Mickey Z. -- World News Trust
Sept. 20, 2014
“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.”
- Aldous Huxley
Despite the current "war on terror" façade, not much about American war propaganda has changed over the past century (besides, of course, how it’s transmitted).
Rhetorical edits aside, it remains true that U.S. wars and interventions are skillfully packaged and sold and the official history of those conflicts is subject to spin and distortion.
By presenting all our [sic] enemies as a never-ending parade of savages auditioning for a starring role as the "next Hitler," wartime spin plays into our worst fears -- the bogeyman -- while shoving America’s catalogue of criminality down the proverbial memory hole.
“Moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers”
Since beheadings are once again in the news and being used as a pretext for yet another round of humanitarian bombing, let’s hark back to the Nicaraguan contras of the 1980s.
This noble group of U.S.-funded “freedom fighters” regularly attacked civilians, cutting off women’s breasts and men’s testicles, gouging out eyes, beheading infants, using children for target practice, and slitting throats and pulling the victim’s tongue out through the slit. Then there was the 14-year-old girl who was gang-raped and decapitated. Her head was placed on a stake as a warning to government supporters in her village.
Ronald Reagan called the Nicaraguan contras “the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers” while the chairman of Americas Watch and Helsinki Watch concluded “the United States cannot avoid responsibility for these atrocities.”
“Literally torn to pieces”
During the CIA’s holy war against the USSR in 1980s Afghanistan, the U.S-.trained and funded Moujahedeen drugged captured Soviet soldiers and kept them in cages. A reporter from the Far Eastern Economic Review told of Soviet soldiers killed, skinned, and hung in a butcher’s shop.
“One captive,” he reported, “found himself the center of attraction in a game of buzkashi,” an Afghan form of polo using a headless goat as the ball. In this case, the Soviet captive was used, alive. “He was literally torn to pieces,” said the reporter.
Keeping the world safe… and all that
Of course, the Home of the Brave™ has never been afraid to gets own hands bloody. For example, a 1975 Senate investigating committee exposed U.S. methods of interrogating pairs of Vietcong [sic] prisoners.
In one case, when the first prisoner refused to speak, he was thrown from an airplane at 3,000 feet. The second prisoner answered all questions but was thrown from the plane anyway. Other techniques involved cutting off fingers, fingernails, ears, or sexual organs of one prisoner while the other looked on.
“An example for free men everywhere”
Then we have Dan Mitrione, head of Orwellian-named U.S. Office of Public Safety, who trained the Brazilian police force in the 1960s. One of the techniques Mitrione taught involved placing the end of a reed in the anus of a naked man hanging suspended. The other end of the reed is soaked in oil and lit.
In Uruguay, Mitrione was called in to help deal with the Tupamaros, a group William Blum calls “perhaps the cleverest, most resourceful, and most sophisticated urban guerrillas the world has even seen.” Under the guidance of Mitrione, the Uruguayan Senate found that torture had become a “normal, frequent, and habitual occurrence.”
Techniques included electric shocks to the genitals, electric needles under the fingernails, and use of “a wire so thin that it could be fitted into the mouth between the teeth and by pressing against the gum increase the electrical charge.”
Such tactics were honed in Mitrione’s own soundproof basement room. Blum writes of Mitrione’s use of four street beggars to demonstrate the effects of different voltages on different parts of the body. All four men died.
Mitrione was eventually kidnapped and killed by the Tupamaros. At his funeral, then-White House spokesman Ron Ziegler stated: “Mr. Mitrione’s devoted service to the cause of peace in an orderly world will remain as an example for free men everywhere.”
Never mind ISIS, comrades, this is what we’re up against…
EVENT: To continue conversations like this, come see Mickey Z. in person at Bluestockings Bookstore on Sept. 27.
Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.
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