The American Elite
- From: periodista <periodistalibre@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 16:53:46 -0800 (PST)
By William Blum |
January 07, 2009 "Information Clearing House" -- Lincoln Gordon died
a few weeks ago at the age of 96. He had graduated summa cum laude
from Harvard at the age of 19, received a doctorate from Oxford as a
Rhodes Scholar, published his first book at 22, with dozens more to
follow on government, economics, and foreign policy in Europe and
Latin America. He joined the Harvard faculty at 23. Dr. Gordon was an
executive on the War Production Board during World War II, a top
administrator of Marshall Plan programs in postwar Europe, ambassador
to Brazil, held other high positions at the State Department and the
White House, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for
Scholars, economist at the Brookings Institution, president of Johns
Hopkins University. President Lyndon B. Johnson praised Gordon's
diplomatic service as "a rare combination of experience, idealism and
You get the picture? Boy wonder, intellectual shining light,
distinguished leader of men, outstanding American patriot.
Abraham Lincoln Gordon was also Washington's on-site, and very active,
director in Brazil of the military coup in 1964 which overthrew the
moderately leftist government of João Goulart and condemned the people
of Brazil to more than 20 years of an unspeakably brutal dictatorship.
Human-rights campaigners have long maintained that Brazil's military
regime originated the idea of the desaparecidos, "the disappeared",
and exported torture methods across Latin America. In 2007, the
Brazilian government published a 500-page book, "The Right to Memory
and the Truth", which outlines the systematic torture, rape and
disappearance of nearly 500 left-wing activists, and includes photos
of corpses and torture victims. Currently, Brazilian President Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva is proposing a commission to investigate
allegations of torture by the military during the 1964-1985
dictatorship. (When will the United States create a commission to
investigate its own torture?)
In a cable to Washington after the coup, Gordon stated — in a remark
that might have had difficulty getting past the lips of even John
Foster Dulles — that without the coup there could have been a "total
loss to the West of all South American Republics". (It was actually
the beginning of a series of fascistic anti-communist coups that
trapped the southern half of South America in a decades-long
nightmare, culminating in "Operation Condor", in which the various
dictatorships, aided by the CIA, cooperated in hunting down and
Gordon later testified at a congressional hearing and while denying
completely any connection to the coup in Brazil he stated that the
coup was "the single most decisive victory of freedom in the mid-
Listen to a phone conversation between President Johnson and Thomas
Mann, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, April
3, 1964, two days after the coup:
MANN: I hope you're as happy about Brazil as I am.
LBJ: I am.
MANN: I think that's the most important thing that's happened in the
hemisphere in three years.
LBJ: I hope they give us some credit instead of hell.1
So the next time you're faced with a boy wonder from Harvard, try to
keep your adulation in check no matter what office the man attains,
even — oh, just choosing a position at random — the presidency of the
United States. Keep your eyes focused not on these "liberal" ... "best
and brightest" who come and go, but on US foreign policy which remains
the same decade after decade. There are dozens of Brazils and Lincoln
Gordons in America's past. In its present. In its future. They're the
diplomatic equivalent of the guys who ran Enron, AIG and Goldman
Of course, not all of our foreign policy officials are like that. Some
And remember the words of convicted spy Alger Hiss: Prison was "a good
corrective to three years at Harvard."
Mothers, don't let your children grow up to be Nobel Peace Prize
In November I wrote:
Question: How many countries do you have to be at war with to be
disqualified from receiving the Nobel Peace Prize?
Answer: Five. Barack Obama has waged war against only Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. He's holding off on Iran until he
actually gets the prize.
Well, on December 10 the president clutched the prize in his blood-
stained hands. But then the Nobel Laureate surprised us. On December
17 the United States fired cruise missiles at people in ... not Iran,
but Yemen, all "terrorists" of course, who were, needless to say,
planning "an imminent attack against a U.S. asset".2 A week later the
United States carried out another attack against "senior al-Qaeda
operatives" in Yemen.3
Reports are that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Norway is now in
conference to determine whether to raise the maximum number of wars
allowed to ten. Given the committee's ignoble history, I imagine that
Obama is taking part in the discussion. As is Henry Kissinger.
The targets of these attacks in Yemen reportedly include fighters
coming from Afghanistan and Iraq, confirmation of the warnings long
given — even by the CIA and the Pentagon — that those US interventions
were creating new anti-American terrorists. (That's anti-American
foreign policy, not necessarily anything else American.) How long
before the United States will be waging war in some other god-forsaken
land against anti-American terrorists whose numbers include fighters
from Yemen? Or Pakistan? Or Somalia? Or Palestine?
Our blessed country is currently involved in so many bloody imperial
adventures around the world that one needs a scorecard to keep up.
Rick Rozoff of StopNATO has provided this for us in some detail.4
For this entire century, almost all these anti-American terrorists
have been typically referred to as "al-Qaeda", as if you have to be a
member of something called al-Qaeda to resent bombs falling on your
house or wedding party; as if there's a precise and meaningful
distinction between people retaliating against American terrorism
while being a member of al-Qaeda and people retaliating against
American terrorism while NOT being a member of al-Qaeda. However,
there is not necessarily even such an animal as a "member of al-
Qaeda", albeit there now exists "al-Qaeda in Iraq" and "al-Qaeda in
the Arabian Peninsula". Anti-American terrorists do know how to choose
a name that attracts attention in the world media, that appears
formidable, that scares Americans. Governments have learned to label
their insurgents "al-Qaeda" to start the military aid flowing from
Washington, just like they yelled "communist" during the Cold War. And
from the perspective of those conducting the War on Terror, the bigger
and more threatening the enemy, the better — more funding, greater
prestige, enhanced career advancement. Just like with the creation of
something called The International Communist Conspiracy.
It's not just the American bombings, invasions and occupations that
spur the terrorists on, but the American torture. Here's Bowe Robert
Bergdahl, US soldier captured in Afghanistan, speaking on a video made
by his Taliban captors: He said he had been well-treated, contrasting
his fate to that of prisoners held in US military prisons, such as the
infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "I bear witness I was continuously
treated as a human being, with dignity, and I had nobody deprive me of
my clothes and take pictures of me naked. I had no dogs barking at me
or biting me as my country has done to their Muslim prisoners in the
jails that I have mentioned."5
Of course the Taliban provided the script, but what was the script
based on? What inspired them to use such words and images, to make
Cuba. Again. Still. Forever.
More than 50 years now it is. The propaganda and hypocrisy of the
American mainstream media seems endless and unwavering. They can not
accept the fact that Cuban leaders are humane or rational. Here's the
Washington Post of December 13 writing about an American arrested in
"The Cuban government has arrested an American citizen working on
contract for the U.S. Agency for International Development who was
distributing cellphones and laptop computers to Cuban activists. ...
Under Cuban law ... a Cuban citizen or a foreign visitor can be
arrested for nearly anything under the claim of 'dangerousness'."
That sounds just awful, doesn't it? Imagine being subject to arrest
for whatever someone may choose to label "dangerousness". But the
exact same thing has happened repeatedly in the United States since
the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. We don't use the word
"dangerousness". We speak of "national security". Or, more recently,
"terrorism". Or "providing material support to terrorism".
The arrested American works for Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI),
a US government contractor that provides services to the State
Department, the Pentagon and the US Agency for International
Development (USAID). In 2008, DAI was funded by the US Congress to
"promote transition to democracy" in Cuba. Yes, Oh Happy Day!, we're
bringing democracy to Cuba just as we're bringing it to Afghanistan
and Iraq. In 2002, DAI was contracted by USAID to work in Venezuela
and proceeded to fund the same groups that a few months earlier had
worked to stage a coup — temporarily successful — against President
Hugo Chávez. DAI performed other subversive work in Venezuela and has
also been active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other hotspots.
"Subversive" is what Washington would label an organization like DAI
if they behaved in the same way in the United States in behalf of a
The American mainstream media never makes its readers aware of the
following (so I do so repeatedly): The United States is to the Cuban
government like al-Qaeda is to the government in Washington, only much
more powerful and much closer. Since the Cuban revolution, the United
States and anti-Castro Cuban exiles in the US have inflicted upon Cuba
greater damage and greater loss of life than what happened in New York
and Washington on September 11, 2001. Cuban dissidents typically have
had very close, indeed intimate, political and financial connections
to American government agents. Would the US government ignore a group
of Americans receiving funds or communication equipment from al-Qaeda
and/or engaging in repeated meetings with known leaders of that
organization? In the past few years, the American government has
arrested a great many people in the US and abroad solely on the basis
of alleged ties to al-Qaeda, with a lot less evidence to go by than
Cuba has had with its dissidents' ties to the United States, evidence
usually gathered by Cuban double agents. Virtually all of Cuba's
"political prisoners" are such dissidents.
The Washington Post story continued:
"The Cuban government granted ordinary citizens the right to buy
cellphones just last year." Period.
What does one make of such a statement without further information?
How could the Cuban government have been so insensitive to people's
needs for so many years? Well, that must be just the way a
"totalitarian" state behaves. But the fact is that because of the
disintegration of the Soviet bloc, with a major loss to Cuba of its
foreign trade, combined with the relentless US economic aggression,
the Caribbean island was hit by a great energy shortage beginning in
the 1990s, which caused repeated blackouts. Cuban authorities had no
choice but to limit the sale of energy-hogging electrical devices such
as cell phones; but once the country returned to energy sufficiency
the restrictions were revoked.
"Cubans who want to log on [to the Internet] often have to give their
names to the government."
What does that mean? Americans, thank God, can log onto the Internet
without giving their names to the government. Their Internet Service
Provider does it for them, furnishing their names to the government,
along with their emails, when requested.
"Access to some Web sites is restricted."
Which ones? Why? More importantly, what information might a Cuban
discover on the Internet that the government would not want him to
know about? I can't imagine. Cubans are in constant touch with
relatives in the US, by mail and in person. They get US television
programs from Miami. International conferences on all manner of
political, economic and social subjects are held regularly in Cuba.
What does the American media think is the great secret being kept from
the Cuban people by the nasty commie government?
"Cuba has a nascent blogging community, led by the popular commentator
Yoani Sánchez, who often writes about how she and her husband are
followed and harassed by government agents because of her Web posts.
Sánchez has repeatedly applied for permission to leave the country to
accept journalism awards, so far unsuccessfully."
According to a well-documented account7, Sánchez's tale of government
abuse appears rather exaggerated. Moreover, she moved to Switzerland
in 2002, lived there for two years, and then voluntarily returned to
Cuba. On the other hand, in January 2006 I was invited to attend a
book fair in Cuba, where one of my books, newly translated into
Spanish, was being presented. However, the government of the United
States would not give me permission to go. My application to travel to
Cuba had also been rejected in 1998 by the Clinton administration.
"'Counterrevolutionary activities', which include mild protests and
critical writings, carry the risk of censure or arrest. Anti-
government graffiti and speech are considered serious crimes."
Raise your hand if you or someone you know of was ever arrested in the
United States for taking part in a protest. And substitute "pro al-
Qaeda" for "counterrevolutionary" and for "anti-government" and think
of the thousands imprisoned the past eight years by the United States
all over the world for ... for what? In most cases there's no clear
answer. Or the answer is clear: (a) being in the wrong place at the
wrong time, or (b) being turned in to collect a bounty offered by the
United States, or (c) thought crimes. And whatever the reason for the
imprisonment, they were likely tortured. Even the most fanatical anti-
Castroites don't accuse Cuba of that. In the period of the Cuban
revolution, since 1959, Cuba has had one of the very best records on
human rights in the hemisphere. See my essay: "The United States, Cuba
and this thing called Democracy".8
There's no case of anyone arrested in Cuba that compares in injustice
and cruelty to the arrest in 1998 by the United States government of
those who came to be known as the "Cuban Five", sentenced in Florida
to exceedingly long prison terms for trying to stem terrorist acts
against Cuba emanating from the US.9 It would be lovely if the Cuban
government could trade their DAI prisoner for the five. Cuba, on
several occasions, has proposed to Washington the exchange of a number
of what the US regards as "political prisoners" in Cuba for the five
Cubans held in the United States. So far the United States has not
agreed to do so.
Michael Beschloss, Taking Charge: The Johnson White House Tapes
1963-1964 (New York, 1997), p.306. All other sources for this section
on Gordon can be found in: Washington Post, December 22, 2009,
obituary; The Guardian (London), August 31, 2007; William Blum,
"Killing Hope", chapter 27 ↩
ABC News, December 17, 2009; Washington Post, December 19, 2009 ↩
Washington Post, December 25, 2009 ↩
Stop NATO, "2010: U.S. To Wage War Throughout The World", December 30,
2009. To get on the StopNATO mailing list write to r_rozoff@xxxxxxxxxx
To see back issues: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/↩;
Reuters, December 25, 2009 ↩
For more details on DAI, see Eva Golinger, "The Chávez Code: Cracking
US Intervention in Venezuela" (2006) and her website, posting for
December 31, 2009 ↩
Salim Lamrani, professor at Paris Descartes University, "The
Contradictions of Cuban Blogger Yoani Sanchez", Monthly Review
magazine, November 12, 2009 ↩
William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire
Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at
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