The Seventies

excerpted from the book

The Greatest Story Never Told

A People's History of the American Empire 1945-1999

by Michael K. Smith

Xlibrus Corporation, 2002, paper



Contrary to conventional assumptions, the U.S. achieved its primary political objective in Vietnam, though sustaining a military defeat. The enemy in Vietnam, as elsewhere, was independent nationalism, any successful experiment in non-Western development that could serve as a model for other Third World states. As the internal planning record of the state managers shows, Vietnam was regarded as a "virus" threatening to infect healthy tissue throughout Asia, a "rotten apple" that might "spoil the barrel." 3~9 Once the NLF and the peasant society of which it was a part was destroyed, as they virtually were by the 1970s, there was no danger that any successor state could put the country together again, certainly not in any form that other Third World peoples might be tempted to imitate. For consider: the U.S. had dropped 8 million tons of bombs and almost 400,000 tons of napalm, leaving behind 21 million bomb craters. It had killed over 2 million Cambodians, Vietnamese, and Laotians, wounded over 3 million more, and scattered 14 million traumatized refugees throughout Indochina. It had rained down 18 million gallons of Agent Orange and other defoliants, creating forests bereft of trees, animals, or birds, and cursing the war's survivors with extraordinary rates of liver cancer, miscarriages, stillbirths, and birth defects. It left in its wake 83,000 amputees, 40,000 blind or deaf, and hundreds of thousands of orphans, prostitutes, disabled, mentally ill, and drug addicts. With the NLF largely eradicated by the Phoenix program, the only political option remaining for the Vietnamese was to have Hanoi attempt to pick up the pieces, an outcome that Washington could and did portray as Communist aggression, lending apparent retrospective justification to the U.S. war effort and providing a convenient scapegoat for the inevitable social catastrophe that followed. Thus, though the U.S. was forced to withdraw, the incalculable destruction it imposed before leaving constituted a political victory, providing further ammunition for anti-Communist propaganda to underwrite fresh imperial adventures. Surely, social change movements throughout the world took note, scaling back their aspirations for justice in accordance with the fearful price Washington could make them pay.

East Timor Vs. Cambodia

The U.S. response to two bloodbaths of genocidal proportions in the seventies highlighted Washington's ludicrous rhetoric on human rights. In Cambodia, Khmer Rouge massacres raised Western media criticism to fever pitch, triggering Pavlovian fulminations about the inherent evil of Communism and its natural termination in the Gulag state. The standard take dovetailed with Richard Nixon's, who wrote after leaving office that "Communist governments have killed over a half million Vietnamese and over 2 million Cambodians," mysteriously concluding that the U.S blitzkrieg in Indochina had therefore been an attempt to "save Cambodia and Vietnam" in a "moral cause."

Agreeing with Nixon, U.S. pack journalists seized upon Cambodia as the very archetype of evil, devoid of the slightest redeeming feature, committed only to slaughter and mass starvation. Evidence suggesting popular support for the Khmer Rouge, particularly among poor peasants, was dismissed with ridicule and contempt. In a country pounded to dust by U.S. saturation bombing, the peasants' nine-hour workday was regarded as the most atrocious form of exploitation ever devised, and no comparisons with brutal subjugations in the West's imperial domains were issued. Peasant revenge, undisciplined troops, and the legacy of the U.S. attack on Cambodia, all were disregarded as factors in Cambodian genocide, hastily cast aside in preference for the more compelling theme of Red Devils possessed by insatiable blood lust.

On the other hand, when Indonesia invaded East Timor in the aftermath of the island's 1975 civil war, no untoward questions were asked as the U.S. heaped arms and diplomatic support on its client while it killed 200,000 indigenous people, nearly a third of the population. This constituted the largest massacre proportionate to population size since the Nazi Holocaust, carried out with Washington ignoring U.N. condemnations of the escalating atrocities and blocking sanctions against the Suharto regime while the U.S. media looked the other way. On the eve of the slaughter Henry Kissinger declared in Jakarta that, "the United States understands Indonesia's position." U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Daniel Moynihan proudly compared the bloodletting to Hitler's rampages in Eastern Europe, boasting in his memoirs that, "The Department of State desired that the U.N. prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. The task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success."

The U.S. media chose not to notice. At the peak of the carnage in 1978, coverage of East Timor in the New York Times dropped from minimal to zero.

National Insecurity

The revelations of the Church and Pike Committees made clear that a police state had made significant inroads into American society. The F.B.I. had infiltrated groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Americans For Democratic Action, the Black Panthers, the Socialist Workers Party, the N.A.A.C.P., and Students For A Democratic Society, among others, sabotaging

their operations, fomenting ideological fights, instigating violent conflict between dissident groups, conducting wiretaps, maintaining thousands of dossiers on private citizens, planting bombs, and carrying out kidnappings, beatings, robberies, and assassinations, including the murder of nineteen Black Panthers around the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s.335 The C.I.A., supposedly prohibited from gathering domestic intelligence, had carried out domestic break-ins to install wiretaps, collected files on thousands of anti-war protesters and other dissidents, opened the mail of private citizens, infiltrated Congressional electoral campaigns, "donated" thousands of dollars to private companies for undisclosed purposes, conducted electronic and physical surveillance of newspaper reporters, infiltrated various news services, and maintained dozens of journalists and college professors on the Agency payroll. It had infiltrated student, labor, scientific, and academic groups, secretly financed propaganda in the guise of independent scholarship, experimented with LSD on unsuspecting subjects, and trained local police departments around the country in surveillance, detections, and counterinsurgency, all in violation of a congressional ban on domestic spying.

The C.I.A. was also shown to have carried out covert operations against the European labor movement, overthrown the democratically elected governments of Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, conducted a "secret" war in Laos, implemented a program of political mass murder in Vietnam, subverted Italian democracy, trafficked in the Southeast Asian heroin trade, and hired gangsters to assassinate Fidel Castro.

In short, the national security state had met the enemy, and it was everyone.

1970 Chile

"Make the economy scream" barks President Nixon to C.I.A. Director Richard Helms and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, demanding Chile be punished for electing a professed socialist to the presidency. U.S. Ambassador Edward Korry gets the message, vowing that, "Not a nut or bolt [will] be allowed to reach Chile under Allende. "

International lending institutions cut off aid while military funding continues to flow, inducement for right-thinking generals to approach the throne. I.T.T. Director John McCone offers $1 million to the C.I.A. to overthrow the Chilean turncoat whose perverse priorities include milk for children, land for the landless, and independence for Chile.

Awash in dollars, the Chilean press screams of nationalization, Communist atrocities, and economic collapse. General Rene Schneider blocks C.I.A. coup plans with obscure references to the Chilean Constitution, but the petty obstacle is removed when the General is ambushed and murdered on his way to work.

An I.T.T. memo to Henry Kissinger laments that Allende's election has left "Private foreign enterprise . . . groping for means of protecting its investments, " and warns that Allende's social democratic plans may prove a "contagious example. " Kissinger has already explained that the U.S. doesn't accept elections that come out the wrong way: "I don't see why we should have to stand by and let a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. "

1970 The Winter Soldier Investigation: Vietnam Vets Tell It Like It Is

" . . they didn't believe our body counts. So we had to cut off the right ear of everybody we killed to prove our body count. "

"Now what we did to this man when we strung him up is that he was stripped of all his clothes, and then they tied a string around his testicles and . . . the guy that was holding that string would just yank on it as hard as he could about ten times . . . "

" . . we threw full C-ration cans at kids on the side of the road. Well, just for a joke, these guys would take a full can . . . and throw it as hard as they could at a kid s head. I saw several kids' heads split wide open . . .

"They went into the village and instead of capturing her, they raped her-every man raped her.... and then, the last man to make love to her, shot her in the head. "

"The philosophy was that anybody running must be a Viet Cong; he must have something to hide or else he would stick around for the Americans, not taking into consideration that he was running from the Americans because they were continually shooting at him. So they shot down anybody who was running."

" . . . He took me down to this dungeon where South Vietnamese troops were pulling fingernails out of an old woman. There was an American captain standing by, rocking on his heels, rather enjoying the show.

"We'd throw out the ration cans that we didn't like and, after they thought we were getting a lot of food, we'd hand them cans of 5606, which is helicopter hydraulic fluid and very poisonous. And I observed one kid . . . take a good healthy drink out of it before his mother knocked it over..."

"This was common policy. Kill anything you want to kill, any time you want to kill it-just don't get caught. "

. . . two men were leading a young girl, approximately 19 years old, very pretty, out of a hooch. She had no clothes on so I assumed she

had been raped, which was pretty SOP, and then she was thrown onto the pile of the 19 women and children, and five men around the circle opened up on full automatic with their M-16s. "

" ... he was .... the platoon hatchet man. Any time that he had a prisoner that nobody in the room wanted, this guy would take his ID card and tell him to "Di Di Mau, " which is "run" in Vietnamese. The guy would get about ten feet, and get a full burst of automatic, which is 20 rounds, in the back."

"You go out, fly your mission, you come back to your air-conditioned hootch and drink beer or whatever. You're not in contact with it. You don't realize . . . what you're doing."

" . . the heads of the bodies were cut off and they were placed on stakes, jammed down on stakes, and were placed in the middle of the trails and a Cav patch was hammered into the top of his head, with Bravo Company "B" written right on the patch."

".... when the kids, and I do mean kids-four years old, ranging up to sixteen years old-came around the fence to sell GIs cigarettes, or candy, or beg for food, they were CS'd. And what I mean is they were gassed.

" . . . we'd take C-ration crackers and put peanut butter on it and stick a trioxylene heat tab in the middle and put peanut butter around it and let the kids munch on it the effect more or less of trioxylene is to eat the membrane out of your throat and if swallowed, would probably eat holes through your stomach. "

"I saw during my tour 20 deformed infants under the age of one. . . . I thought it was congenital or something, from venereal disease, because they had flippers and things.... it was common knowledge that Agent Orange was sprayed in the area .... "

"Fugas is a jelly-like substance. It's flammable and .... they explode the barrel over an area and this flaming jelly-like substance lands on everything . . . people or animals or whatever."

"I didn't see any humane treatment of prisoners . . . If it wasn't electrical torture, it was the snake torture. If it wasn't the snake torture it was barbed wire cages .

"There was a lot of mistreatment. We stood there and watched these leeches on peoples' backs. They would suck out enough blood (they would be about five inches long) and these young guys would just fall over. . . "

" . . people in my unit were a little bit weary of going out in the field with me. I started enjoying killing people a little bit more than you're supposed to . .

"You could take the wires of a jeep battery put it most any place on their body, and you're going to shock the hell out of the guy. The basic place you put it was the genitals. "

"The major that I worked for had a fantastic capability of staking prisoners, utilizing a knife that was extremely sharp, and sort of filleting them like a fish. "

"I had a friend who was working with USAID and he was also with CIA.... He went over there, ripped her clothes off and took a knife and cut her from her vagina almost all the way up, just about up to her breasts and pulled her organs out, completely out of her cavity, and threw them out....

"You know, if Vietnam is not violently painful then its such a crashing bore that you can't stand it."

1970 Cambodia

"This is not an invasion of Cambodia" announces President Nixon on national T.V., disclosing the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. Nervous and perspiring, Nixon denounces "the actions of the enemy, " which constitute an "unacceptable risk" and "clearly endanger the lives of Americans in Vietnam. " Since "thousands" of North Vietnamese soldiers are "invading the country from . . . sanctuaries, " the U.S. has no choice but "to go to the heart of the trouble" and wipe out "the headquarters for the entire Communist military operation in South Vietnam." It is essential that the U.S. show resolve at this crucial moment or else the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy that "threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world "will conclude that the most powerful nation on earth is but 'a pitiful, helpless giant. "

There is no time to waste, says Nixon gravely, for already in the heart of the Free World "great universities are being systematically destroyed."

1970 Cambodia
College campuses explode in riots and troop morale sinks to a new low following the expansion of the war. National Guardsmen flash the V-sign to anti-war students and soldiers go into battle with peace amulets around their necks.

In Cambodia, a GI jumps from a helicopter under enemy fire, a scrawled helmet message advertising his disenchantment with a cynical world: "We are the unwilling, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful."

1970 Kent State

When the soldiers draw down their weapons the students believe they are shooting blanks.

Jeff Miller catches a shot full in the face that takes off the top of his skull. Allison Krause is hit squatting behind a parked car. Sandy Scheuer is shot in the neck on her way to an afternoon class. Bill Schroeder takes a bullet that shatters a rib, tears through his lung and exits through his left shoulder. All four die.

The students reel in shock. A young Ohio National Guardsman rolls on the ground, moaning hysterically: "I just shot two teenagers. '

With determined anguish a young man dips an American flag in the freshly spilled blood and waves it defiantly in the air.

In grief and stunned despair, Allison Krause's father begs to know why his daughter had to die.

"Is this dissent a crime? Is this a reason to kill her?"

1970 Kent State

Mother: Anyone who appears on the streets of a city like Kent with long hair, dirty clothes or barefooted deserves to be shot.

Researcher: Have I your permission to quote that?

Mother: You sure do. It would have been better if the Guard had shot the whole lot of them that morning.

Researcher: But you had three sons there.

Mother: If they didn't do what the Guards told them, they should have been mowed down.

Professor of Psychology (listening in): Is long hair a justification for shooting someone?

Mother: Yes, we have got to clean up this nation. And we'll start with the long hairs.

Professor: Would you permit one of your sons to be shot simply because he went barefooted?

Mother: Yes.

Professor: Where do you get such ideas?

Mother: I teach at the local high school.

1970 Jackson State college

Tensed for battle, lines of police confront a jeering crowd of students outside the women's dormitory at Jackson State college.

An officer raises his bullhorn to speak. A hurled bottle shatters at the feet of the massed police.

A hail of gunfire is released into the crowd, the dorm windows, and the midnight darkness. The students flee wildly, convulsing into a screaming stampede that drops chaotically to the ground and pitches headlong into shrubs. Bullets ricochet off walls and shatter windows, sending a shower of glass, concrete, and brick cascading onto the squirming mass of bodies outside the dormitory doorway. Phillip Gibbs, a Jackson State student, catches a bullet in the face and dies. High school student James Green is shot dead coming home from work.

Inspector Lloyd "Goon" Jones identifies the victims for his dispatcher: "They're nigger students."

Bodies cleared away and calm restored, students sit on the lawn under the night sky, praying and singing freedom songs.

They pass the night sobbing and singing, waiting for the dawn to come.

1970 Kent State / Spiro Agnew

Traitors and thieves and perverts made the Kent State killings "inevitable," announces Vice-President Spiro Agnew, the Administration's specialist in vituperative loathing.

He lambastes student protesters as 'misfits," 'garbage," and "spoiled brats. " Anti-war organizers are "an effete corps of impudent snobs" who ought to be separated from society "with no more regret than we should feel over discarding rotten apples from a barrel. " Such "merchants of hate" are "vultures" who 'pervert honest concern to something sick and rancid, " while their liberal allies "have a masochistic compulsion to destroy their countries' strength. " Liberal politicians are "ideological eunuchs, " 'parasites of passion" who exploit "the cause" in the interests of self-advancement.

In the aftermath of the riots attending Martin Luther King's assassination Agnew remarked that he "never did think that Martin Luther King was a good American, anyhow. " He blamed the violence on "the circuit-riding, Hanoi-visiting caterwauling, riot-inciting, burn America-down type of leader."

On the 1968 campaign trail he announced that there wasn't "any particular gain" in talking to ghetto residents about their problems because, "You don't learn from people suffering from poverty but from experts . . . " In a TV appearance he added that, "If you've seen one city slum, you've seen them all. "

After calling a Japanese American reporter a "a fat Jap," he refused to apologize, insisting that the remark constituted a form of playful banter.

1970 Vietnam War protestors

Vice-President Agnew calls for the public to look on Vietnam protesters as storm troopers or Ku Klux Klan members and "act accordingly. "

Ten days later New York construction workers charge police lines to beat up students chanting "Peace Now!" The officers stand aside while a group of businessmen directs the flag-waving hard hats to their targets. Longshoremen and office workers join in, and for days New York is aglow with parades and patriotism.

White House aide Charles Colson invites the street fighters in for coffee with the President. A grateful Richard Nixon confesses he found their thrashing of the anti-war demonstrators "very meaningful. "

1970 Laos

Covered with rolling savannah and forest, the elevated plateau derives its name from the huge abandoned urns left behind by an ancient civilization of which little is known. Once it was one of the most beautiful and fertile spots in the country, rich in salt, iron, cattle, and fruit, its grasslands alternately golden in the dry season and bursting with green in the spring. Today it is a vast and lifeless ruin.

The sixty thousand descendants of Laotian civilization have fled underground or into lowland refugee camps to escape the screaming rain of death from the American sky: jellied gasoline and white phosphorous, delayed action, fragmentation, flechette, and ball-bearing bombs, guided missiles that seek out bodies even when hidden in caves. Village after village has been blown to bits, the inhabitants buried alive by high explosives, burned by liquid fire, riddled by steel splinters.

Deafened by the round-the-clock bombardments, death-defying peasants emerge from underground at dusk and dawn to farm among the cratered ruins of their ancient land, which is devoid of stationary structures or surface human life for the first time in over a thousand years.

1970: Vietnam

To kill each "Vietcong" costs a half a million dollars, which could support 3400 Americans in college or build 50 new housing units. A heavy B-52 raid costs $40 million, which is enough to purchase three 400-bed hospitals. A single bridge in North Vietnam, attacked daily since 1965, has claimed 99 American jets at an estimated total cost of $500 million.

The bombs exploding over Laos are equivalent to several Hiroshimas a month.

The expenses falling on the U.S. taxpayer mortgage the future doom the Great Society.

1971 Vietnam / Orwell

In jungles and rice paddies thousands of miles removed from the United States, soldiers defend the American way of life.

Bomb crates are marked Do Not Drop. Conscription is called service. Ecocide and the obliteration of villages is pacification. Pacification is designed to win hearts and minds. The Vietnamese are foreign invaders in their own country. Stalinist North Vietnam is the Democratic Republic of Vietnam; neo-fascist South Vietnam is the defender of democracy. A C.I.A. assassination program is run through a public agency for international development. Torture is a function of military intelligence. Troops killed by their own side are victims of friendly fire.

Lyndon Johnson was a peace candidate.

1971 Colby / Westmoreland

To undermine popular support for Vietnamese guerrillas, the C.I.A. tortures and kills their "Communist" relatives, friends, and supporters in a campaign of "selective counter-terror" that claims the lives of tens of thousands.

C.I.A. Director William Colby declares that the Phoenix program is necessary "to protect the Vietnamese people against terrorism." In a Congressional appearance he is asked about the U.S. ability to distinguish the "terrorists" from ordinary civilians: 'Are you certain that we know a member of the VCI (Vietcong Infrastructure) from a loyal member of the South Vietnam citizenry?"

Colby replies: "No, Mr. Congressman, I am not."

General Westmoreland explains the program's military advantage: "It does deprive the enemy of the population, doesn't it?"

1972 Philippines

Farmers work the fields with water buffalo. Women wash clothes in polluted streams. Half the population lives in hovels lacking electricity, water, or toilets. In rural areas there are no paved roads, no irrigation, no doctors or dentists. In malnutrition wards, haunting eyes stare from skeletal heads perched over toothpick limbs and swollen bellies.

Ferdinand Marcos unveils a new Constitution giving him all legislative and executive powers and imposing martial law. To kick off the new era he orders a wave of arrests, muzzles the press, and gives the green light to looting by family, friends, and foreign investors. With torture and "disappearances" proceeding as usual, opposition leaders appeal to the Supreme Court, only to discover that Marcos has abolished it.

U.S. military aid continues to flow. Business Week applauds the Philippine dictator for having "made it abundantly clear that he wants to help American business as much as domestic politics will allow. "

World Bank loans to Marcos quadruple.

1972 Vietnam President Thieu

One out of nine of his subjects are under arms. He holds 200,000 political prisoners in jails and torture cages. He is prepared to enlist children under the age of seven in supporting units. President Nixon describes him as one of the world's five greatest states men.

He tells a Saigon crowd that "we have to kill the Communists to the last man. " Although his vast army is no match for the popular support of the National Liberation Front, he refuses to consider power sharing.

"Those in South Vietnam who want to promote a coalition with the Communists should raise their hands. I am sure . . . the soldiers will not let them live for more than five minutes. ''

1972 Henry Kissinger

International relations is a system of political hydraulics. Pressures and power vacuums precipitate outcomes devoid of moral significance. Between the superpowers mutuality of interest does not exist. More importantly, since Marxists only understand self-interest, appeals to shared moral concerns are naive and suicidal. The true goal of the statesman is to establish "equilibrium," not promote justice or peace.

Courage is the essential virtue of being willing to crush opponents too weak to fight back and to "face up to the risks of Armageddon." John Kennedy exemplified it, establishing a 'psychological balance" by humiliating the Soviet Union in the Cuban Missile Crisis. American policymakers should follow his example.

United States policy in Vietnam is selfless, carried out by "idealistic Americans working under impossible conditions to bring government and health and development to a terrified and bewildered people." By contrast, anti-war demonstrators are "stimulated 6y a sense of guilt encouraged by modern psychiatry and the radical chic rhetoric of upper-middle class suburbia."

The saturation bombings of Cambodia that are demolishing the country are not an ethical concern: "I may have a lack of imagination, but I fail to see a moral issue involved."

1973 Chile

Tanks roll through the streets, soldiers break down doors, shots ring out from stadiums jammed with General Pinochet's enemies. Dead bodies bob to the surface of rivers and lie fallen on the blood-splashed streets. Libraries of books are tossed into bonfires and 24 hour torture centers open for business. Marauding soldiers cut the legs from women's trousers, shouting the new dress code: "In Chile women wear dresses!"

The U.S. Navy stands by offshore, monitoring progress.

The nation is closed to the outside world while the butcher's bill is paid. Vice-Admiral Merino, Commander in Chief of the Navy, rebukes officers objecting to the slaughter: "We are eradicating Marxism.... We are conducting a surgical operation... Our work is humanitarian.

Explaining that political freedom "serves the interests of Marxism," General Pinochet suspends the Constitution, closes down Congress, outlaws political parties, gags the press, and bans elections for the rest of his life.

American investment bankers open their checkbooks while the U.S. media hails the Chilean "return to normality."

1973 Chile / Allende

U.S. Hawker Hunter missiles crash through the windows of the Presidential Palace where President Allende, rejecting exile, makes his final speech to the nation. "I am not going to resign . . . they have the power, they can smash us, hut the social processes cannot be held back either by crime or by force. History is ours, and the People will make it."

After a hopeless battle, death comes swiftly in the afternoon.

At the head of his patrol, Captain Roberto Garrido bursts into the smoke and tear-gas filled palace, charges up the main staircase and enters the state reception hall.

With a band of intimates, Allende fights-on to the bitter end, armed with the AK-47 Fidel Castro wanted him to have.

Captain Garrido lets loose a burst of machine gun fire, leaving Allende writhing on the floor. He shouts: "We shit on the President!"

Allende once promised that he would not leave office unless he were riddled with bullets.

Garrido's men riddle him with bullets.

1973 Chile

Campesinos passing over the Las Tejuelas bridge gape in horror at the dozens of headless cadavers floating down the Nuble River, hands bound behind their backs. Reporting the crime to the military police, they are told to mind their own business.

"You saw nothing. If you say anything, we will arrest you and cut your throats, just like these corpses."

1973 Panama

Under Pentagon tutelage at the School of the Americas Latin American military officers learn to loathe subversion, an elastic category that includes Catholic 'consciousness raising work," demonstrations, strikes, "compromised social sciences," and other ideological deviations supportive of communal life.

According to the U.S. curriculum, notions of institutional causes for poverty and injustice "deform" history. Malcontents who insist otherwise are Kremlin agents or dupes.

Among Latin Americans the institute is known as the 'school of coups." In the 1964 Brazilian coup the U.S.-trained faction assumed the leadership in eliminating Constitutional rule. In the recent Chilean coup, the junta that deposed Salvador Allende boasted six graduates. One hundred and seventy SOA graduates are current heads of state, cabinet ministers, commanding generals, or directors of intelligence.

The American commandant of the school tells a reporter that graduates are not forgotten.

"We keep in touch with our graduates and they keep in touch with us."

1975 Nuclear war

Equipped with a nuclear arsenal containing the explosive equivalent of 615,385 Hiroshima bombs, the Ford Administration formulates plans for "limited" nuclear war. Testifying before a Senate subcommittee Defense Secretary James Schlesinger assures the august body that nuclear war would not be catastrophic, that "the psychological impact of a nuclear attack would result in some initial loss of confidence in government, " but that 'positive, adaptive behavior would prevail. "

1975 Vietnam

The predicted Communist bloodbath does not materialize. After two decades of Western terror retribution deaths are close to zero. Hanoi's revenge creates nothing worse than reeducation camps.

The miracle of reconciliation and restraint passes unnoticed by American commentators, who prefer to denounce Communist indoctrination methods. Those who Washington employed to torture and destroy are portrayed as innocent victims, forced to endure the agony of political lectures.

The hundreds of thousands of orphans, drug addicts, prostitutes, and maimed survivors the U.S. Ieaves in its wake, whom the Vietnamese must somehow rehabilitate while overcoming a shattered economy, obliterated ecology, and demolished social order, are ignored and quickly forgotten.

1975 Vietnam

An Air Force general says the important lesson is that "We could have won the war if political factors had not entered in. " Secretary of State Rusk blames the loss of Vietnam on the "impatience" of the American people, adding that a future Vietnam-style war will require censorship. "You cant fight a war on television," he laments.

General Maxwell Taylor contends that success requires the banning of dissent, counseling that any President would " be well advised to silence future critics by executive order."

With millions dead and Indochina in ruins, President Ford urges Americans to forget. "The lessons of the past," he says, "have already been learned . . . and we should have our focus on the future."

1975 Excessive democracy

The Trilateral Commission, David Rockefeller's elite planning group designed "to bring the best brains in the world to bear on the problems of the future," releases its report on the 'governability of democracies" in the wake of the tumultuous 1960s.

The Commission finds an "excess of democracy" responsible for undermining governmental authority at home and encouraging a "decline in the influence of democracy abroad. " Especially worrisome are the "value oriented intellectuals," who "devote themselves to the derogation of leadership, the challenging of authority and the unmasking and delegitimization of established institutions," primarily those entrusted with "the indoctrination of the young. "

With previously marginalized groups entering the public arena and clamoring for institutional change, the Commissioners wistfully long for a return to the Truman years, when the President ran the nation with the help of a handful of Wall Street bankers and lawyers.

To restore authentic democracy the Trilateralists request that groups pressing for change be returned to their customary state of "apathy and noninvolvement."

1975 East Timor

Hours after Henry Kissinger and President Ford depart Jakarta, bombs begin falling on Dili. At dawn Indonesia invades.

The commanders shout "fire" and the bodies fall like leaves. Begging for mercy, the Timorese scramble to kiss the feet of the Indonesian killers, screaming for their wives, their mothers, their children.

The soldiers, unmoved, line people up facing the sea and riddle them with machine-gun fire. Friends and neighbors of the dead attach bricks and pipes to the corpses and hurl them into the water. Then they, too, are executed.

With U.S. advisers directing and participating in killing missions, sixty thousand Timorese are slaughtered in just a few months.

The American people never hear about it.

1975: Iran / SAVAK

Accountable only to the Shah, they are the sole authority for political crimes. Among the tools of their trade are whips, fists, electric shock, pliers, boiling water, heavy weights, fire, and glass bottles. Many of their victims vanish without a trace.

Suspects have no right to choose a lawyer and are not permitted contact with anyone outside of prison. They have no right to call witnesses or cross examine. Guilt is assumed and the only hope for leniency is to confess and recant. Even so, torture often continues after conviction.

Asked why he needs a secret police, the Shah is nonplussed. "Why? Everybody has. Who hasn't got a secret police?" In an interview with Le Monde he objects to being singled out for human rights abuses: "Why should we not employ the same methods as you Europeans? We have learned sophisticated methods of torture from you. "

1976 South Africa

Anti-apartheid protests, strikes, and riots break out in the black township, triggering upheaval throughout the country. The South African police reassert control with mass killing and imprisonment.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger meets with South African Prime Minister Vorster for friendly discussions.

The U.N. General Assembly votes unanimously to prohibit member nations from having diplomatic contacts with a new Bantustan.

Standing by apartheid in glorious isolation, only the U.S. abstains.

1976 South Korea

General Park Chung Hee describes his rule as a "benevolent dictatorship" based on adoration of his people with "love about love. "

Criticism of the tender Apostle of Love is punishable by 15 years in prison. College students who skip classes without authorization are subject to execution. For violating Park's decrees hundreds of dissidents have been imprisoned or executed, including an ex-president, a Roman Catholic bishop, the nation's top poet, and the last candidate who dared oppose Park in an election- Kim Dae Jung-kidnapped by the Korean C.I.A. from a Tokyo hotel.

Amnesty International reports on a young South Korean prisoner who appears in court missing his ears and eyelids and with his fingers burned together.

President Ford and Defense Secretary Schlesinger declare their intent to use nuclear weapons to defend South Korea.

Congress doubles military aid to the Park regime.

1976 Chile

Meeting with Augusto Pinochet Henry Kissinger assures the dictator that, "In the United States . . . we are sympathetic with what you are trying to do here. " On his way back from a visit to Chile, U.S. Treasury Secretary William Simon praises the General for having restored "economic freedom."

President Ford believes that bringing Pinochet to power was "in the best interests of the countries involved. " When Congress tries to reduce aid to his junta, he approves a $9.2 million arms sale to the Chilean air force. In gratitude, Chile sends the Esmeralda-a ship used for burnings, electric shock treatments and sexual assaults-to the U.S. bicentennial celebration.

1976 CIA

The House Intelligence committee reports that efforts to subvert democracy make up "the largest covert action category" of the C.I.A.. In Italy alone the Agency spent $65 million blocking Communist electoral success between 1945 and 1965. The committee finds that the C.I.A. "has been utterly responsive to the instructions of the President and the assistant to the President for national security affairs. "

In the Senate, the Church Committee reports that the F.B.I.'s COINTELPRO was a 'sophisticated vigilante operation" directed at those the Bureau considered "threats to the existing political and social order. " Infiltrating legal social change organizations, the F.B.I. conducted wiretaps, maintained secret files, instigated violent conflict, planted bombs, and carried out kidnappings, beatings, robberies, and assassinations, including the murder of nineteen Black Panthers.

The Congressional investigators conclude: "We cannot dismiss what we have found as isolated acts which were limited in time and confined to a few willful men. The failures to obey the law and . . . the Constitution have occurred repeatedly throughout administrations of 60th political parties going back four decades. "

Following these revelations, President Ford grants intelligence agencies broad new authority to carry out political surveillance, harassment and disruption.

Congress declines to sponsor remedial legislation.

l976 Shah of Iran

Appearing on U.S. television, the Shah of Iran discloses that his secret police "check up on" Iranians living in the United States.

In the past four years the Shah has been the U.S.'s best arms customer, purchasing more than $10 billion in lethal technology, including air-to-air missiles, smart bombs, and aerial tankers -"everything but the atomic bomb," according to a State Department official.

Amnesty International reports that the Shah maintains a 20,000-man secret police apparatus, has abolished all of Iran's civilian courts, holds 100,000 political opponents in jail, and is currently presiding over the highest number of official executions in the world, a rate characterized by Amnesty International as "beyond belief"

Enthroned atop an ocean of oil, the staunchly anti-communist Shah is a greatly admired leader of the Free World.

1977 Carter / Human Rights

President Carter promises that foreign policy under his administration will promote "the basic right of every human to be free of poverty, hunger, disease, and political repression."

In his budget requests he maintains spending levels for General Park in Korea, the Shah of Iran, the Brazilian Generals, Ferdinand Marcos, and the dictatorships of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Bolivia, and Zaire.

A member of the American delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission expresses his 'profoundest regrets" for the C.I.A.'s role in General Pinochet's bloodbath. President Carter scolds him, lecturing that the C.I.A.'s actions were "not illegal or improper."

Affecting pious concern for human dignity, Carter turns his attention to human rights victims in the Soviet bloc, who have no embarrassing ties to Washington.

1977 Israel

The London Sunday Times reveals that the torture of Arabs implicates 'all of Israel's security forces" and is so 'systematic that it cannot 6e dismissed as a handful of 'rogue cops' exceeding orders. "

Israel denies the charges but refuses to rebut, diverting discussion to side issues. It attacks Israeli lawyers defending Arab victims.

Writing in the New Republic, Seth Kaplan rises to the defense of Israeli torture, arguing that the issue of how a government treats its people "is not susceptible to simple absolutism, such as the outright condemnation of torture. One may have to use extreme measures-call them 'torture' to deal with a terrorist movement whose steady tactic is the taking of human life."

Every state in the world using torture on an administrative basis claims it is fighting a terrorist movement.

1977 Iran

The walls are mirror, the chairs velvet, the floors marble, the rugs Persian. The service is Ceralene Limoges china, the glasses Baccarat crystal. The food is caviar, kebabs, and ice cream aflame with cherry sauce, washed down with 25,000 bottles of the Shah's vintage Bordeaux. The music is Verdi, Chopin, Bernstein, Sandjari, and Matesky, performed by live orchestra. The occasion is the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. The place is the Niyavaran Palace. The guest of honor is President Jimmy Carter. Following the breathtaking meal, he delivers the after dinner speech.

Praising "the great leadership of the Shah, " he proclaims Iran 'an island of stability" in a "troubled" region of the world. He declares this a great tribute "to you Your Majesty, " and to "the respect and the admiration and love" which the Iranian people feel for their benevolent monarch. With thousands of political prisoners suffering Nazi torture techniques in Iranian jails, Carter declares that, "The cause of human rights is one that also is shared deeply by our people and 6y the leaders of our two nations. "

He concludes on a note of utter devotion: "There is no leader with whom I have a deeper sense of personal friendship and gratitude. "

A beaming Shah leaps to his feet in applause, grasping Carter's right hand in both of his.

In the morning on the way to the airport, the mutual admirers fail to notice thousands of young Iranians pelting the army with rocks along the side streets.

Nationwide riots break out.

1978 Philippines

Opposition leader Benigno Aquino languishes in jail. The Constitution, written by Marcos himself, stipulates that he will remain president no matter how the vote turns out and will retain absolute veto power over actions of the assembly, a body he is entitled to dissolve at whim.

Six weeks in advance, the U.S. Embassy reports to Washington that an "overwhelming majority" for Marcos is "virtually certain.

On election day 200,000 paid Marcos supporters are flown in from outlying provinces to cast their votes for "America's boy." Voters arriving at the polls minutes after they open find the ballot boxes already stuffed with the one million fake ballots Marcos has printed up for the occasion.

The Carter Administration calls the elections "a step toward eventual restoration of representative government" and approves 3 separate aid packages, including $17 million in bullets, 51 armored vehicles, and patrol boats.

1978 Iran

A senior American oil official is shot, expatriate workers are called home, oil production slows to a near standstill, gangs of protesters roam the streets.

Iran's miserable subjects, fed up with hunger, squalid huts, 13-hour workdays, and the ravages of untreated disease, rock the capital with furious protests. The Shah nearly slips off his oily throne.

Attempting to quell the growing turbulence, troops machinegun a crowd in Jaleh Square, killing and wounding hundreds. In Washington, President Carter expresses his approval to the Shah's son: "We're thankful for this move toward democracy. We know it is opposed 6y some who don't like democratic principles but his progressive administration is very valuable, I think, to the entire Western world."

The Shah's ambassadors query Washington on its appetite for terror. "Would you accept five thousand deaths? Ten thousand? Twenty thousand?"

1978 Israel

An offshoot of his terrorist Irgun offered to help the Nazis against the British in World War II. One of his first acts as Israeli Prime Minister was to issue a postage stamp honoring Abraham Stern, whose group made the proposal.

In his autobiography he speaks proudly of blowing up the King David Hotel and massacring the villagers of Deir Yassin.

Elected on a platform calling for the annexation of the West Bank and the East Bank of the Jordan River, his peace cabinet is a Jewish military junta that includes five Generals. They maintain cozy relations with apartheid South Africa, General Pinochet, and Nicaragua's Somoza.

He regards the Occupied Territories as "liberated," and refuses to call them anything other than Judea and Samaria," Biblical names for Jehovah's gift to the Jews. He uses West Bank and Gaza Arabs as Israel's coolie class, referring to them as "the Arabs of Eretz Israel." Corralling them into Bantustans, he promises them full autonomy, which he describes mystically as self-rule for people, but not for the land on which they live.

1978 Israel

Fayez Sayegh

A fraction of the Palestinian people (under one-third of the whole) is promised a fraction of its rights (not including the national right to self-determination and statehood) in a fraction of its homeland (less than one-fifth of the area of the whole); and this promise is to be fulfilled several years from now, through a step-by-step process in which Israel is to exercise a decisive veto power over any agreement. Beyond that, the vast majority of Palestinians is condemned to permanent loss of its Palestinian national identity, to permanent exile and statelessness, to permanent separation from one another and from Palestine- to a life without national hope or meaning."


1979 Japan

U.S. Navy veteran Harry Coppola returns to Japan

Before leaving, he tells the crowd: "Harry Truman is in hell . . . he should not have dropped the bomb on Japan .... He didn't drop it on military targets, he dropped it right in the middle of two cities, with women and children."

He departs with a long, loud, standing ovation ringing in his ears.

The Greatest Story Never Told

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