US LECTURING WORLD ON NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT WHILE SPONSORING TERRORISM
By Daniel Johnson
Los Angeles, March 3rd 1991. Five hate-filled rednecks in police uniforms surround a man like hungry pigs around a trough. The man is Rodney King, and he’s about to get seven bells knocked out of him by law enforcement officials in the land of the free, the home of the brave.
Police brutality is not uncommon in the USA, but what makes this incident – the “Rodney King Incident” – unusual, is that the entire brutal, sordid ordeal was caught on camera.
Surely in a country which prides itself on love of freedom and respect for individual liberty, this crime would be severely punished? Surely in a country which claims to have a legal system unrivalled anywhere in the world, five policemen caught on camera brutalizing an unarmed civilian would be dealt a dose of harsh but fair justice? Sadly not. The culprits were acquitted, and a wave of violent anger surged across LA, leaving 53 people dead and two thousand injured.
The USA of course is not the only country in the world to have a problem with police violence and corruption. In fact, its record is far better than many other nations. The USA is however unparalleled in shameless hypocrisy, presenting itself as the planet’s policeman, while apparently oblivious to the massive injustices wrought in its name both at home and abroad.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the USA sponsored terrorism in Latin America with the aim of destabilizing regimes it considered unsympathetic to American dominance in the region. Wounds are still raw in Chile, where the CIA helped overthrow a democratically-elected government and install the fascist dictator, General Pinochet. Mothers still grieve in Nicaragua, where the USA supported rebel militias in their overthrow of the democratically-elected Sandinista government. The very mention of Battalion 3-16, the American backed death and torture squad is enough to strike terror into the hearts of simple farming folk in Honduras.
More recently the Arab world has borne the brunt of American aggression, and now Ukraine is creaking under the pressure of US led agitation, all in the name of the high ideals and principles to which America does not adhere.
The USA is the only country in the world to have used nuclear weapons in wartime – now it lectures the world on the evils of rogue states and the dangers of nuclear proliferation. The USA dropped millions of gallons of chemical weapons on the peasantry of Vietnam, with horrific results – now it talks of their use as a “red line which cannot be crossed,” and castigates developing nations for possessing them. The USA is founded on a legacy of racism, and provides unconditional financial and political support for the apartheid state of Israel, yet when it suits, interferes in the affairs of Third World countries on the grounds of protecting minorities. All right-minded people want to live in a world free from nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, racism and torture, but with its hands drenched in blood the USA is not in a position to take any sort of moral high ground.
On the anniversary of the murder of Rodney King, America needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. The riots which followed the acquittal of the men filmed battering King to a bloody pulp served as a wakeup call for Los Angeles’ notorious LAPD, and the force took drastic action to clean up its image. Let us hope the USA reflects on the outrages it has committed outside its borders and cleans up its act on an international level, lest the LA riots be replicated on a global scale, engulfing the whole world in the flames of rage and vengeance.
Daniel Johnson is a British writer and activist. He has traveled extensively in the Middle East and his interests include the history and politics of the region
MARCH 1, 2014