Tuesday, March 13, 2007

America's Weapon of Choice?

In Noam Chomsky's latest work, Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy, he argues that America is beginning to resemble a failed state. He argues that as the state begins to regard itself as beyond domestic or international law and unable to protect its citizens from violence, it no longer operates as a state. I would argue that not only is America a 'failed state' it is also a terrorist state, a state that has succeeded in the proliferation of terrorism across the globe, a state whose so-called 'War on Terror' diverts the attention of the masses whilst it focuses on it's own 'War of Terror'. These tactics by the US, ensure that any substantive war against terrorism will never be won whilst the standard bearer is the prime sponsor. There is perhaps no finer example of the American government's support for terrorism than in it's continued financial support of Uribe's government in Colombia.

Since 2000, the US government has spent over $4.7 billion in Colombia, ostensibly to support the fight against drugs and the insurgency. Plan Colombia was originally proposed by former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana Arango to end the ongoing armed conflict that was crippling the region. Much of the funds were channelled into the fumigation of coca fields, which have had an adverse affect on the local population. This programme of financial aid has also led to the strengthening of the right-wing paramilitaries in Colombia, with many groups supporting the Plan Colombia initiative. The atrocities committed by the paramilitaries are well documented (see 'Colombia' label), there have been various union officials murdered or 'disappeared' throughout the country over the past five years. The Colombian government has, however, done little to combat the activities of the paramilitary groups. In fact, government forces have often failed to deal with the paramilitaries, even when it is clear that violations are being committed.

Furthermore, it would appear that it is more than just failing to challenge the paramilitaries on their activities. It has become obvious that many paramilitary groups are particularly close to the government in Colombia. The current political scandal in Colombia has led to many resignations and arrests. At the heart of the scandal has been the family of the former Foreign Minister. So far, the father of the former Foreign Minister has been arrested and her brother has been jailed as a consequence of their links to paramilitary organisations. The former director of the secret police (and Uribe's former campaign manager) was also charged with murder and collaborating with right-wing militias. And now, prosecuters have filed electoral fraud charges against Trino Luna, the governor of the influential coastal state of Magdalena. Luna was the only candidate in the 2003 Magdalena gubernatorial election and prosecutors suspect him of colluding with paramilitaries to intimidate any would-be opponents.

There is no doubt that terrorist organisations have infiltrated the very heart of the Colombian government. As that is clearly the case, there seems little doubt the likelihood that a large proportion of the money from Plan Colombia is making it's way to the terrorists. American and, to a lesser extent, UK tax payers are essentially funding the terrorist activities of the paramilitary groups in Colombia. While talking the talk on fighting terrorism, our brave leaders are also funding the terrorist activities of right-wing military groups in Colombia that have been involved in the deaths of over 4,000 trade unionists in the last 15 years. That's the equivalent to TWO September 11th attacks on Colombia. And we have contributed towards this death toll through our taxes. How hollow does the 'War on Terror' sound now? Now that it is clear that the Colombian government is dominated by terrorists and terrorist sympathisers. It sure doesn't sound like we are waging a war on terror, it sounds to me like we are giving material support to terrorists. But our support for terrorism doesn't end there.

Not content with giving succour to terrorists in South America, the American government has also taken upon itself to support terrorism in the Middle East. You would think they had learnt the lessons of September 11th, but it appears not. As was reported at the end of February, the US government is trying to encourage the seeds of discontent in Iran in an effort to destabilise the country and halt their nuclear ambitions. CIA officials have been helping opposition militias in the border regions of Iran. These groups are known to use terrorist tactics to further their goals in the country. According to The Daily Telegraph:

In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.

Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. Non-Persians make up nearly 40 per cent of Iran's 69 million population, with around 16 million Azeris, seven million Kurds, five million Ahwazis and one million Baluchis. Most Baluchis live over the border in Pakistan.

This is, of course, part of the fall-out from the invasions of Iraq and South Lebanon by the US and her proxy. Iran has been undeniably strengthened by these foolish acts, and now the US wants to re-assert it's authority on the region. If that means supporting terrorism, so be it. Despite the fact that any attack would play right into the hands of al-Qaeda (an enemy of both the US and Iran), the US government is still keen to fund these terrorist organisations in an effort to destabilise the Iranian regime.

Behind the facade of the 'War on Terror', it is clear that terrorism is still the American government's weapon of choice. The arrest of eight pro-Uribe congressman accused of collaborating with right-wing paramilitaries clearly suggests that the right-wing paramilitaries have infiltrated the very highest echelons of the Colombian political system. Effectively, the US and UK governments are guilty of financing the terrorist organisations through the military aid given to Uribe's corrupt regime. Until the Colombian government is purged of all paramilitary elements, financial aid should no longer be provided. If one makes a stand on fighting terrorism, one must take a stand on all terrorist organisations, not just the ones that oppose your world view. The decision to provide material support for terrorists in Iran simply underlines the double standard at the heart of the US government. Has the 'War on Terror' ever sounded so specious?