How the pitbull manages his poodles


U.S. officials declare that there is a dire threat from some hapless
small country that they have put on their hit list, their foreign
poodles are quickly brought in line and agree that, yes, there is
a dire threat as the pitbull has declared, but we must go a bit
more slowly perhaps in dealing with it. The hit list is long: Guatemala,
Grenada, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, the Sandinista
government of Nicaragua, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, among others.
So too is the list of poodles: The the U.S.’s NATO allies,
our other client states, Kofi Annan and the UN, and the mainstream
media, among others.

the pitbull has declared Saddam Hussein and Iraq a dire threat to
U.S. national security, and once again he has bullied and coerced
the poodles who needed bullying and coercing into agreeing and setting
him up for his planned aggression. But what a familiar process.
An interesting and enlightening analogy with the present one of
Iraq, is that of Guatemala in the early 1950s.

 Guatemala 1954


the early 1950s, the U.S. government decided on a “regime change”
in Guatemala, and even before the Eisenhower administration had
planned Operation Success the sainted Harry Truman had given a go
ahead for Operation Fortune, his version of a U.S.-organized violent
overthrow of the democratically elected government of Guatemala.
As historian Blanche Wiesen Cook pointed out in

Declassified Eisenhower

, U.S. hostility to Guatemala began in
1947 when the democratic government “introduced a work code
affirming the right of workers to organize and strike.” That
hostility escalated when the Arbenz government proposed taking unused
land from the United Fruit Company (UFC) at modest compensation
rates (those the company had used for tax purposes) for redistribution
to landless peasants.

Fruit had intimate connections to the Eisenhower administration,
with the U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, and his brother,
CIA chief Allen Dulles, both having worked on UFC law business,
among other linkages. The company also did an outstanding job of
press management, although as Thomas McCann, UFC’s public relations
man in charge of its “carefully staged and regulated tours,”
noted sardonically, “It is difficult to make a convincing case
of manipulation of the press when the victims proved so eager for
the experience.”

course the proclaimed objective of Operation Success was neither
protection of UFC nor the desirability of getting rid of a social
democratic government that allowed unions—it was the threat
of “international communism” and “Soviet expansionism,”
the long-time Cold War cover for U.S. interventionism and support
of undemocratic governments. It is true that there was an active
communist party in Guatemala and it had a minor position in the
Arbenz government, but that government didn’t even dare to
have diplomatic relations with any communist powers, and the Soviet
Union had minimal involvement with Guatemala (Court historian Ronald
Schneider, with 50,000 documents seized from communists after the
regime change, concluded that the Soviet Union “made no significant
or even material investment in Guatemala”). There was no communist
control or threat of control. Nevertheless, Eisenhower administration
representatives regularly claimed that the Communists had captured
Guatemala and they even declared this a case of “Soviet aggression,”
whereas their own plans for de facto aggression were “self
defense” against a dire threat.

advance Operation Success, “U.S. officials began a sustained
plan of public denunciations of the Arbenz administration”
(Piero Gleijeses,

Shattered Hope

). The U.S. mainstream media,
with the

New York Times

in the forefront, parroted the Administration’s
false claims and featured them relentlessly. The media were greatly
agitated over the alleged Red conquest of Guatemala (my favorite
title, Sydney Gruson’s “How Communists Won Control of


, March 1, 1953) while entirely ignoring
the ongoing active planning for U.S. aggression against Guatemala.
“Every American publication within the liberal-conservative
arc blithely dismissed the charge that the United States was plotting
against Arbenz” (Gleijeses, 262).

the pattern sound familiar? Note the progress since 1954, however—in
2002 Bush can openly announce a “plot” to commit aggression
against Iraq, and that presents no problem to the media given the
advanced demonization process. Under a U.S. arms boycott, and threatened
with a U.S. direct and sponsored attack, Guatemala bought some arms
from Czechoslavakia, delivered in May 1954. When this was discovered,
U.S. officials and media became hysterical at this demonstration
of aggressive purpose of this supposed instrument of Soviet imperialism
(which would be easily overthrown by a rag-tag U.S.-organized mercenary
invasion force from Nicaragua a few months later). This import of
arms ended the necessity of carrying out the CIA plan to plant and
“capture” arms designed for the sinister leader of Guatemala.
“Just a week earlier, the CIA had even started to plant boxes
of rifles with conspicuous Soviet markings near Nicaragua’s
Pacific coast, and to arrange for their ‘discovery’ by
Nicaraguan police who would claim they came from a ‘non-America
submarine’ sighted offshore” (Schlesinger and Kinzer,

Bitter Fruit



with the help of the mainstream media the Administration established
a suitable war hysteria at home, it was also felt necessary to mobilize
support among the Latin American countries for Operation Success.
The Administration therefore planned to press the OAS to include
in the Tenth Inter-American Conference, to be held in Caracas, Venezuela
in April 1954, an agenda item “Intervention of International
Communism in the American Republics.” Most of the OAS members
were not happy about holding the meeting in Caracas in the first
place, as its leader Perez Jiminez was possibly the most ruthless
dictator in Latin America, its jails packed with political prisoners.
For that reason Costa Rica refused to attend the conference. But
Perez Jiminez was highly regarded by the Eisenhower administration.
It gave Jiminez a Legion of Merit award and John Foster Dulles spoke
warmly of his regime to Congress: “Venezuela is a country which
has adopted the kind of policies which we think the other countries
of Latin America should adopt. Namely, they have adopted policies
which provide…a climate which is attractive to foreign capital
to come in.”

answer to OAS country objections to Caracas, Gleijeses notes that
the State Department “denounced any contrary view as interference
in the internal affairs of a sister republic.” The State Department,
Congress, and the media were also very deeply concerned with the
limits of democracy in Guatemala. Does this rigorous adherence to
principle sound familiar?

the OAS meeting in Caracas the main aim of U.S. Secretary of State
Dulles was to get Latin leaders to agree to a condemnation of Guatemala,
to set the stage for the already planned regime change. None of
the Latin delegations supported Dulles’s campaign, except those
of the U.S.-beloved dictatorships of Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic,
Cuba, and Venezuela. Even the

New York Times

reported that
when the Guatemalan Foreign Minister Guillermo Toriello answered
Dulles, he got double the applause given the U.S. Secretary of State,

Time magazine

quoted another Latin representative as
saying, “He said many of the things the rest of us would like
to say if we dared.”

the U.S.’s bribes and threats were successful. It had to accept
minor concessions in language, so that the resolution adopted, instead
of leaving it vague on what “appropriate action” should
be taken in the event that “international communism” triumphed
here, made it the basis of “consultation”—the triumph
“would call for a meeting of consultation to consider”
appropriate actions. Adding hypocrisy to its bullying the United
States tacked on to the resolution the high principle that, except
for dealing with “dangers originating outside this Hemisphere
[the resolution] is designed to protect…the inalienable right
of each American state to choose its own form of government.”

17-1 vote in favor of the U.S.-sponsored resolution was based on
brutal arm twisting. A senior U.S. official acknowledged that Dulles
“spared no blandishment to get this Caracas Resolution through.”
In Gliejeses’s summation, “Decades of submission and ‘sordid
calculations… [based on] the hope of receiving a quid pro quo
on economic issues’ ensured the pitiful capitulation.”
But one hour after he got his agreement Dulles was flying back to
Washington, and “those Latin Americans who had sold Guatemala
for the lure of U.S. dollars were robbed of the payment.”

capitulation of the Latin American poodles set the stage for the
U.S.-organized invasion in June 1954. Despite an appeal to the UN
for protection against this aggression, the United States succeeded
in preventing any useful UN intervention. The democratically elected
regime was overthrown by violence, ushering in a long dark age for
Guatemala. The

New York Times

had contended back in 1950
that in its Guatemala policy “the United States is not trying
to block social and economic progress but is interested rather in
seeing that Guatemala becomes a liberal democracy” (ed., April
8, 1950). This was a propaganda delusion and lie. Guatemala did
have a liberal democracy between 1945 and 1954 and it was that democracy
that the United States deliberately and knowingly ended. The counterrevolutionary
regimes that followed did block social and economic progress, destroyed
intermediate groups, outlawed dissent, and ended the possibility
of reform by democratic means.

the huge inequalities in the Guatemalan system, and with peaceable
democratic processes foreclosed, guerilla warfare periodically surfaced
and, as Piero Gleijeses observed, “only violence could maintain
the status quo.” The United States responded to this, not by
insisting on democratization or providing aid that would help those
at the bottom, but by increasing aid and training the military and
facilitating counterinsurgency war. The military gradually took
over control of Guatemala, and Guatemala became perhaps the first
“counterinsurgency state.” As Gliejeses has pointed out,
“Waves of extreme violence (as in 1966-1968, 1970-1973, and
since 1978) alternated with periods of selective repression (as
in 1974-77), depending on the degree of pressure from below on the
bourgeoisie and the military.” By 1980 the situation had become
so terrible that an Amnesty International report was titled “Guatemala:
A Government Program of Political Murder.”

U.S. mass media, however, had lost interest in Guatemala once the
“Reds” were ousted, so the U.S. public was not made aware
of the fact that the defeat of the Reds in 1954 had been a victory
over democracy and reform and that the United States had ushered
in, and for many decades aided and protected, a regime of exceptional

Iraq in 2002


again the U.S. is organizing for a regime change. As in 1954, it
has grotesquely exaggerated the threat to national security posed
by a crushed and virtually disarmed target. But the media play the
game, just as they did earlier, taking at face value wild assertions
of a huge and real threat, pushing this propaganda theme relentlessly,
and pretending that the inspections regime demonstrates the international
community’s concerns over this threat, when in fact it is merely
an imposition by the pitbull and his Poodle Number One.

media do not remind the citizenry of the history of that dire Guatemalan
“threat” of 1954, nor the hugely undemocratic sequel to
that earlier “regime change.” They rarely mention that
the pitbull actually helped Iraq acquire “weapons of mass destruction”
(WMDs) in the 1980s when Saddam Hussein was fighting Iran, a U.S.
enemy of the moment, and that he and Poodle Number One went to some
pains to prevent any international condemnation of Iraq for using
chemical weapons in those years. The media also fail to mention
or reflect on the fact that Iraq didn’t use such weapons during
the Persian Gulf War when the United States would have retaliated.

mention these things the media would have had to be willing to show
the monumental U.S. hypocrisy in this demonization process and claim
that Iraq’s possession or use of WMDs poses a serious threat.
They would have to recognize that Iraq can’t use them without
committing suicide, unless it did so once again against a target
approved by the pitbull. This might lead to the further reflection
that perhaps the real global problem is the pitbull’s possession
of WMDs, which he has used lavishly from Hiroshima to Vietnam to
its depleted uranium “dirty” weapons employed in Kosovo,
Iraq and Afghanistan, and which he is actively readying for use
in the future as he prepares to dominate the world by threat and

in 1954, when the Latin American democratic states and global community
were opposed to the U.S.-engineered regime change by aggression,
so now the world community is opposed to the planned Iraq war. But
as in the earlier case the “international community” has
been bullied and coerced into supporting the pitbull: agreeing,
although not believing, that Iraq poses a serious threat, and putting
the onus for war avoidance on the target. Just as in the 1954 case,
by joining the pitbull in severely condemning the targeted victim,
the poodles have given him the sanction and moral approval for action.

in 1954, the targeted state and numerous individuals and groups
have appealed to Kofi Annan and the UN to do something to stop the
openly announced planned aggression by the pitbull. They have pointed
out that the UN was organized to prevent “the scourge of war”
by “effective collaborative measures for the prevention and
removal of threats to peace” (Preamble and Article 1, 1 of
the UN Charter) and that the UN Charter condemns unilateral attacks
across borders not justified by self-defense. Such attacks constitute
aggression, “the supreme international crime,” as noted
by the UN representative at the Nuremberg trials, Robert Jackson.

in the New World Order, as in the old, these rules are only applicable
to small countries, and even then only when acceptable to the pitbull.
They can never apply to actions of the pitbull. Thus, as he wishes
to commit aggression against Iraq, Kofi Annan and the world community
agree with him that his aims are noble, his cause just, but that
he should go through the proper channels to commit aggression. Hence
the new inspection regime, with endless requirements that the target
must meet in detail or be subject to attack. In short, it is up
to the victim to prevent aggression against itself; it is not the
responsibility of the international community to prevent aggression.
As Kofi Annan stated on November 25 in Paris, “I hope the government
of Iraq will fully cooperate with the inspectors and respect its
obligations unreservedly. This is the only way to avoid conflict
in the region.”

in 1954, the pitbull is pledged to “consult,” but he has
already announced that he is going to invade Iraq anyway, and he
is spending all his energy organizing for war and negotiating who
will get what part of the loot from the victim, while some of his
poodles inspect and pretend to have brought the pitbull back into
the world of civilized behavior. While the similarities to 1954
are great, there are differences, and there has been a Kafkaesque
kind of “progress”—in 1954 the UN was simply immobilized
by U.S. power, whereas today the UN, after lending its authority
to a sanctions regime that has killed over a million Iraqi civilians,
is now facilitating a planned U.S. aggression. It is doing this
by accepting as legitimate the pitbull’s claim that the crushed
Iraq poses a grave threat, and by putting up an inspection regime
that will easily give the pitbull his excuse to do what he has already
announced he will do anyway: commit aggression against a country
that has done him no injury and poses no threat to him.

his 1956 book,

The Fable of the Shark and the Sardines

, the
first president of Guatemala during the democracy decade, Juan Jose
Arevalo, wrote, “Sharks will eat sardines forever and ever.
But they should eat them plain, without doctrinal oil, without legal
jelly, without the cellophane wrapping paper.” But Arevalo
overlooked the fact that, unlike sharks, the pitbull needs that
doctrinal oil, legal jelly and cellophane wrapping. Without them
how would he be able to give his public and poodles the moral cover
they require for the ruthless exercise of power?