Revolution #577, January 7, 2019 (revcom.us)

Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

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Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

For 250 years, the U.S. Congress has overseen and carried out grinding exploitation, wars of empire (including the seizure of a huge section of Mexico, as well as Puerto Rico), genocidal assaults on Native Americans and wholesale theft of their lands, the enslavement for generations of African and then African-American people, then segregation (enforced both legally and by lynch mobs) followed by mass incarceration of those same people, the legal restriction of the rights of women and gay people (including the suppression of birth control and the right to abortion for centuries, both of which are still under attack, and until relatively recently, the legalization of “marital rape”), the super-exploitation, demonization, and persecution of immigrants... crime after crime after crime. (See the accompanying graphic for just the most recent crimes carried out by the Democrats.)

But wait, we’re told. Now there’s a few more women and people of color who have gotten in on it, so it’s gonna be a whole different thing. Don’t worry, says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the poster-person for all this—“the Democratic Party won’t change me, I’ll change it.”

Right.

If Ocasio-Cortez told you that she was becoming a low-level gang boss in the cartels in order to end dope-dealing, or if one of these newly minted male Democratic reformers told you he was becoming a priest in order to end the patriarchal sexual abuse and misogyny that permeates the Catholic Church, what would you say?

Listen: institutions have a basic character and function independent of you and whatever you tell yourself when you join up with them. The Congress, by definition and self-description, is a vehicle to extend and expand “American interests”—which in a capitalist system can ONLY mean the interests of the capitalist-imperialists in extending and expanding their empire. That’s what it actually means when you say that something is a “system”! The crimes in the accompanying article are not bugs, they are features. That is, they are not weird anomalies that somehow happened, but how the shit works and is supposed to work.

And if any of these “fresh faces” don’t already know that, they’ll soon find out.

The important question is, when will YOU?

 

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Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

The Most Recent Heinous Crimes Carried Out by Democratic Presidents or Congresses: A Chart

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To our readers: This table outlines some of the criminal actions by Democratic presidents and Congressional Democrats in just the recent decades. While not including all that the Democrats carried out in this period, even this reveals the enormous human cost of their crimes. Go here for a more overall chart on the crimes carried out by the U.S. ruling class, and the Democrats in particular, from the end of World War 2 to the present.

Crime

President

The Human Cost

Hyde Amendment, 1976

Carter (D)

Clinton (D)

The Hyde Amendment, named for Henry Hyde, Republican congressman from Illinois, was originally passed by Congress in 1976, three years after Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. Democratic president Jimmy Carter was inaugurated shortly after that. Hyde forbids the use of federal funds to pay for abortions. Carter supported the amendment when it faced legal challenges all the way to the Supreme Court. The amendment has been reauthorized every year, and until 1993 applied to all abortions. Bill Clinton signed the 1993 version of Hyde, which allowed federal funds to be used for abortions in the cases of rape and incest but kept the rest of the amendment alive. In 1994, an exception for the life of the woman was added to the amendment, but again the bulk of the restrictions were kept in place. Hyde continues to circumscribe and endanger the lives of women, especially Black, Latino, and Native women, and many other poor women and has been reenacted year after year.1

Building of border barriers and massive deportation, 1990s

 

Clinton (D)

It was under Bill Clinton that the construction of fences and barriers began:

  • In 1993 “Operations Safeguard” and “Hold the Line” authorized the construction of fences along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona and Texas respectively.
  • In 1994 “Operation Gatekeeper” authorized construction on a 13-mile “Border Wall” along a line in the sand between San Diego and Tijuana.
  • In 1996—President Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act, increasing fines for illegal entry and approving funding for more patrols and fence construction. Emigrants shifted away from the traditional crossings into privately held land, causing landowners to fence their property.

These operations were justified in the name of stemming illegal immigration and drug trafficking from Latin America. But with the ratification of NAFTA in 1994, the Clinton administration anticipated that the effects of NAFTA would force growing numbers of immigrants to flee Mexico. Together these measures greatly increased the danger of crossing the Mexico-U.S. border—some 8,000 people have died since the 1990s trying to cross the border in the desert areas of the border.2 And the Clinton measures have led to massive deportations and criminal treatment for millions of immigrants coming north from Mexico and Central America.3

In 1994 under Clinton, Operation Gatekeeper authorized construction on a 13-mile border wall between San Diego and Tijuana. Here protesters carry a casket along a section of the U.S.- Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico, October 1, 2004, on the 10th anniversary of Operation Gatekeeper. (Photo: AP)

Sanctions Against Iraq

1993

Clinton (D)

In 1990 the UN—at U.S. insistence—imposed sanctions on Iraq, restricting or stopping Iraq from importing food, fertilizer, water purification chemicals, and other essentials, and blocking Iraq from selling oil and other exports. This was how the U.S. softened up Iraq in preparation for military attack (the First Gulf War).

In 1993, after that devastating war, Bill Clinton became president. He blocked all attempts to reduce or end sanctions. In Iraq, “infant mortality rates ... skyrocketed ... and diseases that had disappeared were reappearing, sometimes at epidemic levels.”4

In 1995 two UN scientists surveyed children in 25 Baghdad neighborhoods. 28 percent had stunted growth, child malnutrition rates had reached the level of the poorest countries in the world, and the rate of child “wasting” (extreme malnutrition) had increased by 400 percent in four years. They estimated that over 500,000 children had already died due to the sanctions.5 Asked about this, Madeleine Albright (then Clinton’s UN ambassador) said “the price” (in children’s lives) “is worth it” (to weaken Sadaam Hussein’s regime).6

Sanctions remained in effect throughout Clinton’s entire term of office (and beyond). By 2000, UNICEF reported that almost half of Iraqi children under five suffered from diarrhea.

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (the “Crime Bill”), 1994

 

Clinton (D)

Clinton oversaw the massive expansion of the prison system. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was passed 95-4 in the Senate and by voice vote in the House, and signed by Bill Clinton. The law included many severely repressive measures, including the “one strike you’re out” policy that led to evictions of people living in public housing if they or even their guests were accused of any drug-related offenses or other crimes, whether in or outside the projects.

Among other provisions the Act:

  • Encouraged states to lengthen prison sentences, including with “three strikes” mandatory life sentences
  • Provided funds to put 100,000 more cops on the streets across the country
  • Provided almost $10 billion in funding for new prisons
  • Expanded the offenses that are eligible for a death penalty7

Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), 1996

Clinton (D)

Signed by Bill Clinton and approved by the Senate 98-1, the AEDPA gutted the right to habeas corpus and severely limited the right to appeal death sentences—even when new evidence emerged after convictions. Clinton said at the signing, “I have long sought to streamline federal appeals for convicted criminals sentenced to the death penalty.... For too long, and in too many cases, endless death row appeals have stood in the way of justice being served.” Among those affected by the law was political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, unjustly railroaded and sentenced to death for the murder of a cop, who was prevented from presenting new evidence in his case in a federal court.8

Ending “welfare as we know it,”

1996

Clinton (D)

Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act into law in 1996, fulfilling his campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.”  The House passed it 256-170 and the Senate passed it 74-24. The law said people could receive no more than five years of welfare in their lifetime, though states could set their limits lower, and could set a two-year limit. More than 13 million people received welfare a year before the law, and by 10 years later, only three million did. Little is known about those moved off welfare, 70 percent of whom are children, because there has been no systematic government monitoring of the effects of the law. Journalist Robert Scheer wrote in 2006, “The best estimates from the Census Bureau and other data, however, indicate that at least a million welfare recipients have neither jobs nor benefits and have sunk deeper into poverty. For those who found jobs, a great many became mired in minimum-wage jobs—sometimes more than one—that barely cover the child-care and other costs they incurred by working outside the home.”9

Defense of Marriage Act, 1996

Clinton (D)

Signed by Bill Clinton, passed by House 341-67 and by the Senate 95-4. Before being ruled unconstitutional in 2013, the law defined marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman, and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states. The law effectively barred same-sex married couples from receiving federal marriage benefits, including military family benefits, Social Security benefits, hospital visitation rights, tax credits, health care benefits, etc.10

USA Patriot Act, 2001

G. W. Bush (R)

The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 attacks, greatly expanded government powers of political repression. It was passed by Congress, with a vote of 98-1 in the Senate—only one of the 50 Democratic senators, Russell Feingold, voted against it. The already-existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) gave huge powers to the government and spy agencies to act on non-U.S. citizens and residents. The Patriot Act put FISA at the disposal of domestic law enforcement agencies, further undermining the constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure, making everything from people’s email traffic, to videos of daily life, to formerly secret grand jury testimony now available to local police, FBI, and the CIA alike. At the same time, the government got the power to prosecute anyone who revealed what records government agents are taking or who they’re targeting. Other provisions included:

  • Defined “domestic terrorism” as a violation of any criminal statute if that violation is “dangerous to human life” and “appear[s] to be intended to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.” In other words, “terrorism” was essentially defined as whatever the government says it meant.
  • Opened up huge categories of financial records to government surveillance, from credit reports to bank accounts. Assets the government claimed will be used to support terrorist activities can be seized, without an actual criminal conviction.
  • Created a very broad class of non-citizens who can be deported or barred from entering the U.S. simply for political associations or political statements they have made.

In 2015, key provisions of the Patriot Act were extended with the “USA Freedom Act,” which was overwhelmingly approved by Congress and signed by Obama.11,12

Invasion of Iraq, 2003-2016

George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein and his regime based on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. war and occupation led to the rise of reactionary Islamic jihadism, armed resistance, and ethnic-sectarian conflict which continues to this day. From 2003 to 2016, 251,000 Iraqis were killed in the war, including between 168,239 and 187,378 civilians. Other studies of estimate that between 1.2 and 1.4 million (and perhaps as many as 2.4 million) have died from the war’s direct and indirect impacts. More than 4.2 million Iraqis had been injured and at least 4.5 million driven from their homes by 2016.The overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress, including Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, all supported the Iraq war and repeated Bush administration claims.13

Massacre in Gaza, 2008-09

George W. Bush (R)

Between December 27, 2008 and January 19, 2009, Israel waged a war of wanton destruction and death against the people of Gaza—killing between 1,166 and 1,417 people, including 844 unarmed civilians, 281 of them children. On January 9, Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of Israel’s actions, declaring—in direct opposition to the findings of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations—that Israel’s armed forces bore no responsibility for the large numbers of civilian casualties from their assault on Gaza.14

Palestinian family escaping the bombing in southern Gaza Strip, 2008. (Photo: AP)

Deportations of more than three million people, 2008-2016

Obama (D)

In the eight years of his presidency, Obama deported over three million people—more than W. Bush’s two million, more than all the people deported from the U.S. before 1997. In 2012, Obama deported 409,849 people, the highest number for one year up to now. Obama also separated more families than any president before him. Obama told Telemundo TV, “I make no apologies for us enforcing the law as well as the work we’ve done to strengthen border security.”

Behind such numbers lie the devastated lives of millions of immigrants.15

U.S. backing for 2009 coup in Honduras

Obama (D)

On June 28, 2009, the Honduran military carried out a coup against the elected president, Manuel Zelaya, a liberal-leaning populist. The key generals leading the coup were graduates of the U.S. School of the Americas, run by the U.S. military to train Latin American military officers. The U.S. ambassador to Honduras told President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that Zelaya’s removal was “an illegal and unconstitutional coup.” In fact, Obama, Clinton, and the U.S. State Department had known ahead of time that a coup was in the works, and once the generals ousted Zelaya, they only issued mild criticisms, calling it an “action.” Within days Clinton stepped in with a strategy to make sure the coup succeeded and could claim legitimacy: elections would be held without Zelaya being allowed to take part. The regime brought to power with the coup was openly fascistic and more pro-U.S., plunging 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 have continued to today—and this is one of the major factors forcing tens of thousands of people from Central America to make the desperate trek north toward the U.S. in search of refuge and means to survive.16

The key generals leading the 2009 coup in Honduras were graduates of the U.S. School of the Americas. The coup brought to power an openly fascistic and more pro-U.S. regime, and plunged the Honduran people even more deeply into the hell of U.S. domination (Photo: AP)

Arming, backing, and enabling the Saudi-led war in Yemen 2009-2016

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

The U.S. backing for Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen began under Obama, through arms sales and refueling, logistical, intelligence, and special operations forces. From 2009 to 2016, according to a report by the Center for International Policy, the Obama administration concluded 42 separate arms deals with Saudi Arabia totaling more than $115 billion, a higher sum than during any previous administration.

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. backing, launched a war against Yemen’s Houthi movement which had taken power. The Atlantic noted, “In a 2015 report, Amnesty International observed that the United States and Britain were providing the Saudis with cluster bombs, ‘which often lie unexploded and can cause horrific injuries long after the initial attack.’ Noting that Saudi Arabia and its ally, the United Arab Emirates, had conducted airstrikes killing at least 513 civilians, including 157 children, Amnesty insisted that ‘there is no reasonable explanation by states such as the U.S. and the UK that would justify their continued support and irresponsible arms flows to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.’”17

Bombing of Libya, 2011

Obama (D)

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the U.S. in the attack on Libya in 2011. In the name of protecting Libyan civilians, the U.S. and its NATO allies (including Britain and France) seized on a mass uprising against Muammar Qaddafi’s oppressive 42-year-long rule to wage a war to overthrow him and tighten their grip on Libya. Of the attack, Obama said, “Without putting a single U.S. service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives.” And Clinton laughed on TV about the killing of Qaddafi, saying, “We came, we saw, he died.”

For seven months, the U.S.-led coalition carried out extensive bombing raids and military operations that killed between 10,000 and 30,000 Libyans and drove out Qaddafi’s regime.

With no central government, Libya was plunged into a state of chaos, lives of the people shattered. Libya was turned into a battleground between reactionaries, and life became a nightmare for the masses, with shortages of food, water, and electricity, a third of the population without medical care, and a half million people forced to flee their homes. NATO forces had targeted civilian infrastructure, especially water supplies, during their 2011 attacks. Today a third of Libya’s people remain impoverished, and many do not have access to clean water or sewer systems.

The Democratic Party in the executive and legislative branches sponsored and supported this crime.18,19

NATO airstrike destroyed university in Libya, 2011. (Photo: AP)

2014 Gaza War: July 8, 2014‒August 26, 2014

Obama (D)

2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, of whom 299 were women and 551 children; and 11,231 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured... of whom 10 percent suffered permanent disability as a result. More than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza were left without a habitable home to return to, and 497,000 people were internally displaced. At that time, U.S. President Obama tried to justify this slaughter by claiming it was just Israel exercising its right to defend itself and the United States Congress expressed vigorous support for Israel, passing legislation providing Israel with an additional $225 million in military aid for missile defense with a bipartisan 395-8 vote in the House of Representatives and by unanimous consent in the Senate.20

Arming, backing, and enabling the Saudi-led war in Yemen, 2016‒present

Trump (R)

Since the start of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, between 57,000 and 60,000 Yemenis have been killed. The Saudis have bombed Yemen’s food, water, and medical systems, causing massive hunger and disease. At least 85,000 children have starved to death as a result and 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine.

In December 2018, the Senate passed a toothless resolution directing that U.S. military be removed from hostilities in or affecting Yemen. The House procedurally did not take a vote on this, killing it.21

Move of U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

December 2017

Trump (R)

Both Democrats and Republicans supported the fascist Trump regime’s moving of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In a statement, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic minority leader in the Senate, said: “Every nation should have the right to choose its capital. I sponsored legislation to do this two decades ago, and I applaud President Trump for doing it.”22

Israeli attacks on Gaza, May 2018

Donald Trump (R)

 

In May 2018, the Israeli military repeatedly attacked unarmed Palestinian protests in Gaza, killing at least 60, including women and children--the largest loss of life since the 2014 Israeli invasion of Gaza. About 2,700 people were also injured.23 Most Democrats remained silent.

 


1. The Hyde Amendment and Coverage for Abortion Services, Kaiser Family Foundation, October 16, 2017; The Hyde Amendment, Again, Washington Post, June 3, 1977; A Compromise on Abortion: The Hyde Amendment, by Malloy Owen, The Gate, March 11, 2017.  [back]

2. The Desert Should Not Be a Death Sentence, Jusine Orlobsky-Schnitzler, staff member with No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, New York Times, December 18, 2018.  [back]

3. The disastrous, forgotten 1996 law that created today’s immigration problem, by Dara Lind, Vox.com, April 28, 2016; The Racism and Immorality of the Operation Gatekeeper Death Trap, Bill Ong Hing, University of Oxford Faculty of Law, April 13, 2015.  [back]

4. Were Sanctions Right?, New York Times, July 27, 2003.  [back]

5. Iraq Sanctions Kill Children, UN Reports, New York Times, December 1, 1995.  [back]

6. Punishing Sadaam, YouTube excerpt of 60 Minutes episode of May 12, 1996.  [back]

7. The crime bill: why is it so controversial? by Jessica Lussenhop, BBC.com, April 18, 2016.  [back]

8. New Developments in the Ongoing Railroad of Mumia Abu-Jamal, revcom.us, August 3, 2008.  [back]

9. Clinton Ended Welfare, Not Poverty, by Robert Scheer, HuffingtonPost, May 5, 2011.  [back]

10. Frequently Asked Questions: Defense of Marriage Act, GLAAD; The Defense of Marriage Act, PBS News Hour, April 30, 2004.  [back]

11. Warning! The USA Patriot Act and Other Dangerous Things, revcom.us, July 6, 2003.  [back]

12. The ‘USA Freedom Act’: Freedom to Spy and Suppress, revcom.us, June 8, 2015.  [back]

13. American Crime Case #70: “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” 2003, revcom.us, December 5, 2016.  [back]

14. American Crime Case #30: Israel’s U.S.-Armed and -Backed Massacre in Gaza (2008-2009), revcom.us, December 17, 2018; Congressional Support for Israel’s War on Gaza Shows Bipartisan Hostility toward International Law, Huffington Post, March 19, 2009.  [back]

15. Deportations/Removals, Migration Policy Institute; Rising deportations still less than under Obama, The Gazette, December 16, 2018.  [back]

16. American Crime Case #75: Obama, Clinton and the 2009 Military Coup in Honduras, revcom.us, October 24, 2016.  [back]

17. What the Yemen Vote Reveals About the Democratic Party, by Peter Beinart, Atlantic, December 4, 2018.  [back]

18. American Crime Case #35: The 2011 U.S.-NATO War on Libya, revcom.us, September 3, 2018.  [back]

19. Libya votes shows House divided, by Jonathan Allen and Seung Min Kim, Politico, June 25, 2011.  [back]

20. Key figures on the 2014 hostilities - Data featured in the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Occupied Palestinian Territory, June 23, 2015; U.S. Senate Unanimously Approves Resolution Giving Full Support of Israel on Gaza, HAARETZ, July 20, 2014.  [back]

21. 85,000 Children in Yemen May Have Died of Starvation, New York Times, November 21, 2018; Yemeni children die as warring sides block aid deliveries: UNICEF, Reuters, November 2, 2018; Saudi Arabia Escalates Genocidal, American-Backed War in Yemen-U.S. Rulers Maneuver as 14 Million Yemenis on Brink of Starvation, revcom.us, November 26, 2018.  [back]

22. The Democrats—An Alternative to Trump? Then Why Is Schmuck Fumer One-Upping the Führer on Jerusalem?, revcom.us, December 25, 2017.  [back]

23. U.S.-Israeli Massacre Kills 60 Palestinians and Wounds Over 2,700:  Everyone Must Stand Up and Protest Against These Crimes Against Humanity!, revcom.us, May 14, 2018;, Seven Protesters Killed, Two of Them Children, and 257 Injured at Friday Demonstrations in Gaza, Al Mezan Center For Human Rights, September 29, 2018; Total US Foreign Aid to Israel 1949-Present, JewishVirtualLibrary.org  [back]

 

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Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

The Republican Party Is Fascist
The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
This System CANNOT Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!

Republicans, Democrats and U.S. Crimes Against Humanity: A Chart

 

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

To our readers: This is an updated version of the table we published last week. If you have ideas on additional crimes or ideas on layout, please send and we will consider. But we strongly feel that even THIS is a stunning and telling indictment of the U.S. ruling class as a whole and the Democratic Party in particular.

Scroll down for a
downloadable PDF poster

U.S. Wars and Interventions

President

The Human Cost

The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945

Harry Truman (D)

As Japan was suing for peace and World War 2 was coming to an end, on August 6, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb ever used on the city of Hiroshima. By the end of 1945, between 140,000 and 150,000 people, overwhelmingly civilians, died from the attack and hundreds of thousands more were wounded. On August 9, the U.S. dropped an even more powerful nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, destroying the city and murdering another 70,000 people.1

Military intervention in the Chinese Revolution, 1945-1949

Truman (D)

By 1945, Japan had been defeated, in large part by decades of revolutionary struggle under the leadership of Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communist Party. A civil war soon broke out between China’s revolutionaries and the reactionary Nationalist Party (Kuomintang/KMT) under Chiang Kai-shek. The U.S. funneled billions in aid and military equipment to the KMT. The roughly 100,000 American troops stationed in China advised, trained, organized, and supported Chiang’s forces, even airlifting 500,000 to different battlefronts. Without U.S. backing the KMT would have been defeated more—perhaps much more—quickly. So U.S. intervention prolonged the conflict and contributed significantly to the terrible toll on the Chinese. Between 1945 and 1949, an estimated 2.5 million were killed, millions more were displaced, the economy collapsed, and tens of millions were left destitute.2

Turning Micronesia into a nuclear testing ground, 1946-1962

Truman (D)

Dwight Eisenhower (R)

John Kennedy (D)

 

From 1946 to 1962, the U.S. turned Micronesia—a region in the Western Pacific Ocean comprising thousands of small islands, including the Marshall Islands—into a nuclear test site which it named the “Pacific Proving Ground.” It carried out its first test by exploding a nuclear bomb over Bikini Atoll in 1946, and between 1947 and 1962 carried out 102 tests over, on, or under the waters of these precious islands. Of these tests, 67 were atomic bombs.

Some islands were evacuated prior to testing and were obliterated. But other tests were carried out on inhabited islands and people were exposed to huge amounts of nuclear fallout and suffered acute radiation illness including nausea, vomiting, burns, hair loss, hypothyroidism, and miscarriages. Some were guinea pigs in a secret medical experiment to study the effects of radiation on human beings. Today, 60 years after nuclear testing, entire islands remain uninhabitable and many islanders still suffer their aftereffects, in some instances with thyroid cancer rates 200 percent above the national baseline.3

Military intervention in Greek civil war, 1947-49

Truman (D)

In 1947, the U.S. took over from Britain, whose troops had spent three years trying to crush the pro-Soviet leftist fighters that had driven the Nazi invaders from many parts of Greece during World War 2. The U.S. armed, trained, and led the reactionary Greek military in a bloody counterinsurgency against these anti-fascist Greek guerrilla fighters who held out for nearly three years, suffering losses of many tens of thousands before their surrender in October 1949. In this “Third Phase” of the Greek civil war, the total deaths were estimated at 158,000 and a million people were forced from their homes (including through U.S.-orchestrated “pacification”). After surrendering, “Almost 100,000 ELAS fighters and communist sympathizers serving in DSE ranks were imprisoned, exiled or executed.” The U.S. then “exercised almost dictatorial control” of Greece in the economic sphere, according to a prominent Greek politician.4

The Korean War,

1950-53

Truman (D)

Eisenhower (R)

In June 1950, the U.S. orchestrated a United Nations invasion of Korea, and sent over 340,000 American troops. Over the next three years of combat and massive bombings, U.S. and U.S.-led forces killed more than three million people: two million North Korean civilians, 500,000 North Korean soldiers, between 900,000 and a million Chinese soldiers. There were also 1.3 million South Korean casualties, including 400,000 dead.5

Korean War 1950-53: U.S. Army photo depicts the summary execution of 1,800 South Korean political prisoners July 1950 carried out by the U.S.-installed puppet Syngman Rhee.

U.S. nuclear threats against China and North Korea, 1950-1951

Truman (D)

On November 30, 1950, Truman stated publicly that the U.S. was considering using nuclear weapons against Chinese and North Korean forces. That day, the Strategic Air Command was ordered to “be prepared to dispatch without delay medium bomb groups to the Far East ... this augmentation should include atomic capability.” Some in government advocated a “limited war” against China, including air attacks and a naval blockade. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, then in overall command of U.S. forces in Korea, argued for dropping 30 to 50 atomic bombs on Manchuria and Chinese cities. (Truman feared this could end up harming U.S. interests and fired MacArthur in the spring of 1951.)6

CIA coup in Iran, 1953

Truman (D)

Eisenhower (R)

On August 19, 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with British intelligence, launched a military coup overthrowing Iran’s popular, elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. In 1951, during an upsurge of protest against British colonialism, Mossadegh had nationalized Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

That day, CIA-organized mobs, joined by the military, took over streets chanting “Long live the Shah! Death to Mossadegh!” Street battles raged. By late afternoon, military units seized control of Mossadegh’s house, breaking the resistance. By evening, 300 lay dead, and Iran’s Mohammad Reza Shah [King] Pahlavi’s throne was secure.

Iran’s nationalist upsurge was crushed. The U.S. replaced Britain as the dominant imperialist power in Iran. Mossadegh’s nationalization was reversed, and U.S. oil giants were cut in on the spoils, reaping enormous profits. The coup embedded Iran as a key military outpost for the U.S. against regional liberation struggles and in its Cold War clash with the Soviet Union.

The Shah ruled as an iron-fisted U.S. puppet for 25 years. Speaking out risked arrest by SAVAK, his U.S.-trained secret police. Thousands were murdered, jailed, or barbarically tortured—they even threatened to torture children in front of their parents. When millions rose against the Shah in 1978-79, he shot down thousands with U.S. backing before being ousted. The 1953 coup and what followed ended up helping pave the way for a new Iranian nightmare: the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran.7

U.S. threatens nuclear attack against Iraq’s 1958 revolution

Eisenhower (R)

After the pro-Western Iraqi monarchy was overthrown in a nationalist military coup, the U.S. threatened war against the new republic. U.S. forces, including the Strategic Air Command, were put on worldwide alert, and 70 naval vessels, hundreds of aircraft, and 14,000 Marines were dispatched to neighboring Lebanon, including an atomic unit with artillery capable of firing nuclear shells. Eisenhower had secretly ordered the military to prepare to use nuclear weapons to prevent an Iraqi takeover of Kuwait’s oil fields. In response to U.S. threats and deployments, the Soviet Union began large-scale maneuvers on its borders with Turkey and Iran. “Until the makeup and intentions of the new Republic of Iraq became clear, ‘general war’ was a real possibility,” one journalist summed up.8

Vietnam War, 1961-1975

Eisenhower (R)

John Kennedy (D)

Lyndon Johnson (D)

Richard Nixon (R)

Gerald Ford (R)

The U.S.first sent military advisers, then more than 500,000 troops, and dropped millions of tons of bombs in an effort to defeat the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people and prevent either revolutionary China or the imperialist Soviet Union from strengthening their influence in Southeast Asia. By the time the war ended in America’s defeat in April 1975, its military had slaughtered some two million Vietnamese civilians and one million Vietnamese soldiers.9

My Lai massacre.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Planning for nuclear war with the Soviet Union and China, 1950s and ’60s.

Truman (D)

Eisenhower (R)

Kennedy (D)

 

Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg saw a copy of these war plans in 1961.He later wrote: “The total death toll as calculated by the Joint Chiefs, from a U.S. first strike aimed at the Soviet Union, its Warsaw Pact satellites, and China, would be roughly six hundred million dead. A hundred Holocausts.”10

Murdering the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, installing the butcher Mobutu, 1961-1997

Eisenhower (R)

Kennedy (D)

Lyndon B. Johnson (D)

Richard Nixon (R)

Gerald Ford (R)

Jimmy Carter (D)

Ronald Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Bill Clinton (D)

 

On January 17, 1961, a firing squad shot to death the Congolese anti-colonialist leader Patrice Lumumba, just months after he’d been elected prime minister of the newly founded Republic of the Congo. This brutal murder was carried out by Lumumba’s Congolese enemies, but it had been called for by President Eisenhower in August 1960 and organized by CIA Director Allen Dulles, who wrote the CIA station chief in the Congo that Lumumba’s “removal must be an urgent and prime objective.”

Murdering Lumumba, who sought to use the Congo’s vast mineral resources to improve its people’s lives, and then in 1965 installing the brutal regime of Mobutu Sese Seko, turned the Congo into a bulwark for U.S. political and military intervention in Africa for nearly three decades. While global imperialism and Mobutu plundered the country, Congolese suffered hellish enslavement and medieval destitution. “How do I describe ... the feeling of holding in my arms a child half-dead from lack of protein,” one eyewitness wrote, “his hair a sickly orange, his face bloated and puffy, his abdomen an overstretched balloon?” Meanwhile, Carter intervened to save Mobutu in 1977 and 1978, Reagan hailed him as “a voice of good sense and good will,” and George H.W. Bush called him “our best friend in Africa.”11

The Bay of Pigs invasion, 1961

Kennedy (D)

The U.S. attempted to spark the overthrow of Cuba’s government, headed by Fidel Castro, by organizing this invasion by reactionary Cuban exiles. It was defeated, but during the fighting some 2,000 to 6,000 Cuban soldiers, militia personnel, and others were killed, wounded, or went missing.12

Cuban missile crisis, 1962

Kennedy (D)

The U.S. was carrying out secret operations to overthrow the Cuban government (and on another front, had also stationed nuclear missiles threatening the Soviet Union in Turkey). At Cuba’s request, the Soviets placed 36 nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba. The U.S. demanded the missiles be removed, sent U-2 spy planes over Cuba (one was shot down), placed a naval blockade on Cuba, dropped depth charges near a disabled Soviet submarine, considered invading, and put its nuclear forces on DEFCON 2 alert, the highest level short of nuclear war. For 13 days, the world hovered on the brink of nuclear holocaust before the crisis was defused.13

Invasion of Dominican Republic, 1965

Johnson (D)

On April 28, 1965, 22,000 U.S. Marines and other troops invaded the Dominican Republic to crush a just, mass uprising against the country’s pro-U.S. tyranny. Some 3,000 to 4,000 Dominicans were killed, although others estimated that the death toll was as high as 6,000 to 10,000.14

CIA orchestrates bloodbath in Indonesia, 1965-1966

Johnson (D)

For many months, starting at the end of 1965, the reactionary Indonesian military, led by the pro-U.S. General Suharto, as well as other reactionary forces that it unleashed, slaughtered people with wild abandon. This massive bloodbath was set in motion, backed, and orchestrated by the U.S., which provided the military with equipment, weapons, and ultimately tens of billions of dollars. CIA advisers counseled Indonesian generals and provided them with a “hit list” of 5,000, then checked off their names as they were murdered. When the bloodletting ended, at least 500,000, perhaps more than a million, had been killed, including members of the Communist Party of Indonesia, trade unionists, intellectuals, teachers, land reform advocates, ordinary peasants, ethnic Chinese, women, and children. Hundreds of thousands more were arrested and tortured.15

Bombing of Laos, 1965-1973

Johnson (D)

Nixon (R)

During the war in Vietnam, U.S. warplanes dropped two million tons of bombs on the small neighboring country of Laos, more than had been dropped on Germany or Japan during World War 2. These included anti-personnel cluster bombs. There’s been no accounting of those killed or wounded during the bombing, but over 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by unexploded ordinance—including cluster bombs—in the decades since the war ended.16

Bombing of Cambodia, 1969-1973

Nixon (R)

The U.S. also carpet bombed Cambodia during the war in Vietnam, directly or indirectly killing 100,000 to 600,000 Cambodians—mostly civilians. Hundreds of thousands more likely died due to displacement, disease, and starvation in this period. Over two million people, more than 25 percent of its population, were driven from their homes in the countryside.17

Christmas bombing of North Vietnam, December 18-29, 1972

Nixon (R)

The U.S. massively bombed the densely populated cities of Hanoi and Haiphong to force concessions by North Vietnam in negotiations to end the war. It claimed 1,600 Vietnamese civilians were killed, but Vietnamese sources estimate there were 2,300 civilian deaths—about 1,500 in Hanoi alone.18

CIA-organized military coup in Chile, 1973

Nixon (R)

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 coup against the leftist government of Chilean president Salvador Allende. More than 3,000 Chilean people were executed, thousands more were “disappeared,” and tens of thousands tortured; over 140,000 people were rounded up during the coup, and in the few years that followed, as many as one million people out of Chile’s population of 11 million were forced into exile.19

U.S. foments civil war in Angola, 1975-1994

 

Ford (R)

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Clinton (D)

In the 1960s, when the Angolan people were fighting to lift the yoke of Portuguese colonialism, the U.S. backed the Portuguese government’s attempts to crush their struggle—including supplying the colonial regime with napalm. In 1975, when Portugal ended its rule and the Angolan MPLA was set to take power, the U.S. began arming, funding, and militarily assisting the reactionary anti-MPLA butchers of UNITA headed by Jonas Savimbi. The U.S. also backed South Africa’s military intervention in Angola to weaken or overthrow the MPLA government, prevent the Soviet Union or its ally Cuba from gaining a foothold in Southern Africa, and help preserve the apartheid government of South Africa. A savage civil war was unleashed which lasted until 2002. Some 500,000 were killed, over four million were driven from their homes, and the society was devastated. The U.S. rulers only dialed back their support for the civil war in 1993 when the Soviet Union had collapsed. After the war, “80 percent of people have no access to basic medical care. More than two-thirds have no running water. A whole generation of children has never opened a schoolbook. Life expectancy is less than 40 years. Three in ten children will die before reaching their fifth birthday,” the New York Times reported.20

Covertly fueling terror in Mozambique, 1977-1992

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Between 1977 and 1992, the U.S. covertly fueled a reactionary war and a barbaric campaign of mass terror in the southern Africa country of Mozambique. This newly independent nation was ruled by the nationalist Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which was aided by the Soviet Union. The white settler states of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa, secretly backed by the U.S., formed, supported, and armed the “Mozambican National Resistance” (RENAMO). Their goal: to force Mozambique to halt support for the just struggle against apartheid South Africa, drive it into the arms of Western imperialism, and prevent the imperialist Soviet Union from gaining a foothold in southern Africa.

RENAMO systematically carried out crimes against humanity as part of a strategy to cripple and destabilize Mozambique’s government. It abducted children to be soldiers. It forced villagers to produce food, transport munitions, and turned village women into sex slaves—devastating agriculture (as well as the country’s infrastructure) and spawning mass starvation and famines which killed hundreds of thousands. It carried out brutal massacres, including the 1987 slaughter of 424 civilians, including hospital patients in the town of Homoine, and directly murdered some 100,000 people in all. U.S. ally South Africa gave RENAMO logistical, military, and financial support, and also carried out direct attacks in Mozambique, including cross-border raids, aerial bombings, sabotage, assassinations, kidnappings, even a 1986 invasion aimed at cutting Mozambique in half in 1986. Between 600,000 and one million died of war-related causes.

The U.S. secretly supported this slaughter—through private parties (the right-wing Heritage Foundation gave RENAMO office space in Washington, DC, for instance) and covert backing for South Africa. Author Mahmood Mamdani summed up, “Simply put, after the defeat in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal, the United States decided to harness, and even to cultivate, terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet.”21

Supporting Indonesian genocide in East Timor, 1975-1999

Ford (R)

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

Clinton (D)

On December 6, 1975, President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger met with America’s close ally, Indonesian dictator Suharto (who spearheaded the mass slaughter of leftists in 1965 and then staged a military coup in 1967—all with U.S. backing), and green-lighted Indonesia’s invasion of its neighbor, East Timor. “What followed was one of the greatest genocides of the 20th century. It is estimated that up to one-third of the Timorese population was killed through a policy of army massacre and enforced starvation. Many of those who were left were imprisoned and tortured by a military armed and trained by the United States.” The slaughter continued for almost 25 years. In 1999, after the Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia, pro-Indonesia forces murdered about 14,000 people. A few months later, the U.S. president—this time Clinton—was again meeting with Suharto to strengthen ties with his murderous regime.22

U.S. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, 1979-1989

 

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

After the Soviet Union, the U.S.’s main imperialist rival, invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the U.S., along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, armed, organized, and funded the reactionary Islamic fundamentalist Mujahideen (who later became Afghanistan’s Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda) to wage war against the Soviet forces and the Afghan regime it backed. When the Soviets finally pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, between 800,000 and 1.5 million Afghans (along with 15,000 Soviet soldiers) had been killed in this reactionary bloodbath and five million Afghans, one-third of its population at the time, had been driven out of the country as refugees.23

U.S. threatens tactical nuclear war over Iran, 1980

Carter (D)

During and immediately after the 1979 Iranian revolution, the U.S. and the Soviet Union engaged in a series of high-stakes warnings and threats, backed by military maneuvers and nuclear alerts, to maintain or increase their leverage in Iran. In August 1980, the U.S. warned the Soviets that any move into Iran would lead to a direct military confrontation. Those options included the use of tactical nuclear weapons. For the first time, National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski later wrote, “the United States deliberately sought for itself the capability to manage a protracted nuclear conflict.”24

U.S. backs El Salvador death squads, 1980-92

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

To crush a guerrilla struggle against its brutal client regime, the U.S. supported, funded, and armed death squads that carried out extra-judicial executions and massacres which killed as many as 75,000 Salvadorans25

Fueling the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988

Carter (D)

Reagan (R)

In September 1980, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Iran with a green light from the U.S. Their common goal—to weaken or topple the new Islamic Republic. The U.S. sold (or had allies sell) arms to Iraq, including the capability to make biological and chemical weapons (which were used against Iran), and provided military intelligence. For a time, the U.S. also supplied Iran with weapons. U.S. machinations prolonged the war and worsened the slaughter: Conservative estimates place the death toll at 262,000 to 367,000 Iranians and 105,000 Iraqis, plus an estimated 700,000 injured or wounded on both sides.26

The U.S.-sponsored Contra war in Nicaragua, 1981-1988

Reagan (R)

George H.W. Bush (R)

 

After the Sandinistas overthrew the pro-U.S. Somoza dictatorship in 1978, and established friendly ties with the Soviet Union, the U.S. was determined to overthrow them. “For eight terrible long years, the people of Nicaragua were under attack by Washington’s proxy army, the Contras, formed from Somoza’s vicious National Guardsmen and other supporters of the dictator. It was all-out war ... burning down schools and medical clinics, raping, torturing, mining harbors, bombing and strafing.” As many as 50,000 people were killed. In 1990 the U.S. forced a “free election” with the threat of escalated terror if people supported the Sandinista government. It fell. Today, Nicaragua is one of the poorest and most violence plagued nations in the hemisphere.27

U.S.-backed genocide in Guatemala, 1982-1983

Reagan (R)

In 1982, the U.S. backed a military coup by the Christian fanatic General José Efraín Ríos Montt, who then launched a genocidal assault on Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan population. With U.S. aid and support, Guatemala’s military systematically destroyed more than 600 indigenous Mayan villages and slaughtered some 75,000 people. The Guatemalan military regime’s savage, U.S.-supported war against leftist opponents and peasants (which had begun in the 1960s) continued until 1996. During those decades it’s estimated that some 200,000 people were disappeared or killed.28

1982-1983: Armed and backed by the U.S., the Guatemalan military systematically destroyed more than 600 indigenous Mayan villages, and slaughtered some 75,000 people.

Invasion of Grenada, 1983

Reagan (R)

The U.S. invaded this small island nation to overthrow its leftist government, an action the UN denounced as a “flagrant” violation of international law. U.S. forces killed 45 Grenadians and 25 Cubans working there in support of Grenada’s government, and wounded a total of 396 Grenadians and Cubans.29

America’s complicity in the massacre of Iraqi Kurds, 1987-1988

Reagan (R)

After facilitating Iraq’s development of chemical weapons, the U.S. turned a blind eye and continued to support it when it used them against Iraq’s Kurds. As many as 60,000 were massacred, including an estimated 5,000 in one gas attack at Halabja, according to an Iraq scholar. A Defense Intelligence Agency officer told the New York Times that the Pentagon “wasn’t so horrified by Iraq’s use of gas. It was just another way of killing people—whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn’t make any difference.”30

The shoot-down of Iran Air Flight 655, 1988

Reagan (R)

On July 2, 1988, at a time the U.S. was seeking to end the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war, the naval warship USS Vincennes shot down an unarmed Iranian civilian passenger jet—Iran Air Flight 655—as it flew over the Persian Gulf. All 290 passengers on board were killed.31

The invasion of Panama, 1989-1990

George H.W. Bush (R)

On December 20, 1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama with 27,684 troops and 300 aircraft, removing Manuel Noriega and his Panamanian Defense Force from power. Whole neighborhoods were destroyed and an estimated 3,000-6,000 Panamanians—mainly civilians—were killed.32

On December 20, 1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama with 27,500 troops and 300 aircraft, killing thousands of civilians and removing Manuel Noriega. (Photo: AP)

The Persian Gulf War—the U.S. assault on Iraq, 1990-1991

George H.W. Bush (R)

From January 16 to February 27, 1991, the U.S. waged war against Iraq to strengthen its grip on the Persian Gulf and set the tone for the post-Soviet “new world order” it sought to establish. Some 100,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed and another 300,000 wounded. The war also caused the deaths of 70,000 civilians by January 1992.33

U.S.-UN killer sanctions on Iraq, 1990-2003

George H.W. Bush (R)

Clinton (D)

George W. Bush (R)

In the months leading up to the January-March 1991 Persian Gulf War, the U.S. and UN imposed a crippling economic blockade on Iraq. Then, during the attack, U.S. bombers destroyed much of Iraq’s infrastructure, including its electrical, water, and sewage treatment systems. By 1997, the UN reported that more than 1.2 million Iraqis had died as a result of medical shortages caused by the war and sanctions, including 750,000 children under the age of five. A 1999 survey found that twice as many Iraqi children under five were dying than before the Gulf War. That’s roughly 5,000 Iraqi children under five dying each month thanks to U.S. actions.34

Iraq, 2004
Iraqi woman seeks treatment for her three-month-old son suffering from dehydration due to U.S. sanctions. (Photo: AP)

Military intervention in the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia, 1994-95; Serbia, 1999

Clinton (D)

In the 1990s, the multi-national Republic of Yugoslavia was torn apart by the forces of reactionary nationalism, egged on, backed, and manipulated by Germany, Russia, the U.S., and other imperialist powers. A complex series of brutal wars erupted in which over 100,000 died. At various points, NATO—under U.S. command—intervened in order to shape the outcome in U.S. interests, carrying out its own war crimes. In April 1999 alone, NATO planes conducted hundreds of runs, destroying homes, apartment complexes, and bridges, and killing over 100 civilians in Kosovo and Serbia.35

Invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, 2001-present

George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

Donald Trump (R)

In October 2001, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan, drove the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime from power, and installed a widely hated, pro-U.S. “Islamic Republic.” But the U.S. has never succeeded in defeating the Taliban or stabilizing the country, and the U.S. air and ground war has continued ever since. By August 2016, some 111,000 people had been killed and over 116,000 injured. More than 31,000 of the dead were Afghan civilians.36

Afghanistan, 2008
Children killed by U.S. airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2008. (Photo: AP)

Invasion, occupation, and ongoing intervention in Iraq, 2003-present

 

George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime based on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The U.S. war and occupation sparked armed resistance and led to the rise of reactionary Islamic jihadism and the ethnic-sectarian conflict that continues to this day. From 2003 to 2016, 251,000 Iraqis were killed in the war, including between 168,239 and 187,378 civilians. Other studies estimate that between 1.2 and 1.4 million (and perhaps as many as 2.4 million) have died from the war’s direct and indirect impacts. More than 4.2 million Iraqis had been injured and at least 4.5 million driven from their homes by 2016.37

U.S., British, French war on Libya, 2011

Obama (D)

In March 2011, the U.S., Britain, and France seized on a mass uprising against Muammar Qaddafi’s oppressive, 42-year-long rule, to launch a war. Their goal: overthrow him and tighten their grip on Libya. For the next seven months, the U.S.-led coalition carried out extensive bombing raids and military operations. By October, between 10,000 and 30,000 had been killed and Qaddafi’s regime had been shattered. Libya was turned into a battleground between reactionaries, and life became a nightmare for the people, with shortages of food, water, and electricity. A third of the population had no medical care, and a half-million people were forced to flee from their homes.38

Arming, backing, and enabling the Saudi-led war in Yemen, 2015-present

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia, with U.S. arms, technical support, and political backing, launched a war against Yemen’s Houthi movement, which had taken power. Since then, between 57,000 and 60,000 have been killed, mainly by Saudi air strikes. The Saudis have bombed Yemen’s food, water, and medical systems, causing massive hunger and disease. At least 85,000 children have starved to death as a result, and in 2016 and 2017 alone, 113,000 children died of starvation or preventable disease. Now, 14 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine.39

U.S. support for Israel’s wars, 1948-present

Truman (D)

The Nakba (1948). Israel was created by defeating armies from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq in war, and by violently forcing Palestinians from their lands and homes. Between 1947 and 1949, at least 750,000 Palestinians—of a population of 1.9 million—were expelled and made refugees. Zionist forces took more than 78 percent of historic Palestine, ethnically cleansed and destroyed about 530 villages and cities, and killed about 15,000 Palestinians in a series of mass atrocities, including more than 70 massacres. The U.S. supported the foundation of Israel, seeing an opportunity to undercut British influence in the region and strengthen its own. One of Truman’s aides argued that Israel “could become a strategic asset—a kind of stationary aircraft carrier to protect American interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.”40

 

Johnson (D)

1967 War [“Six-Day War”] (June 5, 1967-June 10, 1967). In 1967, Israel launched a preemptive war against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, crippling their air forces. Israel then carried out a successful ground offensive, seizing the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt; the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan; and the Golan Heights from Syria. Egypt’s casualties numbered more than 11,000, with 6,000 for Jordan, and 1,000 for Syria, compared with only 700 for Israel. This overwhelming military victory impressed on U.S. strategic thinkers that Israel was the key ally to ensure American domination in the Middle East. The U.S. began providing Israel cutting-edge weapons and jet fighters, and a massive flood of U.S. military aid that continues to this day. (Since its founding, the U.S. has given Israel a staggering $134 billion in aid—including over $94 billion in military aid—far more than the U.S. has given to any other country.) This established Israel’s military superiority over Arab regimes, and Israel increasingly functioned as an American proxy and attack dog, not only in the Middle East, but around the world.41

 

Nixon (R)

1973 Arab-Israeli War (October 6, 1973-October 26, 1973) started after a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria fought to regain lands that had been seized by Israel in the 1967 war. The lowest casualty estimate is 8,000 (5,000 Egyptians and 3,000 Syrians) killed and 18,000 wounded. The highest estimate is 18,500 (15,000 Egyptians and 3,500 Syrians) killed. The U.S. fully backed Israel, even putting its nuclear forces on alert as a warning to the Soviets against intervening unilaterally in the war. It saw this (and the June 1967 war) as a way to bludgeon the surrounding Arab countries, and to demonstrate, as then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger put it, “the limits of Soviet influence.” They were also aimed at crushing the Palestinian liberation struggle, then the region’s most revolutionary and broadly influential movement.42

 

Reagan (R)

1982 Lebanon War (June 1982-September 1982)

Israel Defense Forces invaded southern Lebanon with the goals of expelling the Palestine Liberation Organization, removing Syrian influence over Lebanon, and installing a pro-Israeli Christian government. By the end of the second week, International Red Cross and Lebanese police figures claimed up to 14,000 people died and 20,000 were injured, mostly civilians. During the Siege of Beirut, by late August 1982, Lebanese sources put the death toll in Beirut at 6,776. Lebanese police and international doctors serving in Beirut put the share of civilian casualties at about 80 percent. While some in the Reagan administration may have been concerned about the fallout from Israel’s attack, the U.S. continued to staunchly support Israel overall, including the need to crush the Palestinian resistance and other anti-U.S. forces in the region.43

 

George W. Bush (R)

Massacre in Gaza, 2008-09

Between December 27, 2008 and January 19, 2009, Israel waged a war of wanton death and destruction as collective punishment of Gazans after Hamas (an Islamist Party) was voted into power. Between 1,166 and 1,417 people were killed, including 844 unarmed civilians, 281 of them children. On January 9, Democrats and Republicans in both houses of Congress voted overwhelmingly in support of Israel’s actions, declaring—in direct opposition to the findings of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Red Cross, and other humanitarian organizations—that Israel’s armed forces bore no responsibility for the large numbers of civilian casualties from their assault on Gaza.44

 

Obama (D)

2014 Gaza War (July 8, 2014-August 26, 2014)

2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, of whom 299 were women and 551 children; and 11,231 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured, of whom 10 percent suffered permanent disability as a result. Again, both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate passed resolutions unanimously supporting Israel’s slaughter.45

 

Trump (R)

2018—the Great March of Return

Weekly protests began March 30, 2018 at Gaza’s border with Israel. They demanded that Israel’s crippling blockade be lifted and Palestinian refugees be given the right to return to their homes stolen by Israel in the 1948 war. The protests were also fueled by the Trump/Pence regime’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem—a big “fuck you” to the Palestinian people and a green light for Israeli ethnic cleansing. Unarmed protests have continued since then, and as of October 2018 over 150 Palestinians have been killed in the demonstrations. At least 10,000 others have been injured, including 1,849 children, 424 women, 115 paramedics, and 115 journalists. Of those injured, 5,814 were hit by live ammunition. The Trump/Pence regime responded by blaming the unarmed Palestinians for the violence.46

U.S. drone strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia, 2002-present

 

George W. Bush (R)

Obama (D)

Trump (R)

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the George W. Bush administration launched the so-called “war on terror”—a global war to retaliate for the attacks and expand and strengthen the U.S. empire. This war went after all manner of states and forces the U.S. rulers considered obstacles or opponents, and America’s drone war became a key component.

Drones deployed from dozens of secret facilities in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia, directed from operational hubs in the U.S.—where the buttons are pushed and the missiles launched, thousands of miles away from the bloodshed.

Over the next years, tens of millions in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia came to live in daily danger of terrorist attack—from U.S. drones. People gathered in groups at wedding parties, tribal meetings, or car convoys have been slaughtered by America’s remote-controlled high-tech death machines. In the dehumanizing jargon of the U.S. military, people killed by drones on purpose are referred to as “jackpots” while unintended deaths are referred to as “EKIAs”—“Enemies Killed in Action”—a category that includes women, children, and people bombed in homes or at social gatherings.

The Obama administration greatly stepped up the number of unmanned drone attacks, launching more than 300 against Pakistan alone—six times the number ordered by Bush—as well as dozens more against Yemen, Somalia, and perhaps other countries in the region.

Totals to date:

Minimum Confirmed Strikes: 5,861

Total Killed: 8,289-11,792

Civilians Killed: 758-1,619

Children Killed: 252-36947

 

 


1. American Crime Case #97: August 6 and 9, 1945—The Nuclear Incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, revcom.us, May 23, 2016  [back]

2. American Crime #49: 1950-53— Encircling, Threatening and Attacking the Chinese Revolution, revcom.us, January 1, 2018; William Blum, Killing Hope – U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II(Common Courage 1995), pp. 21-23; Alpha History, “The Chinese Civil War,” 2018.  [back]

3. American Crime Case #88: “Nuclear Testing in the Pacific,” revcom.us, July 18, 2016  [back]

4. Blum, Killing Hope, pp. 34-39; “Greek Civil WAR (1946-1949),” The Apricity.  [back]

5. American Crime #93: U.S. Invasion of Korea—1950, revcom.us, June 13, 2016.  [back]

6. American Crime #49: 1950-53— Encircling, Threatening and Attacking the Chinese Revolution, revcom.us, January 1, 2018.  [back]

7. Case #98: 1953 CIA Coup in Iran: Torture and Repression – Made in the U.S.A.,” revcom.us, May 16, 2016  [back]

8. Larry Everest, Oil, Power & Empire – Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage, 2004), pp. 65-67  [back]

9. American Crime #96: Vietnam, March 16, 1968 – The My Lai Massacre, revcom.us, May 23, 2016.  [back]

10. Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine – Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, p. 3  [back]

11. “Case #73: The CIA-Directed Murder of Patrice Lumumba,” revcom.us, November 7, 2016; Rogue State, pp. 137-138; see also, Stephen R. Weissman, “What Really Happened in Congo - The CIA, the Murder of Lumumba, and the Rise of Mobutu,” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2014; “Zaire: An African Horror Story,” Atlantic, August 1993; “LOOKING BACK IN ANGER: LIFE IN MOBUTU'S ZAIRE,” Washington Post, June 1, 1997  [back]

12. American Crime #45: The Bay of Pigs Invasion, 1961, revcom.us, February 12, 2018  [back]

13. The Nuclear Close Calls: The Cuban Missile Crisis, Atomic Heritage Foundation, June 15, 2018.  [back]

14. American Crime #68: The 1965 U.S. Invasion of Dominican Republic, revcom.us #476, January 28, 2017.  [back]

15. American Crime Case 100: "1965 Massacre in Indonesia,"  revcom.us,  May 2, 2016.  [back]

16. Killing Hope, p. 88; “The Bombing of Laos: By the Numbers,” ABC NEWS, September 6, 2016 6  [back]

17. American Crime Case #47: The Bombing of Cambodia, 1969-1973, revcom.us #526, January 15, 2018  [back]

18. American Crime Case #34: America's 1972 Christmas Bombings North Vietnam, revcom.us, December 17, 2018.  [back]

19. American Crime Case #57: The 1973 CIA Coup in Chile, revcom.us, October 22, 2017;William Blum, Rogue State – A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (Common Courage, 2000), p. 143  [back]

20. Rogue State, p. 147; Killing Hope, pp. 249-257; “Apartheid in South Africa: Decades of Serving the U.S. Empire,” revcom.us, December 9, 2013; Polgreen, Lydia, "Angolans Come Home to 'Negative Peace,'" New York Times, July 30, 2003  [back]

21. Mahmood Mamdami, “Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism,” American Anthropologist, Sept 2002; Mozambique: Civil war, World Peace Foundation, August 7, 2015; “Evolution of political events in the Southern African region,” Extracts from APARTHEID TERRORISM - Destabilisation report by the Commonwealth Secretariat, 1989 (from “A Crime Against Humanity—Analysing the Repression of the Apartheid State,” posted at South African History Online (SAHO).  [back]

22. “Massacre: The Story of East Timor,” Democracy Now!, November 12,1997  [back]

23. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 90; The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, 1979-1989, ThoughtCo.com  [back]

24. Oil, Power & Empire, pp. 91-93, Ellsberg, p. 321  [back]

25. American Crime Case #38: The U.S. Backs El Salvador’s Death Squad Government, 1980 to 1992,” revcom.us, July 9, 2018.  [back]

26. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 99  [back]

27. Rogue State, P. 146-147; “Legacy of Civil Wars - In Central America, Reagan Remains A Polarizing Figure,” Washington Post, June 10, 2004  [back]

28. American Crime Case #95: Reagan's Butcher Carries Out Genocide in Guatemala, revcom.us, #441, May 30, 2016  [back]

29. Cole, Ronald (1997). “Operation Urgent Fury: The Planning and Execution of Joint Operations in Grenada”  [back]

30. Oil, Power & Empire, pp. 113-114  [back]

31. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 111  [back]

32. American Crime Case #43: The U.S. Invasion of Panama, 1989-1990, revcom.us, April 23, 2018  [back]

33. American Crime Case #32: The 1991 Persian Gulf War, "Operation Desert Storm", revcom.us, December 17, 2018.   [back]

34. American Crime Case #76: U.S.-UN Sanctions On Iraq,"A Legitimized Act of Mass Slaughter, revcom.us, #461, October 17, 2016.  [back]

35. "Yugoslavia: The American Way of War - "Destroying the Village to Save It,Revolutionary Worker #1003, April 25, 1999.  [back]

36. Costs of War -- Update on the Human Costs of War for Afghanistan and Pakistan, 2001 to mid-2016, Watson Institute, Brown University.  [back]

37. American Crime Case #70: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003, revcom.us, December 5, 2016; and "Iraq conflict has killed a million Iraqis: survey," Reuters, January 30, 2008; "1.3 million children displaced by Iraq's war with Islamic State: UNICEF," Reuters, January 19, 2018; "The Staggering Death Toll in Iraq," Medea Benjamin, Nicolas J. S. Davies, AlterNet, March 15, 2018.  [back]

38. American Crime Case #35: The U.S.-NATO War on Libya, revcom.us, September 3, 2018  [back]

39. “85,000 Children in Yemen May Have Died of Starvation,” New York Times, November 21, 2018; “Yemeni children die as warring sides block aid deliveries: UNICEF,” Reuters, NOVEMBER 2, 2018; “Saudi Arabia Escalates Genocidal, American-Backed War in Yemen-U.S. Rulers Maneuver as 14 Million Yemenis on Brink of Starvation,” revcom.us, November 26, 201.  [back]

40. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 61; McDowall, David; Claire Palley (1987). The Palestinians. Minority Rights Group Report no 24. p. 10; The Nakba did not start or end in 1948-Key facts and figures on the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 23 May 2017, www.aljazeera.com.  [back]

41. "Six Day War,' Encyclopaedia Britannica, November 26, 2018.  [back]

42. Gawrych, George (2000). The Albatross of Decisive Victory: War and Policy Between Egypt and Israel in the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli Wars; Herzog, Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing House, 1974, p. 87; Oil, Power & Empire, p. 56, Ellsberg, p. 321.  [back]

43. Fisk, Robert (2001). Pity the Nation: Lebanon at War. Oxford University Press; Molly Dunigan (28 February 2011). Victory for Hire: Private Security Companies’ Impact on Military Effectiveness. Stanford University Press. pp. 103.  [back]

44. Al-Mughrabi, Nidal, “Israel tightens grip on urban parts of Gaza,” Archived 9 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine; Noam Chomsky, “Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009.  [back]

45. "Key figures on the 2014 hostilities - Data featured in the Report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict," United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Occupied Palestinian Territory, June 23, 2015; "U.S. Senate Unanimously Approves Resolution Giving Full Support of Israel on Gaza," HAARETZ, July 20, 2014  [back]

46. “U.S.-Israeli Massacre Kills 60 Palestinians and Wounds Over 2,700 
Everyone Must Stand Up and Protest Against These Crimes Against Humanity!
,” Revcom.us, May 14, 2018;, Seven Protesters Killed, Two of Them Children, and 257 Injured at Friday Demonstrations in Gaza, Al Mezan Center For Human Rights, September 29, 2018; “Total US Foreign Aid to Israel 1949-Present, JewishVirtualLibrary.org.  [back]

47. Drone Warfare, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  [back]

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/577/trumps-wall-and-border-security-of-the-democrats-en.html

Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

Trump’s Wall Is a Fascist Monstrosity and Must NOT Go Up...
But the “Border Security” of the Democrats Is ALSO a Machinery of Heartless Persecution, Demonization, and Deportation

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Since the publication of the below article, the crisis around the wall and the government shutdown has heightened. The situation remains in flux, and we will cover major developments as they might occur.

Trump doubled down with his January 8 Oval Office address and his threats to use executive power to build the wall without Congressional approval.This signifies another big step in the fascist remolding this regime is undertaking.

At the same time, the Democrats have continued their tack of essentially accepting the basic terms of Trump. For all their stern faces and charges of Trumpian irresponsibility, they, like Trump, cover over the fundamental guilt of the U.S. imperialist system for driving people from their home countries and the essentially illegitimate character of U.S. borders in the first place. They, like Trump, frame the argument as one of how to repress and control these desperate immigrants rather than what must be done to the system that has created this.

They too “change the subject” to the suffering that is being brought down on people within the U.S. through this shutdown. They pit that against what is being done to our immigrant brothers and sisters on the border (and within the U.S.). To be clear: that suffering is real, and the fact that people who are going hungry and sick, or who are a paycheck away from being homeless, now face even worse privation, is indeed criminal and extremely ugly. But the Democrats are opportunistically using this to shift focus away from the larger crime being committed around immigration.

The conflicts between Trump and the Democrats are in fact real conflicts over how to handle immigration, as the article below points out. But at this point, they also touch very directly on “norms of rule.” That is, Trump is changing the “rules of the game” that the imperialists generally adhere to—rules that both govern relations among themselves and afford a level of civil and democratic rights to masses of people. And this has serious implications.

But as the article also points out, this system has no answer, and both sides are united, above all, on saving this system. The challenge before those who are infuriated and anguished over what they see at the border is not to choose between oppressors, but to grapple seriously with what is said below on the roots of the crisis; what is laid out in the accompanying article on the Democrats’ history and current stance on this question; and what it will take to end this—revolution.

* * * * *

Donald Trump has shut down the government to get his wall on the border. This fascist wall must not be built, period. If this wall gets funded, in whatever form and with whatever concessions, it will represent a major escalation in the attack on immigrants. Even if it is seen as “symbolic”—and that will be what the Democrats tell you when and if they cut a deal with Trump—what it will symbolize will be that the tens and hundreds of millions of people seeking refuge from conditions created by this imperialist system are subhumans who must and will be kept out of the “gated community” of the very countries at fault for the disasters. Symbols are symbols because they mean something. After all, forcing Jews in Nazi Germany to wear “yellow stars” could be seen as “symbolic”—but what did they symbolize? A program of genocide.

The imperialist system oppresses the vast majority of the world’s peoples and nations. That system grinds up the labor and lives of billions of people daily into their machinery of capital. That system wages wars that create havoc and tears apart the social fabric in those countries. That system destroys the environment in those countries, turning whole areas of the world into deserts through global warming. That system has no answers for the crisis it has created.

Trump, and the whole fascist tide around the world, is one reaction to this. But how do the Democrats—who, yes, are like the Republicans, a political institution serving this imperialist system—oppose this? By proposing their own program for “border security”—that is, for keeping out and holding down immigrants—with high tech sensors and drones in what they say is the “21st-century way” of doing this.

In other words, the Democrats are united with Trump on using tools of repression and intimidation to prevent people fleeing U.S.-created oppression in their home countries from seeking asylum here. The accompanying article—on what these Democrats have actually done when they have been in power and what they actually propose to do now—shows that they have, if anything, been even more bloody than Trump (while being more discreet about it). Where they differ now is on two main points:

One, the demonization of immigrants is at the very core of the fascist program of Trump, part of a whole thrust to “make America white again.” Trump wants the wall as a high-profile, easy-to-understand way to dramatize his highly repressive assault on immigrants more generally. We should not forget that even as now the Democrats and even many anti-immigrant groups downplay the importance of the wall, it is a fact that border walls are one part of brutally enforcing apartheid and separation and that the existing U.S.-Mexican border wall, much of which was constructed by Democratic president Bill Clinton, has been a site of brutality and terror against immigrants. Trump is using the controversy over the wall to mobilize and stoke the fascist base.

The Democrats go at this differently. They aim to maintain the support of those who are either victimized by or revolted by this program of ethnic cleansing, and keep them thinking and acting within the bounds or horizons of the current system. So while they too carry out highly repressive and even murderous policies on the border, they want to as much as possible keep their repressive policies out of the public eye. At the same time, they also want to promote a multilateralist multiculturalism, opening up immigration to those they regard as necessary to their economy and the projection of the U.S. role internationally. Thus, when they say that the wall is immoral—which is how those whom they see as their base feel about it—what they really mean is that it is “bad optics.” As the accompanying chart makes clear, it was the plan proposed by Bill Clinton that has ended up trapping and killing some 8,000 immigrant human beings in the desert over the past 20-plus years.

Two, the Democrats actually argue that their form of keeping immigrants out (sensors, drones, informant networks) is more effective than the wall.

So, yes, the wall—and behind that the whole program and mentality being promoted by the Trump/Pence regime—must be thoroughly rejected and stopped. But it won’t be stopped by the Democratic representatives of a system that created 65 million refugees in the world—or a party that agrees with Trump on the need for “border security” while regularly trampling on the sovereignty of the very countries that the U.S. dominates and oppresses through wars and proxy wars for the dominance of the U.S. over the planet.

Why should we let ourselves be bound, and bounced around, between the choices that they and their system give you—between the contending forces of a capitalist-imperialist dictatorship, competing over who can better carry out that dictatorship? Where has this gotten us? And where has this gotten the desperate people now suffering in unbearably crowded shelters in Tijuana or “icebox” detention centers in Texas or trapped in the U.S.-created and maintained killing fields of Honduras or El Salvador—after all these years?

No human being is illegal. What we need—and what we need to openly proclaim and fight for—is a world without borders, which means a world beyond all forms of exploitation, oppression and the violent antagonistic conflicts between people. What we need is REVOLUTION!

 

Watch these excerpts from the speech by Bob Avakian Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution and from the Q&A following the speech

The Democratic Party: “A Major Instrument of This Monstrously Oppressive System”

Q&A: Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

Watch the whole speech, spread it, fund it

Find out more about this speech—and get organized to spread it »


A three-year-old boy, Aylan Kurdi, drowned when the small rubber inflatable boat carrying his family from Syria to Greece capsized, September 2015.


Mexican police at the Mexico-U.S. border attack Central American caravan migrants as they attempt to cross border, November 2018. (Photo: AP)


Tens of thousands of migrants attempting to escape war and famine in countries in northern Africa cross the Mediterranean seeking asylum in European countries. (Photo: AP)


Syrian refugee carries a baby over border fence at Syrian-Turkish border. June, 2015. (Photo: AP)


Afghan refugees who fled their country due to war and famine wait to get registered in Peshawar, Pakistan, August 2017. (Photo: AP)


Some 80% of the people in Yemen are in desperate need of basic necessities due to long-term extreme poverty drastically worsened by U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian attacks and fighting among other reactionary forces. Here, people get drinking water in the streets of Sana’a. (Photo: YouTube/United Nations)

The Imperialist System Has Created 65 Million Refugees Through Economic Plunder and Disruption, Ecological Catastrophe, and War.

This System Cannot Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown!

 

 

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/577/how-democratic-party-has-persecuted-and-deported-millions-murdered-thousands-with-their-moral-immigration-policy-en.html

Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

Questions and Answers on the Democratic Policy on Immigration

How the Democratic Party Has Persecuted and Deported Millions—and Murdered Thousands—with Their “Moral” Immigration Policy

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

What do the Democrats really think—and what do they DO—about immigration? The research below takes on two topics: first, the Democrats’ border proposal in the current “budget fight” with Trump; and second, their actual record on the border and immigrants. As shown below in their own words and deeds, and in what they refuse to rule out, while the differences are real, the unity—keeping people who are fleeing U.S.-created oppression OUT while maintaining the right of the U.S. to trample on everyone else’s borders—is more fundamental. They—and most fundamentally, the imperialist system they represent—have no answers.

First: What is the Democrats’ plan for “improving border security”?

Hakeem Jeffries, new chair of the House Democratic Caucus and four-term New York congressman, on the bill that the Democrats were putting on the floor on January 3: “[W]e’re going to allocate $1.3 billion in additional funding to allow for enhanced technology, cellphone towers, satellites, drones, enhanced fencing, increased communication capability, the things that the experts have said are necessary to improve border security.”1 (January 2, 2019)

What is “enhanced fencing”?

“There are areas along the border where there are currently fences that are put up or barriers that need to be enhanced, and consistent with what the policy experts have said are helping to improve our security along the border.” (Hakeem Jeffries, January 2, 2019) The Democrats are not ruling out additional enhanced fencing along the 2,000-mile border if they deem it’s justified.

Second: What has been the actual policy of the Democrats when they have held power?

OBAMA

Military Deployment at the Border

Holding Refugee Families in Detention at the U.S. Border

People were held in extremely cold detention facilities—called “iceboxes” by the refugees—and given only Mylar (aluminum) blankets, inadequate to keep them warm. According to the court, “deplorable” conditions also included the issue of overcrowding: “Children and their mothers were held for one to three days in rooms with 100 or more unrelated adults and children, which forced children to sleep standing up or not at all.”5

Using the Lives (and Deaths) of Immigrants to “Deliver a Message”

Jeh Johnson, Barack Obama’s secretary of Homeland Security, admitted the Obama administration began detaining immigrants at the border to send a message:

[T]here are adults who brought their children with them. Again, our message to this group is simple: we will send you back. We are building additional space to detain these groups and hold them until their expedited removal orders are effectuated. Last week we opened a detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico for this purpose, and we are building more detention space quickly.” (Johnson, in an official statement before the Senate Committee on Appropriations in 2014)6

The Democrats have never repudiated this practice. Refugees fleeing persecution were being arrested at the border, and forced to return to their countries unless they could prove they had a “credible fear” of persecution if forced to return. After the first year, a “Guardian investigation into consequences of Obama’s migration crackdown reveals US deportees have been murdered shortly after return to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, with study saying as many as 83 killed since 2014.”7

Nevertheless, on June 17, 2014, Hillary Clinton said on CNN, justifying this practice: “We have to send a clear message, just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay.”8

BILL CLINTON

Actual building of a border wall, and the most draconian immigration bill in our lifetime

It was under Bill Clinton that the construction of barriers and walls began:

IIRIRA greatly expanded the types of crimes that could result in the deportation of a non-citizen, including lawful permanent residents. And the Clinton bill made those changes retroactive, thereby boosting the number of possible deportations. The law also made many immigrants subject to mandatory detention while their immigration cases were being decided. This pretrial hammer was used to make frustrated imprisoned immigrants give up their effort to fight deportation and simply return to their countries of origin. Immigrants convicted of certain crimes or those caught within 100 miles of the border were given summary deportation orders without ever having the chance to see an immigration judge.11

Deaths and disappearances skyrocket

Together, Clinton’s immigration policies greatly increased the danger of crossing the Mexico-U.S. border, causing deaths and disappearances to skyrocket. According to a report by the groups No More Deaths and Coalición de Derechos Humanos, Extreme heat and bitter cold, scarce and polluted water sources, treacherous topography, and near-total isolation from possible rescue are used as weapons of border enforcement.” The estimate of the numbers killed crossing the border is 8,600. In addition, because of this terrain, within weeks someone can be reduced to bone fragments, or completely disappear. “The region has been transformed into a vast graveyard of the missing.”13

Clinton spoke with pride in his 1995 State of the Union speech about his immigration policy

Our administration has moved aggressively to secure our borders more by hiring a record number of new border guards, by deporting twice as many criminal aliens as ever before, by cracking down on illegal hiring, by barring welfare benefits to illegal aliens. In the budget I will present to you, we will try to do more to speed the deportation of illegal aliens who are arrested for crimes, to better identify illegal aliens in the workplace as recommended by the commission headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. We are a nation of immigrants. But we are also a nation of laws. It is wrong and ultimately self-defeating for a nation of immigrants to permit the kind of abuse of our immigration laws we have seen in recent years, and we must do more to stop it.14

And finally:

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 was signed into law by Bush II in October of 2006. It “called for construction of 700 miles of fencing and enhanced surveillance technology, such as unmanned drones, ground-based sensors, satellites, radar coverage and cameras.” The bipartisan majority that voted for the act included Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton—all top Democratic Party leaders.15

 


1. Jeffries Decries Trump’s Wall Funding Request but Touts Plans for ‘Enhanced Fencing,’ ‘Border Security,’ Washington Free Beacon, January 2, 2019 [back]

2. Trump says he'll send the military to the border. Bush and Obama did, too, CNN.com, April 4, 2018 [back]

3. The Border Fetish, Todd Miller, NACLA, April 30, 2018 [back]

4. Obama to Immigrant Children: Detention, Deportations, Ripping Apart Families WELCOME TO THE USA, revcom.us, June 30, 2014 [back]

5. Judge rules U.S. government should not hold immigrant children, Reuters, July 27, 2015 [back]

6. Statement by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson Before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, DHS.gov, July 10, 2014 [back]

7. US government deporting Central American migrants to their deaths, The Guardian, October 2, 2015. [back]

8. Hillary: Minors crossing border must be sent home, Washington Post, June 18, 2014 [back]

9. Borders: The Fence: Origins, Georgetown University project [back]

10. The Racism and Immorality of the Operation Gatekeeper Death Trap, Bill Ong Hing, April 13, 2015 [back]

11. The disastrous, forgotten 1996 law that created today's immigration problem, Vox.com, April 28, 2016 [back]

12. US Border Patrol uses desert as ‘weapon’ to kill thousands of migrants, report says, The Guardian, December 7, 2016 [back]

13. Report Exposes the Strategy and Practice of the U.S. Border Patrol That Has “Disappeared” Thousands of Immigrants, revcom.us, April 16, 2018 [back]

14. Bill Clinton, Immigration Hawk, Center for Immigration Studies, January 30, 2018 [back]

15. How the Border Wall Is Boxing Trump In, New York Times, January 5, 2019 [back]

 

Democratic policy on immigration since the 1990s led to thousands of deaths, massive deportations, and criminal treatment for millions of immigrants coming north from Mexico and Central America.

Q&A: Bob Avakian's Answer to People Who Complain about Immigrants Crossing Borders

Share widely on social media

A surge of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border began in 2014, and the government began putting children in holding shelters that looked like jails. Some facilities were extremely cold—called "iceboxes" by the refugees—and Mylar (aluminum) blankets were inadequate to keep them warm. ( Photo: AP)

Marchers carry a casket along a section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in Tijuana, Mexico ,Oct. 1, 2004, to mark the 10th anniversary of the U.S. border enforcement program Operation Gatekeeper. ( Photo: AP)

Bob Avakian, "Why do people come here from all over the world?"

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/577/creating-cognitive-dissonance-with-truth-in-advertising-en.html

Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

Creating Cognitive Dissonance with Truth in Advertising

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

A thought from a reader:

Michelle Obama’s Becoming—a book that prettifies this imperialist system and does so in a way designed to win the empathy and identification of way too many people with progressive inclinations—is a major event. The graphic put out by revcom can be a way to puncture this bullshit and spread the word about the revolution. Wouldn’t it be good if people encountered this in bookstores when they open the book to browse or buy it while shopping, or if they saw it in bookstores on display counters or in other ways? Might create some productive controversy!

 


Graphic
for Social Media

 

Exclusive, Highly Condensed Edition of Michelle Obama’s Memoir Becoming

I was born into a community plundered, devastated, and tortured for generations, going back to hundreds of years of slavery, by the most murderous ruling class in the world, the U.S. capitalist-imperialists.

I learned the ropes of that system so well that I became the wife of its top enforcer. I lent him my “authenticity” when he blamed the masses for their own oppression and called them “thugs” when they rose up. I sanctified the military as it carried out its depredations worldwide. I modeled the role of “traditional wife and mother" (while balancing a career), planting a vegetable garden while this system bombed, imprisoned, and murdered children all over the world.

And for those who don’t like this system but don’t want to fully confront what it really does and must do, I served—and still serve—as a screen on which they can project their illusions.

The End

Download PDF to print bookmarks.

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/577/bob-avakian-you-cant-change-the-world-if-you-dont-know-the-basics-12-en.html

Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

You Can’t Change the World If You Don’t Know the BAsics

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

 

Every week, Revolution features one quote from BAsics, by Bob Avakian, the handbook for revolution. We encourage Revolution Clubs and other readers, everywhere, to take the time to discuss the quote—the whole quote—and to write us at revolution.reports@yahoo.com with accounts of these discussions, or thoughts provoked in yourself by reading the quote.

 

Basics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian

"You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics."

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

Order the book or download the book in ePub format HERE

 

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Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

From RefuseFascism.org

What Should We Make of This Chaos?

by Coco Das

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Here’s how 2018 ends.

Trump orders a withdrawal of troops from Syria.

Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis issues a public rebuke in his resignation letter, stating “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues. … Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.”

In a gesture amounting to “You can’t quit. You’re fired,” Trump orders Mattis out by January 1st.

Just before the holidays, the government shuts down over funding for the border wall.

At the end of the week when all this was going down, Chuck Schumer says, “This may have been the most chaotic week of what’s undoubtedly the most chaotic presidency in the history of the United States.”

Through all this chaos, the Trump/Pence regime remains standing, poised to make even more shocking moves to reshape government, society, and empire, tossing aside existing norms, tearing apart the old alliances, and eliminating the roadblocks to ethnic cleansing and open tyranny. Consider this statement by Mike Shields, a CNN commentator and former RNC chief of staff: “What [Trump] ran on, what he really deeply believes, what he and Steve Bannon worked together on … was changing our trade policy, changing our immigration policy and changing our policy overseas. And they knew that they wouldn’t be able to do it without there being massive disruption and people saying it’s chaos. I think they expected this and I think what you’re seeing is the President finally getting to the point in this presidency where he’s sort of like, look, I’m going to carry out the policies that I ran on. And I don’t really care how much chaos you think there is, we’re going — that’s what’s going to happen when you’re changing things.”

In some ways, this chaos is the very vehicle by which this regime frees itself from the constraints imposed by the established domestic and international order. We become obsessed with the chaos, while the vicious fascist program beneath it becomes secondary or invisible. Even during his campaign, Trump brought and promised a destabilizing level of chaos. The raucous lynch mobs whipped up at his rallies, the constant rumors and scandals that shocked and titillated but never brought him down, the insults and threats against opponents and the press. We should assume that fascists like Trump have an infinitely high tolerance for the kind of chaos that sends other sections of the ruling order reeling. We should also assume that those sections, in their desire for stability, will seek that stability by capitulating to the demands of a fascist regime. This is what we can learn from history, and what they are already doing. But fascists are not tempered by compromise. They go after the totality of what they want, maintaining their momentum in what the historian Robert O. Paxton calls, “an ever-mounting spiral of ever more daring challenges,” toward a final stage in which dreams of racial purity and expanding power are realized, at great cost to humanity.

A year ago on our website, in The Crisis They Haven’t Faced Yet, we stated, “What the Trump/Pence regime has survived thus far is the turbulence it promised, a turbulence necessary for tearing up the existing norms and bringing about a qualitative change in how society is governed. This turbulence will give birth to a new order, the order of fascism, where everyone in society knows their place and doesn’t dare step out of it.” For two years, people have been taking the chaos of this presidency as a sign of incompetence or unraveling. This is a dangerous illusion. At the same time, this chaos can become a source of vulnerability for them, IF the people, thousands growing into millions, act in determined mass protest to stop them.

We don’t know what will follow the withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria or Mattis’s resignation, but we do know that there are more than 5,000 troops at the U.S. Mexico border right now, that the U.S., Israel, and Saudi Arabia continue to escalate war crimes against Iran, and that U.S. airstrikes and bombs will not stop pounding civilians in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, and many other countries. We know that millions in Yemen are facing famine and genocide caused by a U.S. funded, Saudi-led slaughter. We know that this regime dropped “the mother of all bombs,” that Trump has asked repeatedly why we can’t use nuclear weapons if we have them, and that the most recent Nuclear Posture Review expands the circumstances under which the U.S. would consider using nuclear weapons.

Here’s how 2018 has ended for us. Two Guatemalan children have died in U.S. detention at the border, their precious lives lost in the hands of this regime. What do we owe those children, and the lives around the world hanging in the balance? Our mission today is as clear as it was when we began, to bring millions into the streets in a sustained, non-violent movement to demand, in the name of humanity, the Trump/Pence regime must go. There is much turbulence roiling above, but the waters down here are far too calm. There is only one kind of disorder a fascist regime fears, the disorder and disobedience of the masses of people. We must very soon take advantage of the divisions at the top with a massive disruption from below, to un-calm the waters on our terms and wrench a different future out of this turmoil.

 

RefuseFascism.org is a movement of people coming from diverse perspectives, united in the recognition that the Trump/Pence Regime poses a catastrophic danger to humanity and the planet, and that it is our responsibility to drive them from power through non-violent protests that grow every day until our demand is met.

Go to RefuseFascism.org to learn more and find out how to participate.

 

 

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Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

Come On In, It’s Nice and Warm!

The New York Times Invites You for a Swim in an Ocean of Blood

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

Last week the New York Times ran an editorial entitled “The Changing of the Guard” that bemoaned the ways in which a number of infamous U.S. war criminals—or, in the words of the New York Times, “national security titans”—are growing older and losing influence. Collectively, these people were responsible for the deaths of literally millions of people, as can be seen from the accompanying chart.1

Now remember, the Times is balanced and these days even tries to be “woke.” So they emit a slight cough halfway down the page and note that Henry Kissinger (one of the war criminals—or “moderates,” to use Times-speak—that they’re celebrating here) will be “stained by the needless bloodshed in Vietnam and clandestine support for the vicious coup in Chile.” And that is it by way of criticism; just enough to calm the reader’s objections (and dull her senses).

The rest is a celebration of these people who, we are told, “brought reason, experience and a sense of history to bear on national security debates.” What they actually did, however “reasonable,” was to use the machinery of death and the threat of that machinery to enforce a bitter and grinding exploitation for the billions of people around the planet for the profit of U.S. capital and the parasitical way of life that America celebrates. In addition to the horrific wars they carried out or sponsored, they starved whole peoples and robbed the natural resources of countries—including extorting unbearable concessions that impoverished countries through their control of international finance through institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and further tightened the choke chains of imperialist domination.

The Times poses these “titans” against what they consider to be Donald Trump’s “wreckage” of that imperialist order. Trump for his part—and he represents a whole fascist section of the ruling class, now in power—believes that old order has outlived its usefulness and he is fighting for a different way to pursue those same bloody interests.

And that’s the point. The Times and their coverage, including their often cutting denunciations and exposures of Trump, differs with the fascist regime not over whether but HOW to enforce U.S. interests, here and around the world. For them—and for you, if they succeed in their shaping of public opinion—the problem is not that Trump threatens to do even more horrific damage to the masses, but that he may destabilize or upset the system by what they consider to be his wrong-headed policies.

In this light, we’ll again repeat the following:

The Democrats, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc., are seeking to resolve the crisis with the Trump presidency on the terms of this system, and in the interests of the ruling class of this system, which they represent. We, the masses of people, must go all out, and mobilize ourselves in the millions, to resolve this in our interests, in the interests of humanity, which are fundamentally different from and opposed to those of the ruling class.

This, of course, does not mean that the struggle among the powers that be is irrelevant or unimportant; rather, the way to understand and approach this (and this is a point that must also be repeatedly driven home to people, including through necessary struggle, waged well) is in terms of how it relates to, and what openings it can provide for, “the struggle from below”—for the mobilization of masses of people around the demand that the whole regime must go, because of its fascist nature and actions and what the stakes are for humanity.

 


1. The butchers mourned by the Times include Republicans Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell, and Richard Lugar; and Democrats Madeleine Albright, Sam Nunn, William Perry, and Lee Hamilton.  [back]

 

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Permalink: https://revcom.us/a/577/in-memory-of-nicholas-heyward-sr-en.html

Revolution #577 January 7, 2019

In Memory of a Tireless Fighter for Justice!
Nicholas Heyward Sr.—Presente!

by Carl Dix

| Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

 

With the passing of Nicholas Heyward Sr., everybody who yearns to see an end to the terror police enforce on Black people, Latino people, and others have lost a determined fighter. And I have lost a good friend.

Nicholas showed this determination in doggedly working to get the cop who murdered Nicholas Jr. in 1994 put on trial for stealing his son’s life. When the system exonerated the killer cop, Nicholas collected witness statements and other evidence. He took this to the district attorney and the mayor, hounding them and other politicians. He got the story of what happened to his son into the media at every opportunity, and he mobilized people to join him in fighting for Justice for Nicholas Jr., holding an annual day of remembrance in the neighborhood that combined speeches from family members of police murder victims and activists and youth-oriented activities like a basketball tournament, face painting and a books-for-toy-guns exchange. When a new district attorney was elected in 2016 on a platform of reopening cases where injustices had been perpetrated, Nicholas met with him and pressed him to reopen this case.

Nicholas learned as he sought justice. He came to see that police getting away with murder wasn’t an isolated incident, but a nationwide epidemic. He told me a few years after we met in 1996 that when his son was killed, no one could’ve told him that the killer cop wasn’t going to be sent to jail. By then he had seen that not only did the system let this cop go without any punishment, cops across the country have brutalized and murdered people and continue to brutalize and murder people and almost never go to jail. With all this happening he couldn’t understand how the politicians still tell people how great this country is. And he couldn’t understand why so many people continue to listen to them.

But this didn’t lead to Nicholas giving up the fight for justice. Instead he broadened his approach to it, going from the tireless fighter for justice for his son to a fighter for justice for all of the victims of brutal, murdering police. He welcomed the opportunity to join with other family members of victims of police murder and with activists who wanted to stop this horror.

He was one of the people who initiated the Stolen Lives Project, which documented the bitter reality of how police across the country killed more than 2,000 people in the 1990s, most of them Black or Latino, most of them young, and many of them unarmed and doing nothing wrong when their lives were stolen by those who were sworn to protect and serve. After the book Stolen Lives came out, he told me that with the pictures and stories of people killed by the police, it looked like a high school yearbook because so many of the victims were youths.

Nicholas was for real. And he was a radical guy, a seeker. He hated what this system has done to Black people since the first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains 400 years ago, and he came to hate all the injustices inflicted on people here and around the world. He hated this so much that he was wanting and willing to dig deeper to do something about it. He didn’t just want to know that the system was perpetrating injustices against the people, he wanted to know why and what could be done to stop it.

He searched for answers to these questions, and he found a lot in Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party, and the talks and writing he has done to bring to the masses of people the root cause of the problems the people face and why only an actual revolution could end all these horrors and bring about a radically different and better world.

In 2011 Nicholas was part of the host committee for the launch of BAsics—a book of quotations and short essays from the writings of Bob Avakian that is a handbook for revolution. As he put it in a statement:

“I remember hearing Bob Avakian talking about Revolution and speaking up for poor people. And I love how he speaks the truth about what’s going on and backs it up with facts, and mixes in a little humor. In today’s fucked up world, I need what Bob Avakian brings to the situation—the whole world does.”

And: “The book BAsics is a reality call to all the horrible things that the people are forced to live under. ... It is time for the people to Get, Read and Talk about the Book BAsics and ask yourself: Do I we want our children living in a world like this, fighting the same battles that we and our ancestors have already fought for? Come on my People Let’s Get Down With the BASICS!

Nicholas was also part of the host committee for Revolution and Religion—the dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West over the role of religion in the fight for human emancipation that was held at Riverside Church in 2014.

Nicholas will be sorely missed. We will miss his fierce determination to Stop Police Terror, his smile and sense of humor. There will be a hole in our hearts in the weeks, months, and even years to come.

Our response to this loss needs to be to remember Nicholas and to join with his wife, Donna, his son, Quentin, and the rest of his family and friends in grieving over having lost him. We have to take up the fight that Nicholas was so dedicated to, the fight to Stop Police Terror. And we have to connect that fight to the struggle to make revolution and end all the horrors humanity suffers around the world and in this country. We have to draw from Nicholas’s words about the devastation suffered by those who lose a loved one at the hands of the police, who are supposed to protect and serve, and decide that we too don’t want to live in, or pass onto future generations, a world where this and other such horrors are routine occurrences.

Nicholas Heyward Sr.—Presente.

Graphic contributed to revcom.us. Translation:

“Nicholas Heyward
You are part of the fire that will end the police terror and its damn system!
We are grateful”

Nicholas Heyward, Sr.
June 24, 1957 – December 31, 2018

Kimberlé Crenshaw, Eve Ensler, Carl Dix, Nicholas Heyward, Sr., and Cornel West at Columbia University, October 7, 2015, at an event building for the protest of Rise Up October—an outpouring of resistance to police terror in NYC in 2015. Photo: Alex Seel

 

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