrorism".
There will be special funding for new, refined weapons
of mass slaughter and for "military operations" - invasions
of other countries.
Of all the extraordinary news since September 11, this
is the most alarming. It is time to break our silence.
That is to say, it is time for other governments to
break their silence, especially the Blair government, whose
complicity in the American rampage in Afghanistan has not
denied its understanding of the Bush administration's true
plans and ambitions.
The recent statements of British Ministers about the
"vindication" of the "outstanding success" in Afghanistan
would be comical if the price of their "success" had not
been paid with the lives of more than 5,000 innocent Afghani
civilians and the failure to catch Osama bin Laden and
anyone else of importance in the al-Qaeda network.
The Pentagon's release of deliberately provocative
pictures of prisoners at Camp X-Ray on Cuba was meant to
conceal this failure from the American public, who are being
conditioned, along with the rest of us, to accept a
permanent war footing similar to the paranoia that sustained
and prolonged the Cold War.
The threat of "terrorism", some of it real, most of it
invented, is the new Red Scare.
The parallels are striking.
IN AMERICA in the 1950s, the Red Scare was used to
justify the growth of war industries, the suspension of
democratic rights and the silencing of dissenters.
That is happening now.
Above all, the American industrial-complex has a new
enemy with which to justify its gargantuan appetite for
public resources - the new military budget is enough to end
all primary causes of poverty in the world.
Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, says he has told
the Pentagon to "think the unthinkable".
Vice President Dick Cheney, the voice of Bush, has said
the US is considering military or other action against "40
to 50 countries" and warns that the new war may last 50
years or more.
A Bush adviser, Richard Perle, explained. "(There will
be) no stages," he said.
"This is total war. We are fighting a variety of
enemies. There are lots of them out there ... If we just let
our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it
entirely, and we don't try to piece together clever
diplomacy but just wage a total war, our children will sing
great songs about us years from now."
Their words evoke George Orwell's great prophetic work,
In the novel, three slogans dominate society: war is
peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength.
Today's slogan, war on terrorism, also reverses meaning.
The war is terrorism.
The next American attack is likely to be against
Somalia, a deeply impoverished country in the Horn of
Washington claims there are al-Qaeda terrorist cells
This is almost certainly a fiction spread by Somalia's
overbearing neighbour, Ethiopia, in order to ingratiate
itself with Washington. Certainly, there are vast oil fields
off the coast of Somalia.
For the Americans, there is the added attraction of
"settling a score".
In 1993, in the last days of George Bush Senior's
presidency, 18 American soldiers were killed in Somalia
after the US Marines had invaded to "restore hope", as they
A current Hollywood movie, Black Hawk Down, glamorises
and lies about this episode.
It leaves out the fact that the invading Americans left
behind between 7,000 and 10,000 Somalis killed.
Like the victims of American bombing in Afghanistan, and
Iraq, and Cambodia, and Vietnam and many other stricken
countries, the Somalis are unpeople, whose deaths have no
political and media value in the West.
WHEN Bush Junior's heroic marines return in their Black
Hawk gunships, loaded with technology, looking for
"terrorists", their victims will once again be nameless. We
can then expect the release of Black Hawk Down II.
Breaking our silence means not allowing the history of
our lifetimes to be written this way, with lies and the
blood of innocent people. To understand the lie of what
Blair/Straw/Hoon call the "outstanding success" in
Afghanistan, read the work of the original author of "Total
War", a man called Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President
Carter's National Security Adviser and is still a powerful
force in Washington.
Brzezinski not long ago revealed that on July 3, 1979,
unknown to the American public and Congress, President Jimmy
Carter secretly authorised $500 million to create an
international terrorist movement that would spread Islamic
fundamentalism in Central Asia and "destabilise" the Soviet
The CIA called this Operation Cyclone and in the
following years poured $4billion into setting up Islamic
training schools in Pakistan (Taliban means "student").
Young zealots were sent to the CIA's spy training camp
in Virginia, where future members of al-Qaeda were taught
"sabotage skills" - terrorism.
Others were recruited at an Islamic school in Brooklyn,
New York, within sight of the fated Twin Towers.
In Pakistan, they were directed by British MI6 officers
and trained by the SAS.
The result, quipped Brzezinski, was "a few stirred up
Muslims" - meaning the Taliban.
At that time, the late 1970s, the American goal was to
overthrow Afghanistan's first progressive, secular
government, which had granted equal rights to women,
established health care and literacy programmes and set out
to break feudalism.
When the Taliban seized power in 1996, they hanged the
former president from a lamp-post in Kabul.
His body was still a public spectacle when Clinton
administration officials and oil company executives were
entertaining Taliban leaders in Washington and Houston,
The Wall Street Journal declared: "The Taliban are the
players most capable of achieving peace. Moreover, they were
crucial to secure the country as a prime trans-shipment
route for the export of Central Asia's vast oil, gas and
other natural resources."
NO AMERICAN newspaper dares suggest that the prisoners
in Camp X-Ray are the product of this policy, nor that it
was one of the factors that led to the attacks of September
Nor do they ask: who were the real winners of September
The day the Wall Street stockmarket opened after the
destruction of the Twin Towers, the few companies showing
increased value were the giant military contractors Alliant
Tech Systems, Northrop Gruman, Raytheon (a contributor to
New Labour) and Lockheed Martin.
As the US military's biggest supplier, Lockheed Martin's
share value rose by a staggering 30 per cent.
Within six weeks of September 11, the company (with its
main plant in Texas, George Bush's home state) had secured
the biggest military order in history: a $200billion
contract to develop a new fighter aircraft. The greatest
taboo of all, which Orwell would surely recognise, is the
record of the United States as a terrorist state and haven
This truth is virtually unknown by the American public
and makes a mockery of Bush's (and Blair's) statements about
"tracking down terrorists wherever they are".
They don't have to look far.
Florida, currently governed by the President's brother,
Jeb Bush, has given refuge to terrorists who, like the
September 11 gang, have hi-jacked aircraft and boats with
guns and knives.
Most have never had criminal charges brought against
Why? All of them are anti-Castro Cubans. Former
Guatemalan Defence Minister Gramajo Morales, who was accused
of "devising and directing an indiscriminate campaign of
terror against civilians", including the torture of an
American nun and the massacre of eight people from one
family, studied at Harvard University on a US government
During the 1980s, thousands of people were murdered by
death squads connected to the army of El Salvador, whose
former chief now lives comfortably in Florida.
The former Haitian dictator, General Prosper Avril,
liked to display the bloodied victims of his torture on
When he was overthrown, he was flown to Florida by the
US government, and granted political asylum.
A leading member of the Chilean military during the
reign of General Pinochet, whose special responsibility was
executions and torture, lives in Miami.
THE Iranian general who ran Iran's notorious prisons, is
a wealthy exile in the US.
One of Pol Pot's senior henchmen, who enticed Cambodian
exiles back to their certain death, lives in Mount Vernon,
What all these people have in common, apart from their
history of terrorism, is that they either worked directly
for the US government or carried out the dirty work of US
The al-Qaeda training camps are kindergartens compared
with the world's leading university of terrorism at Fort
Benning in Georgia. Known until recently as the School of
the Americas, its graduates include almost half the cabinet
ministers of the genocidal regimes in Guatemala, two thirds
of the El Salvadorean army officers who committed, according
to the United Nations, the worst atrocities of that
country's civil war, and the head of Pinochet's secret
police, who ran Chile's concentration camps.
There is terrible irony at work here. The humane
response of people all over the world to the terrorism of
September 11 has long been hijacked by those running a
rapacious great power with a history of terrorism second to
none. Global supremacy, not the defeat of terrorism, is the
goal; only the politically blind believe otherwise.
The "widening gap between the world's "haves" and "have
nots"', says a remarkably candid document of the US Space
Command, presents "new challenges" to the world's superpower
and which can only be met by "Full Spectrum Dominance" -
dominance of land, sea, air and space.
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