Can we call them terrorists yet? 40 replies

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Locomotor

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#1 12 years ago

This is a tangent from Mr. Fancypants's thread, though I wanted to bring up something different, and didn't want to divert that thread, so:

We all know that there are countries out there that support terrorism: Iran, for instance. This is what we are told, and while this is true, it is hardly the entire picture. I'm going to go back and forth, between the reason Iran is considered a state-sponsor of terror (according to the conservative think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relation) and why I believe the US is a state-sponsor of terror (in my opinion as well, "we" are much more dangerous), for essentially the same reasons, applied to a different circumstance. Afterwords, I've a question for everyone. :)

First, we need to know what terrorism is. According to the US Army, "terrorism" is: "the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."

According to the US State Department, Iran is the “most active state sponsor of terrorism.” "Iran continues to provide funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to numerous terrorist groups based in the Middle East and elsewhere." (CFR) Okay, so this is why Iran is considered a state-sponsor of terrorism. All of this is probably true, as well, of course. However, if this can allow us to classify Iran as a state-sponsor of terrorism, why cannot, when this treatment is applied to the US government, we classify our government as one? I'm sure we can all agree that Iran "continues to provide funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary to numerous terrorist groups." Though, has not the US? The United States has "provided funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary" to groups that I would very hastily lable terrorist groups: the term "death squad" is probably familiar to many here. The US has provided "funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary" to these groups for decades, the world over:

A good case-in-point we can examine now would be in Colombia. Since the 1980s, Colombian military and right-wing paramilitary groups, or if you prefer, Death Squads, have killed thousands of trade unionists, political dissidents, left-wing ideologues, and so on. These groups certainly fit the description, given by the US Army, of terrorist organizations.

"Under the stated objective of fighting drugs, the U.S. has armed, trained, and advised Colombia's military despite its disastrous human rights record. Strengthened by years of U.S. support, the Colombian military and its paramilitary partners instead have waged a war against guerrillas and their suspected supporters in civil society, including members of legal political parties, trade unionists, community activists, and human rights monitors. Far from moving to address the mounting toll of this war, the U.S. has apparently turned a blind eye to abuses and is moving to increase deliveries of military aid, including weapons, to Colombia." Human Rights Watch, 1996

Now, if the US knowingly supported these Death Squads (this is somewhat of a misnomer: the US has supported DSs in dozens of countries over the decades. For instance), cannot we call the US Government a state-sponsor of terror? What motives could the US Government have possibly had to continue their support (to this very day it continues, mind you) of right-wing Death Squads? Well, US corporate interests obviously play a role (don't they always?). We all know how dangerous unionization, for example, can be in foreign countries for the profits of US multi-nationals. For instance: "On the morning of December 5th, 1996, a band of armed men on motorcycles rode up to the gates of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in the small rural town of Carepa, Colombia. They waited for the plant's gatekeeper to open the door, shot him ten times, climbed back onto their motorcycles and rode off. The gatekeeper, lying dead at his post, was Isídro Segundo Gil, the union's chief negotiator. His assassins belonged to one of Colombia's ruthless far-right paramilitary organizations. The paramilitaries were determined to destroy the union, which had dared to ask for $400 a month in wages, health benefits, and greater job security. Later that day they attempted to kidnap another of the union's leaders, who barely escaped with his life, and then firebombed the unions' offices that night. But what sealed the union's fate was when the paramilitaries returned to the plant a week later, gathered the workers in the company cafeteria, and forced them to sign letters of resignation from the union. Any employees who did not sign the letters would be killed. According to Edgar Paéz, one of the workers at the plant, "the company never negotiated with the union after that…. All the workers had to quit the union to save their own lives, and the union was completely destroyed." "Scenes like this are all too common in Colombia, where organizing a union is very likely to get you killed. The numbers are staggering: more than 3,800 union leaders and labor activists have been murdered in Colombia since the mid 1980's, and more than one hundred have been killed in the first six months of this year alone. In 2000, more trade unionists were killed in Colombia than were killed in the entire world in 1999." "There is mounting evidence that American companies are complicit in the persecution of trade unionists at their Colombian operations. In the case of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Carepa, where Isídro Segundo Gil was murdered, the union Sinaltrainal argues that Coca-Cola knowingly stood by and allowed the plant's manager to bring in paramilitaries to destroy the union." "Coco-Cola is not the only multi-national company linked to the murder of union leaders in Colombia. Drummond Co., an Alabama-based coal-mining company, has also overseen a series of similar assassinations in recent years. In March of 2001, during the course of a dispute between Drummond and the union Sintramienergetica, paramilitaries took the union's president, Valmore Lacarno Rodríguez, and vice-president, Víctor Hugo Orcasita Amaya, off a company bus and executed them. As in the Coca-Cola case, Drummond had ignored open threats from the paramilitaries, circulated publicly on flyers, and had even refused Lacarno and Orcasito's plea that they be allowed to sleep at the mine for safety. Moreover, many workers, including the next union president, Gustavo Soler Mora, argued that the mine's management had helped the paramilitaries to find and identify Locarno and Orcasita. Seven months later Gustavo Soler Mora was also taken off a bus and murdered." (Article) It might follow that what the Colombian people desperately want now, and completely deserve, is solidarity from US influence. But that won't do! US-based companies make a killing by exploiting the workers there, and to lose their business there would be disasterous for profits. So, all they need to do is shovel more and more "funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary" to these right-wing Death Squads, via US - taxpayer funded, mind you - grants. For, so long as US aid kept flowing, left-wing activity in Colombia could be repressed, so that A) a right-wing, militaristic regime can maintain power, and B) US Corporations maintain cheaply earned profit.

Human Rights Watch reported that "as U.S. military support for El Salvador waned in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Colombia emerged as the hemisphere's top recipient of U.S. military aid. Since 1989, the U.S. has provided $322 million in military aid to Colombia, nearly all on a grant (give-away) basis." "Not only did the United States play a disturbing role in supporting the military intelligence reorganization that led to serious human rights violations, U.S. aid, weapons, materiel, and training meant to fight drugs have gone to units implicated in serious human rights violations, a fact the United States is aware of but has not made public. In addition, Colombian officers linked to human rights violations have received U.S. training, including CIA-sponsored training in Panama and at the School of the Americas, and have even served at the School of the Americas and the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, D.C. as instructors." "U.S. arms sales to Colombia not only continue unimpeded, but are expected to reach a record level. Military aid provided to Colombia by the U.S. has been used to finance weapons purchases from the U.S, which totaled $73 million in FY 1992, $45 million in FY 1993, $88 million in FY 1994, and $31 million in FY 1995. The Pentagon estimates sales in FY 1996 at $84 million and in FY 1997 at $123 million - the highest level ever." - HRW, 1996 (The full report. More recent reports can be found there as well.)

So, it would seem that, while representing the interests of US multinational corporations (A good article concerning Coke Cola's skulldrudgery in Colombia can be found here), the US government provided "funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary" to politically motivated, right-wing paramilitary forces, that have to this day murdered thousands of innocent people. Recall the definition of terrorism given by the US Army: "the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."

Now, the question(s): Why can't we use even this single* example of state-sponsored terrorism to lable the United States government a state-sponsor of terror, just like Iran? Am I not in my right when I argue that the US in fact is a state-sponsor of terrorism? If Iran can be labelled a state-sponsor of terrorism for providing "funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary" to Al-Qeada, Hezbollah, etc, why can't we label the US a state-sponsor of terrorism for providing Anti-Leftist Death Squads with "funding, weapons, training, and sanctuary?"

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* (You must remember that these activities continue to this day, all over the world. It goes like this, typically: a country doesn't want to allow American corporate investments in their country (for good reason) --> the US covertly topples the existing government and replaces it with a US business friendly one --> the US provides the constant military support that allows prolonged oppression --> everybody wins! $$$)




Karst

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#2 12 years ago

This is why i can't stand it when people use the word terrorist. They don't follow any one definition, label "bad terrorists" terrorists and "good terrorists" freedom fighters or something. It seems the term can be twisted to refer only to those that are anti-American or anti-West.

It's absolutely sickening what's been happening in South America for the last decades, that post is a perfect example. Extremely corrupt, brutal juntas or paramilitary organizations get US support openly, as long as they're pro-free market or oppress and fight left wing or communist groups, human rights don't seem to matter so much. These groups are often just as bad as what's usually meant by terrorist: arab muslim extremists from the Middle East. On eof the overlooked atrocities of this age.




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#3 12 years ago

Karst;3355027This is why i can't stand it when people use the word terrorist. They don't follow any one definition, label "bad terrorists" terrorists and "good terrorists" freedom fighters or something. It seems the term can be twisted to refer only to those that are anti-American or anti-West.

It's absolutely sickening what's been happening in South America for the last decades, that post is a perfect example. Extremely corrupt, brutal juntas or paramilitary organizations get US support openly, as long as they're pro-free market or oppress and fight left wing or communist groups, human rights don't seem to matter so much. These groups are often just as bad as what's usually meant by terrorist: arab muslim extremists from the Middle East. On eof the overlooked atrocities of this age.

Usually when I refer to terrorists I am talking about the mideast, even if those arn't the only source of terrorism. Very simple reason most people overlook US action is that it doesn't effect them, where as middle eastern terrorism has the potential to do so. Quite honestly I've decided to stop caring one way or the other about terrorism. Not that I don't think it is bad in both cases(US and out of country terrorism) but I realized I really don't care enough about it to give two shits one way or the other.

Edit: I mean for now anyways. I've got better things to do then worry about this shit. I've got schoolwork to do, and fun to have.




Joe Bonham

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#4 12 years ago

The war in Columbia, though it has been far from beautiful, has had a good effect. The Marxists were unable to successfully launched a revolution, and the government has gotten stronger. Now that the Marxist threat has (apparently) died down, the paramilitary groups are being disbanded one by one. This I believe was a decent application of Col. Richard's containment strategy. We linked up with a source of Order, and helped it withstand a force of disorder. The conflict was extremely messy, but it saved lives. If Columbia had disintigrated, the situation would be a thousand times worse (Look at Central Africa).




Locomotor

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#5 12 years ago
Machiavelli's ApprenticeThis I believe was a decent application of Col. Richard's containment strategy. We linked up with a source of Order, and helped it withstand a force of disorder.

This is dispicable... Perhaps when your family is chainsawed to pieces in front of your eyes because your father wanted to earn $2 an hour instead of $1, you will change your mind. A "force of disorder," give me a freakin' break. This "disorder" was merely the peoples' desire to rid their country of American economic dominance.

Your heartlessness and ignorance may be beyond redemption, I fear. :(




Joe Bonham

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#6 12 years ago
This is dispicable... Perhaps when your family is chainsawed to pieces in front of your eyes because your father wanted to earn $2 an hour instead of $1, you will change your mind. A "force of disorder," give me a freakin' break. This "disorder" was merely the peoples' desire to rid their country of American economic dominance.

Right. The government troops are villains and the marxists are "freedom fighters". The methods of both sides are virtually indistinguishable. In fact, they are so indistinguishable - a group occassionally pretends to be from the other side, and massacres a couple villages to discredit them. Needless to say, neither side has accumulated very many friends among "the people". When your family just got shot, it really doesn't matter if the guy who did it was a "freedom fighter" or not. Its the end result that matters. The Columbian state's survival has been secured at least for now. Now of course, us white kids in our pretty houses in comfy America think such wars are horrible. But we don't live there. We have never tried to fight such a war.

Your heartlessness

What, do you think this is a picnic?

and ignorance

Don't be ridiculous. I've said nothing here, as far as "facts" go, that is incorrect. The state has stabilized, the marxists have declined, and the "death squads" are disbanding.

may be beyond redemption, I fear.

And your naivity is beyond redemption - though I don't fear it. I doubt you'll be in any position of authority in such a war. Though if you are, your side is royally screwed. :p




Locomotor

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#7 12 years ago
MAIts the end result that matters.

Yeah, "the ends justifies the means," right. :cort:

When your family just got shot, it really doesn't matter if the guy who did it was a "freedom fighter" or not.

I agree. However, you're ignoring (read: ignorant) what actually happened. Human rights activists and trade unionists - that were targeted by the government - were not the ones pulling the triggers.

Now of course, us white kids in our pretty houses in comfy America think such wars are horrible. But we don't live there. We have never tried to fight such a war.

Huh?

And your naivity is beyond redemption - though I don't fear it. I doubt you'll be in any position of authority in such a war. Though if you are, your side is royally screwed.

Okay: please knock off the bullshit. I don't think you even read the post. Tell me: what needed to be contained? Even if there was a source of "disorder," why on earth do we have the right to "contain" it (domino effect is a myth, you of all people should know that)? Even if we did have the right to intervene, did we really need to slaughter folks that were merely looking for better working conditions? Again: acknowledge the situation, don't invent circumstances to use in your argument.




Joe Bonham

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#8 12 years ago
Locomotor;3355249Yeah, "the ends justifies the means," right. :cort:

Do you think I chose this screen name for kicks?

I agree. However, you're ignoring (read: ignorant) what actually happened. Human rights activists and trade unionists - that were targeted by the government - were not the ones pulling the triggers.

A smart idea from the Columbian's point of view. We did it in Nam too, though to a lesser extent. The Phoenix program consisted of an organization that popped off any politician or other public official who was deemed to be a problem. Extremely heartless yes, but it was one of the most effective programs in the war.

Huh?

Come on now. How many people have you personally seen killed in your life? We have no experience of the harder side of life. So we're really not in much position to critique people who have.

Okay: please knock off the bullshit. I don't think you even read the post. Tell me: what needed to be contained?

A source of disorder - i.e., the Marxist guerrillas.

Even if there was a source of "disorder," why on earth do we have the right to "contain" it (domino effect is a myth, you of all people should know that)?

Though I don't like the "domino" analogy, the event it describes is quite real. That's called entropy - chaos spreads. Its not a theoretical process. As northern Mexico disintigrates into anarchy, its taking the American border regions with it. Mexican gangs are penetrating further and further into American territory.

Even if we did have the right to intervene, did we really need to slaughter folks

That's how these wars are fought I'm afraid. Get used to it.

that were merely looking for better working conditions?

It really doesn't matter what you were doing when you strayed into the path of the bullet. When a group of men with guns visits you, don't give them shit - smile and nod, and hope they don't decide to blow your brains out. That's the role of the bystander in war.

Again: acknowledge the situation, don't invent circumstances to use in your argument.

I think it is you who is not reading the words. I know that's how such wars are fought, and unlike you - I acknowledge it as a fact of life.




Roaming East

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#9 12 years ago

Im a bit simplier in my definition. A terrorist is any asshole who by passes armed combatants inorder to kill non-combatants. This is often the case in Israel and in Iraq where armed groups of men attempt to kill civilians while at the same time dodging legitimate military targets such as troops and police.

folks like that warrant nothing more than violent death in my book. You can be an 'insurgent' or 'freedom fighter' without blowing up schools and pizzerias and shooting up theaters and markets




Joe Bonham

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#10 12 years ago
folks like that warrant nothing more than violent death in my book. You can be an 'insurgent' or 'freedom fighter' without blowing up schools and pizzerias and shooting up theaters and markets

I agree. But unfortunately, your allies in the third world aren't going to be much different from the people they're fighting. You're scum - but you're our scum. Foreign policy is not a pleasant job.