35 Countries Where the U.S. Has Supported Fascists, Drug Lords and Terrorists
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In 1958, after the British-backed monarchy was overthrown by General Abdul Qasim, the CIA hired a 22-year-old Iraqi named Saddam Hussein to assassinate the new president. Hussein and his gang botched the job and he fled to Lebanon, wounded in the leg by one of his companions. The CIA rented him an apartment in Beirut and then moved him to Cairo, where he was paid as an agent of Egyptian intelligence and was a frequent visitor at the U.S. Embassy. Qasim was killed in a CIA-backed Baathist coup in 1963, and as in Guatemala and Indonesia, the CIA gave the new government a list of at least 4,000 communists to be killed. But, once in power, the Baathist revolutionary government was no Western puppet, and it nationalized Iraq's oil industry, adopted an Arab nationalist foreign policy and built the best education and health systems in the Arab world. In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president, conducted purges of political opponents and launched a disastrous war against Iran. The U.S. DIA provided satellite intelligence to target chemical weapons that the West helped him to produce, and Donald Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials welcomed him as an ally against Iran. Only after Iraq invaded Kuwait and Hussein became more useful as an enemy did U.S. propaganda brand him as "a new Hitler." After the U.S. invaded Iraq on false pretenses in 2003, the CIA recruited 27 brigades of "Special Police," merging the most brutal of Saddam Hussein's security forces with the Iranian-trained Badr militia to form death squads that murdered tens of thousands of mostly Sunni Arab men and boys in Baghdad and elsewhere in a reign of terror that continues to this day.
When U.S. forces arrived in Korea in 1945, they were greeted by officials of the Korean People's Republic (KPR), formed by resistance groups which had disarmed surrendering Japanese forces and begun to establish law and order throughout Korea. General Hodge had them thrown out of his office and placed the southern half of Korea under U.S. military occupation. By contrast, Russian forces in the North recognized the KPR, leading to the long-term division of Korea. The U.S. flew in Syngman Rhee,a conservative Korean exile, and installed him as President of South Korea in 1948. Rhee became a dictator on an anti-communist crusade, arresting and torturing suspected communists, brutally putting down rebellions, killing 100,000 people and vowing to take over North Korea. He was at least partly responsible for the outbreak of the Korean War and for the allied decision to invade North Korea once South Korea had been recaptured. He was finally forced to resign by mass student protests in 1960.
The CIA began providing air support to French forces in Laos in 1950, and remained involved there for 25 years. The CIA engineered at least three coups between 1958 and 1960 to keep the growing leftist Pathet Lao out of government. It worked with right-wing Laotian drug lords like General Phoumi Nosavan, transporting opium between Burma, Laos and Vietnam and protecting his monopoly on the opium trade in Laos. In 1962, the CIA recruited a clandestine mercenary army of 30,000 veterans of previous guerrilla wars from Thailand, Korea, Vietnam and the Philippines to fight the Pathet Lao. As large numbers of American GIs in Vietnam got hooked on heroin, the CIA's Air America transported opium from Hmong territory in the Plain of Jars to General Vang Pao's heroin labs in Long Tieng and Vientiane for shipment to Vietnam. When the CIA failed to defeat the Pathet Lao, the U.S. bombed Laos almost as heavily as Cambodia, with 2 million tons of bombs.