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Bob Avakian has written that one of three things that has “to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better: People have to fully confront the actual history of this country and its role in the world up to today, and the terrible consequences of this.” (See “3 Things that have to happen in order for there to be real and lasting change for the better.”)

In that light, and in that spirit, “American Crime” is a regular feature of revcom.us. Each installment focuses on one of the 100 worst crimes committed by the U.S. rulers—out of countless bloody crimes they have carried out against people around the world, from the founding of the U.S. to the present day.

American Crime Case #100: 1965 Massacre in Indonesia

THE CRIME: Bloated corpses clogged and choked the rivers of Indonesia. Villagers didn’t want to eat anything caught in these waters because human fingers were found inside the fish. This sounds like a horror movie. But this was an American-made reality. For many months, starting at the end of 1965, the Suharto regime in Indonesia slaughtered people with wild abandon. At least 500,000, perhaps more than a million, people were killed, including members of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), trade unionists, intellectuals, teachers, land reform advocates, ordinary peasants, ethnic Chinese, women, and children. Hundreds of thousands more were arrested and tortured.

American Crime Case #99: May 13, 1985: The MOVE Massacre

THE CRIME: 5:35 am, May 13, 1985. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor aims his bullhorn at the house at 6221 Osage Avenue and declares: “Attention MOVE! This is America.” Seven adults and six children, members of the MOVE organization, were in their home. Outside, hundreds of heavily armed police and city officials surrounded them. Fifteen minutes later the police assault began. By the end, five children ages 9 to 14 were murdered by the police, as were six adults, their bodies mostly in pieces. Sixty-one homes were burned; 250 people rendered homeless.

American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

THE CRIME: At 8:15 am, on August 6, 1945, a blazing, million-degree fireball suddenly appeared just above the Japanese city of Hiroshima, instantly killing, burning alive, or vaporizing tens of thousands. Firestorms engulfed the city. Shockwaves and winds over 1,000 miles an hour came next, shattering bodies and buildings, hurling men, women, and children through the air. Nearly all structures were destroyed over a mile from ground zero.

American Crime Case #96: Vietnam, March 16, 1968—The My Lai Massacre

THE CRIME: On Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, 100 soldiers from Charlie Company, U.S. Army Americal Division, entered and took over My Lai, a small hamlet in Vietnam’s countryside. “We met no resistance and I only saw three captured weapons... It was just like any other Vietnamese village—old papa-sans, women and kids,” a soldier said. “The order we were given was to kill and destroy everything that was in the village,” another soldier later testified.

American Crime Case #95: Reagan’s Butcher Carries Out Genocide in Guatemala

THE CRIME: In the early 1980s, following a U.S.-backed coup by General José Efraín Ríos Montt, the Guatemalan military systematically destroyed more than 600 indigenous Mayan villages in the highlands of the country. Seventy-five thousand people, overwhelmingly Mayans, were slaughtered under Ríos Montt in this small, impoverished country in Central America. Soldiers ripped the hearts out of children as their bodies were still warm and piled them on a table for their parents to see.

American Crime Case #93: U.S. Invasion of Korea—1950

The Crime: Mass murder of millions; carpet bombing an entire country into rubble; use of chemical weapons against civilians; repeatedly threatening use of nuclear weapons; wholesale rape of women.

In June 1950 the U.S. orchestrated a United Nations invasion of Korea. Of the 342,000 invading troops, 90 percent were American, and the entire force was under U.S. command. The U.S. and its allied war criminals killed millions of Koreans in three years of open warfare—estimates range from three to five million. The dead were overwhelmingly civilians.

American Crime Case #92: Ronald Reagan Condemns 180,000 Gay Men and Others to Demonization, and Death by AIDS

THE CRIME: In 1981, at the beginning of the Ronald Reagan presidency, an AIDS epidemic broke out in the United States. For four years, Reagan studiously refused to even utter the word “AIDS” in public. By 1987, the first time Reagan would address AIDS with any substance, the plague had killed over 180,000 people in the U.S.

The toll was excruciating. Friends and lovers saw each other stricken by (what at first was) a terrifyingly mysterious disease that left people wasted away, unable to eat, covered with cancerous sores and—in every case—dead.

American Crime Case #91: School of the Americas—Training Ground for Mass Murderers and Torturers, 1946-Present

THE CRIME: Since 1946, the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA) has trained military officers from countries all over Latin America. The school’s curriculum includes sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics—including the use of torture, rape, disappearances, assassinations, and mass killings.

CIA and U.S. Army manuals used at the SOA have detailed torture techniques and advocated extortion, blackmail, and the targeting of civilian populations. A former political prisoner in Paraguay described how a section of these manuals gives “interrogators” instructions on “how to keep electric shock victims alive and responsive” and “recommends dousing the victims’ heads and bodies with salt water, and includes a sketch showing how this ‘treatment’ should be carried out.” Hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced to flee their homes and become refugees by armies and death squads led by military officers trained at the SOA.

American Crime Case #90: The Sullivan Expedition, 1779—Genocide of Native Peoples and Scorched Earth in Upstate New York

THE CRIME: In June 1779, heavily armed caravans of more than 6,200 American soldiers headed north from Pennsylvania and west from a town near Albany, New York. These forces, under the command of General John Sullivan, comprised about 25 percent of the Continental Army, which had been formed by the Continental Congress of former colonies that were in a war for independence from England.

Their target: Native American tribes who lived in western New York—the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Cayuga, and Seneca peoples. These peoples called themselves the Haudenosaunee, and are known to historians as the Iroquois League or Iroquois Confederacy. The mission of Sullivan’s troops: the “total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible,” in the words of the commander in chief of the Continental Army.

American Crime, Case #89: 120,000 People of Japanese Descent Put in U.S. Concentration Camps During World War 2

THE CRIME: During World War 2, 120,000 people of Japanese descent, nearly the entire Japanese population living in the continental U.S., were rounded up and imprisoned in concentration camps throughout the western states within months of Japan’s December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. naval base in Hawai‘i. Sixty-two percent of those imprisoned were U.S. citizens; and more than half were children. They were never charged with a crime; never given a hearing; but summarily rounded up and held for more than two years in remote locations, solely on the basis of their nationality.

American Crime, Case #88: Nuclear Testing in the Pacific

THE CRIME: Between 1946 and 1962, the U.S. government conducted nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean, contaminating thousands of Pacific Islands. Entire peoples suffered and continue to suffer from the effects of this nuclear testing up to today.

In 1946, a year after the end of World War 2 and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (see American Crime #97), the U.S. launched its first nuclear test on Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands. Between 1947 and 1962 the U.S. conducted 102 atmospheric and underwater tests in the Pacific Proving Ground—comprising 80 percent of all nuclear contamination in the U.S. history of nuclear testing. This is roughly equivalent to 1.7 Hiroshima explosions every single day for the 12 years between 1946 and 1958. Of these tests, 67 were atomic bombs.

American Crime Case #86: 1964 Brazil Coup and Rise of Brutal Military Dictatorship

THE CRIME: In 1964, a section of the Brazilian military carried out a coup that overthrew Brazilian President João Goulart. The coup gave rise to two decades of a murderous and brutal military dictatorship and atrocities that led to the disappearance and death of close to 1,000 political opponents, and the systematic torture of over 30,000 more.

The coup had been anticipated—and worked for—by the U.S. for two years or more. And the U.S. provided supplies and funding for the coup. Just before the coup, the U.S. ambassador to Brazil received a secret telegram from Secretary of State Dean Rusk stating that the administration had decided to immediately mobilize a naval task force to take up position off the coast of Brazil including U.S. Navy tankers, along with an airlift of 110 tons of ammunition and other equipment including “CS agent”—a special gas used against street protests. President Lyndon Johnson was briefed on and signed off on that. Goulart was unable and unwilling to mobilize armed resistance, and within days of the coup he fled to neighboring Uruguay. The U.S. immediately recognized the new regime, and declared that the coup by the “democratic forces” had staved off the hand of international communism.

American Crime Case #84: Medical Racism and Homicide—the Tuskegee Syphilis “Study”

The Crime: Between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and the Centers for Disease Control studied the progression of untreated syphilis in a group of rural African-American men in Alabama under the guise of giving them free health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for having “bad blood.”

A total of 600 African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama, were enrolled in the study. Of them, 399 had contracted syphilis before the study began, while the remaining 201 did not have the disease. These impoverished and often illiterate subjects were recruited with misleading promises of “special free treatment,” which were actually spinal taps done without anesthesia to study the neurological effects of syphilis, and they were enrolled without their informed consent (the men were never told the name of the study).

American Crime Case #81: September 13, 1971—Massacre of Heroic Attica Prisoners

The Crime: On September 13, 1971, police, sheriffs, park police, and the National Guard launched a murderous assault at Attica in upstate New York, killing 39 unarmed people.

Four days earlier, on September 9, the most powerful and significant prison rebellion in U.S. history had erupted at Attica. Over half of Attica’s 2,200 inmates, mainly Black but also white and Puerto Rican prisoners, seized control of large parts of the prison, taking 38 guards hostage.

The uprising was fueled by the guards’ routine abuse, horrific living conditions, the state’s refusal to address their grievances, and the racism and national oppression permeating Attica and U.S. society. Many Attica prisoners had been radicalized by the upheavals of the 1960s, and the August 21 murder of the revolutionary prisoner and leader George Jackson, by guards at California’s San Quentin prison, hit them very hard, sparking a silent fast in protest.

The spirit of the Attica Brothers, as they came to be called, was captured by their 21-year-old spokesman L.D. Barkley: “We are men. We are not beasts, and we do not intend to be beaten and driven as such... What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed...”

American Crime Case #77: Christopher Columbus Brought Genocide and Slavery to the "New World," and America Celebrates Him for It

THE CRIME: On October 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailing for Spain, landed on what is now the Bermuda Islands. Columbus is celebrated in the U.S. as the person who first “discovered” the “New World,” making it possible for those who came after him, through hard work, to create the greatest global power in the world today, as the official declaration of “Columbus Day” as a national holiday states.

Columbus did not “discover” the Americas—they had been inhabited by many different indigenous peoples for some 13,000 years. But he did bring conquest and enslavement, and launched one of the most massive, horrific genocides in human history.

American Crime Case #76: U.S.-UN Sanctions on Iraq—“A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter”

The Crime: From 1990 until 2003, the U.S. and the United Nations imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iraq, then ruled by Saddam Hussein. These sanctions began even before the U.S. destroyed much of Iraq’s infrastructure, including its electrical, water, and sewage treatment systems, during the January-March 1991 Persian Gulf War, and continued for more than a decade after the war ended. The results were catastrophic for millions of Iraqis, especially for the young, the sick, and the elderly.

Iraq depended on selling oil to buy needed imports of food and equipment for its industry and infrastructure. But U.S.-UN sanctions prevented this—both by preventing Iraq from selling enough oil and by blocking needed imports, often under the claim that they could be used by the military. Iraq’s economy was crippled, and it couldn’t fully repair its shattered electrical and water systems, or buy needed food and medicines. Even chemicals needed for treating water were being blocked.

American Crime Case #75: Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras

THE CRIME: On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military carried out a coup d’etat against the elected president, Manuel Zelaya, a liberal-leaning populist. The coup had crucial backing from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department. The generals and politicians behind the coup brought to power a more openly fascistic and pro-U.S. regime that plunged the Honduran people even more deeply into the hell of U.S. domination, state-sponsored political assassinations and terrorism, and intensified violence, poverty, and oppression. These horrors remain in effect to this day, with U.S. backing.

American Crime Case #72: Wounded Knee Massacre, 1890

THE CRIME: On December 29, 1890, U.S. government soldiers massacred nearly 300 of the 350 Lakota men, women, and children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The massacre took place near Wounded Knee Creek. Some of the women murdered were already widows whose husbands had previously been killed by U.S. troops. The Lakota Chief Spotted Elk (Big Foot), who was dying of pneumonia, was among those massacred.

American Crime Case #71: The Colfax Massacre of 1873... and the Supreme Court Stamp of Approval for Racist Terror

THE CRIME: On April 13, 1873, Easter Sunday, a mass slaughter of Black people occurred in Colfax, Louisiana. Over 300 heavily armed white men, most of them former officers and soldiers in the Confederate Army, shot, stabbed, burned, and maimed Black people seeking shelter in a courthouse. Many were killed as they tried to surrender. Historian Eric Foner described the Colfax massacre as the "bloodiest single instance of racial carnage in the Reconstruction era."

American Crime Case #70: "Operation Iraqi Freedom," 2003

THE CRIME: At 10:15 pm on March 19, 2003, George W. Bush announced to the world: "At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."

As Bush spoke, U.S. bombs and missiles were raining on Iraq. Some 160,000 troops—overwhelmingly American—were poised to storm the country by land. Twenty-one days later, after a blitzkrieg-like invasion and some 27,000 bombs, the U.S. had seized control of Iraq's major cities. Baghdad, Iraq's capital, had fallen on April 9. Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist regime had been deposed and the U.S. took control of the country. On May 1, standing on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in front of a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner, Bush declared "major combat operations" were over.

American Crime Case #69: Legalized Forced Sterilization in the U.S. Since the Early 20th Century

THE CRIME: On December 11, 1939, 18-year-old Andrea Garcia and her mother Sara appeared before Judge W. Turney Fox of the Los Angeles Superior Court for a hearing. Andrea’s probation officer, Karl Holton, had filed a petition to have her removed from her home and legally committed to a state institution. Judge Fox ruled that Andrea was indeed “a feeble-minded person” and from an “unfit home.” By the end of the week Andrea was committed to the Pacific Colony “Home for the Feeble-Minded” in Pomona, California—and a request was made by the superintendent to have her sterilized.

Sara strongly disagreed with both the commitment and the sterilization of her daughter. Within a week, with legal assistance from attorney David C. Marcus, Sara filed for a writ of prohibition against the sterilization of her eldest daughter, indicating that this procedure would be “performed ... upon the body and person of said minor child,” “against [their] wishes and desires,” and “without their permission or consent,” and there would be no remedy thus causing “great and irreparable damage.”

American Crime #67 - 1848-1900: Brutal Exploitation and Ruthless Oppression of Chinese Immigrants

THE CRIME: Between 1850 and 1900, Chinese immigrants were super-exploited in the mines, fields, and railways, and were subjected to savage discrimination and repression, including lynch-mob pogroms.

Beginning in 1848, immediately after invading and seizing over half of Mexico’s land, including the entire state of California, American capitalists began to lure Chinese immigrants to fill their huge thirst for cheap labor for their westward expansion into the California gold rush and to build transcontinental railroad. These (nearly all male) immigrants were worked like pack animals in horrific conditions from dusk to dawn, crammed into tiny tents, fed and slept on wooden cots, and in extreme weather. In one incident, when the workers went on strike, the company cut off all food supplies to the remote work camps and starved them for a week.

American Crime Case #66: The “War on Drugs,” 1970 to Today

The Crime: The “War on Drugs” was first called for in 1971 by then President Nixon, launched in earnest by President Ronald Reagan in 1982, and stepped up or continued by every U.S. president since. This “war” has been justified in the name of combating “rising crime,” protecting people from “drug lords” and “drug gangs,” and/or ending the “scourge” of drugs and drug addiction.

In 1982, Reagan officially launched this “war,” and made it a central focus of his administration (1981-89). Police, DEA, and other law enforcement budgets soared. Between 1981-91, for example, the DEA budget soared from $86 million to $1,026 million, while the FBI’s rose from $38 million to $181 million. Meanwhile, budgets for drug treatment, education and prevention were drastically reduced.

American Crime Case #65: The First Barbary War, 1801-1805

THE CRIME: In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson dispatched the Navy and Marines to blockade and then invade Tripoli (then part of the Ottoman empire, now known as Libya), launching the First Barbary War that culminated in 1805 in the brutal Battle of Derne. Jefferson did so in the name of combating “piracy” and “free commerce,” after Tripoli’s Muslim ruler, Yusuf Karamanli, renounced his 1797 treaty with the U.S. and demanded a lump-sum payment of $225,000 plus $20,000 each year for allowing U.S. ships to transit waters off the coast and deliver and pick up cargo at Tripoli’s port.

Jefferson declared America’s response to Tripoli’s ruler was “sent by squadron,” dispatching war ships to the Northern coast of Africa to blockade the port of Tripoli, where naval battles between U.S. and Tripolitan ships ensued. In 1803, after the U.S. frigate Philadelphia ran aground while chasing a Tripolitan ship and the crew of 307 was taken hostage, Jefferson sent five frigates, including the USS Constitution along with the Marines to “subdue, seize and make prize of all vessels, goods, and effects” in Tripoli.

Case #62: How Capitalism + White Supremacy Created Chicago’s Black Ghetto

Part 1: Great Migration and the Brutal Reality of the “Promised Land”

THE CRIME: For decades in the 20th century, the deliberate policies of the U.S. government and actions of the courts, local political and law enforcement forces, racists white residents, and—driving it all forward—predatory real estate interests and blood-sucking banks and other financial institutions forced millions of Black people in Chicago into confinement in ghettos under extremely oppressive living conditions. This played a key role in cementing in place a system of white supremacy that has super-exploited and suppressed the African American people since the Great Migration not only to the North but to cities more generally, beginning in the 20th century.

American Crime Case #61: Monuments to the Confederacy Across the United States

THE CRIME: Today there are over 1,500 monuments, statues, buildings, roads, schools, parks, and military bases across the U.S. honoring the leaders, generals, and soldiers of the Confederate states that waged the Civil War (1861-65) to defend slavery.

The biggest wave of Confederate monument construction took place from 1890 to 1920, after Reconstruction was ended. Hundreds of monuments and statues were built, at least 189 of them on courthouse grounds, and almost all of them in the South. A smaller construction spike took place from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s, when over 45 were dedicated or rededicated nationally.

American Crime Case #60: The 1917 Camp Logan Rebellion and the Mass Legal Lynching of 19 Black Soldiers

THE CRIME: December 11, 1917: At five in the morning, 13 Black soldiers are taken from the barracks at a military camp near San Antonio, Texas, and marched to the gallows. Each is placed on a chair, noose slipped over his head. Simultaneously, the chairs are kicked out and the soldiers drop to their death. Buried in graves nearby, the markers are not their names, just numbers 1 through 13. Each, to the end, proclaimed his innocence.

The court martial of 64 members of the all-Black 24th Infantry was the largest murder trial in U.S. history.

American Crime Case #59: The U.S. Invasion, Occupation, Domination, and Plunder of Cuba: 1898 to 1959

THE CRIME: The seizure of Cuba (and other Spanish colonies—Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines) in the Spanish-American War in order to gorge on the exploited wealth but also to prevent rivals from moving in. The U.S. was very explicit about this. The Platt Amendment specifically prohibited any power, other than the U.S., from establishing bases on Cuba. The U.S. also feared that the revolutionaries in Cuba—hundreds of thousands of poor working people, small farmers, the majority of them Black people who had been slaves until the 1880s, and some middle class professionals, and members of the Cuban elite—would defeat Spain and set up an independent country that would be unfavorable to U.S. interests.

The invasion of Cuba and other Spanish territories at the end of the 19th century signaled the emergence of the United States as an imperialist world power. Its successful invasion, domination, and plunder of Cuba was but a glimpse of the immense crimes to come.

American Crime #57: The 1973 CIA Coup In Chile

THE CRIME: Beginning in the early morning hours of September 11, 1973, the Chilean military, with political guidance and secret backing from the U.S., carried out a military coup against the government of Chilean president Salvador Allende. With U.S. Navy ships offshore and U.S. spy planes overhead as backup, the Chilean Air Force and tanks and soldiers from the Chilean Army dropped bombs and launched artillery and small-arms fire in a furious, coordinated assault on La Moneda palace, the central government building in Chile’s capital, Santiago. Allende, a social democrat elected on a platform of social reform three years previously, was killed along with a small group of defenders.

The CIA had collected “arrest lists” and “key government installations which need to be taken over,” according to a 1975 U.S. Senate investigation. In the hours, days and weeks that followed the coup, tens of thousands of officials of Allende’s government and the Unidad Popular governing coalition, along with workers, union leaders, activists, students, progressive intellectuals, artists and people who just happened to be on the streets on the morning of September 11, were rounded up, then held in Santiago’s National and Chile stadiums and in military installations and facilities converted to concentration camps in locations around the country. They were subjected to brutal physical and psychological torture, or just outright murdered.

American Crime #56: The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre

THE CRIME: They came at dawn, November 29, 1864, 700 heavily armed soldiers of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry, led by Colonel John Chivington. They rode rapidly toward their target, a Cheyenne village near Sand Creek, where the people were caught by surprise because months earlier, representatives of the U.S. government had met with their chief, encouraged him to settle near the creek, and had promised him and his people peace and safety. As the soldiers approached, the chief, Black Kettle, raced to raise the American flag over his lodge in a show of solidarity; others raised white flags of surrender. It didn’t matter.

The soldiers opened fire with carbines and cannons, killing at least 130, almost two-thirds women, children, and the elderly. Most of the young men were out hunting when the attack occurred; otherwise, the death toll would have been considerably higher. Before leaving, the soldiers burned the village and mutilated the dead.

American Crime Case #53: The Genocide of California's Native Americans, 1846–1873

THE CRIME: From 1846 to 1873, a mass genocide was carried out against California’s Native American population by the U.S. government and white settlers. In 1846, before the 1848 Gold Rush, 157,000 people were living in California, 150,000 of them Native Americans. It was the densest and most diverse Native American population in the U.S. By 1873, there were only 30,000 Native Americans left alive, and by 1880, only 16,277.

This massive ethnic cleansing was the result of the genocidal murders of the native population at the hands of U.S. soldiers, volunteer state militiamen, and vigilantes. This included large massacres that wiped out entire villages, group killings, individual killings, the starvation of thousands, and the death of thousands due to diseases while imprisoned in U.S. Army forts or on federal Indian reservations.

American Crime Case #52: NAFTA (Part 2): Deepening the Plunder and Domination of Mexico and the Exploitation and Oppression of Mexican Workers, Especially Women

The Crime: The “free trade” agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, known as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), was implemented in 1994 with much fanfare. The secretly negotiated 2,000-page treaty was touted as a measure to bring increased prosperity to the people of the three countries. NAFTA was, in fact, a predatory treaty whose effect was to ratchet up the cruel and reckless plunder of Mexico and its people. This mainly occurred through the rapid expansion of low-wage border “sweatshops” called maquiladoras. U.S. businesses have reaped enormous profits from hundreds of thousands of low-wage Mexican workers.

As many as 75 percent of those hired in the maquiladoras were women, the majority between the ages of 16 and 23. Many were recent arrivals from rural villages and towns. The factory owners hired young women for their dexterity and youthful energy. But they were also preferred because, in societies (on both sides of the border) dominated by patriarchy and misogyny, women are more exploitable—could be put to work for long, exhausting hours, often with no breaks and very short lunch periods with pay lower than their male counterparts. As women, they are regarded as “supplementary income-earners.”

American Crime Case #50: U.S. Intervenes to Crush the 1917 Russian Revolution

THE CRIME:  One hundred years ago, in October 1917, the Russian people, led by V.I. Lenin and the Communist (or Bolshevik) Party, rose up in revolution and overthrew the country’s old, oppressive system rooted in capitalism and feudalism. It was an earth-shaking, earth-changing event. It was the first attempt in modern history to build a society free from exploitation and oppression, aiming for a communist world. This socialist revolution electrified people the world over, and served as an inspiration and model of what they, too, could achieve.  

But the U.S. and oppressors in Russia and the world over saw this liberating revolution as a nightmare and a threat, and they immediately moved to crush it. Over the next several years their assaults took the lives of millions in the new society.

American Crime Case #49: 1950-53—Encircling, Threatening and Attacking the Chinese Revolution

THE CRIME: During the Korean War, the U.S. directly threatened China, including with invasion, war and nuclear attack. This U.S. aggression took the lives of nearly a million Chinese volunteers between 1950 and 1953.

Japan first occupied Korea, a country whose existence stretches back some 1,000 years, in the early 1900s. In 1945, after Japan’s defeat in World War 2, the U.S. and the Soviet Union agreed to temporarily divide the country with the Soviets controlling the area north of the 38th parallel and the U.S. the area to the south. The U.S. quickly set up a repressive, pro-imperialist puppet government. The Soviet Union backed the formation of a nationalist, pro-socialist Korean government (the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and its troops left in 1948.

American Crime Case #48: Destroying Indonesia's Rainforests for Palm Oil

THE CRIME: In Indonesia, Malaysia, and other South Asian areas, giant multi-national agribusinesses and food corporations from the United States and other countries are driving a ruthless process of seizing ancient, precious, and irreplaceable tropical rainforest land. Indigenous peoples living there are driven out and their communities are destroyed. Beautiful forests are clear cut and burned, destroying their rich ecology and beautiful and abundant animal and plant life.

This significantly accelerates the global environmental crisis threatening the entire planet by unleashing gigantic quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases while destroying forests that absorb CO2. All this is being done to profit from the production of palm oil for the global market.

American Crime Case #47: The Bombing of Cambodia, 1969-1973

The Crime: On the night of March 18, 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, 60 U.S. B-52 bombers began raining explosives from the skies over Cambodia. A U.S. official said at the time “We had been told ... that those carpet bombing attacks by B-52s were totally devastating, that nothing could survive.”

Thus began America's first campaign of saturation aerial bombing. It was called "Operation Menu" and for the next 14 months, a total of 3,800 air strikes of B-52 and F-111 bombers dropped 108,823 tons of explosives on this Southeast Asian country less than half the size of California. Cambodia (and Laos) shared a border with Vietnam, and the Hồ Chí Minh trail (named after the North Vietnamese leader), a military and supply route for the Vietnamese liberation forces, ran through Cambodia. This highly effective military and logistical supply route, and the Vietnamese bases along it, were the main targets of the U.S. bombing. But these were not “surgical strikes”—wide swaths of the lush countryside were obliterated, and the U.S. bombed anything that moved.

American Crime Case #46: Slavery in Thailand's Shrimp Industry

THE CRIME: Americans certainly love their shrimp. They consume more of it than any other seafood, 1.3 billion pounds a year, about four pounds per person. Most of the shrimp have been peeled and cleaned, so consumers can conveniently move them straight from the refrigerator to the skillet. What most Americans don’t know, and what is largely hidden from them, is what makes it possible for them to enjoy their favorite seafood: workers who have been enslaved, often held in debt bondage and by other means, in Thailand, where a major portion of America’s shrimp comes from.

Seafood is a major, $7 billion industry in Thailand, employing 650,000 workers, and it’s anchored by tens of thousands of slave laborers. Most are impoverished migrant fishermen from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar desperate to find any work they can. As Thailand’s seafood export industry has expanded in recent years, agents have begun recruiting migrant children and the disabled. They lie about wages and drug and kidnap migrants, who are sold to Thai captains of fishing vessels or the companies that own them. A slave costs about $1,000 to buy, and the workers are forced to pay off their “debt” with their wages, which often aren’t paid for months, years, or sometimes not at all.

American Crime Case #44: The Trail of Tears, 1838-39

THE CRIME: From 1838-1839, approximately 15,000 Cherokee and 2,000 Black slaves that they owned were forcibly removed from Cherokee lands in Georgia and force-marched by the military 800 miles to the new “Indian Territory” in an area that later became Oklahoma. On that march, it has been estimated that 2,500-4,000 people died. That seven-month march has become known as The Trail of Tears.

This brutal and forced removal of the Cherokees is just one part of what should be known about the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears is actually the removal of five “civilized” tribes from their native lands in Southeastern U.S. to the West: the Choctaws from Mississippi, the Seminoles from Florida, the Chickasaw from Tennessee, the Creek from Alabama, and the Cherokees from Georgia.

American Crime Case #43: The U.S. Invasion of Panama, 1989-1990

THE CRIME: On December 20, 1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama with 27,684 troops and 300 aircraft, killing thousands of civilians and removing Manuel Noriega and his Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) from power. The invasion was given the name of “Operation Just Cause” by U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney.

The Central American Human Rights Commission (CODEHUCA) reported, “The most devastated civilian neighborhoods—such as Chorrillos and San Miguelito—were extremely poor, densely populated areas. Half of the neighborhood of Chorrillos—which had a pre-invasion population of approximately 25,000—was literally destroyed by US troops and civilian residents were victims of direct attacks.”

American Crime Case #42: COINTELPRO—The FBI Targets the Black Freedom Struggle, 1956-1971

THE CRIME: From 1956-1971, the FBI operated a covert, illegal program that targeted the system’s political opponents in the U.S. The program, COINTELPRO (for COunter INTELligence PROgram), was used to infiltrate, harass, disrupt, smear, and murder or destroy individuals and organizations. COINTELPRO targeted the Black civil rights and liberation movements, communists, socialists, nationalist independence movements, the New Left (student radicals, the antiwar movement), and gay rights and environmental activists.

American Crime Case #41: COINTELPRO—The FBI Targets the New Left, 1964-1971

THE CRIME: From 1956-1971, the FBI operated a covert, illegal program that targeted the system’s political opponents in the U.S. The program, COINTELPRO (for COunter INTELligence PROgram), was used to infiltrate, harass, disrupt, smear, and murder or destroy individuals and organizations. COINTELPRO initially targeted the Black civil rights and liberation movements.

From 1964-1971, COINTELPRO targeted student activists and the anti-Vietnam War movement, known as the New Left. COINTELPRO operatives worked with the local police and “red squads” to target individuals to be arrested. Dirty tricks were used to try to foment disputes between and split up political organizations. The FBI coordinated raids with the local police, and worked in conjunction with local police to attack demonstrations where nonviolent protesters were brutally beaten and murdered.

American Crime Case #40: Native American Boarding Schools: “Kill the Indian, Save the Man”

THE CRIME: The cultural genocide of the North American Indians.

The near extermination of the Native Americans in the centuries following 1492 is one of the great historical crimes committed by the rulers of this country—or any country. Credible estimates of the indigenous population in North America in 1492 are between 12.5 and 18.5 million. Through the combination of massive epidemics and the “Indian Wars” waged by the U.S. Army through the decades after the Civil War, by 1890 the estimated Native American population had been reduced to fewer than 240,000 in the U.S., and in Canada a third of that—a population reduction of 95 to 99 percent.

Beginning in the 1870s and lasting a century or more, the weight of U.S. policy toward the Native American population shifted from military annihilation to the forced “assimilation” of the survivors—making them “suitable” to be members of the society that had devastated and despised them.

American Crime Case #37: December 26, 1862: The Lynching of 38 Dakota Men―The Largest Mass Execution in U.S. History

THE CRIME: On December 26, 1862, in the midst of the U.S. Civil War (April 1861-May 1865), and in the same week that the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, President Abraham Lincoln ordered 38 Dakota Santee Sioux men sent to the gallows in Mankato, Minnesota. They were hooded and hanged simultaneously from a single scaffold, surrounded by 1,500 Union troops and a howling lynch mob of 4,000 white settlers. It was the largest mass execution in U.S. history.

American Crime Case #34: America’s 1972 Christmas Bombing of North Vietnam

THE CRIME: The Democratic Republic of Vietnam (called “North Vietnam” by the U.S.), its People’s Army, and the National Liberation Front (NLF) in South Vietnam had been waging a just people’s war for national liberation against the U.S. since 1961 (and before that the Vietnamese had been fighting the French colonialists). The U.S. had been bombing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the liberation fighters in the south since 1965, but its “Christmas bombing” in 1972 was the most intense and devastating air offensive of the entire war.

American Crime Case #31: Double Murder by Police in Chicago—on the Night After Christmas

THE CRIME: On the night of December 26, 2015—the night after Christmas—Antonio LeGrier called 911 because his 19-year-old Black son, Quintonio, was struggling with mental health issues and his family wanted help. Antonio called Bettie Jones, a 55-year-old Black woman who lived downstairs, to alert her to his son’s situation and let her know to be on the lookout for the police.

Bettie’s daughter Latisha told reporters afterwards that her mother had gone to the door—presumably to let the cops in the building—and then Latisha heard shots. She rushed to the hall to find her mother and Quintonio lying there bleeding. As Latisha came to the doorway, the police threatened to shoot her as well. One bullet fired by the police went through the front door and through several rooms in Bettie Jones’ home.

According to the two cops, when they entered the lobby Quintonio was coming down the stairs from the second-story flat carrying an aluminum bat. The cops backed up, but Robert Rialmo—the cop who opened fire killing both Quintonio and Bettie—said Quintonio came at him swinging the bat, giving him no choice but to shoot Quintonio to save his own life. He claimed Bettie Jones was standing behind the youth and was shot “by accident.”

American Crime Case #29: Contra War of Terror in Nicaragua 1979-1989

THE CRIME: The U.S. has had its claws dug deeply into the small Central American country of Nicaragua for over 150 years. It landed its Marines there 12 different times between 1853 and 1933. After Nicaraguan rebels, led by Augusto César Sandino, finally drove U.S. forces from their country in 1934, the U.S. had him assassinated and installed a military dictatorship under Gen. Anastasio Somoza García, whose family, in league with the U.S., brutally ruled Nicaragua for the next 43 years.

In 1979, after the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) overthrew Anastasio Somoza (the son of Gen. Somoza Garcia) and his regime, the U.S. launched a savage, decade-long counter-revolutionary war against the people of Nicaragua. It built up a reactionary proxy army to wage war to weaken, destabilize, and attempt to overthrow the new Sandinista-led regime, which had established ties with the Soviet Union, the U.S.’s main imperialist rival at the time.

American Crime Case #28: U.S. Foments Bloody Civil War in Angola, 1975-2002

THE CRIME: For 27 years, from 1975 to 2002, the U.S. fueled a reactionary and immensely bloody civil war in Angola, a country in Southern Africa. The war led to the deaths of some half a million Angolans and millions were driven from their homes.

In 1975, after years of struggle by the Angolan people, Portugal—which had dominated that area of Africa for centuries—was forced to grant independence to Angola and its other African colonies. The U.S. had supported Portugal in its efforts to crush the opposition and sustain its colonial rule of Angola, including by providing the colonizers with napalm...

By 2002, about 500,000 Angolans had been killed and millions internally displaced. The widespread use of land mines resulted in one of the highest amputee rates in the world. The aftermath of the civil war left Angola with much of its public institutions, economic enterprises, religious institutions, infrastructure, and medical and other basic life support systems in ruins.

American Crime Case #26: The 1946 White-Mob Lynching of Two Black Couples at Moore’s Ford, Georgia

THE CRIME: In the summer of 1946, a white lynch mob near Moore’s Ford Bridge in Monroe, Georgia (a small rural town about 50 miles east of Atlanta), brutally murdered four Black sharecroppers. Despite abundant evidence, eyewitness accounts and two investigations by the FBI (60 years apart), there has never been a single indictment.

The bodies of George, Mae, Roger, and Dorothy were found disfigured beyond recognition. Bullets fired at point-blank range filled the victims’ faces and arms. George Dorsey’s body lay face down on the ground with bullet and shotgun wounds covering his arms, head, and back. They singled out Roger Malcom for the worst punishment—a shotgun blast exploded his face and a 10-foot-long rope encircled his neck. Another rope held his hands tied to George’s. Dorothy Malcom’s disfigured face pointed toward her husband, Roger. Dorothy’s body touched Mae Murray Dorsey’s. Mae was closest to the road—her body was in a crouched position, a large-caliber bullet had pierced the back of her skull.

American Crime Case #25: The “Neo-Slavery” Killing Fields of Sugar Land, Texas: 1878-1911

THE CRIME: In early 2018, a construction crew in Sugar Land, Texas, a fast-growing suburb 20 miles outside of Houston, accidentally discovered 95 shallow unmarked graves. The 94 Black men and one Black woman whose remains were found were as young as 14 and as old as 70 when they died. Rusted farm tools and chains were also found at the site, including chains with swivels on them, likely used in chain gangs. The bodies had been buried over 100 years ago in pine boxes just two to five feet under the earth’s surface. This accidental find has now revealed something of their painful story and a gruesome chapter in the ugly history of America’s treatment of Black people.

American Crime Case #24: U.S. Proxy War Against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, 1979-1988

THE CRIME: In July 1979, the U.S. began a covert campaign to destabilize Afghanistan’s new pro-Soviet government and lure the Soviet Union, at the time their main imperialist rival, into invading Afghanistan. In December 1979, after the Soviets invaded with 100,000 troops, the U.S. organized and led a bloody, decade-long proxy war against them and their Afghan client regime with one focus: bleeding the Soviet Union white and “killing Russians.”

The U.S. and its allies Saudi Arabia and Pakistan organized, trained, and funded reactionary Islamic fundamentalist mujahideen (Islamic fighters) to carry out the war. After Ronald Reagan took power in 1981, the U.S. launched a global campaign to recruit the most radically anti-communist Islamists—“ideologically charged with the spark of holy war” as author Mahmood Mamdani reports—not only from within Afghanistan, but from all over the world. Jihadist clerics, such as the very prominent Sheikh Abdullah Azzam, under the CIA’s patronage were sent around the globe preaching that it was a religious duty for Muslims to fight in Afghanistan and actively recruiting fighters. The U.S. and its allies also spread fundamentalist ideology through a growing worldwide network of Islamic schools—madrassas.

American Crime Case #20: The U.S.-Enabled Genocide in East Timor, 1975‑1998

THE CRIME: The U.S.-backed Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor resulted in the worst slaughter relative to population since the Holocaust. From 1975 to 1999, the Indonesian military bombed, massacred, tortured, raped, and brutalized the population of East Timor until nearly one-third of the original population of 650,000 had been killed. During this time, the U.S. continually gave the military the economic and diplomatic support that enabled this horrific genocide.

American Crime Case #19: The LAPD Rampart Division Scandal: 1996-2000: Police Murder, Terror and Frame-ups—and the Conspiracy to Get the Cops Off

THE CRIME:In 1999, it was revealed that the Rampart Division of the LAPD and its elite “anti-gang” CRASH unit (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) had been carrying out widespread, vicious brutality in the oppressed, largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood of Pico Union that they patrolled.

Dozens of these CRASH cops roamed this small area in street clothes and unmarked cars, sporting tattoos of a skull with a cowboy hat and a pair of aces and eights (“dead-man’s hand”). They gave each other plaques for their “heroic” service, which were exposed as a mountain of crimes against the people including murder, attempted murder, brutality, robbery, extortion, drug dealing, and routinely framing and convicting thousands of people based on lies, planted “evidence,” and trumped-up charges—including against those they had just shot or murdered.

American Crime Case #14: Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico… And America’s Genocidal Response

THE CRIME: On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria, with maximum winds of 175 mph, tore through the Caribbean, causing massive death and destruction. Puerto Rico, an island nation of over three million people, took a direct hit.

Around two dozen people died as a direct result of the storm—drowned by flood waters, hit by flying debris, or crushed by falling trees. But in the days, weeks, and months after the storm, thousands more would die, hundreds of thousands would endure great suffering, and the entire economic, educational, and social infrastructure of Puerto Rico would be severely and permanently degraded. Almost all of that was completely un-necessary; it was the result of deliberate inaction by the U.S. government and its refusal to organize a serious rescue and recovery effort for Puerto Rico.

American Crime Case #12: The 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the Destruction of Black Wall Street

THE CRIME: On May 30, 1921, Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old Black shoe shiner working downtown, entered the elevator of the only building with a restroom Blacks could use in the area. Sarah Page, a white 17-year-old, was the elevator operator. When the door closed, Page cried out, and Rowland ran off. The most common explanation is that Rowland just stepped on Page’s foot. But Rowland was alleged—without evidence—to have assaulted Page. He was arrested the next morning and held in a jail cell above City Hall.

That afternoon, the Tulsa Tribune ran the headline “Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator,” suggesting that Page had been raped, and editorialized: “To Lynch Negro Tonight.” Within an hour of the paper hitting the streets a lynch mob in the hundreds descended on the courthouse.

American Crime Case #11 (Part 1): The Violent Suppression of Black People’s Right to Vote

THE CRIMES: New Orleans, July 1866: Mob attack on Black and some white delegates to Louisiana Constitutional Convention; Eutaw, Alabama, October 1870: Klan terror as elections for governor approached; McComb,Mississippi, 1961: Klan assault on SNCC workers; Neshoba County, Mississippi, 1965: Murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman during Freedom Summer voter registration campaign...and more.

American Crime Case #11 (Part 2): 1965 to Today: Gutting the Voting Rights Act and Disenfranchising Millions of Black People

THE CRIMES:The Voting Rights Act (VRA) was signed into law in 1965, as the civil rights movement crested. It was designed to enforce the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

Efforts to undermine the VRA began almost immediately after it was enacted, and accelerated after Barack Obama was elected president... Today Republicans are funneling tens of millions of dollars into escalating what the New York Times called “a focus on limiting who can vote that became a juggernaut after the Supreme Court dismantled the Voting Rights Act in 2013.” Various fascist organizations are initiating lawsuits, recruiting “poll monitors” to intimidate voters, and launching their own “anti-fraud” campaigns. Spearheading this effort is the well-funded “Honest Elections Project,” formed by a staunch Trump ally. A prominent member of the Conservative Political Action Committee said that as November approaches, “It’s going to be all hands on deck.”

American Crime Case #8: America’s War in Vietnam and the Sexual Subjugation of Women

America’s genocidal war in Vietnam during the 1960s and 1970s resulted in at least two to three million Vietnamese deaths and possibly as many as four million. As one little known but horrific part of this towering crime against humanity, the U.S. military participated in the creation of a huge “brothel economy” in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. Rather than liberating the Vietnamese, they were subjugating an estimated half a million women to sexual domination by the U.S.

American Crime, Case #7: The 1963 Birmingham Church Bombing and the Cold-Blooded Murder of Four Black Girls

THE CRIME: On September 15, 1963, a bomb exploded before Sunday morning services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The bomb was set by local members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Four young girls were killed and 20 others injured.

In the moments just before the murders, the girls chatted happily and straightened their fancy white dresses. It was Youth Day and excitement filled the air; they were going to take part in the Sunday adult service. Addie Mae Collins, 14, and Denise McNair, 11, were preparing to sing in the church choir. Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley—both 14—were going to be ushers. Addie Mae was helping Denise tie the sash on her dress. But before she could finish, the bomb went off. Minutes before 11 o’clock, the congregation was knocked to the ground. As the bomb exploded under the steps of the church, the worshippers sought safety under the pews and shielded each other from falling debris. In the basement the four girls were killed. Sarah Collins, Addie’s sister, survived, but lost an eye in the bombing.