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[casi] Memorable quotes: 'the white hope'

In US eyes, the 'white hope for Arabs' was the
Ba'ath Party: 'democratic... secular'... socialist."

Dear Sama Hadad,

In "FW: Galloway Ranaway" you wrote:

> If anyone is to be ashamed it is the Ba'athists
> and their supporters.

In this case, the powers in Washington should sport a
permanent crimson blush, but they are of course past
shame. Not only were they supporters, they were the patron
saints of the Ba'ath Party.

In 1963 the US got the CIA to organize a coup in which
Iraq's President, Qasim,(sp?) and thousands of his
supporters were liquidated. This was considered a good
thing by the US - killing communists:

[I am quoting James Akins from an interview on PBS (2000?).
He was attache at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, 1963-1965]

     "The Ba'ath Party had come to control. We were very
     happy. They got rid of a lot of communists. A lot of
     them were executed, or shot. This was a great

(The CIA does not _do_ assassinations or torture - they
contract these jobs out. But they teach the techniques to
'friendly' right-wing dictatorships. For example, the US
and Israel trained the Shah's SAVAK in Iran; the US also
trained death squads in Latin America and elsewhere,
complete with manuals. That way they "got rid of" a great
many communists. In Indonesia alone the US orchestrated the
slaughter of an estimated 500,000 and one million PKI members
and supporters. First, a successful coup had installed the
dictator Suharto - and deposed Sukarno, not a communist.)

If this isn't ruthless, what is?

And the Ba'ath Party was seen as the antidote to communism
and 'Arab nationalism' (ie, independence). By 'democratic'
the US simply means 'anxious to cater to American business
interests'. Again, James Akins:

     "The Ba'ath Party was founded in the late 1940s or so.
     It seemed to me, and to a lot of others in the State
     Department, that it was the white hope for the Arabs.
     It was democratic, it was secular, it was socialist."

Qasim himself wasn't communist, nor was his government.
Even the US admitted that. But he did flirt with the Soviet
Union - and he did nationalize the oil industry in 1958.
Anyway, he had to be "got rid of". "The target "suffered a
terminal illness before a firing squad in Baghdad", testified
a CIA member.

In this PBS interview, Akins doesn't mention that coup. But
he explains the official US rationale against Qasim:

     "After the revolution in 1958, it wasn't exactly clear
     what the new government would be. Would it be Arab
     nationalist, or would it be leftist, or would it be Iraqi
     nationalist? Nobody knew very much about Kassem, who became
     the dictator. The world's assumption was that it was going
     to be Arab nationalist.... Certainly Kassem couldn't be
     pro-American, because the old regime [the monarchy?] was
     too close to be associated with us, and no regime could
     be pro-American--rather like the regime in Iran after the
     overthrow of the Shah. It had to be initially anti-American.

     "So Kassem obviously turned to the Soviet Union for support.
     The communists were given a lot of power. It's an overstatement
     to say that this was a communist regime--it wasn't. But the
     communists certainly had a lot of influence in the country.
     The Soviet Union had a lot of influence."

In other words, if in doubt...liquidate.

(Aiken fails to mention _why_ the Shah was overthrown. Nor
did he mention that the Shah's torture of dissidents was
paid for and condoned by the US. "Why should we protest? We
were on their side, remember?", said a CIA officer. After
the 1979 revolution, the Iranians found CIA films instructing
SAVAK on how to torture women. - The US deeply resented the
'loss of Iran'. The Shah had been very generous with oil deals.)

Aiken admits that a racist America didn't exactly encourage
warm feelings in young Iraqis who went to study there:

     "Frequently, the students who came back from the United
     States were not terribly pro-American, and a lot of
     these communists had studied in America. They were
     dark-skinned. They went to Texas, and they ran into
     racial problems. People thought that they were black,
     and therefore they were discriminated against."

(As an aside, aren't communists people too? Castro was
great friends with Pierre Trudeau and came to his funeral
in 2000. The US ambassador screamed that he shouldn't be
'allowed' into Canada. Quelle arrogance! But Montrealers
cheered 'viva Castro!'.]

The Ba'ath Party "betrayed its own principles", says Akins.
Perhaps so. But the US hasn't even got any principles - it's
killing for power and gains.

Saddam Hussein too was considered 'wonderful', especially
after the 'loss of Iran'. Akins cites the assistant secretary
for Middle Eastern affairs, gushing forth at a dinner party
at the US embassy in Baghad (with Iraqi guests present):

        "What a wonderful person he [SH] is. This is a person
        we can really work with. We have a fantastic relationship.
        We could make lots of commercial sales, agricultural

Akin also refers to the betrayal of the Kurds, especially
Mulla Mustafa. "Do you think he felt betrayed by America?",
asked the interviewer. "He was betrayed by America", said
Akins. But that, he implies, was really the Kurds own fault
for trusting the US government.

Apparently, Akins later asked Mustafa in New York "how he
possibly could have believed Henry Kissinger, when Kissinger
promised to help, and did give him some help." And Mustafa
had replied "Yes, yes, we were somewhat skeptical.... [but]
How could I not believe the foreign minister of the United

'Helping' the Kurds was only meant to destabilize the Iraqi
government: "We soured on Saddam, and we did give the Kurds
military support through Iran." Then the Shah made a deal
with Iraq and the US dropped the Kurds (1969?). Kissinger
was asked, according to Akins, "about the morality of a
policy that encouraged the people to revolt against their
central government in order to obtain a minor political
gain for us--and then when we achieved other goals, we would
betray the people and allowed them to be slaughtered."

And Kissinger made his infamous quip: "Covert military action
is not to be confused with missionary work."

Sorry this got so long - I stuck too much between the quotes.

So beware, Sama, of the US government bearing help. Remember
Mulla Mustafa... and many, many others.

Elga Sutter

P.S. Castro made a stopover the other day. "Take care of
the salmon", he told reporters. And about Iraq? He didn't
mention the US, but he said if only the parties could find
a way to withdraw gracefully...

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the
last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has
been caught, only then will we find out that money cannot
be eaten." -- Cree proverb

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