British Legion Poppies


in the sea
glad you find the subject matter amusing! anyway in what way shocking?
you're basically quoting the administrations justifications for the war and going "yup sounds believable to me!" This has been discusses elsewhere in a bunch of different threads but "time to save the iraqis!" argument is just unbelieveably unbelievably naive.

also what gavin said.


Do we need to assuage Western guilt? Do you feel personal guilt for the actions of your great great great etc grandfather or whatever? The world a few hundred years ago was a pretty brutal place (as perhaps it is today). Western colonial exploits were often barbaric but equally by modern standards so was the rule of many 'native' elites. Colonial rule was a highly differentiated procees across time and space and to say it was entirely malign or benign is simply wrong-headed. The history of humanity is one of conquer and assimilate, conquer and so on. Nothing in the evolution of mankind is pure; and the Western nations were engaging in nothing historically new when they excercised their new found power as widely as possible from the Sixteenth Century onwards. If Europe had not flourished then would the world have continued as it was? I think this is highly unlikely; if Europe had not aspired to dominance then some other region would - the Islamic world pushing on its borders is a good example.

Why do you raise this issue of 'Western' guilt? If like me, and the vast majority of people, you feel deeply uncomfortable with the poverty and suffering of people in many of the ex colonial territories, then surely your over-riding concern should be considering how these independent nations can be helped to prosper. If you feel the need to assuage your own guilt then, well, do it quietly somewhere private. The people of the developing world do not need our pity (or our guilt); what they may need is constructive assistance towards building a prosperous future. But that is for them - i.e. internally within the own dynamics of their society - to decide.

Did I say "I" personally felt guilty? If anything, my ancestors were more sinned against than sinning--my father is part Gypsy ffs. What are you talking about? Of course civilizations flourish on the heels of terrible deeds. Does this make them right?


I worked for some years at a highly successful biomedical non-profit organization. The misappropriation of funds (and the political nature of it all) was staggering. American NGOs are more the problem than the answer, in many different sectors.

Mr BoShambles

FUCKING UNDENIABLE. Burden of proof is on you, good sir.

Ok so perhaps undeniable was a bit strong. However i believe that a strong moral case can be made for foreign intervention along humanitarian grounds. However on this basis it seems that you can't win. Everyone shouts foul when the West does not act i.e. in Rwanda and Sudan (although in the latter UN peacekeeping forces are due to be deployed in early 2008); and shouts foul when the 'West' does act like in the case of Iraq. Intervention will always be tarred with the brush of neo-colonialism but this denies the potential for effective action when necessary. In acting the intervening nations will always be making a subjective judgement about the nature of the situation. Are you opposed to intervention per se in all situations/contexts?


Usury is not an exclusive 'Western' practice you know and can the loans really be considered high interest when much of the debt is cancelled anyway. And given huge quantities of the money is pocketed by self-serving elites perhaps we should stop giving this 'aid' anyway?

there is no doubt that the 'West' has supported brutal dicatorships in the past and continues to do so. But surely the systematic cutting of support to such regimes should be encouraged not poo-pood. And as for 'our drug trade' WTF are you talking about? Supply and demand mate. We didn't invent drugs nor the drugs trade. If you can make more from producing 'illicit' crops than standard ones then its a rational choice. Surely its the prohibitive laws that cause the problems?

Mr. BoShambles, I highly recommend "Confessions of an Economic Hitman" for a clearer picture of the reality of American involvement in "developing" the third world.


I am fucking shocked by the amount of British support for this war. And here I've had to endure "stupid Americans" insults from a number of Brits. It all seems so sad.


booty bass intellectual
Everyone shouts foul when the West does not act i.e. in Rwanda and Sudan (although in the latter UN peacekeeping forces are due to be deployed in early 2008); and shouts foul when the 'West' does act like in the case of Iraq.

Oh boo fucking hoo. Like "crying foul" ever affected a single foreign policy decision. The only people crying about not intervening are liberals who actually don't know shit and neoimperialists ready for the next bounty. Show me where other nations request our benign uranium-tipped assistance with their "humanitarian" problems. Did you see anybody throwing billions at Blackwater for tsunami relief?

Are you opposed to intervention per se in all situations/contexts?

Without thinking too hard, yes. Such a waste of B2 bombers, I know.


What is it that guy says in Blood Diamonds? (Not my favorite film, but still)--"Let's pray they don't find oil here." That'll be the day the U.S. intervenes in Rwanda, Darfur, the Congos, etc.


I really need to read this book.

It has some weak points, but overall it's really astonishing what we did to (especially) South American countries over the past 20 years. Really scary stuff. I love the wikipedia page, every republican wingnut crawled out of the woodwork to post "controversy" points that are about whether so-and-so was really "hired" by this organization at the exact moment, etc. The typical bullshit.

Even the NY Times got riled up because the picture he paints is so damning...


Well-known member
I really need to read this book.
...perhaps followed up with a screening of Costa-Gavras' "Etat de Siege" (State of Siege), as relevant today as it was in 1973.

nomadologist said:
What is it that guy says in Blood Diamonds? (Not my favorite film, but still)--"Let's pray they don't find oil here." That'll be the day the U.S. intervenes in Rwanda, Darfur, the Congos, etc.
That made me think of the whole ConocoPhillips oil vs indigenous peoples of Ecuador issue. Anybody following this?

Btw, did anyone read the article about the missing Iraq billions in the October issue of Vanity Fair? In essence, at the heart of this whole tragic Iraq story is a huge theft of Iraqi public property, and anybody who believes it's about liberation/democracy/freedom is a right fool.

@ massive "fuck off" to colonizers
Reminds me of something a Mapuche woman from Chile told a representative of the Catholic Church when he asked her if "there was something they could do for the indigenous people."
Her answer: "Yes, just go away and leave us alone."

Brilliant and to the point.
What is it that guy says in Blood Diamonds? (Not my favorite film, but still)--"Let's pray they don't find oil here." That'll be the day the U.S. intervenes in Rwanda, Darfur, the Congos, etc.

The key problem is that such countries as the Central African Republic, Sudan, the Darfur region, etc are abundant in valuable natural resources (eg uranium) and have a long history - still continuing - of violent colonial intervention, the principal source of the 'humanitarian tragedies'. In the case of central africa, the problem is largely the result of continuing French intervention.

Whoever suggested European colonialism was history?

Inside France's Secret War
For 40 years, the French government has been fighting a secret war in Africa, hidden not only from its people, but from the world. It has led the French to slaughter democrats, install dictator after dictator – and to fund and fuel the most vicious genocide since the Nazis. Today, this war is so violent that thousands are fleeing across the border from the Central African Republic into Darfur – seeking sanctuary in the world's most notorious killing fields

By Johann Hari in Birao, Central African Republic


"The policies here in the CAR are part of a much bigger approach by France towards Africa," she says. "We call this system 'Franceafrique', and it was set up by Charles de Gaulle to replace the former colonial system. There is clear continuity from the imperial system to the present day." ----Louise Roland-Gosselin.

The motives for this war are, Roland-Gosselin [an Anglo-French director of the group Waging Peace, who has been studying the Central African Republic] says, drenched in dollars and euros and uranium. "The overarching goal is to take African resources and funnel them towards French corporations," she says. "The CAR itself is a base from which the French can access resources all over Africa. That is why it is so important. They use it to keep the oil flowing to French companies in Chad, the resources flowing from Congo, and so on. And of course, the country itself has valuable resources. CAR has a lot of uranium, which the French badly need because they are so dependent on nuclear power. At the moment they get their uranium from Niger, but the CAR is their back-up plan." So this is, in part, a war for nuclear power? " Yes, but also a lot of this money has been funnelled, through corruption, straight back into the French political process. Say somebody needs a road built here in the CAR. The French government will insist on a French company – and the French company back home donates a lot to the 'right' French political party."

This neo-imperial war reached its psychotic apogee in 1994, when the French government used the CAR as a base to fund and fuel the Rwandan genocide, the most bloody since the death of Adolf Hitler. Vincent Mounie is a leading figure in Sur Vie, a French organisation monitoring its government's actions in Africa. He explains: "The French were totally complicit in the genocide. There were French troops there before, during and after the genocide, backing the most extreme Hutu forces as they murdered the Tutsis. You know the identity cards that divided the Rwandan population into Hutus and Tutsis in preparation for the slaughter? They were printed in Paris."

The French military base in Bangui had to be abandoned in 1996 after it was burned down by enraged locals, tired of the French ramming tyrants down their national gullet. Today the old base is overgrown, and the French military has shifted to new camps in Birao. But I stare at it now. The French planes that backed the Rwandan holocaust left from here.

President François Mitterrand began his career supporting one genocidal force, and he ended it supporting another. As a young man he rose through the ranks of the Hitler-hugging Vichy regime, only quitting and joining the Resistance when it became obvious the democrats would win. He then became nominally a Socialist and, finally, President – when at last genocide entered his life again. The French government had long seen the Hutu nationalists in Rwanda as Their Men, the people most friendly to French demands for military and corporate access. So when, starting in 1989, the Tutsi refugees who had been driven out decades before started to demand their right to return to their homes, the French were furious. Mitterrand saw this Tutsi rights movement as a creation of the CIA, designed to displace a pro-French regime and replace it with a buddy of Uncle Sam. His own aides told him there was no evidence of a link to the CIA – but he refused to listen. He announced that the Tutsis were a "Khmer Noir" , an evil anti-French force, and began to rapidly build up the Hutu Power forces to fight back.

In just four years, starting in 1990, the French buffed up the Hutu nationalist military forces in Rwanda from 10,000 to more than 40,000. The moderate forces within Rwanda began desperately trying to broker a power-sharing agreement between the two sides, "And the French government deliberately destroyed any attempt at a peace deal," Mounie says. Then the hacking up of Tutsi men, women and children began. Mitterrand extended bigger loans to the Hutus, which they used to buy more weapons and ammunition. He publicly mocked anyone who talked about a Hutu-led genocide.

Then, when the international outrage became so great even Mitterrand could not ignore it, the French announced they would send in a military force to stop the killing. "It was France's last lie, and the most cruel," Mounie adds. "Even at this point, Mitterrand's real aim was to recapture Kigali and restore the Hutus to power." In Birao today, many of the soldiers patrolling the city are veterans of this "rescue operation". I am sipping sweet tea in one of the local bigwig's ramshackle houses when a group of local soldiers on patrol arrive. They are working-class men from the Paris and Lyons banlieues, and in the course of the small talk, they admit that they were in Rwanda – and they are still traumatised by what they were ordered to do by Mitterrand and his men. " Children would bring us the severed heads of their parents and scream for help," one says, "but our orders were not to help them."

A year after the holocaust ended, Mitterrand told an aide: "Nobody in France cares about the genocide." These disturbed soldiers, sitting in the waning sunlight, show the old cynic was wrong, at least, about that.​
I really need to read this book.

Perkins' book has been quoted in a few thread here in the past, but this interview is a worthwhile summary:

JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring -- to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It's been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It's only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you become one? Who did you work for?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation's largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations. The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950's, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government, Mossadegh’s government who was Time's magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed -- well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran. At that point, we understood that this idea of economic hit man was an extremely good one. We didn't have to worry about the threat of war with Russia when we did it this way. The problem with that was that Roosevelt was a C.I.A. agent. He was a government employee. Had he been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing. So, at that point, the decision was made to use organizations like the C.I.A. and the N.S.A. to recruit potential economic hit men like me and then send us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.

AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.

JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan - let's say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador - and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure - a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, "Look, you're not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.”" And today we're going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It's an empire. There's no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It's been extremely successful.

JOHN PERKINS: ... And when the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over. I come from a very old New England family, Calvinist, steeped in amazingly strong moral values. I think I, you know, I’m a good person overall, and I think my story really shows how this system and these powerful drugs of sex, money and power can seduce people, because I certainly was seduced. And if I hadn't lived this life as an economic hit man, I think I’d have a hard time believing that anybody does these things. And that's why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to John Perkins. In your book, you talk about how you helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of dollars of Saudi Arabian petrol dollars back into the U.S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the House of Saud and successive U.S. administrations. Explain.

JOHN PERKINS: Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well, you're probably too young to remember, but I remember well in the early seventies how OPEC exercised this power it had, and cut back on oil supplies. We had cars lined up at gas stations. The country was afraid that it was facing another 1929-type of crash - depression; and this was unacceptable. So, they -- the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia. We --

AMY GOODMAN: You're actually called economic hit men --e.h.m.’s?

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.'s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia–new cities, new infrastructure–which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn't buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren't able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had -- His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: So, where -- when did your change your heart happen?

JOHN PERKINS: I felt guilty throughout the whole time, but I was seduced. The power of these drugs, sex, power, and money, was extremely strong for me. And, of course, I was doing things I was being patted on the back for. I was chief economist. I was doing things that Robert McNamara liked and so on.

AMY GOODMAN: How closely did you work with the World Bank?

JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F. But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we're going to feel secure in this country again and that we're going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help -- genuinely help poor people. There are twenty-four thousand people starving to death every day. We can change that.


The key problem is that such countries as the Central African Republic, Sudan, the Darfur region, etc are abundant in valuable natural resources (eg uranium) and have a long history - still continuing - of violent colonial intervention, the principal source of the 'humanitarian tragedies'. In the case of central africa, the problem is largely the result of continuing French intervention.

Whoever suggested European colonialism was history?

I am ashamed to say that I have never read much about this--thanks for the info. Doesn't surprise me one bit. Wonder when we're going to go in and make sure no one else gets that uranium...or maybe help some of the Lost Boys or what have you.


I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation's largest and least understood spy organization;

The NSA tried to recruit my brother out of college, along with several of his friends. They did a background check so extensive that I wouldn't have been surprised if they tapped my damned cell phone. They made him do a lie-detector test and list every drug he'd ever done (they said it was better to be honest) with dates, times, and which state they were bought in.

Needless to say, my brother's "background" check turned up some interesting things. In the end none of them took jobs, but they were basically told it would be all international travel, hookers, and blow by the recruitment officers by way of seduction.


Distribution of Iraq Body Count Fatalities

Here is your point that you always make: Yes, Gavin MAY BE right, but he is BLINDING himself to Tea's fair-n-balanced position-of-no-position. You don't even say that, actually. It WOULD BE idiotic IF I were to blind myself to your brilliant regurgitation of nonsequiter mainstream media platitudes "sectarian strife blah blah blah back to you Katie." The point you make every time. When in fact I know everything you said, I haven't blinded myself at all, it's just that it DOESN'T FUCKING MATTER because IT SAYS NOTHING, IT MAKES NO POINT WHATSOEVER. Sort of like 98% of the banal crap you post here. Oh and then baselessly accuse me of CHEERING ON THE VIOLENCE for good measure, because you can't actually respond to what I ACTUALLY POSTED you pathetic piece of shit. And then when it gets too hot, you can "moderate" Vimothy to prove how fucking level-headed and fair-n-balanced you are. Thanks for making such wonderful thought-provoking commentary. You truly are an asset to the board.

A thought provoking post, Gavin.


Deaths caused per month by US-led forces and others. Does not include deaths where causation is
shared by US-led forces and their opponents.

The total number of civilians killed by US led forces alone was 9,270. 74% of these deaths (6,882) occurred in the invasion phase up to 1 May 2003. Of the remaining 2,388 post-invasion deaths, 292 (12%) occurred in the fi rst year up to end of March 2004, and the remaining 2,096 (88%) occurred in the second year (this does not include 1,047 possible ‘crossfire’ deaths also involving anti-occupation forces).

NB: The two peaks in US caused casualties represent the two assaults on Falluja.

From A Dossier of Civillian Casualties 2003-2005, Iraq Body Count, page 13

Additional reports here: 2006 -- 2007 -- Surge

From an interview with the head of IBC, John Slobada:

One fact that the dossier does show clearly, in favour of the US led coalition forces, is that the amount of civilians directly killed by coalition troops has declined sharply. "Undoubtedly," agrees Sloboda. "Since the begining of 2005, there have been tiny numbers killed directly by US forces, and these tend to be by checkpoints etc. The vast majority of deaths caused now, are being caused by crime, anti-coalition forces, and unknown forces."

The breakdown of killings outside of direct US led forces involvement also gives pause for thought. While the lines are often blurred, as pointed out by the LA Times ("In some cases, authorities say, the motives are so opaque that they cannot tell whether they are investigating a crime disguised as an act of war or a political assassination masquerading as a violent business dispute.”), according to the IBC insurgent anti-US forces have accounted for between 9 and 15% of all civilian killings, while crime related killings have been responsible for up to 36% of civilian deaths.
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
DID YOU READ WHAT YOU JUST POSTED? The U.S. has killed FOUR TIMES as many civilians as the terrorists have!

Yes, of course I read it. And on the assumption that it's Iraqis who are responsible for the deaths from violent crime, which seems reasonable, then Iraqis are responsible for the majority of deaths in Iraq. You'll notice that this was my original claim, not that 'terrorists' per se were responsible for most deaths.

No doubt you're just going to dismiss this as pedantry though, which seems to be your default response when proven wrong.