Saturday, February 11, 2006

Who Teaches Hate?

I collect or write far more pieces than I disseminate. Here are two items from the archives.

• Proponents of neo-con policy in the middle east often talk about schools in the region where children are taught jihad and hatred of foreigners. That was certainly the case in Afghanistan, where schoolchildren studied militant Islamic teachings in texts illustrated with pictures of tanks, guns, and bullets.

The United States knew about those books because the United States produced those books. To stir resistance to Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the U.S. covertly supplied textbooks filled with violent images. The Washington Post published the details four years ago.

The Washington Post account reminded me of coloring books in the early 1970s. The F.B.I. was cracking down on the Black Panthers, and one complaint against the Panthers concerned coloring books which contained violent images of blacks killing policemen — evidence of the Panthers’s contempt for law and order.

In fact, the coloring book idea came from Panther Mark Teemer and was rejected by the Panther leadership. However, the F.B.I. acquired the book and was quite interested. The Bureau added drawings, changed some captions, and mailed copies of the “Black Panther Coloring Book” all around the country to discredit the Panthers.

• Obviously, the U.S. had a good reason to invade Iraq twice. Saddam Hussein was a beast who gassed his own people at Halabja in 1988. Who could doubt it?

Well, the Defense Intelligence Agency doubted it. Stephen C. Pelletiere was a C.I.A. political analyst on Iraq during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. (“A War Crime or an Act of War?”, The New York Times, 1/31/2003) According to Pelletiere, the D.I.A. concluded that Iranians gassed the Kurds at Halabja in the course of a battle to capture the Darbandikhan dam. Pelletiere noted that:

Before the Persian Gulf war, Iraq had built an impressive system of dams and river control projects, the largest being the Darbandikhan dam in the Kurdish area. And it was this dam the Iranians were aiming to take control of when they seized Halabja. In the 1990’s there was much discussion over the construction of a so-called Peace Pipeline that would bring the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates south to the parched Gulf states and, by extension, Israel. No progress has been made on this, largely because of Iraqi intransigence. With Iraq in American hands, of course, all that could change.

Thus America could alter the destiny of the Middle East in a way that probably could not be challenged for decades — not solely by controlling Iraq's oil, but by controlling its water. Even if America didn't occupy the country, once Mr. Hussein’s Baath Party is driven from power, many lucrative opportunities would open up for American companies.

Professor Pelletiere spoke at Saint Bonaventure University on January 29, 2003. Video excerpts from that lecture are available at The Information Clearing House — Part One and Part Two. His discussion of Halabja is in part two.

You can also read Amy Goodman’s interview with John Stauber (co-author of Weapons of Mass Deception) and Stephen Pelletiere.

Stephen Pelletiere is obviously misguided. Why, only yesterday, I received a coloring book in the mail from Iran which clearly shows Iraqi forces gassing Kurds. I used purple for the gas to heighten the dramatic effect.


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