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The Anti-Empire Report Wikileaks, the United States, Sweden, and Devil's Island

By       Message William Blum     Permalink
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After the Carter administration provoked a Soviet invasion, Reagan came to power to support the Islamic fundamentalists in their war to eject the Soviets and the secular government, which honored women's rights. In the end, the United States and the fundamentalists "won," women's rights and the rest of Afghanistan lost. More than a million dead, three million disabled, five million refugees; in total about half the population. And many thousands of anti-American Islamic fundamentalists, trained and armed by the US, on the loose to terrorize the world, to this day.

"To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom," declared Reagan. "Their courage teaches us a great lesson -- that there are things in this world worth defending. To the Afghan people, I say on behalf of all Americans that we admire your heroism, your devotion to freedom, and your relentless struggle against your oppressors."12

The Cold War As to Reagan's alleged role in ending the Cold War ... pure fiction. He prolonged it. Read the story in one of my books. 13

Some other examples of the remarkable amorality of Ronald Wilson Reagan and the feel-good heartlessness of his administration:

Reagan, in his famous 1964 speech, "A Time for Choosing", which lifted him to national political status: "We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well, that was probably true. They were all on a diet."

"Undermining health, safety and environmental regulation. Reagan decreed such rules must be subjected to regulatory impact analysis -- corporate-biased cost-benefit analyses, carried out by the Office of Management and Budget. The result: countless positive regulations discarded or revised based on pseudo-scientific conclusions that the cost to corporations would be greater than the public benefit."

"Kick-starting the era of structural adjustment. It was under Reagan administration influence that the International Monetary Fund and World Bank began widely imposing the policy package known as structural adjustment -- featuring deregulation, privatization, emphasis on exports, cuts in social spending -- that has plunged country after country in the developing world into economic destitution. The IMF chief at the time was honest about what was to come, saying in 1981 that, for low-income countries, 'adjustment is particularly costly in human terms'."

"Silence on the AIDS epidemic. Reagan didn't mention AIDS publicly until 1987, by which point AIDS had killed 19,000 in the United States."

" Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman 14

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"Reagan's election changed the political reality. His agenda was rolling back the welfare state, and his budgets included a wide range of cuts for social programs. He was also very strategic about the process. One of his first targets was Legal Aid. This program, which provides legal services for low-income people, was staffed largely by progressive lawyers, many of whom used it as a base to win precedent-setting legal disputes against the government. Reagan drastically cut back the program's funding. He also explicitly prohibited the agency from taking on class-action suits against the government -- law suits that had been used with considerable success to expand the rights of low- and moderate-income families."

"The Reagan administration also made weakening the power of unions a top priority. The people he appointed to the National Labor Relations Board were qualitatively more pro-management than appointees by prior Democratic or Republican presidents. This allowed companies to ignore workers' rights with impunity. Reagan also made the firing of strikers an acceptable business practice when he fired striking air traffic controllers in 1981. Many large corporations quickly embraced the practice. ... The net effect of these policies was that union membership plummeted, going from nearly 20 percent of the private sector workforce in 1980 to just over 7 percent in 2006. "

" Dean Baker 15

Reaganomics: a tax policy based on a notion of incentives which says that "the rich aren't working because they have too little money, while the poor aren't working because they have too much."

" John Kenneth Galbraith

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"According to the nostrums of Reagan Age America, the current Chinese system -- in equal measure capitalist and authoritarian -- cannot actually exist. Capitalism spread democracy, we were told ad nauseam by a steady stream of conservative hacks, free-trade apologists, government officials and American companies doing business in China. Given enough Starbuckses and McDonald's, provided with sufficient consumer choice, China would surely become a democracy."

" Harold Meyerson 16

Throughout the early and mid-1980s, the Reagan administration declared that the Russians were spraying toxic chemicals over Laos, Cambodia and Afghanistan -- the so-called "yellow rain" -- and had caused more than ten thousand deaths by 1982 alone, (including, in Afghanistan, 3,042 deaths attributed to 47 separate incidents between the summer of 1979 and the summer of 1981, so precise was the information). President Reagan himself denounced the Soviet Union thusly more than 15 times in documents and speeches. The "yellow rain", it turned out, was pollen-laden feces dropped by huge swarms of honeybees flying far overhead. 17

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William Blum is the author of: Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2 - Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower - West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire. (more...)
 

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