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"This book is a valuable addition to the literature on terrorism." -- Edward Herman, Wharton School
"an important, courageous analysis of America's long involvement in training of foreign military and police organizations" -- Chalmers Johnson, author, The Sorrows of Empire
About the Author
Frederick H. Gareau holds a Ph.D. in international relations and organizations from American University, Washington, DC, as well as a licence in political science from the University of Geneva. He is full professor at Florida State University and author of The United Nations and Other International Insitutions: A Critical Analysis as well as an extensive number of articles and conference reports.
Here is truth dripping blood and gore. Given the stakes this is the kind of book we ought to have again and again until it is finally impressed on the American people what its government is doing in its name, while hypocritically proclaiming loudly the virtues of freedom and democracy
The body of the book is formed by six case studies of US perpetration of and complicity in repression and terrorism in El Salvado, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and Indonesia. Sadly, this repression almost unexceptionally has come to pass when the poor and repressed majority has organized to redress the privileged economic elite, often under cover of the Cold War against communism; today more commonly under the cloak of the war on terrorism. Gareau also takes brief but sweeping inventories of similar terror in Cambodia, Iraq, Colombia, Nicaragua, the Congo, Iran and elsewhere. Orwell would fully understand a US State Department list of state sponsors of terror conspicuously missing the United States itself. Gareau gives lie to the "romantic notion" that the attacks of September 11 were prompted by a pathogical hatred of the United States and its freedoms. It is more accurate, he says, to see them as a response to widespread and similar activity in which the US has been much more intimately involved. It is critical to understand this history as the first step in contrition and thusly to preventing future repeats. In each of the six case studies, Gareau asks and answers three main questions: did the government being studied commit state terrorism? how much of the terror was perpetrated by the state, and how much by private guerrillas? And, was the country that committed terror upon its own citizens supported by the United States?Read more ›
This is a concise book that covers one of today's biggest topics: terrorism.
In the millions of hours of TV coverage, and the millions of words in countless newspaper articles, we seldom get a clear picture of state terrorism in the world, and what role the United States really plays in combatting, supporting, and instituting it. Gareau uses a number of case studies to determine the extent of US involvement in countries like El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, and he briefly covers other 'hot spots' like Cambodia, Nicaragua, and of course, Iraq.
The information is not 'secret'. Certainly, the media has covered these areas over the years, usually supporting a very familiar line. However, the reality on the ground is something quite different than the various US administrations have described in all of their lofty rhetoric about combatting terror, about 'why do they hate us?', and about eliminating imminent threats.
The book also looks to current events in an evaluation on the Bush II administration's 'War on Terror'. Gareau's summation is anything but laudatory for the 'counterterror' being carried out by the US and its allies and proxies. The behavior of the world's dominant superpower is often arrogant and bullying, and it's nothing new to Bush II. The case studies stretch back to at least the 1950s, with US involvement in the hemisphere stretching back a century in some cases.
There's been a very close link between US support and aid and state terrorism in a number of the cases, and some of the shorter bits on other countries and regions echoes this as well. (See Holly Sklar's 'Washington's War on Nicaragua' for an overview on that 'successful' job of 'spreading democracy'.Read more ›
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Using evidence from various truth commissions, Professor Gareau, of Florida State University, presents detailed country studies. In El Salvador in 1980-91, 75,000 people were killed, of whom the government, its army, the National Guard and its death squads, killed 95%. The US gave El Salvador's state $6 billion, supporting the terror.
In Guatemala in 1962-96, the state's forces killed more than 90% of the 200,000 people killed. In Chile after the coup of 11 September 1973, the state, again, killed more than 95% of those killed. In Argentina in 1976-83, 8,960 were killed. In Colombia in 1986-95, 45,000 were killed, again 95% by the army and death squads.
Between 1980 and 1988 the South African state killed 1.5 million people in neighbouring countries. Indonesia's army killed at least 1.5 million people in 1965, 1975 and 1999: the US state supported elections on the back of these massacres.
In every case, the US state backed the state terrorism before, during and after it was committed. Gareau cites three studies proving that the more a state violated its citizens' rights, the more US aid it received.
This was state terrorism, not even-handed civil wars with half the violence committed by one side and half by the other. It was counter-revolutionary murder by US-equipped, US-trained armed forces against people with hardly any means of self-defence.
Why this one-sided ferocity? US military training teaches recruits to use pre-emptive terrorism - `do it to them before they do it to us'. It tells recruits that the enemy will torture and kill them, take no prisoners and show no respect for the laws of war.
Gareau sums up, "Washington has the right, indeed the duty, to defend the United States against terrorism.Read more ›
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