Allegations of state terrorism by the United States

Allegations of state terrorism by the United States

citationstyle = March 2008
POV = July 2007
original research = April 2008|
The United States government has been accused of having directly committed acts of state terrorism, as well as funding, training, and harboring individuals and groups who engage in terrorism. [More details:
*cite web
publisher=QUT Law & Justice Journal

*cite web
title=The role of lawyers in defending the democratic rights of the people
publisher=International Association of People's Lawyers
date=November 7, 2006

*cite web
title=Filipina Militants Indict Bush-Arroyo for Crimes Against Humanity
last=San Juan, Jr.
publisher=Asian Human Rights Commission
date=April 28, 2007

*cite web
title=Venezuelan Leader Lashes at US in UN Speech
publisher=Agence France-Presse
date=September 16, 2005

*cite web
title=Security Council considers Nicaraguan complaint against United States, takes no action
publisher=United Nations
date=November, 1986

*cite web
title=Class Struggle and Socialist Revolution in the Philippines: Understanding the Crisis of U.S. Hegemony, Arroyo State Terrorism, and Neoliberal Globalization
last=San Juan, Jr.
publisher=Monthly Review Foundation
date=September 18, 2006

*cite web
title=The Real Threat
first=Roland G.
date=May 18, 2005

*cite book
title=Terrorism's War with America: A History
date=November 30, 2003
publisher=Praeger Publishers

*cite web
title=Understanding, responding to, and preventing terrorism
date=March 22, 2002
publisher=Arab Studies Quarterly

*cite web
title=The UN and its conduct during the invasion and occupation of Iraq
publisher=Centre for Research on Globalization
date=July 3, 2005

*cite episode
title=Noam Chomsky Interview on CBC
series=Hot Type
network=Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
] .


Like the definition of terrorism and the definition of state-sponsored terrorism, the definition of state terrorism remains controversial. There is no international consensus on what terrorism, state-sponsored terrorism, or state terrorism is. [ [ POLITICS: U.N. Member States Struggle to Define Terrorism ] ] Professor Igor Primoratz of the University of Melbourne says that many scholars have been reluctant to assign the word "terrorism" to activities that could be construed as "legitimate state aims". Primoratz himself defines terrorism as "the deliberate use of violence, or threat of its use, against innocent people...", and writes that his definition can be applied to both state and non-state activities. [citation | last=Primoratz | first=Igor | url= | contribution=State Terrorism and Counterterrorism | title=Working Paper Number 2002/2003 | publisher=University of Melbourne] Former Secretary of State George Schultz declared in a June 24, 1984, speech, “It is not hard to tell, as we look around the world, who are the terrorists and who are the freedom fighters.” cite web
title =Terrorism Debacles in the Reagan Administration
work =The Future of Freedom Foundation
url =

General allegations against the US

Arno Mayer, Emeritus Professor of History at Princeton University, has stated that "since 1947 America has been the chief and pioneering perpetrator of 'preemptive' state terror, exclusively in the Third World and therefore widely dissembled." [ [] , also see George, Alexander, ed. "Western State Terrorism",1 and Selden, Mark, ed. "War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century, 13.] Noam Chomsky also argues that "Washington is the center of global state terrorism and has been for years." [ [ Democracy Now! | Noam Chomsky Speech On State Terror and U.S. Foreign Policy ] ] Chomsky has characterized the tactics used by agents of the U.S. government and their proxies in their execution of U.S. foreign policy — in such countries as Nicaragua — as a form of terrorism and has also described the U.S as "a leading terrorist state."

After President George W. Bush began using the term "War on Terrorism", Chomsky stated in an interview:cite web
title=The United States is a Leading Terrorist State
publisher=Monthly Review
date=November 6, 2001
] [cite book | title=Military Operations in Low Intensity Conflict | url= | publisher=Headquarters Departments of the Army and Air Force]

tate terrorism and propaganda

Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton, has argued that the U.S. and other first-world states, as well as mainstream mass media institutions, have obfuscated the true character and scope of terrorism, promulgating a one-sided view from the standpoint of first-world privilege. He has said that:if 'terrorism' as a term of moral and legal opprobrium is to be used at all, then it should apply to violence deliberately targeting civilians, whether committed by state actors or their non-state enemies. [cite book
title=Revolutionaries and Functionaries: The Dual Face of Terrorism
city=New York
] [cite web
title=Gandhi, Nonviolence and the Struggle Against War
publisher=The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
date=January 28, 2004

Moreover, Falk argues that the repudiation of authentic non-state terrorism is insufficient as a strategy for mitigating it, writing that:we must also illuminate the character of terrorism, and its true scope... The propagandists of the modern state conceal its reliance on terrorism and associate it exclusively with Third World revolutionaries and their leftist sympathizers in the industrial countries.cite journal|title=Thinking About Terrorism|journal=The Nation|date=1986-06-28|first=Richard|last=Falk|coauthors=|volume=242|issue=25|pages=873-892|id= |url=|format=|accessdate=2008-01-30]

Daniel Schorr, reviewing Falk's "Revolutionaries and Functionaries", argued that Falk's definition of terrorism hinges on some unstated definition of "permissible"; this, says Schorr, makes the judgment of what is terrorism inherently "subjective", and furthermore, he suggests, leads Falk to characterize some acts he considers impermissible as "terrorism", but others he considers permissible as merely "terroristic".:Mr. Falk overstates his point when he asserts that "revolutionaries and functionaries both endanger political democracy by their adoption and dissemination of exterminist attitudes, policies, and practices." To say that "all forms of impermissible political violence are terrorism" is to beg the question, requiring the author to make subjective judgments about the "permissible." Thus, the antiapartheid movement in South Africa becomes "a legitimate armed struggle, even if some of its tactics are terroristic in design and execution." However justified the struggle against apartheid may be, Mr. Falk's exception to his own rule seems to be subjectively determined. [ ["The Politics of Violence"] , Daniel Schorr, 1 May 1988.]

pecific allegations against the US by region

Atomic bombings of Japan, 1945

The United States' World War II nuclear attacks against the Empire of Japan were acts of war, but have also been characterized as state terrorism. The "'atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki'," remain the only time a state has used nuclear weapons against concentrated civilian populated areas, and many or these critics hold that it represents the single greatest act of state terrorism in the 20th Century. [cite book
last = Frey
first =Robert S.
title = The Genocidal Temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda and Beyond
publisher =University Press of America
year =2004
id = ISBN 0761827439
Reviewed at:cite journal
last = Rice
first =Sarah
title =The Genocidal Temptation: Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Rwanda and Beyond (Review)
journal =Harvard Human Rights Journal
volume =Vol. 18
year =2005
url =
accessdate =
] [cite journal
last = Dower
first =John
title =The Bombed: Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japanese Memory
journal =Diplomatic History
volume =Vol. 19
issue =no. 2
year =1995
url =
accessdate =

Cuba (1956-present)

After revolutionary forces vanquished Fulgencio Batista’s forces, a new government was formed in Cuba on January 2, 1959. The CIA initiated a campaign of regime change in the early parts of 1959, [ [ cuba and the us.p65 ] ] and by the spring of 1959 was arming counter-revolutionary guerrillas inside Cuba. By winter of that year US-based Cubans were being supervised by the CIA in the orchestration of bombings and incendiary raids against Cuba.Chomsky, Noam. Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance, Henry Holt and Company, 80.]

Cuban government officials have accused the United States Government of being an accomplice and protector of terrorism against Cuba on many occasions. [cite web
title=The United States is an accomplice and protector of terrorism, states Alarcón
] [cite web
title=Terrorism organized and directed by the CIA
] According to Ricardo Alarcón, President of Cuba’s national assembly "Terrorism and violence, crimes against Cuba, have been part and parcel of U.S. policy for almost half a century.”cite web
title=Interview with Ricardo Alarcón
publisher=Transnational Institute
date=February 13, 2003
] The claims formed part of Cuba's $181.1 billion lawsuit in 1999 in Havana's Popular Provincial Tribunal against the United States on behalf of the Cuban people which alleged that for over 40 years, "terrorism has been permanently used by the U.S. as an instrument of its foreign policy against Cuba," and it "became more systematic as a result of the covert action program." [cite web
title=Cuba's case against Washington
publisher=Workers World
date=September 16, 1999
] The lawsuit detailed a history of terrorism allegedly supported by the United States. The United States has long denied any involvement in the acts named in the lawsuit. [cite web
title=Cuba sues U.S. for billions, alleging 'war' damages
date=June 2, 1999
] for extradition in connection with terrorist acts,cite web
title=Moral Misstep
publisher=The Washington Post
date=September 3, 2004
] Mexico City 22 January 1963.]

Cuba also claims U.S. involvement in the paramilitary group Omega 7, the CIA undercover operation known as Operation 40, and the umbrella group the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations. Cuban Counterterrorism investigator Roberto Hernández testified in a Miami court that the bomb attacks were "part of a campaign of terror designed to scare civilians and foreign tourists, harming Cuba's single largest industry." [ [ Investigator from Cuba takes stand in spy trial] Miami Herald ] Testifying before the United States Senate in 1978, Richard Helms, former CIA Director, stated; "We had task forces that that were striking at Cuba constantly. We were attempting to blow up power plants. We were attempting to ruin sugar mills. We were attempting to do all kinds of things in this period. This was a matter of American government policy." [House Select Committee on Assassinations Report, Volume IV, page 125. September 22, 1978]

In 2001, Cuban Ambassador to the UN Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla called for UN General Assembly to address all forms and manifestations of terrorism in every corner of the world, including — without exception — state terrorism. He alleged to the UN General Assembly that 3,478 Cubans have died as a result of aggressions and terrorist acts. The Ambassador however did not claim that the US had committed terrorist acts. [ Cuba Statement to the United Nations 2001] since the Cuban revolution] He also alleged that the United States had provided safe shelter to "those who funded, planned and carried out terrorist acts with absolute impunity, tolerated by the United States Government."

Operation Mongoose

A prime focus of the Kennedy administration was the removal of Fidel Castro from power. To this end it implemented Operation Mongoose, a US program of sabotage and other secret operations against the island. [Domínguez, Jorge I. "The @#$%& Missile Crisis (Or, What was 'Cuban' about U.S. Decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.Diplomatic History: The Journal of the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations, Vol. 24, No. 2, (Spring 2000): 305-15.)] Mongoose was led by Edward Lansdale in the Defense Department and William King Harvey at the CIA. Samuel Halpern, a CIA co-organizer, conveyed the breadth of involvement: “CIA and the U. S. Army and military forces and Department of Commerce, and Immigration, Treasury, God knows who else — everybody was in Mongoose. It was a government-wide operation run out of Bobby Kennedy's office with Ed Lansdale as the mastermind.” [James G. Blight, and Peter Kornbluh, eds., Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999, 125)] . The scope of Mongoose included sabotage actions against a railway bridge, petroleum storage facilities, a molasses storage container, a petroleum refinery, a power plant, a sawmill, and a floating crane. Harvard Historian Jorge Domínguez states that "only once in [the] thousand pages of documentation did a U.S. official raise something that resembled a faint moral objection to U.S. government sponsored terrorism." Domínguez, Jorge I. "The @#$%& Missile Crisis (Or, What was 'Cuban' about U.S. Decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis)." Diplomatic History: The Journal of the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations, Vol. 24, No. 2, (Spring 2000): 305-15.] The CIA operation was based in Miami, Florida and among other aspects of the operation, enlisted the help of the Mafia to plot an assassination attempt against Fidel Castro, the Cuban president; for instance, William Harvey was one of the CIA case officers who directly dealt with the mafiosi John Roselli. [cite news | author = Jack Anderson | title = 6 Attempts to Kill Castro Laid to CIA | publisher = The Washington Post | date = 1971-01-18]

Dominguez writes that Kennedy put a hold on Mongoose actions as the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated, and the "Kennedy administration returned to its policy of sponsoring terrorism against Cuba as the confrontation with the Soviet Union lessened." However, Chomsky argued that “terrorist operations continued through the tensest moments of the missile crisis,” remarking that “they were formally canceled on October 30, several days after the Kennedy and Khrushchev agreement, but went on nonetheless.” Accordingly, "the Executive Committee of the National Security Council recommended various courses of action, "including ‘using selected Cuban exiles to sabotage key Cuban installations in such a manner that the auction can plausibly be attributed to Cubans in Cuba’ as well as ‘sabotaging Cuban cargo and shipping, and [Soviet] Bloc cargo and shipping to Cuba." Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst at the National Security Archive at George Washington University, raised the point that according to the documentary record, directly after the first executive committee (EXCOMM) meeting that was held on the missile crisis, Attorney General Robert Kennedy “convened a meeting of the Operation Mongoose team” expressing disappointment in its results and pledging to take a closer personal attention on the matter. Kornbluh accused RFK of taking “the most irrational position during the most extraordinary crisis in the history of U. S. foreign policy”, remarking that “Not to belabor the obvious, but for chrissake, a nuclear crisis is happening and Bobby wants to start blowing things up.” [James G. Blight, and Peter Kornbluh, eds., Politics of Illusion: The Bay of Pigs Invasion Reexamined. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1999, 125] .

Professor of History Stephen Rabe writes that “scholars have understandably focused on...the Bay of Pigs invasion, the U.S. campaign of terrorism and sabotage known as Operation Mongoose, the assassination plots against Fidel Castro, and, of course, the Cuban missile crisis. Less attention has been given to the state of U.S.-Cuban relations in the aftermath of the missile crisis.” In contrast Rabe writes that reports from the Church Committee reveal that from June 1963 onward the Kennedy administration intensified its war against Cuba while the CIA integrated propaganda, "economic denial", and sabotage to attack the Cuban state as well as specific targets within.Stephen G. Rabe -Presidential Studies Quarterly. Volume: 30. Issue: 4. 2000,714 ] One example cited is an incident where CIA agents, seeking to assassinate Castro, provided a Cuban official, Rolando Cubela Secades, with a ballpoint pen rigged with a poisonous hypodermic needle. At this time the CIA received authorization for thirteen major operations within Cuba; these included attacks on an electric power plant, an oil refinery, and a sugar mill. Historian Stephen Rabe has observed that the “Kennedy administration...showed no interest in Castro's repeated request that the United States cease its campaign of sabotage and terrorism against Cuba. Kennedy did not pursue a dual-track policy toward Cuba....The United States would entertain only proposals of surrender." Rabe further documents how "Exile groups, such as Alpha 66 and the Second Front of Escambray, staged hit-and-run raids on the island...on ships transporting goods...purchased arms in the United States and launched...attacks from the Bahamas.”

Allegations of harboring terrorists

The Cuban revolution resulted in a large Cuban refugee community in the U.S., some of whom have conducted sustained long-term insurgency campaigns against Cuba. [ Alpha 66 says it carried out bomb attacks] Cuba solidarity] and conducted training sessions at a secluded camp near the Florida Everglades. Initially these efforts are known to have been directly supported by the United States government. [Bohning,Don. The Castro Obsession: U.S.Covert Operations Against Cuba 1959-1965, Potomac Books,137-138] The failed military invasion of Cuba during the administration of John F. Kennedy at the Bay of Pigs marked the end of documented U.S. involvement.

The Cuban Government, its supporters and some outside observers believe that the group Alpha 66, whose former secretary general Andrés Nazario Sargén acknowledged terrorist attacks on Cuban tourist spots in the 1990s and conducted training sessions at a secluded camp near the Florida Everglades, [ [ An Era of Exiles Slips Away] . The Los Angeles Times.] has, according to Cuba's official newspaper Granma, been supported by the National Endowment for Democracy, the United States Agency for International Development and, more directly, the CIA.

Marcela Sanchez says that the U.S. has also failed to indict or prosecute the alleged terrorists Guillermo and Ignacio Novo Sampoll, Pedro Remon, and Gaspar Jimenez, instead allowing them to walk free on U.S. streets. Claudia Furiati has suggested Sampol was linked to President Kennedy's assassination and plans to kill President Castro. [Cite book - | edition = 2nd - | publisher = Ocean Press (AU) - | isbn = 1875284850 - | pages = 164 - | last = Furiati - | first = Claudia - | title = ZR Rifle : The Plot to Kill Kennedy and Castro - | date = 1994-10 - ]

Nicaragua (1979-90)

Following the rise to power of the left-wing Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the Ronald Reagan administration ordered the CIA to organize and train the Contras, a right wing guerrilla group. On December 1, 1981, President Reagan signed an initial, one-paragraph "Finding" authorizing the CIA's paramilitary war against Nicaragua. [cite web|url=|title=The Iran-Contra Affair 20 Years On: Documents Spotlight Role of Reagan, Top Aides|date=2006-11-24|publisher=The National Security Archive]

"The Republic of Nicaragua vs. The United States of America"Official name: "Military and Paramilitary Activities in and against Nicaragua (Nicar. v. U.S.), Jurisdiction and Admissibility, 1984 ICJ REP. 392" June 27, 1986.] was a case heard in 1986 by the International Court of Justice which found that the United States had violated international law by direct acts of U.S. personnel and by the supporting Contra guerrillas in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors. The US was not imputable for possible human rights violations done by the Contras. The Court found that this was a conflict involving military and para-military forces and did not make a finding of state terrorism.

Florida State University professor, Frederick H. Gareau, has written that the Contras "attacked bridges, electric generators, but also state-owned agricultural cooperatives, rural health clinics, villages and non-combatants." U.S. agents were directly involved in the fighting. "CIA commandos launched a series of sabotage raids on Nicaraguan port facilities. They mined the country's major ports and set fire to its largest oil storage facilities." In 1984 the U.S. Congress ordered this intervention to be stopped, however it was later shown that the CIA illegally continued (See Iran-Contra affair). Professor Gareau has characterized these acts as "wholesale terrorism" by the United States.cite book |last=Gareau |first=Frederick H. |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=State Terrorism and the United States |year=2004 |publisher=Zed Books |location=London |id=ISBN 1-84277-535-9 |pages=16 & 166]

In 1984 a CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan Contras in psychological operations was leaked to the media, entitled "Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War".cite book |last=Blum |first=William |authorlink=William Blum |coauthors= |title=Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II |year=2003 |publisher=Zed Books |location=Noida, India |id=ISBN 1-84277-369-0 |pages=290]

The manual recommended “selective use of violence for propagandistic effects” and to “neutralize” government officials. Nicaraguan Contras were taught to lead:

quote|...selective use of armed force for PSYOP psychological operations effect.... Carefully selected, planned targets — judges, police officials, tax collectors, etc. — may be removed for PSYOP effect in a UWOA unconventional warfare operations area, but extensive precautions must insure that the people “concur” in such an act by thorough explanatory canvassing among the affected populace before and after conduct of the mission.|James Bovard|Freedom Daily cite web
title =Terrorism Debacles in the Reagan Administration
work =The Future of Freedom Foundation
url =

Former State Department official William Blum, has written that "American pilots were flying diverse kinds of combat missions against Nicaraguan troops and carrying supplies to contras inside Nicaraguan territory. Several were shot down and killed. Some flew in civilian clothes, after having been told that they would be disavowed by the Pentagon if captured. Some contras told American congressmen that they were ordered to claim responsibility for a bombing raid organized by the CIA and flown by Agency mercenaries." [Blum 293.] According to Blum the Pentagon considered U.S. policy in Nicaragua to be a "blueprint for successful U.S. intervention in the Third World" and it would go "right into the textbooks". [Blum 305.]

Colombian writer and former diplomat Clara Nieto, in her book "Masters of War", describes the Reagan administration as "the paradigm of a terrorist state" remarking that this was "ironically, the very thing Reagan claimed to be fighting." Nieto describes direct CIA involvement, noting that "the CIA launched a series of terrorist actions from the “mothership” off Nicaragua’s coast. In September 1983, the agency attacked Puerto Sandino with rockets. The following month, frogmen blew up the underwater oil pipeline in the same port- the only one in the country. In October there was an attack on Pierto Corinto, Nicaragua’s largest port, with mortars, rockets and grenades, blowing up five large oil and gasoline storage tanks. More than a hundred people were wounded, and the fierce fire, which could not be brought under control for two days, forced the evacuation of 23,000 people.” [Nieto, Clara. Masters of War: Latin America and United States Aggression from the Cuban Revolution Through the Clinton Years, Seven Stories Press, 2003, 343-345]

Historian Greg Grandin describes a disjuncture between official U.S. ideals and support for terrorism. “Nicaragua, where the United States backed not a counterinsurgent state but anti-communist mercenaries, likewise represented a disjuncture between the idealism used to justify U.S. policy and its support for political terrorism... The corollary to the idealism embraced by the Republicans in the realm of diplomatic public policy debate was thus political terror. In the dirtiest of Latin America’s dirty wars, their faith in America’s mission justified atrocities in the name of liberty.” [Grandin, Greg. Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, The United States and ther Rise of the New Imperialism, Henry Holt & Company 2007, 89] In his analysis, Grandin emphasizes that the behaviour of the U.S. backed-contras was particularly inhumane and vicious: "In Nicaragua, the U.S.-backed Contras decapitated, castrated, and otherwise mutilated civilians and foreign aid workers. Some earned a reputation for using spoons to gorge their victims eye’s out. In one raid, Contras cut the breasts of a civilian defender to pieces and ripped the flesh off the bones of another.” [Grandin, Greg. Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, The United States and the Rise of the New Imperialism, Henry Holt & Company 2007, 90 ]

Nicaragua vs. United States

"The Republic of Nicaragua vs. The United States of America" was a case heard in 1986 by the International Court of Justice which ruled in Nicaragua's favor, and found that the United States had violated international law. The court stated that the United States had been involved in the "unlawful use of force," specifically that it was "in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another state" by direct acts of U.S. personnel and by the supporting Contra guerrillas in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining Nicaragua's harbors. The ICJ ordered the U.S. to pay reparations. The US was not imputable for possible human rights violations done by the Contras.

U.S. foreign policy critic Noam Chomsky argues that the U.S. has been legally found guilty of international terrorism based on this verdict, which condemned the United States federal government for its "unlawful use of force". [cite web
title=Noam Chomsky
date=January 16, 2002
] [cite web
title=Who Are the Global Terrorists?
authorlink=Noam Chomsky
date=May 19, 2002

quote|The World Court considered their case, accepted it, and presented a long judgment, several hundred pages of careful legal and factual analysis that condemned the United States for what it called "unlawful use of force" — which is the judicial way of saying "international terrorism" — ordered the United States to terminate the crime and to pay substantial reparations, many billions of dollars, to the victim.|Noam Chomsky|interview on Pakistan Television cite web
title =On the War in Afghanistan Noam Chomsky interviewed by Pervez Hoodbhoy
url =

Guatemala (1954-96)

Professor of History, Stephen G. Rabe, writes "in destroying the popularly elected government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman (1950-1954), the United States initiated a nearly four-decade-long cycle of terror and repression" [cite book|title=Managing the Counterrevolution: The United States and Guatemala, 1954-1961 (review) |publisher=The Americas |page=Volume 59, Number 4 |month=April | year=2003 |pages=601-603 |author=Stephen G. Rabe]

After the U.S.-backed coup, which toppled president Jacobo Arbenz, lead coup plotter Castillo Armas assumed power. Author and university professor, Patrice McSherry argues that with Armas at the head of government, "the United States began to militarize Guatemala almost immediately, financing and reorganizing the police and military." J. Patrice McSherry. “The Evolution of the National Security State: The Case of Guatemala.” "Socialism and Democracy". Spring/Summer 1990, 133.]

In his book “State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala”, human rights expert Michael McClintock [cite web| title = About Michael McClintock | publisher = Human Rights First | url = | accessdate = 2007-07-03] has argued that the national security apparatus Armas presided over was “almost entirely oriented toward countering subversion,” and that the key component of that apparatus was “an intelligence system set up by the United States.” Michael McClintock. "The American Connection Volume 2: State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala". London: Zed Books Ltd., 1985, pp. 2, 32. ] At the core of this intelligence system were records of communist party members, pro-Arbenz organizations, teacher associations, and peasant unions which were used to create a detailed “Black List” with names and information about some 70,000 individuals that were viewed as potential subversives. It was “CIA counter-intelligence officers who sorted the records and determined how they could be put to use.” [McClintock 32-33.] McClintock argues that this list persisted as an index of subversives for several decades and probably served as a database of possible targets for the counter-insurgency campaign that began in the early 1960s. [McClintock 33.] McClintock writes:

McClintock writes that this idea was also articulated by Colonel John Webber, the chief of the U.S. Military Mission in Guatemala, who instigated the technique of “counter-terror.” Colonel Webber defended his policy by saying, “That’s the way this country is. The Communists are using everything they have, including terror. And it must be met.” [McClintock 61.]

Utilizing declassified government documents, researchers Kate Doyle and Carlos Osorio from the research institute the National Security Archive document that Guatemalan Colonel Byron Lima Estrada took military police and counterintelligence courses at the School of the Americas. He later served in several elite counterinsurgency units trained and equipped by the U.S. Military Assistance Program (MAP). He would eventually rise to command D-2, the Guatemalan Military Intelligence services who were responsible for many of the terror tactics wielded throughout the 1980s.cite web|url=|title=Colonel Byron Disrael Lima Estrada |publisher=George Washington University NSA Archive (Republished)]

chool of the Americas

Professor Gareau argues that the School of the Americas (reorganized in 2001 as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), a U.S. training institution mainly for Latin America, is a terrorist training ground. He cites a UN report which states the school has "graduated 500 of the worst human rights abusers in the hemisphere." Gareau alleges that by funding, training and supervising Guatemalan 'Death Squads' Washington was complicit in state terrorism.cite book |last=Gareau |first=Frederick H. |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=State Terrorism and the United States |year=2004 |publisher=Zed Books |location=London |id=ISBN 1-84277-535-9 |pages=pp22-25 and pp61-63]

Defenders argue that the alleged connection to human rights abusers is often weak. For example, Roberto D'Aubuisson's sole link to the SOA is that he had taken a course in Radio Operations long before El Salvador's civil war began. [cite web|author=Paul Mulshine|title=The War in Central America Continues|url=|accessdaymonth=6 November |accessyear=2007] They also argue that no school should be held accountable for the actions of only some of its many graduates. Before coming to the current WHINSEC each student is now “vetted” by his/her nation and the U.S. embassy in that country. All students are now required to receive "human rights training in law, ethics, rule of law and practical applications in military and police operations." [" [ Teaching democracy at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation] "] [cite web | author = Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation | title = FAQ | url = ] [cite web | author = Center for International Policy | title = Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation | url = | accessdate = May 6 | accessyear = 2006 ]


In the period of 1970-1973, the United States has been accused of supporting and committing State Terrorism during the overthrow of the socialist elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende. Prof. Stohl writes, "In addition to nonterroristic strategies...the United States embarked on a program to create economic and political chaos in Chile...After the failure to prevent Allende from taking office, efforts shifted to obtaining his removal." Money authorized for the CIA to destabilize Chilean society, included, "financing and assisting opposition groups and right-wing terrorist paramilitary groups such as Patria y Libertad ("Fatherland and Liberty")." Project FUBELT was the codename for the secret CIA operations to undermine Salvador Allende's government and promote a military coup in Chile. In September 1973 the Allende government was overthrown in a violent military coup in which the United States is claimed to have been "intimately involved." ["The State as Terrorist: The Dynamics of Governmental Violence and Repression" by Prof. Michael Stohl, and Prof. George A. Lopez; Greenwood Press, 1984. Page 51 ]

Professor Gareau, writes on the subject: "Washington's training of thousands of military personnel from Chile who later committed state terrorism again makes Washington eligible for the charge of accessory before the fact to state terrorism. The CIA's close relationship during the height of the terror to Contreras, Chile's chief terrorist (with the possible exception of Pinochet himself), lays Washington open to the charge of accessory during the fact." Gareau argues that the fuller extend involved the US taking charge of coordinating counterinsurgency efforts between all Latin American countries. He writes, "Washington's service as the overall coordinator of state terrorism in Latin America demonstrates the enthusiasm with which Washington played its role as an accomplice to state terrorism in the region. It was not a reluctant player. Rather it not only trained Latin American governments in terrorism and financed the means to commit terrorism; it also encouraged them to apply the lessons learned to put down what it called “the communist threat.” Its enthusiasm extended to coordinating efforts to apprehend those wanted by terrorist states who had fled to other countries in the region....The evidence available leads to the conclusion that Washington's influence over the decision to commit these acts was considerable." [State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism by Frederick H. Gareau, Page78-79.] "Given that they knew about the terrorism of this regime, what did the elites in Washington during the Nixon and Ford administrations do about it? The elites in Washington reacted by increasing U.S. military assistance and sales to the state terrorists, by covering up their terrorism, by urging U.S. diplomats to do so also, and by assuring the terrorists of their support, thereby becoming accessories to state terrorism before, during, and after the fact." State Terrorism and the United States: From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism by Frederick H. Gareau, Page 87.]

Scholars have written on Chile as an example of State Terrorism of a very open kind that did not attempt a façade of civilian governance, and that had a "September 11th effect" through the hemisphere. Professor of History Thomas Wright, argues that "unlike their Brazilian counterparts, they did not embrace state terrorism as a last recourse; they launched a wave of terrorism on the day of the coup. In contrast to the Brazilians and Uruguayans, the Chileans were very public about their objectives and their methods; there was nothing subtle about rounding up thousands of prisoners, the extensive use of torture, executions following sham court-marshal, and shootings in cold blood. After the initial wave of open terrorism, the Chilean armed forces constructed a sophisticated apparatus for the secret application of state terrorism that lasted until the dictatorship’s end...The impact of the Chilean coup reached far beyond the country’s borders. Through their aid in the overthrow of Allende and their support of the Pinochet dictatorship, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, sent a clear signal to all of Latin America that anti-revolutionary regimes employing repression, even state terrorism, could count on the support of the United States. The U.S. government in effect, gave a green light to Latin America’s right wing and its armed forces to eradicate the left and use repression to erase the advances that workers — and in some countries, campesinos — had made through decades of struggle. This “Septmember 11 effect” was soon felt around the hemisphere.” [Wright, Thomas C. State Terrorism and Latin America: Chile, Argentina, and International Human Rights, Rowman & Littlefield, page 29]

Prof. Gareau concludes, "The message for the populations of Latin American nations and particularly the Left opposition was clear: the United States would not permit the continuation of a Socialist government, even if it came to power in a democratic election and continued to uphold the basic democratic structure of that society."

Iran (1979-present)

In 2007, an article in the Asia Times Online asserted that the United States has likely ramped up support for Iran's oppressed minorities in an attempt to push the Iranian regime toward a negotiated settlement over Iraq." cite journal
first=M. K.
date=February 24, 2007
title=Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains
publisher=Asia Times Online
] An Asian Times article notes that "Iranian officials have repeatedly accused the United States and Britain of provoking ethnic unrest in Iran and of supporting opposition groups." [ Car bomb in Iran destroys a bus carrying Revolutionary Guards] The New York Times]


The Sunni militant organization Jundallah has been identified as a terrorist organization by Iran and Pakistan [cite web|url=|title=2nd blast in 3 days hits Iranian city|publisher=CNN|date=2007-02-16] [cite web|url=|title=Al-Qaeda's New Face|publisher=Newsline|date=2004-08-15] . According to an April 2007 report by Brian Ross and Christopher Isham of ABC News, the United States government had been secretly encouraging and advising the Jundullah in its attacks against Iranian targets. This support is said to have started in 2005 and arranged so that the United States provided no direct funding to the group, which would require congressional oversight and attract media attention. [ [ The Secret War Against Iran] ] The report was denied by Pakistan official sources. Justin Rood and Gretchen Peters, [ Pakistan Denounces ABC News Report on Backing Iran Radicals] , ABC News, April 5, 2007] [n.b. Alexis Debat, one of the sources quoted by Ross and Isham in in their report alleging US support for the Jundullah, resigned from ABC News in June 2007, after ABC officials discovered he faked several interviews while working for the company. See: cite web
title=Consultant Probed in Bogus Interview
publisher=The Washington Post
, and cite web
title=Former ABC Consultant Says He Faked Nothing
publisher=The New York Times

Fars News Agency, an Iranian state run news agency, alleged that the United States government is involved in the terrorist acts of the Peoples Resistant Movement of Iran (PRMI). The Voice of America, the official broadcasting service of the United States government, interviewed Jundullah leader Abdul Malik Rigi in April 2007, and the Iranian government claims that the fact that he was interviewed was proof of US terrorism. [ [ Iranian speaker says U.S. supports "terrorists" - swissinfo ] ]

People's Mujahedin of Iran

In April 2007, CNN reported that the US military and the International Committee of the Red Cross were protecting the People's Mujahedin of Iran, with the US army regularly escorting PMOI supply runs between Baghdad and its base, Camp Ashraf.Cite web|url=|title= U.S. protects Iranian opposition group in Iraq|accessdate=2007-04-06|publisher=CNN|year=2007|author=Ware, Michael|work=CNN website, April 6, 2007. ] The PMOI have been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States (since 1997), Canada, and Iran.cite journal | title=COUNCIL COMMON POSITION 2005/847/CFSP| journal=Official Journal of the European Union| year=2005| volume=L 314| page=44| url=] Cite web|url=|title=Chapter 6 -- Terrorist Organizations|accessdate=2007-07-15|publisher=US Department of State|year=2007] According to the Wall Street Journal Cite |title= Iranian Imbroglio Gives New Boost To Odd Exile Group |date=2006-11-29|publisher=Wall Street Journal |year=2006|author=Andrew Higgins and Jay Solomon ] "senior diplomats in the Clinton administration say the PMOI figured prominently as a bargaining chip in a bridge-building effort with Tehran." The PMOI is also on the European Union's blacklist of terrorist organizations, which lists 28 organizations, since 2002. [ Défense des Moudjahidines du peuple] , Yves Bonnet, former director of the French RG intelligence agency fr icon ] The enlistments included: Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States in 1997 under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and again in 2001 pursuant to section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224; as well as by the European Union (EU) in 2002. [ [ Council Decision] , Council of the European Union, December 21, 2005] Its bank accounts were frozen in 2002 after the September 11 attacks and a call by the EU to block terrorist organizations' funding. However, the European Court of Justice has overturned this in December 2006 and has criticized the lack of "transparency" with which the blacklist is composed. [ [ Terrorisme: la justice européenne appelle l'UE à justifier sa liste noire] , "Radio France International", December 12, 2006 fr icon ] However, the Council of the EU declared on 30 January 2007 that it would maintain the organization on the blacklist. [ [ EU’s Ministers of Economic and Financial Affairs’ Council violates the verdict by the European Court] , NCRI website, February 1, 2007. ] [ [ European Council is not above the law] , NCRI website, February 2, 2007 ] The EU-freezing of funds was lifted on December 12, 2006 by the European Court of First Instance.] In 2003 the US State Department included the NCRI on the blacklist, under Executive Order 13224. [ [ US State Dept press statement] by Tom Casey, Acting Spokesman, August 15, 2003 ]

According to a 2003 article by the New York Times, the US 1997 proscription of the group on the terrorist blacklist was done as "a goodwill gesture toward Iran's newly elected reform-minded president, Mohammad Khatami" (succeeded in 2005 by the more conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad).cite web| url=| title= The Cult of Rajavi| first=New York Times| last=Rubin, Elizabeth| accessdate=2006-04-21 en icon] In 2002, 150 members of the United States Congress signed a letter calling for the lifting of this designation. [cite web|url=|title=U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo: Mujahedin offers hope for a new Iran|publisher=Rocky Mountain News|date=2003-01-07] The PMOI have also tried to have the designation removed through several court cases in the U.S. The PMOI has now lost three appeals (1999, 2001 and 2003) to the US government to be removed from the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations, and its terrorist status was reaffirmed each time. The PMOI has continued to protest worldwide against its listing, with the overt support of some US political figures.Cite web|url=|title=Behind the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MeK)|accessdate=2007-07-15|publisher=Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group, Parliament of Australia|year=2003|author=Nigel Brew] [United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Argued April 2, 2004 Decided July 9, 2004, [ No. 01-1480: National Council of Resistance of Iran v. Department of State] ]

Past supporters of the PMOI have included Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Rep. Bob Filner, (D-CA), and Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), and former Attorney General John Ashcroft, "who became involved with the [PMOI] while a Republican senator from Missouri." [Michael Isikoff, " [ Ashcroft's Baghdad Connection] : Why the attorney general and others in Washington have backed a terror group with ties to Iraq", "Newsweek" (26 September 2002).] Cite web|url=|title=Group on U.S. terror list lobbies hard|accessdate=2007-07-15|publisher=United Press International|year=2005|author=Angela Woodall] In 2000, 200 U.S. Congress members signed a statement endorsing the organization's cause.Cite web|url=|title=Shades of Gray|accessdate=2007-07-15|publisher=Newsweek|year=2004|author=Michael Isikoff & Mark Hosenball]

Iraq (1992-95)

The "New York Times" reported that, according to former U.S. intelligence officials, the CIA once orchestrated a bombing and sabotage campaign between 1992 and 1995 in Iraq via one of the resistance organizations, Iyad Allawi's group in an attempt to destabilize the country. According to the Iraqi government at the time, and one former CIA officer, the bombing campaign against Baghdad included both government and civilian targets. According to this former CIA official, the civilian targets included a movie theater and a bombing of a school bus where children were killed. No public records of the secret bombing campaign are known to exist, and the former U.S. officials said their recollections were in many cases sketchy, and in some cases contradictory. "But whether the bombings actually killed any civilians could not be confirmed because," as a former CIA official said, "the United States had no significant intelligence sources in Iraq then."cite journal
first =Joel
last =Brinkley
authorlink =
coauthors =
date =June 9
month =2004
title =Ex-C.I.A. Aides Say Iraq Leader Helped Agency in 90's Attacks
journal =New York Times
volume =
issue =
pages =
id =
url =
] [Counter Currents, 2004 June 19, "Who Is Allawi?"; World War 4 Report, "Iraq Meets the New Boss"]

Lebanon (1985)

The CIA has been accused of being the perpetrator of a 1985 Beirut car bombing which killed 81 people. The bombing was apparently an assassination attempt on an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah.cite book
title=Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA
publisher=Simon and Schuster
] The bombing, known as the Bir bombing after Bir el-Abed, the impoverished Beirut neighborhood in which it had occurred, was reported by the New York Times to have caused a "massive" explosion "even by local standards," killing 81 people, and wounding more than 200.cite web|url=|title=The Gates Inheritance, Part 3: The world that Bob made|publisher=Asia Times|date=2007-06-27] Investigative journalist Bob Woodward stated that the CIA was funded by the Saudi Arabian government to arrange the bombing. [,8816,965712,00.html Did A Dead Man Tell No Tales?] Richard Zoglin "TIME" October 12, 1987] Fadlallah himself also claims to have evidence that the CIA was behind the attack and that the Saudis paid $3 million. [ [| Will U.S. Foreign Policy Increase Terrorism?] Paul Cochrane "" July 5, 2004]

The U.S. National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane admitted that those responsible for the bomb may have had American training, but that they were "rogue operative(s)" and the CIA in no way sanctioned or supported the attack. [| Target America: terrorist attacks on Americans, 1979-1988] ] Roger Morris writes in the Asia Times that the next day, a notice hung over the devastated area where families were still digging the bodies of relatives out of the rubble. It read: "Made in the USA". The terrorist strike on Bir el-Abed is seen as a product of U.S. covert policy in Lebanon. Agreeing with the proposals of CIA director William Casey, president Ronald Reagan sanctioned the Bir attack in retaliation for the truck-bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks at Beirut airport in October 1983, which, Roger Morris alleges, in turn had been a reprisal for earlier U.S. acts of intervention and diplomatic dealings in Lebanon's civil war that had resulted in hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian lives. After CIA operatives had repeatedly failed to arrange Casey's car-bombing, the CIA allegedly "farmed out" the operation to agents of its longtime Lebanese client, the Phalange, a Maronite Christian, anti-Islamic militia. Others allege the 1984 Bombing of the U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut as the motivating factor.


In “The Terrorist Foundations of US Foreign Policy”, Professor of International Law Richard Falk argues that during the Spanish American War, when the U.S. was “confronted by a nationalistic resistance movement in the Philippines,” American forces were responsible for state terrorism. Falk relates that “as with the wars against native American peoples, the adversary was demonized (and victimized). In the struggle, US forces, with their wide margin of military superiority, inflicted disproportionate casualties, almost always a sign of terrorist tactics, and usually associated with refusal or inability to limit political violence to a discernible military opponent. The dispossession of a people from their land almost always is a product of terrorist forms of belligerency. In contrast, interventions in Central and South America in the area of so-called “Gunboat Diplomacy” were generally not terrorist in character, as little violence was required to influence political struggle for ascendancy between competing factions of an indigenous elite.” [Falk, Richard. Terrorist Foundations of US Foreign Policy, in Western State Terrorism, Alexander George, ed.,Polity Press,110]

In “Instruments of Statecraft" [] , human rights researcher Michael McClintock described the intensification of the U.S. role during the Hukbalahap rebellion in 1950, when concerns about a perceived communist-led Huk insurgency prompted sharp increases in military aid and a reorganization of tactics towards methods of guerrilla warfare. McClintock describes the role of U.S. "advisers" to the Philippine Minister of National Defense, Ramon Magsaysay, remarking that they “adroitly managed Magsaysay's every move.” Air Force Lt. Col. Edward Geary Lansdale was a psywar propaganda specialist who became the close personal adviser and confidant of Magsaysay. The forte of another key adviser, Charles Bohannan, was guerrilla warfare. McClintock cites several examples to demonstrate that “terror played an important part” in the psychological operations under U.S. guidance. Those psywar operations that utilized terror included theatrical displays involving the exemplary display of dead Huk bodies in an effort to incite fear in rural villagers. In another psywar operation described by Lansdale, Philippine troops engaged in nocturnal captures of individual Huks. They punctured the necks of the victims and drained the corpses of blood, leaving the bodies to be discovered when daylight came, so as to play upon fears associated with the local folklore of the Asuang, or vampire. []

For McClintock, this Philippines episode is particularly important because of its formative influence on U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine. In his essay, American Doctrine and State Terror, McClintock explained that U.S. Army instruction manuals of the 1960s concerning 'counterterrorism' often referred to "the particular experiences of the Philippines and Vietnam." Noting that tactics similar to those used during the Huk Rebellion (from 1946-54) in the Philippines were cited in the manuals, he elaborated that the "Department of the Army's 1976 psywar publication, DA Pamphlet 525-7-1, refers to some of the classic counterterror techniques and account of the practical application of terror. These include the capture and murder of suspected guerillas in a manner suggesting the deed was done by legendary vampires (the 'asuang'); and a prototypical "Eye of God" technique in which a stylized eye would be painted opposite the house of a suspect." [McClintock, Michael. American Doctrine and State Terror in Western State Terrorism. Alexander George, ed.,Polity Press, 134]

Opposing views

:"See also: Foreign relations of the United States#Support

Regarding support for various dictatorships, especially during the Cold War, a response is that they were seen as necessary evil, with the alternatives even worse Communist or fundamentalist dictatorships.

Empirical studies (see democide which has been argued to be equivalent to state terrorismcite journal | author = Kisangani, E. | year = 2007 | title = The Political Economy Of State Terror | journal = Defence and Peace Economics | volume = 18 | issue = 5 | pages = 405-414 | url = | accessdate = 2008-04-02|format=PDF] ) have found that democracies, including the United States, have killed much fewer civilians than dictatorships. [ DEATH BY GOVERNMENT By R.J. Rummel New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1994. Online links: [] [] [] ] [" [ No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust?] ", Barbara Harff, 2003.]

ee also

* American terrorism
* List of United States military history events
* Covert U.S. regime change actions
* Overseas expansion of the United States
* Overseas interventions of the United States
* On the Justice of Roosting Chickens
* War Crime

External links

* [ Paper argues that US State Terrorism is a function of the global capitalist economy, described as Imperialism.]



*cite book
title=Western State Terrorism
publisher=Polity Press
month=December | year=1991

*cite book
title=The Culture of Terrorism
publisher=South End Press
month=January | year=1988

*cite book
first=Jeffrey A., editor
title=Death Squad: The Anthropology of State Terror
publisher=University of Pennsylvania Press

*cite book
first=Mark, editor
title=War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan, and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century
publisher=Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
date=November 28, 2003

* Menjívar, Cecilia and Rodríguez,Néstor, editors, "When States Kill:Latin America, the U.S., and Technologies of Terror," University of Texas Press 2005,isbn=978-0-292-70647-7
*cite web
title=Bush Terror Elite Wanted 9/11 to Happen
publisher=Third World Traveler
date=December 12, 2002

*cite book
first=William D.
title=Terrorism and the State: A Critique of Domination Through Fear
publisher=Praeger Press
city=New York
date=August 7, 1989

*Campbell, Bruce B., and Brenner,Arthur D.,eds. 2000. "Death Squads in Global Perspective: Murder with Deniability". New York: St. Martin's Press
*cite web
title=Understanding Terrorism
publisher=Public Broadcasting Service
date=August 15, 1997

*cite web
title=Bush nominee linked to Latin American terrorism
publisher=World Socialist Web Site
date=November 21, 2001

*cite book
first=Thomas C.
title=State Terrorism in Latin America: Chile, Argentina, and International Human Rights
publisher=Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
date=February 28, 2007

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