His Own People?
by Mickey Z.
December 20, 2002
It appears more inevitable than ever that the US and a few allies will broaden the assault on Iraq that began in 1990 and has continued unabated since then (as of Dec. 16, the US and Britain have bombed Iraq 61 times in 2002 alone). The ostensible reason involves the belief that Iraq may be in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In addition, it is in violation of UN Security Council resolutions and uses torture as a tactic of control. Finally, as we are endlessly reminded, Saddam Hussein gassed "his own people," the Kurds.
If the Kurds are Hussein's people, the Tibetans are Hu Jintao's people.
Saddam Hussein's despicable record has been trumpeted by the US media and needs no rehash here. There is no defense for him or his regime. However, without much work, one can find other nations taunting Donald Rumsfeld with similar behavior.
The Zapatistas are Vicente Fox's people.
Turkey, a staunch US ally and fellow NATO member, is also in violation of UN resolutions (353 and 354: calling for its withdrawal from Northern Cyprus), has a long record of torture, and has oppressed and slaughtered its "own people," those long-suffering Kurds.
The Chechens are Putin's people.
There's another Mideast nation ignoring UN resolutions, oppressing and torturing its ethnic minority, and not only possesses WMD, it has threatened to use them: Israel.
The Palestinians are Sharon's people.
Pakistan, India, North Korea, and South Africa all possess WMD and have histories of using torture as a tactic of control. As for oppressing and killing "their own people," the blacks killed by the white government in South Africa were as much de Klerk's people as the Kurds are Hussein's.
While it is commonly cited as a pretext for war today, the US and Britain did not call for a military strike after Saddam's gassing of Kurds at Halabja in March 1988. In fact, both nations continued support for Hussein. Why? As reported in the December 20, 2002 edition of the Berlin daily, Die Tageszeitung, 24 US corporations allegedly supplied Iraq with nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile technology, prior to 1991. The list includes Honeywell, Rockwell, Hewlett Packard, Dupont, Eastman Kodak, and Bechtel.
The Seminoles were Andrew Jackson's people.
One precise example of a particular nation torturing and using WMD on "it's own people" does exist:
In late 1993, then-Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary released documents about secret nuclear experiments on American citizens. Immediately after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear researchers set about, at any cost, to discern the effects of plutonium on the human body. "In experiments worthy of Dr. Mengele," Jack Bradigan Spula reported in Lies of Our Times, "these researchers chose unwitting patients who were not expected to live long anyway." Peter Montague is director of the Environmental Research Foundation. "There were two kinds of experiments," he says. "In one kind, specific small groups (African-American prisoners, mentally retarded children, and others) were induced, by money or by verbal subterfuge, to submit to irradiation of one kind or another. In all, some 800 individuals participated in these 'guinea pig' trials. In the second kind, large civilian populations were exposed to intentional releases of radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere." These vile experiments cannot genuinely be dismissed as a momentary lapse amidst a well-intentioned, post-"Good War paranoia: The declassified documents on US radiation experiments stretch three miles long.
The Puerto Ricans being bombed and radiated with depleted uranium in Vieques are Bush's people.
Mickey Z. is the author of Saving Private Power: The Hidden History of "The Good War" (www.softskull.com) and the upcoming book, The Murdering of My Years: Artists & Activists Making Ends Meet. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.