STATE TERRORISM
and the
UNITED STATES:
From Counterinsurgency to the
War on Terrorism
by
Frederick H. Gareau

9780932863393  $16.95  254 pp. 2004

    REVIEWS

    "I have very much appreciated Prof. Gareau's fine book on state terror."— Noam Chomsky

    "Reveals the Big Lie behind the purported War on Terror." — Z Mag

    :“In his State Terrorism and the United States, Frederick Gareau shows that, contrary to the war on terror imagery of a
    United States hostile to terrorism and dedicated to its elimination and to democracy-building, this country has regularly
    supported state terrorists (and dictators) who serve U.S. economic and political interests. Using as his evidentiary base
    the truth commission reports that have followed the ouster of terror regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina
    and South Africa, along with a varied array of sources for Indonesia, Israel, Iraq (until August 1990), and Nicaragua, he
    makes his case for vital U.S. support for these regimes compellingly and soberly. Gareau stresses throughout how little
    the U.S. public is permitted to hear about what its government has done, which provides a cover for actions the public
    might well disapprove, and he ends with an appeal for a much needed truth commission for the United States itself. This
    book is a valuable addition to the literature on terrorism.”  
                                                                                                          Edward Herman, Professor Emeritus
                                                                                     Whalen School of the University of Pennsylvania

    “Frederick Gareau’s State Terrorism and the United States is an important, courageous analysis of America’s long
    involvement in the training of foreign military and police organizations in techniques of torture, assassination, and ethnic
    cleansing. The U.S. military itself directly committed these types of war crimes in the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, where
    we killed a minimum of 20,000 people, and in Central America during the Reagan administration. Gareau’s research and
    documentation is path-breaking. The day has arrived when we in the United States desperately need a “truth
    commission” to examine our own many secret “dirty wars” and hold our military and political leaders accountable. Gareau’
    s chapter one, “The School of the Americas and Terror in El Salvador,” is itself worth the price of admission.”
                                                                                                                                           Chalmers Johnson
                                                                                   Author of Blowback and The Sorrows of Empires

    SYNOPSIS

    This study exposes the support that administrations in Washington have given right-wing dictatorships that
    committed terrorism especially during the cold war and war on terrorism. It offers a critique of this latter war,
    and the study’s portrayal of the earlier war serves as necessary background for understanding and
    evaluating the latter war. It rejects the narrow definition of terrorism insisted on by Washington that exempts
    terrorism committed by governments (state terrorism) from the definition, and for political reasons restricts
    the term solely to the private terrorism committed by private individuals or non-governmental organizations.
    Every one of the six truth commission reports used in the study—one each for El Salvador, Chile, Argentina,
    and South Africa and two with remarkably similar conclusions for Guatemala-- found that the governments
    were responsible for the great preponderance of terrorism and other acts of repression that occurred in their
    respective countries, much more so than the guerrillas. In El Salvador, Guatemala, and Chile the
    governments were found to be guilty of over 90 percent of the acts of terrorism and other acts of repression.
    Sponsored by the United Nations, successor governments to those that committed state terrorism, or the
    Catholic Archdiocese of Guatemala City, each of these reports is based on thousands of interviews mostly
    with surviving victims or their families and friends. All of the truth commission reports charged that the state
    terrorists committed unimaginable, unspeakable acts of cruelty and terrorism, what the truth commission for
    Argentina characterized as an “encyclopedia of horror.” Advertised as a defense against communism and
    sometimes swayed by other motives-- racism in South Africa and Guatemala and anti-Semitism in
    Argentina-- the basic motive for the state terrorists was discovered to be the preservation of the status quo
    and the prevention of social change. They hunted down, tortured, terrorized, and murdered peasants,
    workers, students, teachers, priests, and nuns. The truth commission for Guatemala sponsored by the
    United Nations found the government of that country guilty of genocide. With some exceptions, a compliant
    national media engaged in self-censorship, even passing on the government inspired lies that held the
    guerrillas, not the government, responsible for the bulk of the atrocities. This and other evidence suggest
    that the so-called war on terrorism is a partial war that fails to target the main perpetrators, the state
    terrorists. The incomplete definition insisted on by Washington shields it from being accused of being a
    supporter of terrorism.  

    Washington’s support for state terrorist regimes typically has taken the form of training their troops in
    “counterinsurgency,” now “counter-terrorism,” and by providing funds and loans, military equipment, and
    diplomatic backing. The study indicates that Washington helped the Saddam Hussein regime and the
    apartheid regimes in South Africa successfully develop weapons of mass destruction. Saddam used poison
    against the Kurds and the Iranians.  The racists in Pretoria produced six nuclear weapons, which they
    destroyed, following a request from Washington, before handing over the government to Nelson Mandela. In
    order to assure the continuing Kuwaiti financing of Saddam’s war of aggression against Iran (1980-1988),
    the Reagan administration put the American flag on the ships of the sheikdom to protect them from Iran.
    This administration also became a co-belligerent in Saddam’s “oil war,” sinking half of the Iranian navy. It is
    arguable that without this aid Saddam would have been defeated and deposed by Iran in 1988.

    The support for Saddam by the Reagan administration and by that of the elder Bush in its early years puts in
    perspective Washington’s later moral claims for initiating wars against the dictator. Support for Saddam in
    the Iran-Iraq war also serves the reader as an introduction to what is to come, as Washington’s policy shifted
    from supporting dictators/oppressors in the cold war to supporting them in the war against terrorism. The
    intended enemy in the first period was communism/social change, whereas in the later period it was often to
    contain the type of Islam exemplified by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The study indicates that the administration of
    the younger Bush has followed this new paradigm in Algeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Its support in
    Uzbekistan is for a dictator who persecutes Islam, and in Russia it supports an authoritarian president who
    attacks Muslim Chechens, freedom fighting terrorists. Support for terrorist governments in Colombia has
    been rationalized by the cold war, the war against drugs, and now the latter plus the war on terrorism. The
    study adds to the indictment against Washington by references to statistical studies and to the opposition of
    the Bush administration to the International Criminal Court.

    The study critiques the way the Bush administration has conducted the war on terrorism, arguing that it
    should be carried on without resort to war. Renamed “defense against terrorism,” it would concentrate on
    the home front and international cooperation. Pre-emption and counter proliferation would be rejected as
    forms of aggression, and Washington would join the International Criminal Court. The study questions the
    validity of the reasons given by the Bush administration for invading Iraq in 2003, and it finds that war to be
    immoral, illegal, and counterproductive. It has alienated large sections of the world population, most
    especially the Arabs and the Muslims. Aid to Israel, especially military aid, is a major reason for the terrorism
    directed at the United States, volatile fuel that feeds Arab and Islamic hatred. Israel remains the number one
    recipient of Washington’s economic and military largess, receives Washington’s diplomat support and
    intelligence, and is the beneficiary of a strange silence meant to shield public knowledge of the existence of
    the Israeli stockpile of nuclear weapons. The study recommends that Washington terminate all military aid to
    Israel as well as aid to Colombia, Uzbekistan, and other countries that are currently committing or
    sponsoring state terrorism. It recommends that a truth commission be established to investigate and to
    advertise Washington’s support for state terrorism so that the American public will know what has been
    done in its name.
Co-Published with:
Zed Books, UK

    AUTHOR
    Frederick H. Gareau holds a Ph.D. in international relations and organizations from American
    University, Washington, DC, as well as a licence in political science from the University of
    Geneva.  He is full professor at Florida State University and author of The United Nations and
    Other International Insitutions: A Critical Analysis as well as an extensive number of articles and
    conference reports.


    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION / 11
    TERRORISM STRIKES HOME / 11
    DEFINING TERRORISM: PROBLEMS AND PERSPECTIVES / 12
    The Post 9-11 Rush to Pin the Terrorist Label / 13
    A Definition of Terrorism / 14
    Monitoring Terrorism / 15
    THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK / 16
    The Central Questions of This Research / 18
    A “Practical” Reason for Examining the Charge Against Washington / 19
    Assigning Guilt for the Support of Terrorism / 20
    STATE TERRORISM AND SILENCE: HAMBURG / 20

    CHAPTER 1 THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS AND TERROR IN EL SALVADOR / 22
    THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS / 22
    EL SALVADOR: THE SEMINAL REVOLT AND MASSACRE / 26
    WASHINGTON TEACHES AND UNDERWRITES COUNTERINSURGENCY / 28
    Counterinsurgency Ideology / 29
    Counterinsurgency Manuals Prescribe the Use of Terrorism / 30
    COUNTERINSURGENCY OPERATIONALIZED IN EL SALVADOR / 30
    THE UN TRUTH COMMISSION ON EL SALVADOR / 32
    The Reception of the UN Report / 32
    The Organization of the Truth Commission / 34
    Truth Commission Findings: Government Terrorism and Repression,
    Not Guerrilla Warfare / 35
    Death Squads / 36
    The Rape and Killing of Nuns / 38
    THE AFTERMATH / 40
    Rewards and Punishments / 40
    CONCLUSION / 41

    CHAPTER 2 GUATEMALA: A COUNTRY INCOMMUNICADO / 43
    WHY GUATEMALA? / 43
    ASSIGNING BLAME FOR VIOLENCE IN GUATEMALA / 45
    The Silence of the Terrorized / 47
    COUNTERINSURGENCY TRAINING / 48
    Targeting Women and Children / 48
    Training for Terror and Massacres / 52
    Learning the Step of Death / 53
    THE REPORT OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF GUATEMALA CITY / 53
    THE CHARGE OF GENOCIDE / 57
    The Intent to Commit Genocide / 58
    THE KEY ROLE OF THE ARMY AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES / 60
    WASHINGTON’S COMPLICITY / 61
    THE AFTERMATH / 63
    A Bishop Is Beaten to Death / 63
    An Ongoing Atmosphere of Impunity / 64
    CONCLUSION / 66

    CHAPTER 3 CHILE: THE FORGOTTEN PAST IS FULL OF MEMORY / 67
    WHY CHILE? / 67
    DENYING SOCIAL CHANGE THROUGH ELECTORAL PROCESSES / 68
    CIA Efforts to Prevent Allende Taking Office / 68
    Making the Chilean Economy “Scream” / 69
    Strengthening the Chilean Military / 70
    The Coup of September 11, 1973 / 71
    The Pinochet Regime / 71
    THE CHILEAN NATIONAL COMMISSION ON TRUTH AND
    RECONCILIATION / 72
    The Victims of the Repression / 73
    INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES, THE COUNTERINSURGENCY DOCTRINE,
    AND TORTURE / 76
    The National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) / 76
    Evaluating the Extent of Washington’s Complicity / 78
    Counterinsurgency Doctrine / 79
    CNI, The Successor to DINA / 80
    Terror and Torture by the Pinochet Regime / 81
    Internal Support for the Dictatorship / 83
    Washington’s Reaction to State Terrorism in Chile / 85
    THE AFTERMATH / 90
    The General Visits, Shops, Has an Operation, Is Charged With
    Murder, Then Returns Home / 90
    CONCLUSION / 91

    CHAPTER 4 ARGENTINA’S DIRTY WAR / 93
    ANOTHER COUP WAGING LAW AND ORDER / 93
    NUNCA MAS: REPORT OF THE ARGENTINE COMMISSION ON THE
    DISAPPEARED / 94
    Organization of the Commission / 94
    ARGENTINIAN STATE TERRORISM / 96
    The Victims / 96
    Class War / 98
    The Church / 98
    The Systematic Sowing of Terror / 99
    How Impunity Functions / 99
    The Government Tortures and Disappears Its Victims / 100
    WASHINGTON’S SUPPORT FOR STATE TERRORISM IN ARGENTINA / 102
    Aid Replacement and Increased Trade / 102
    Military Support / 103
    Teaching Them “How We Think” / 104
    Diplomatic Support / 105
    THE AFTERMATH / 106
    The Theory of the Two Devils / 106
    Some Closing Remarks for the Chapter / 107

    CHAPTER 5 SOUTH AFRICA, APARTHEID, AND TERROR / 109
    APARTHEID / 109
    THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION REPORT / 111
    Introduction / 111
    Gross Human Rights Violations: Pretoria and the Inkatha / 113
    Gross Human Rights Violations: the ANC and PAC / 117
    The Guilt of Civil Society / 119
    APPLYING TERROR / 120
    Killings / 120
    Detention Without Trial / 121
    Torture / 122
    WASHINGTON’S POLICY TOWARD SOUTH AFRICA / 125
    Introduction / 125
    From Truman to Carter / 126
    Reagan and Botha: “From Repression to Criminal Activity” / 131
    THE IMPACT OF PRETORIA’S TOTAL STRATEGY ON NEIGHBORING
    COUNTRIES / 136
    WASHINGTON, SOUTH AFRICA AND WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION / 142
    Chemical and Bacteriological Weapons / 142
    Nuclear Weapons / 142
    BRIEF COMMENTS ON THE CHAPTER / 144

    CHAPTER 6 INDONESIA: THREE SERIES OF MASSACRES / 145
    THE ANTI-COMMUNIST MASSACRES: INDONESIA / 145
    The PKI: An Historic U.S. Obsession / 145
    A Political Party Falls Victim to Massacres / 148
    Welcoming the Suharto Regime / 150
    THE FIRST EAST TIMOR MASSACRES / 152
    The Santa Cruz Massacre / 155
    Some Conclusions / 158
    THE SECOND EAST TIMOR MASSACRES / 158
    CONCLUSION / 161

    CHAPTER 7 THE ROOT DOCTRINE AND SOME NOTORIOUS INSTANCES OF U.S.
    SUPPORT FOR DICTATORS / 162
    THE ROOT DOCTRINE / 162
    NICARAGUA, THE SOMOZAS, AND THE SANDANISTAS: FROM COOLIDGE TO
    BUSH, SR. / 165
    THE CONGO: FROM KENNEDY TO BUSH, SR. / 168
    THE KHMER ROUGE: FROM CARTER TO BUSH, SR. / 169
    CONCLUSION / 171

    CHAPTER 8 THE ROOTS OF THE WAR ON TERRORISM: WASHINGTON’S
    POLICIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST / 172
    WASHINGTON INSTALLS AND SUPPORTS THE SHAH OF IRAN / 172
    SADDAM HUSSEIN, 1979-1990: “OUR S.O.B.” / 174
    The First Persian Gulf War / 175
    WMD for Use Against Iran and the Kurds / 177
    The Second Persian Gulf War: Washington Turns on Saddam / 179
    WASHINGTON’S COMPLICITY IN ISRAELI STATE TERRORISM / 181
    The Partition of Palestine / 181
    The Ethnic Cleansing of the Palestinians / 182
    The Fate of the Palestinians / 182
    Violations of the Rights of the Palestinians / 183
    The Israeli Nuclear Bomb / 185
    Washington’s Support for Israel / 186
    The “Peace Process” / 186
    The Road Map / 188
    CONCLUSION / 189

    Chapter 9 THE WAR ON TERRORISM / 190
    THE NATURE OF THE WAR ON TERRORISM / 190
    The Bush Administration Projects a Dangerous New World / 190
    Upgrading U.S. War-making Capacity / 191
    AFGHANISTAN: NO END IN SIGHT / 193
    The Guantanamo Bay Prisoners: A Public Assault on the Rights of
    Detainees / 197
    Pakistan and Terrorism / 198
    Uzbekistan / 199
    An Afghan Warlord / 199
    The Treatment of Arab and Muslim Immigrants in the U.S. / 200
    THE THIRD PERSIAN GULF WAR / 201
    Congress Approves Preemption, the UN Declines / 201
    Protest by the Public and by International Lawyers / 202
    International Lawyers / 202
    Religious and Ethical Opposition / 203
    World Public Opinion and the War / 205
    Operation Iraqi Freedom / 206
    In Search of Weapons of Mass Destruction / 207
    Postwar Plans: Postwar Chaos / 208
    Domestic Casualties of War: State and Local Government / 211
    COUNTERTERRORISM: THE ROOT DOCTRINE GETS A FACE-LIFT / 212
    Russia and the Chechens / 212
    Algeria and the Islamic Salvation Front / 213
    Colombia / 214
    Chapter 10 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS / 216
    THE MAJOR FINDINGS OF THE STUDY / 216
    Washington as the Supplier of Arms to the World and Aid to the
    Violators of Human Rights / 219
    Quantifying the Relation of Military Aid to Human Rights Violations / 220
    WASHINGTON’S POLICY TOWARD THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL
    COURT / 222
    IN SEARCH OF AN APPROPRIATE RESPONSE TO TERRORISM / 225
    Preemption and Counter-Proliferation: The Open Espousal of
    Aggression / 227
    A TRUTH COMMISSION FOR WASHINGTON / 230
    ENDNOTES / 232
    INDEX / 250
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"I have very much appreciated Prof.
Gareau's fine book on state terror."
Noam Chomsky