17 February 1998
Dear Prime Minister,
We have been reminded often over the last few weeks of Saddam
Hussein1s appalling record in the field of human rights. It is
indeed appalling: brutal, pathological. But I thought you might
be interested to scrutinise the record of your ally, the United
States, in a somewhat wider context. I am not at all certain that
your advisors will have kept you fully informed. The United States
has supported, subsidised and in a number of cases, engendered
every right wing military dictatorship in the world since 1945.
I refer to Guatemala, Indonesia, Chile, Greece, Uruguay, The Philippines,
Brazil, Paraguay, Haiti, Turkey, El Salvador, for example. Hundreds
of thousands of people have been murdered by these regimes but
the money, the resources, the equipment (all kinds), the advice,
the moral support, as it were, has come from successive US administrations.
The devastation the US inflicted upon Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia,
the use of napalm, Agent Orange and the employment of new bombs
which sprayed darts inside peoples bodies and finally wrenched
their guts out was a remorseless, savage, systematic course of
destruction which, however, failed to destroy the spirit of the
Vietnamese people. When the US was defeated it at once set out
to starve the country by way of trade embargo. The US invaded
the Dominican Republic in 1965, Grenada in 1983, Panama in 1990
and destabilised and brought down the democratically elected governments
of Guatemala, Chile, Greece and Haiti - all acts entirely outside
the parameters of international law. It has given and still gives
total support to the Turkish government1s campaign of genocide
against the Kurdish people. It describes the Kurdish resistance
forces in Turkey as "terrorists" whereas it referred to its own
vicious Contra force in Nicaragua as "freedom fighters". Its "covert"
action against Nicaragua was declared by the International Court
of Justice in the Hague to be in clear breach of International
Law. The Court demanded that the US refrain from such acts and
make reparation for all injury caused.
The US dismissed the judgement, declaring, quite unambiguously,
that its actions were outside the jurisdiction of the International
Court. In 1954 in Guatemala and in 1965 in Indonesia the US Embassies
made comprehensive lists of the communists to be killed. "The
communists" were the usual crowd of priests, students, doctors,
union leaders, social workers, teachers, lawyers and journalists.
In Indonesia their corpses clogged the rivers.
In Jakarta in 1975 Henry Kissinger and President Ford gave their
full backing to the projected Indonesian invasion of East Timor.
They shook hands on it and Indonesia went into East Timor like
a shot off a shovel.
At Fort Benning in Florida the US army taught various techniques
to the eventual killers of Archbishop Romero, the six Jesuits
in El Salvador and the four nuns raped and murdered in the same
country. In respect of the murder of the Jesuits, the US Embassy
nobbled the main witness and blatantly perverted the course of
justice. In respect of the murdered nuns, Al Haig (US Secretary
of State at the time) said, with a twinkle in his eye "I heard
there was some kind of a shoot-out. Maybe they were pistol packing
The deaths really do mount up. 170,000 in Guatemala, 200,000 in
East Timor, 80,000 in El Salvador, 30,000 in Nicaragua, 500,000
in Indonesia - and that1s just to be going on with. They are,
every single one of them, attributable to your ally1s foreign
Over the last five years the United Nations has passed five resolutions
with overwhelming majorities demanding that the United States
stop its embargo on Cuba. The US has ignored all of them. All
UN resolutions criticising Israel have been ignored, not only
by Israel but also by the US, which turns a blind eye to Israel1s
nuclear capability and shrugs off the oppression of the Palestinians.
The US possesses of course quite a handy nuclear capability itself.
I would say it outstrips Saddam1s ability to kill "every man woman
and child on earth" by quite a few miles. If that wasn1t enough
it also has substantial chemical arsenals and has recently rejected
two United Nations inspectors, one Cuban and one Iranian. It also
reserves the right to deny access to certain "National Security"
zones. They are closed to inspection, as "Inspection may pose
a threat to the national security interests of the United States".
Isn1t Saddam Hussein saying something like that?
George Kennan, Head of the US State Department, setting out the
ground rules for US Foreign Policy, in a "Top Secret" internal
document in 1948 said: "We will have to dispense with all sentimentality
and day-dreaming and our attention will have to be concentrated
everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We should cease
to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights,
the raising of living standards and democratisation. The day is
not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power
concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans the better."
Kennan was an unusual man. He told the truth.
I1m sure you would agree that historical perspective is of the
first importance and that a proper detachment is a crucial obligation
which devolves upon leaders of men.
Anyway, this is your ally, with whom you are locked in a moral
Oh, by the way, meant to mention, forgot to tell you, we were
all chuffed to our bollocks when Labour won the election.