Posts Tagged ‘private contractors

The U.S. War Machine Leaves an Ugly Slick of Oil & Blood

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UPDATE — DECEMBER 31, 2009: The post below, originally published on July 26, 2008, was written as an outcropping of our disgust over the genocide and ethnic cleansing taking place in the United States’ brutal covert war in Somalia. We never finished this post and never will (see note at bottom of this page). However, the information herein continues to be as relevant today as it will be tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. (Think Obama constitutes a change from the Bush Administration’s warmongering for oil under the guise of fighting terrorism? Think again.)

Many Americans would be surprised to know that, throughout the course of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. has also been busy with wars elsewhere in the world. Only, we don’t call them wars. We call them things like peacekeeping missions, nation-building or “low intensity conflicts.” Or, as is the case in Colombia, where the U.S. is at work wresting control of oil pipelines and trying to destabilize the bordering oil-rich countries, such as Venezuela, while demonizing the leaders of these countries, we call it a “war on drugs” — even as the U.S. is the pusher man working out of Colombia, using the proceeds from our drug sales to fund our war machine in South America. (Think about it. Has cocaine ever been cheaper or more available than since Clinton and Bush began their war on drugs in Colombia? The same is true of heroin in the Afghanistan drug trade). And we don’t, as a rule, fight these wars ourselves. Instead, we buy off corrupt dictators and/or destabilize and overthrow democratically elected leaders and install corrupt dictators of our own choosing. Then we build armies for them — funding, training and arming these paramilitaries to the tune of millions, so that they can fight our various covert and proxy wars on terror around the globe, which are, coincidentally, in the most mineral-strategic countries on the planet — from South America to Africa and the Middle East. It is no coincidence that the U.S. is the world’s largest arms supplier, our war machine generating loyalties, death and destruction in over 174 states and territories.

These wars are given little scrutiny on the media radar, even as they’re claimed to be part of the larger war on terror — or, in the case of, say, Sudan, they fly under the guise of humanitarian efforts. Much like Somalia, Yemen is not so strategic for its oil reserves, but for its natural gas reserves. Oh, and there’s also that matter of its location (location, location). Specifically, Somalia and Yemen are located across from each other, like mirrors, on either side of the opening from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. This strait connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden through which our oil and gas laden ships must pass.The U.S. has been covertly warring for years to control this shipping lane. As such, news stories — past present and future — on Ethiopia, Djibouti, Yemen, Somalia and, yes, pirates are inseparable from this larger story, a story about a superpower that will use any ruse to get what it wants, up to and including climbing in and out of bed with friends, enemies and even the terrorists we claim to be fighting.

As for the collateral damage from our clandestine wars — genocide, ethnic cleansing and untold millions of human lives ground into starvation, disease, misery, death and civil war — America alternately ignores and feigns outrage. When it becomes strategically feasible and/or necessary, the U.S. military steps out of the shadows, setting up high-profile military installations, so that we may help these poor victims, or protect them from the “bad guys,” with whom we may or may not still be in bed. This is the story being replayed in countries throughout the world. Yemen is no exception.

Considering that during the months before 9-11, the FBI had their finger on the pulse of the pre-9-11 terrorist network in Yemen (to which the Bush Administration was in
“ignore” mode), it is curious that U.S.has subsequently enjoyed the sort of relationship with Yemen over the past 8 years, where we could rendition detainees there to be tortured at our CIA black sites in Yemen. Which makes it somehow ironic that the media is using the Yemen connections of the recent underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab
/AbdulMutallab, to help us recall and re-ignite our anger over 9-11. It seems the American public is now being signaled that it’s time to switch from from ignore-mode to the outrage-mode being feigned by our leaders. This is, of course, our cue, as patriotic, freedom-loving Americans to rally behind our pre-Christmas bombing campaign waged on the innocent men, women and children in Yemen, which promises to be an ongoing campaign in the war formerly known as Bush’s war on terror. It is no coincidence that this latest bombing campaign was already underway when the underpants bomber boarded the plane for America. Nor is it a coincidence that the trail of the underpants bomber is littered with questions that, for the official record, go unasked and unanswered.

Such has been the nature of America’s war on terror, beginning with 9-11. Our leaders can afford to be arrogant and sloppy because, truth be known, the U.S. is untouchable. We encourage those interested in these stories to do their own research. This page is a good starting point. Our apologies that we cannot finish our own effort out, and for any dead links on this page.

July 26, 2008

An odd coincidence: Pick any oil-rich spot on the globe, and you will find the U.S. engaged in the war on terror.

In this vein, why has there been such a preponderance of al Qaeda terrorists (or, rather, a preponderance of **propaganda about **al Qaeda) surrounding the oil fields of the world over the past 7 years?

The current war in Iraq is not the first U.S. war for oil. Nor is it the first war for oil that has claimed massive civilian casualties, which were then concealed by the U.S. media. This is the first war for oil, however, fought on the grounds that a foreign country posed a direct threat to the U.S. — false grounds — which our government intentionally deceived us into believing. This is also the first war for oil fought under the mantle of spreading freedom and democracy, even as the U.S. government funds and arms both sides in a civil war: Shiites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shiites — who then terrorize, torture, slaughter and commit ethnic cleansing of the very Iraqi populations we’re supposedly fighting to “save” from the evil terrorists. There’s a term for the type of warfare being waged by the U.S. in Iraq. It’s called war crimes.

That the American people have not demanded accountability from Congress, and have largely remained silent about the atrocities of this war – whether through complacent ignorance or sheer disbelief that our government could actually commit such atrocities — has only served to condone this war and the policies of this administration. Our collective silence has, in effect, given Bush-Cheney carte blanche to wage other wars on terrorism – wars now being fought in countires throughout the world, with scarcely a mention in the U.S. media.

Unknown to most Americans is that dozens of countries throughout the world have now been accused of harboring al Qaeda terrorists. Unknown to most Americans is that the Bush-Cheney Administraion is and has been waging clandestine wars in these countries, under the banner of “fighting terrorism,” sometimes called “peacekeeping missions” and “nation-building.” Unknown to most Americans is that we are currently spending millions of dollars in each of these countries, to fight mere handsful of alleged al Qaeda terrorists, whose existence — in many instances — is based on “intelligence” as leaky as the intelligence that sent us to war in Iraq. The potential and the reality (as seen in both Iraq and Afghanistan) is that these wars result in “chasing needles by burning haystacks,” as entire populations of innocent civilians are brutalized by the Bush-Cheney war machine , as it pursues small handsful of terrorists, who may or may not even exist.

In Iraq, alone, the Bush-Cheney war machine left in its wake over 4 million “displaced” Iraqi citizens — driven from their homes through violence and ethnic cleansing. From this point forward, if there were any questions left regarding the true intention of the U.S. forces, one need look no further than the billions of U.S. dollars spent building the enormous network of permanent U.S. bases over the past 7 years. These mega-bases have been built with every U.S. lifestyle amenity imaginable — from Baskin Robbins to Burger King, from miniature golf to swimming pools, from Hertz Rent-a-Car to department stores, and from football stadiums to movie theatres — not to mention air-conditioning, satellite internet access, cable television and international phone service.
The average Iraqi citizen has not enjoyed some of these amenities — such as electricity, food, water, shelter, sanitation and health care — since the days of Saddam Hussein. Ironically, construction on the permanent U.S. bases in Iraq proceeded swiftly toward completion, while U.S. work on to restore the most rudimentary of services for Iraqis — such as water purification, food, health care and electricity — fell to the wayside.

A Crude Awakening

Despite what we, in America, hear on the evening news, the words ‘victory’ and ’success’ do not belong in the same sentence with the word ‘Iraq.” The situation in Iraq is one of humanitarian crisis. Five years into the U.S. invasion of their country, Iraq is now deemed, the worst humanitarian crisis in the Middle East since 1948. Human rights and relief agencies throughout the world (International Red Cross, Amnesty International, Oxfam) have described the situation as “disasterous,” as a “dire humanitarian crisis,” calling Iraq, “one of the most dangerous countries in the world…. a place of carnage and despair.” Our vice-president, Dick Cheney, recently described Iraq as a “successful endeavor,” a sentiment we hear echoed daily from our mainstream U.S. media. Would the American public be silent, if they knew that we are waging similar wars in dozens of countries?
Question: When is a war a war?
Is it a war, if it’s called a ‘low-intensity conflict’? Is it a war, if only a small number of U.S. military troops are sent in? And is it a war, if the soldiers are from private mercenary armies hired through U.S. corporations? And is it a war, if our military funds, trains and arms rogue armies to fight these wars? Is it a war if the military’s stated purpose is ‘peacekeeping’ or to lend humanitarian aid? And what if it’s a little of each? Is it a war?
The answers lie in the oil fields: If U.S. military engagement and/or aid results in the U.S. gaining control of a country’s oil/mineral profits — at the expense of the native populations, who suffer impoverishment, torture, ethnic cleansing and/or genocide as a result of our actions — then that military engagement is, indeed, a war. It is a war for oil.  
Curious to know just how many wars are being fought for oil, we decided to take a head count of each and every country where the U.S. is fighting the war on terror. Our bet is that each and every one is also, ultimately, a war for oil. Whether the resulting silence from this truth is deafening, or not, is anyone’s guess.

Pick a Continent, Any Continent…

Say, Africa. Although Africa is but one stop on Dick Cheney’s proposed world tour for oil, it’s a good place to start, since the entire continent stands to be devoured, beginning with its name. Renamed in February 2007 (for military purposes only, mind you) Africa is now called the U.S. African Command (USAFRICOM or AFRICOM). As shown on this map, USAFRICOM was created from the existing United States European Command (USEUCOM), United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) and United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). Whatever that means. It is with some haste, then, that we inventory the African countries involved in Bush-Cheney’s global war on terror.

Lost in all the flurry of Bush’s February 2007 announcement of the surge in Iraq was his concurrent announcement of another surge — this one on the continent of Africa. Having neatly accomplished ‘Iraqi solutions for Iraqi problems’ in their war for oil distribution in Iraq, Bush-Cheney — poised, now, to undertake another empire — easily won congressional approval for “African solutions to African problems.” aka, U.S.AFRICOM: the U.S. African Command and its military arm ACOTA. A Department of Defense military operation, AFRICOM was created by Bush-Cheney to enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa. Started in October 2007, and set to be fully operational by September 30, 2008, AFRICOM is installing military commands in a total of 53 African countries – that’s all of Africa, except Egypt.

In an August 2007 congressional briefing, State and Defense Department officials emphasized to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that AFRICOM’s aim is to boost cooperation on anti-terrorism and peacekeeping activities, and programs that promote regional stability. In this same briefing, Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant for African affairs, echoed this sentiment — assuring Congress that AFRICOM is focused on security, not combat. On the heels of this assurance, however, she nonetheless cautioned: ” I would anticipate that there would be an increase in the amount of exercises we conduct and other military-to-military cooperation activity.”

Many in Africa are understandably suspicious. Believing, perhaps, that past is prologue — the majority of countries are protesting the presence of AFRICOM, as are many individuals around the world, including some high-profile activists, such as Danny Glover , who consider the ongoing U.S.-British militarization of Africa to be little more than a strategy toward gaining control of Africa’s natural resources, most notably its oil. As one critic noted: “Peace operations” and “nation building” are what the military and the mercenaries call their activities. But just like Bush’s “healthy forests” and “clear skies” initiatives, the names mean the opposite of what they do.

The Oil Fields of Africa: Black Gold, Texas Tea

The conundrum the Bush-Cheney Administration faces in Africa is the same all the world over: how to pry the mineral rights from the rightful owners — the African people, in this case — while convincing Congress and the American public that our presence is purely benevolent? The events of September 11th provided an easily path: wage war on terror. This path is all the easier in Africa, where so many countries are already under the control of corrupt, suppressive dictators, whose loyalties are easily purchased.

The tactics used by Bush-Cheney are generally the same, however, no matter what the county. First, they make a case for terrorism in the country – preferably al Qaeda. Then, and not necessarily in this order, they (1) provide U.S. military assistance to fight terrorism, (2) accuse any one who disagrees with the U.S. military presence of being a terrorist insurgent, (3) incite existing cultural tensions toward divisiveness or civil war, (4) fund and arm the “goods guys” and/or the “bad guys” (aka terrorists) to physically remove — through either ethnic cleansing and sometimes genocide — the native populations living on the lands around the oil fields and pipelines, (5) if these populations protest, label them as terrorist insurgents.

Throughout each step of the process, U.S. oil interests are expanded and secured — under the guise of “economic development” for the host country. When all is said and done, however, it is the U.S. who owns the controlling interests in their oil fields. Of course, by the time AFRICOM was created, Bush-Cheney had already done the legwork, having identified terrorist influences in most of the oil-rich African countries set to receive AFRICOM’s military commands. And in a few countries — such as Somalia and Sudan — they’d already accomplished steps 1 through 5.


As an aside, a smattering of quotables on the topic:

After the end of the Cold War, U.S. policy toward Africa was driven by President George H. W. Bush’s vision of a “New World Order.” …. President Bush announced in his 2006 State of the Union Address his intention to “to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025,” …. analysts estimate that Africa may supply as much as 25% of all U.S. oil imports by 2015. — from the Report for Congress, “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” March 10, 2008.

Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. — From President George H.W. Bush’s speech, “Toward a New World Order,” delivered before the nation and a joint session of Congress, September 11, 1990

Along with Latin America, West Africa is expected to be one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas for the American market. African oil tends to be of high quality and low in sulfur, making it suitable for stringent refined product requirements, and giving it a growing market share for the refining Centers on the East Coast of the U.S.Dick Cheney, May 16, 2001

In the aftermath in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, it is increasingly clear that the United States ignores Africa at its peril….The continent’s failed states and huge swaths of ungoverned territory offer sanctuary to terrorist groups.American Enterprise Institute May 2004 conference bulletin: Leave No Continent Behind: U.S. National Security Interests in Africa

Oh, and one other dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works. Armed Forces Journal, June 2006. “Blood Borders: How a Better Middle East Would Look,” by Ralph Peters


It is easy to understand, then, the fears of African citizens, who feel helpless to the incoming U.S. military presence in their countries. Some in America know this same helplessess, as we’ve seen war protesters branded as terrorist sympathizers or “homegrown terrorists” in recent years. The difference between Americans and Africans is that we do not have a history (up to this point, anyway) of being forced from our homes by the U.S. military, or of witnessing the mass slaughtering of our families, neighbors, communities, of whole towns of people, who protested the policies of the U.S. government. The fear of these African countries is understandable, then, as America’s war on terror turns its calculating eye toward the oil fields of Africa.

U.S. Oil & Mineral Claims vs. Terrorist Claims in Africa:
An Alphabetical Compendium of Coincidences

**Benin (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Burkina Faso (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
**Cape Verde (important for its proximity to Nigeria oil and its political-economic relationship w/ECOWAS)
Chad / Chad-Cameroon
Côte d’Ivoire (peacekeeping)
Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire)
Equatorial Guinea
Ethiopia (= Somalian war)
Libya (pre-U.S. sanctions and post-U.S. sanctions)
Sierra Leone
** these countries receive aid through compacts with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation, created by Bush in 2002, to “undercut terrorism by attacking poverty overseas.” While most of these countries lack significant oil reserves, their geographical & political relationships with oil-rich countries lends a strategic importance to U.S. interests in Africa.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our original idea with this post was to document every mineral/gas/oil-rich country in the world where the U.S. is engaged in various military operations. Frankly, the task is too disgusting to continue. To anyone interested in such things, just google to find which countries have rich reserves of oil and gas (or gold, diamonds and other minerals). Then google the name of any of these countries + “al Qaeda” or “insurgents” or “Dick Cheney” or “U.S. military,” or “USNORTHCOM” or “Blackwater,” or “mercenary armies,” or the name of either Bush Jr. or Sr.

Dig just a little, and you will find the U.S. in the thick of it, secretly funding covert and proxy wars, arming and training paramilitaries. You can also google terms such as: genocide, ethnic cleansing, humanitarian crisis, starvation, rape, death squads, disease, etc. and find your way to the U.S. through the back door, so to speak. Depending on the country, you may also find a “war on drugs,” particularly in South America, but also in Afghanistan. This is how the U.S. funds some of it’s illegal wars, as there is only so much money that can be hoodwinked out of Congress to fund our covert wars. One notable exception to the rule will be Darfur, where China beat us to the punch. In Sudan, however, the U.S. and China seem to be in partnership, each country jockeying for their fair share of oil an



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And the puppet master, holding all the strings, decides when to effect a nod, a stoop, a crook, the twisting of the arm that will compel entire governments to dance. 

The recent hostage release of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 others from Colombia’s FARC rebels is not necessarily what it seems. To better understand the facts surrounding her kidnapping, her captors, and those behind the scenes who fought (or didn’t) to free her, you first have to understand that what happened to Ingrid Betancourt is not an isolated incident. Her experience is part of a global epidemic of corruption, victimizing whole populations and individuals, alike. Second, you have to understand that much of what our mainstream U.S. media reports on these tragedies is propaganda — a motley mix of partial truths, sins of omission, inexcusable ignorance, and outright lies — all intended to deceive us into believing that the Bush-Cheney Administration and their puppets are the good guys in the “war on terror.”
Whenever I read an international headline about whole populations being systematically oppressed, robbed, raped, kidnapped, tortured or murdered, I know that, somewhere in the equation, I’ll nearly always find the United States of America. If I consult the mainstream U.S. media for information, I’ll find that we are heroes, the good guys, working in some capacity to aid the oppressed. If I consult alternative and international media I’ll invariably find that we are, in fact, the bad guys, paying off other bad guys to do bad things to people. From here, I never have to scratch too far below the surface to find oil.
Most Americans are clueless to what the U.S. is doing inside their own country, much less inside other countries. (Editor’s note: I admit that I am often equally clueless, as I am continually surpised to discover. For example, just this week, I discovered that, since December 2006, the U.S. has been at war in Somalia, having armed the the Ethopians in yet another “war on terror” for oil, which has resulted in genocide on the scale of Darfur. I guess our media overlooked this in their discussions of Cindy’s credit card spending, Michelle’s proud-of-America gaffe, Madonna’s latest publicity stunt, and who’s got the bigger flag pin, Obama or McCain.) In a nutshell, we are warmongering, both openly and covertly, to gain control of the world’s oil supply. To this end, we buy, overthrow and blackmail other governments — from rogue regimes to even our closest, best allies — to comply with us. Using both oil and the international banking system as commodities of coercion — combined with the threat of labeling dissenters as terrorist appeasers — Bush-Cheney have so far been successful in staunching all credible opposition to our illegal wars.
Colombia is but one such place. The evils we’ve committed there did not begin with Bush-Cheney, or even the Clinton Administration. It’s that our global war for oil has grown more sophisticated over the past two decades. We now hire corporations to fight our wars.
Side-stepping legal, constitutional channels to war, the Bush-Cheney Administration evades scrutiny from the U.S. Congress, the U.S. citizenry and much of the international community by hiring its own private militaries from U.S. corporations who specialize in the war machine –mercenaries, as they were called in the old days — to staff their covert wars. Knowing that these wars are illegal under our U.S. Constitution; knowing that they violate the Nuremberg Principles; knowing that they are illegal under U.N. treaties and conventions; knowing that, as such, these wars would never gain congressional approval, outright, our government hires, on the taxpayer’s dime, mercenaries to conduct dirty wars in dark places.
These wars, not really so different from the war in Iraq, are always conducted under false flags: stopping drug trafficking, peacekeeping missions, or fighting terrorism/rogue regimes. This is how Bush-Cheney get official Congressional approval for funding their private militia, although it would be a lie to say that our lawmakers were doing anything but turning their own blind eyes to reality, whether from political pressure or for financial gain, as the corporations that staff our wars are also among the most powerful lobbyists in Washington. Whenever you hear of our government doing business with private contractors such as Halliburton, DynCorp, MPRI, Blackwater, United Technologies, Vinnell, SAIC, General Electric, Logicon/Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, and Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) think: “mercenary.” (That is, if you can get past some of these corporations’ putrid dealings in the human sex trade of women and children).
By the same token, when you read about genocide in Darfur, think “oil.” When you hear of any U.S. government involvement in Africa — be it Nigeria, Sudan, Angola, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia — think “oil.” As a matter-of-fact, think “oil” anytime you read of a U.S. government involvement anywhere in the world: Abu Dhabi , Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrghistan, Think “oil” when you recall the role of Clinton (and now Bush-Cheney) in Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and the Balkans. Think “oil” when you consider the Bush-Cheney “wars on terror” in Afghanistan and Iraq. Think “oil” when you hear of the Clinton/Bush efforts to stop drug trafficking in Colombia (a rip-roaring success, costing U.S. tax payers billions, while — to this day — Colombia supplies about 90% of the cocaine consumed in the U.S.) Think “oil” when you hear Bush-Cheney’s saber-rattling to go to war in Iran. And when you read about the kidnapping of Ingrid Betancourt, and countless others in Colombia, think “oil.” Think this sounds too far-fetched to be true? Think again.
Or, better yet, read and become an informed citizen, instead of one of the button-eyed puppets our government relies upon to swallow their fiction about their wars. Ask questions, even as you know that the important questions will go unanswered. Know that Bush-Cheney will summarily excuse and dismiss any inquiry or investigation into their illegal activities by pleading “national security” or “state secrets” or “executive privilege.” Read alternative and international news to see what our government is up to, then protest this administration with everything you own, because what happened to Ingrid Betancourt could happen to you, or to someone you love.

Wherever you find vulnerable populations of people being systematically oppressed, robbed, raped, kidnapped, tortured or murdered, either the U.S. is funding the effort, or we simply don’t care.

Recent U.S. history stands as evidence: Unless oil interests are involved, our government turns a blind eye to the politics of a region, no matter how great the human suffering. If oil is involved, however, we will either allow the brutalization to continue (covertly aiding those who brutalize their citizens, fortifying our ties, while weakening the country) or will spare no effort and no cost to “save” a country with good old U.S. democracy, which always necessitates U.S. occupation of their country (read that: puppet regime). Is it a fledgling democracy or rogue regime? Only our government can say, and their interpretation can change overnight, depending on how well a country follows the Bush-Cheney script for oil. This same arbitrary allegiance applies to those individuals caught in the crossfire– be they prisoners of war, or mercenaries working for the U.S. government in Colombia, who have been kidnapped, held hostage, tortured and/or murdered: these individuals are of no interest to our government. This is why Bush-Cheney have paid, at best, only a token interest in their release. Like the British Empire, once described by Prime Minister Palmerston:  

The U.S. has “neither permanent friends, nor permanent enemies, only permanent interests.”

History has recorded these “permanent interests” playing out all over the world, notably Iraq over the past 20 years, as U.S. allegiance flip-flopped according to Saddam Hussein’s role in our oil strategy. The same is true in Colombia, a country already divided by 40 years of civil war. Having installed a puppet-regime base in Colombia, the U.S. focus is now (as in the Middle East and the Caspian Sea region) toward expansionism in Latin America, toward weakening and overthrowing bordering countries of strategic oil field or pipeline interest.

Our Latin American focus is now on Venezuela and Ecuador — which Bush accuses of having terrorist influences — with both countries bordering Colombia and, coincidentally, of strategic, vital interest to the U.S. oil mandate. To you will always find before a war in any country (e.g. Iraq & Iran) Bush-Cheney are working to demonize the government with a flimsy smear campaign , alternately calling them terrorists or terrorist appeasers, who offer aid to the FARC guerrillas in Colombia — an accusation denied by both countries. Demonizing rulers and countries is necessary, of course, to justify our attacks on them — such as the April 2002, U.S.-backed military coup against democratically-elected Venezuelan president, Hugh Chavez. While the coup was short-lived, Chavez being restored to power within 48 hours, it sent a clear warning to other Latin American countries of what is to come. More recently, in March 2008, the U.S. sent armed forces into Ecuador –to the condemnation of Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Guatemala.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan president, Chavez, continues to be demonized by Bush-Cheney as a rogue leader and a terrorist appeaser who, according to Bush, “squanders” their oil wealth, leaving his people to “face food shortages.” Quite an irony, when you look at the conditions in the U.S. today, and compare them to Venezuela where — since coming to power in 1998 — the Chavez government has increased public spending dramatically, directing billions of dollars of oil revenue towards social programs that provide free education and health care to the poor, as well as providing low cost oil and unconditional aid to Latin American and Caribbean countries.

When Bush accuses Venezuela of squandering their oil, what he really means is that Venezuela is not following the Bush-Cheney script for compliance with U.S. oil interests… 

…Unlike the Uribe regime in Colombia, which does follow the script; unlike Colombia, where all sides have been corrupted, due in great part to the U.S., which plays all sides, including the drug traffickers, from whom our government extracts both money and drugs. We fund whichever sides suit our purposes of the moment, be they the Colombian government, the military our own mercenaries, or our “enemies” — the paramilitary death squads, the guerrillas, the drug lords. The only “good guys” left in Colombia are the powerless citizens, whose daily lives are terrorized by the lawlessness and greed of the powers-that-be, in their warring for oil and drugs, with the U.S. pulling all the strings. This was the corruption that Ingrid Betancourt fought for 8 years before her run for the presidency and her subsequent kidnapping. This is the sort of corruption that many in the U.S. are fighting, within our own government. As she, herself, said shortly before her kidnapping in 2002:

“All our big leaders have been killed in Colombia, all of them, they have been assassinated. So the challenge is to be alive till the end of the elections.”

Sadly, there are many of us in America who increasingly feel the same way about our own country. The dismantling of our U.S. Constitution over the past 7 years has been aided and abetted by our own Congress, as our laws have been re-written by the very corporations that serve as foot-soldiers in the Bush-Cheney wars for oil. The majority of our representatives and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have either been bought and paid for by these corporations, or they’re just too damned afraid to speak out. To those rare dissenters — the courageous representatives on Capitol Hill who have maintained the patriotic integrity of their sworn dutes — the costs can be enormous to their careers, their campaigns and their reputations. Adding insult to injury, any one on Capitol Hill who votes against the Bush-Cheney agenda will find their integrity smeared with the same brush as any rogue leader: terrorist appeaser.

Is it any wonder, then, that many in this country find a clearer reflection of reality in the discussions of so-called conspiracy theorists than in the official news delivered by our media and our government? Is it any wonder then that, lacking the protection of our Constitution or our lawmakers, some in this country feel as powerless as any citizen in the jungles of Colombia, when we read our own government’s “contingency plans” for martial law in the U.S., via the Defense Authorization Act of 2007, the REX 84 plan, Operation Garden Plot , the Civilian Inmate Labor Program, PDD 51 H.R. 1955 and the myriad Executive Orders associated with these plans? Is it any wonder that some of us in America actually fear our own government? That some of our own politicians almost fear our government, as they’re barred access  to the facts?

Should Bush-Cheney’s PDD 51 come to fruition this fall, our country would not be so different from the Colombia described by Ingrid Betancourt. Only, in the U.S., our corrupt executive branch would be the pathogens to the infection, as described by Betancourt’s husband, Juan Carlos LeCompte:

The guerrillas, the paramilitary, the violence in Colombia… are like the fever a person gets because of an infection. The infection is what causes the fever. The real infection Colombia has that must be cut out of the country is corruption. Corruption is the infection. If you get rid of the corruption, you get rid of the fever. You get rid of the violence.

Of course, our Congress had a golden opportunity to clean our country of these pathogens that have delivered an epidemic of terror around the globe, but Congress turned away from it. Was it greed or fear that prompted our Congress to table impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney for war crimes and treason? Perhaps one day the history books will make these truths known. For now, most of the facts — past, present and future — can only be gathered piecemeal, drawn together by a willingness of the human mind to suspend incredulity that our government, that any government, could be guilty of the atrocities the U.S. has committed in the name of oil.