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John Pilger: A trip from Pol Pot to ISIS

In connection with ISIS's acts of violence in Beirut and Paris, John Pilger gives us an important reminder of what is the root of terrorism – and how to deal with it.


When President Richard Nixon ordered a "massive" bombing of Cambodia in 1969, Henry Kissinger said that "everything that flies and moves" should be taken. While Barack Obama is waging his seventh war on the Muslim world since being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and while Francois Hollande promises a merciless attack on Syria, this frivolity of lies and hysteria makes one almost nostalgic when thinking back on Kissinger's bloodthirsty honesty.
As a witness to the human consequences of this delusion, I am not surprised by the historical oblivion that once again takes place. A telling example is Pol Pot's struggle for power with his Red Khmer, which had much in common with today's ISIS. Red Khmer were also ruthless, medieval figures who began as a small sect. In addition, they were also the result of a US-created apocalypse.

According to Pol Pot his movement consisted of "fewer than 5000 poorly armed guerrillas without any clear strategy, tactics, loyalty or leader." When Nixon's and Kissinger's B-52 bombers were launched as part of the so-called "Operation Menu", the West's Supreme Demon couldn't believe his own eyes – and his own luck. The Americans dropped what was the equivalent of five Hiroshima bombs over the Cambodian countryside between 1969 and 1973. They flattened countless villages and returned again to bomb the bodies and remains of what was destroyed. The craters left huge chains of carnage, which can still be seen from the air. The terror was beyond all comprehension. A former Red Khmer leader described how the survivors “stiffened completely and could walk without a word for three to four days. People were terrified and mad, and ready to believe everything they were told ... It was this that made it so easy for Red Khmer to get people over to their side. "
A Finnish commission of inquiry calculated that 600 Cambodians died as a result of the civil war, describing the bombing as "the first stage in a decade of genocide". What Nixon and Kissinger had started was completed by Pol Pot. During the American bombings, the Khmer Rouge grew to become a formidable army of 000 men.

ISIS has one similar history and situation today. Most studies agree that Bush and Blair's invasion of Iraq led to at least 700 deaths – in a country that has never before had any jihadism. The Kurds admittedly had their territorial and political agreements, and there were class and sectarian differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims – but they lived peacefully side by side, and marriages between the groups were common. Three years before the invasion, I drove across Iraq without fear. Along the way, I met people who were proud to be Iraqis.
Bush and Blair bombed all this to the ground. Iraq is now a breeding ground for jihadism. Al Qaeda – just as Pol Pot's "jihadists" – exploited the bottom-line civil war created. The "rebel" Syria gave even higher rewards, with the CIA and the Gulf States' arsenal of weapons, logistics and money running through Turkey. The arrival of foreign recruits was inevitable. A former British ambassador, Oliver Miles, wrote: "The Cameron government seems to follow Tony Blair's example. He continually ignored the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, MI5 and MI6 that our Middle East policy – especially the war in the Middle East – has been a leading cause of the recruitment of terrorist Muslims in the UK. "

ISIS is, like Pol Pot and Red Khmer, bred by a Western state terror waged by an imperialist elite.

ISIS is the result of all those in Washington, London and Paris who, by coming together to destroy Iraq, Syria and Libya, committed an enormous crime against humanity. ISIS is, like Pol Pot and Red Khmer, bred by a Western state terror waged by an imperialist elite. This elite cannot be stopped by the consequences of their actions – consequences that are geographically and culturally distant from their own lives. Their complicity is not mentioned in "our" society.

It's 23 years since Iraq got its Holocaust, right after the first Gulf War, when the United States and Britain hijacked the UN Security Council and imposed "sanctions" on the Iraqi people. Ironically, this strengthened Saddam Hussein's authority in the country. It was like a medieval siege. Almost everything that sustained a modern state was blocked: chlorine to purify the water, school pencils, x-ray machines, common painkillers, and medications that fought previously unknown types of cancer that came with the dust from the southern battlefields, contaminated by depleted uranium. Just before Christmas in 1999, the Ministry of Trade and Industry in London put an end to the export of vaccines intended to protect Iraqi children from diphtheria and yellow fever. This was justified by the fact that the children's vaccines could be used as weapons of mass destruction. The British government escaped this claim because media coverage of Iraq – much of it manipulated by the London Foreign Ministry – blamed Saddam Hussein for everything.

It is 23 years since Iraq got its Holocaust.

Under the "humanitarian" Oil for foodthe program earned each Iraqi $ 100, which they would live on for one year. This sum would cover the entire community's infrastructure and basic services such as electricity and water. "Imagine," UN Deputy Secretary-General Hans Von Sponeck once told me, "to get this lice pay as compensation for the lack of clean water. Imagine a situation where almost no ill can afford treatment, and where you live in a desperate struggle to manage from one day to the next. Then you have a glimpse of the nightmare. And no one has to believe that this is not a conscious policy. Before, I wouldn't use the word genocide, but now it's inevitable. " Full of disgust, Von Sponeck resigned from the post of UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq. His successor Denis Halliday, who is an equally recognized UN summit, also resigned. "I was instructed to implement a policy that can be defined as a genocide," said Halliday, "a deliberate policy that has effectively killed over a million people, both children and adults."
A study conducted by the UN Children's Fund UNICEF found that in the period from 1991 to 1998 – when the blockade was at its most intense – there was an "excess mortality" of 500 among Iraqi children under five years. A US television reporter confronted the US ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright, with these figures. The reporter asked, "Was it worth the price?" To this Albright replied, "We think it was worth the price."

In 2007 said Carne Ross, a senior British official responsible for the sanctions (and also known as "Mr. Iraq"), to the Parliamentary Selection Committee: "[US and UK governments] virtually denied the entire population to find ways to survive . " When I interviewed Carne Ross three years later, he was marked by remorse. "I'm ashamed," he said. Today he is a rare target-bearer of the truth about how governments mislead, and how a compliant media device plays an important role in spreading and maintaining deception. "We fed [the journalists] with known misconceptions and misleading information, or we froze them." Last year, The Guardian posted a not atypical headline: "We must seize ISIS terror." With the phrase "we must take action" it is as if a ghost is resurrecting; a warning against forgetting the story. The author of the article was Peter Hain, the former Foreign Minister responsible for Iraq under Blair. In 2003, Hain supported Blair's invasion of Iraq, which was based on obvious lies. During the ensuing Labor Party conference, he dismissed the invasion as a "peripheral problem."
In the article, Hain demanded "airstrikes, drones, military equipment and other support" for those "facing genocide" in Iraq and Syria. This will promote "the absolute necessity of a political solution". On the same day that Hain's article was published, Denis Halliday and Hans Von Spenck happened to be in London visiting me. They were not surprised that a politician engaged in such frightening hypocrisy, but complained about the persistent, almost inexplicable absence of intelligent diplomacy in the negotiations on something reminiscent of a ceasefire. All over the world, from Northern Ireland to Nepal, those who regard each other as terrorists and enemies have gathered around a table. Why not now in Iraq and Syria? Instead, it flows only a bland, almost psychotic flood of words from Cameron, Hollande, Obama and their "coalition of the willing", where they prescribe more violence delivered from 10 meters altitude to places where the blood has never had time to dry. They seem so enthusiastic about their own violence and folly that they want to overthrow their only potentially valuable ally – the government in Syria.

This is not something new, and it is clearly shown in the following leaked intelligence document from the United Kingdom and the United States:

They prescribe more violence delivered from an altitude of 10 meters to places where the blood has never had time to dry.

"To facilitate the work of the liberating forces ... extra forces must be put in place to eliminate certain key people [and] continue internal disruption in Syria. The CIA is prepared, and the SIS (MI6) will try to stage minor sabotages and helpevents in Syria by working through contact with individuals ... and a necessary degree of fear ... [staged] border collision [could] provide pretext for intervention ... The CIA and SIS should use ... both their psychological abilities and their fields of action to intensify tensions. »
This was written in 1957, but might as well have been written yesterday. In the world of empires, nothing really changes. In 2013, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas revealed that "two years before the Arab Spring" he was told in London that a war was planned against Syria. "I'll tell you something," he said in an interview with the French television channel LPC. "I was in England for another business two years before the violence started in Syria. I met British top politicians who acknowledged that they were planning something in Syria ... Britain organized an invasion of insurgents inside Syria. They even asked me, even though I was no longer the Foreign Minister, if I wanted to participate ... This operation has its roots far back in time. It was prepared, prepared and planned. ”
The only real opponents of ISIS are the West has given the status of demons – Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and now Russia. The obstacle is Turkey, an "ally" and member of NATO, which has conspired with the CIA, MI6 and the Gulf medieval states to channel support for Syrian "rebels", including those now calling themselves ISIS. Supporting Turkey's old ambition to have a dominant role in the region by overthrowing the Assad government, invites at the same time to a conventional Great War and a cruel mutilation of the most ethnically diverse state in the Middle East.

A truce – although such is difficult to negotiate and achieve – is the only way out of this chaos. The alternative is to repeat the atrocities in Paris and Beirut. In addition to the ceasefire, the leading perpetrators and managers of the violence in the Middle East – Americans and Europeans – must radicalize themselves and show good faith to alienated Muslim communities everywhere, including those at home. Shipping of military equipment to Israel should cease immediately and the state of Palestine must be recognized. The Palestinian issue is the region's most inflamed, open wound, and the ever-cited motivation for the spread of Islamic extremism. Osama bin Laden made this clear. Palestine also gives hope. If the Palestinians get justice, the world around them can begin to change.
Over 40 years ago, the Nixon-Kissinger bombings of Cambodia triggered a flood of ailments the country has never recovered from. The same goes for Blair-Bush's
crimes in Iraq, as well as NATO and the "coalition" crimes in Libya and Syria. With impeccable timing, Henry Kissinger's self-love epic was recently released under the satirical title World Order. In a rather glaring review, Kissinger is described as a "key figure in designing a world order that has remained stable for 25 years." Tell that to the people of Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Chile, East Timor and all the other victims of his "statesman art". Only when "we" recognize the war criminals in our own ranks and stop denying the truth can the blood begin to dry.

Pilger is an Australian journalist and writer, mainly living in London.
This text has been previously published on his Homepage.
Pilger is an award-winning journalist and author with a number of honorary doctorates from universities around the world.

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