HOW WE CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THE HOAXES OF OUR MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT
(1) After a new reformist government begins to feed and educate the huddled masses, Carter and Reagan begin a series of lies designed to conjure up an "International Communist Conspiracy".
(2) Pretexts are devised for invading this tiny threat to our very survival, and given "Page One!" treatment.
(3) After the carnage, conducted under extreme censorship, the lies continue.
(4) Long after everyone has stopped paying attention to Grenada, the truth is given "Page 23-C" treatment, and the huddled masses are given back the shaft.
The gory details …
In 1979, with popular acclaim, The New Jewel Movement (NJM) under London-educated lawyer Maurice Bishop ousts the increasingly repressive regime of Eric Gairy, who takes exile in the United States. Bishop leaves private enterprise undisturbed, but institutes programs creating or increasing jobs, schools, teacher training, adult literacy, social services, clean water, free health care, free milk for young children, agricultural cooperatives, and the like. "Government objectives are centered on the critical development issues and touch on the country’s most promising development areas." – World Bank, 1980
After less than a month of this, the US government (under Carter) adopts an adversarial attitude, warning Grenada not to trade with Cuba, bugging the Grenadan UN Mission, spreading travel-scare rumors to discourage economically-vital tourism to the island’s sunny beaches, etc. Bishop is well aware of the CIA’s history of destabilization movements, and the US support for Gairy. In June, 1980, a bombing at an outdoor rally, apparently designed to remove the entire NJM leadership with one blow, instead takes the lives of three young women. Carter’s lies are designed to weaken the Grenada economy. Under Reagan, the lies to the American people take an even darker turn:
Hoax #1: The US media give wide currency to government reports that a Soviet submarine base is being constructed on the south coast of Grenada.
But: In 1983 Ed Post, a correspondent for the Washington Post, finally visits the supposed site and points out that no submarine base could possibly be built in an area where the sea was so shallow (characteristically, the Washington Post did not carry his story).
Hoax #2: In February 1983, the US Defense Department announces that the Soviet Union has shipped to Grenada assault helicopters, hydrofoil torpedo boats, and supersonic MIG fighters which gave Grenada an air force of 200 modern planes.– Washington Post, 2/27/83.
But: None of this mighty armada has ever been found.
Hoax #3: In March 1983, Reagan tells an American television audience that the new airport being built in Grenada is intended as a military facility for the Russians and Cubans. It would have a 10,000-foot runway, Reagan warned, although "Grenada doesn’t even have an air force [though see Hoax #2]. Who is it intended for? … The rapid build-up of Grenada’s military potential is unrelated to any conceivable threat. … The Soviet-Cuban militarization of Grenada … can only be seen as a power projection into the region." He also displays aerial photos of the construction site as if to imply something hidden and furtive in the operation. – New York Times, 3/26/83.
But: The site is open to the public (no need for spy photos) since the airfield is meant to foster tourism (the island’s only growth industry). Along with several new tourist hotels, the building of the airfield has been encouraged by the World Bank. The excavation is being done by a Florida company and the communications work is being done by British multinational corporation Plessey. Plessey states that "[t]he airport … was being built to civilian specifications" and lists a number of technical characteristics of a military airport/base which the new airport would not have. The airport is being funded by nations including Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. As for the length of the runway, at least five other Caribbean tourist islands such as Barbados have similar-sized or larger airfields yet do not possess air forces.
Life under the NJM, and more hoaxes …
Despite being under virtual siege from abroad, the NJM moves towards real democracy (as opposed to formal US-style, democracy): numerous mass organizations and decentralized structures receive and seriously consider input from large numbers of citizens, people are expected to become involved in many meetings for decision making (with some resentment, apparently not widespread): "There are those (some of them our friends) who believe that you cannot have a democracy unless there is a situation where every five years, and for five seconds in those five years, a people are allowed to put an ‘X’ next to some candidate’s name, and for those five seconds in those five years they become democrats, and for the remainder of the time, four years and 364 days, they return to being non-people without the right to say anything to their government, without any right to be involved in running the country." – Maurice Bishop
Nevertheless, Bishop has not scheduled elections, and has not taken significant steps to build up a military defense against a feared US attack, and on 10/12/83 he is expelled from the ruling party, placed under house arrest, and murdered on 10/19.
Hoax #4: The US reports that it has been requested to invade Grenada by an urgent plea on 10/21 from the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (excluding Grenada), together with Barbados and Jamaica, who are said to fear some form of aggressive act by the new government of Grenada.
But: We set up the whole thing. The Prime Minister of Barbados states that the US approached him on 10/15 concerning a military invasion. "[S]ources close to Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga" asserted that the plea by the Caribbean nations "was triggered by an offer from the United States" … "Issue an appeal and we’ll respond" — The Observer (London), 10/30. The US ambassador to France admitted on French TV that the Reagan administration had been planning the invasion since before Bishop was assassinated.
Hoax #5: Reagan terms "of overriding importance" the need to evacuate hundreds of Americans from Grenada, mainly medical school students.
But: On behalf of the Grenada government, Cuba notifies the US on 10/22 that it is ready "to cooperate in the solution of problems without violence or intervention." They receive no timely reply. — The Guardian (London) 10/27.
"US students in Grenada were, for the most part, unwilling to leave or be evacuated." — US Embassy in Barbados, 10/23.
The White House admitted that on 10/23 Grenada offered the US "an opportunity to evacuate American citizens" — New York Times, 10/27.
The White House also admitted later that four civilian charter flights left the Grenada airport on 10/24, carrying American medical students. — Hugh O’Shaughnessy, Latin America correspondent for The Observer (London).
The brutal American invasion, and still more hoaxes …
The US invades Grenada on 10/25/83, operation "Urgent Fury" … 2,000 Americans marines and paratroopers the first day, by week’s end 7,000 on the island, even more waiting offshore … planes fitted with murderous multi-barreled Gatling guns spraying positions of the tiny Grenadan army … captured soldiers used as hostages, ordered to march in front of American jeeps as they advanced on enemy positions, a war crime according to the Geneva Convention … the fighting is over in a week, approximately 400 Granadians killed or wounded, 135 Americans as well. — The Guardian (London), 11/25/83
"Eat shit, commie faggot" — written on the wall of the home of the Cuban ambassador, damaged and looted by American soldiers.
"I want to fuck communism out of this little island and fuck it right back to Moscow." — US marine, The Observer, 10/30
Some 7,000 US servicemen are designated heroes of the republic and decorated with medals. Many had done no more than sit on ships near the island.
Hoax #6: Reagan says the US forces found "a complete base of weapons and communication equipment which makes it clear that a Cuban occupation of the island had been planned. … [One warehouse] contained weapons and ammunition stacked almost to the ceiling, enough to supply thousands of terrorists. [Grenada was] a Soviet-Cuban colony being readied as a major military bastion to export terror and undermine democracy, but we got there just in time." — New York Times, 10/28.
But: "[In the warehouse] that contained most of the weapons, there were only five mortars to be seen, one recoilless rifle, one Soviet-made quadri-barrelled anti-aircraft gun, and two Korean-vintage British Bren guns on display" — The Guardian (London), 10/31.
This included "a number of antiquated guns, including rifles manufactured in the 1870s" — New York Times, 11/1.
"[T]he caches of arms and weapons on Grenada were for the army and the militia and were not sufficient or intended to be used in overthrowing the governments in the neighboring islands." – classified US intelligence report 10/30/83, as paraphrased by Bob Woodward
Hoax #7: The American military claims the discovery of documents showing that "the Cubans were planning to put their own government in Grenada" — The Guardian (London), 10/29.
But: The documents "were not a real find" — CIA Director William Casey, quoted four years later by Bob Woodward
Hoax #8: The American military claims that missile silos were being built in Grenada, and that there were 1,600 Cubans on the island, almost all professional soldiers. — Hugh O’Shaughnessy
But: There were 784 Cubans in Grenada, including 636 construction workers, mostly in their forties and fifties (mainly volunteer labor for the tourist airport), 105 social workers (doctors, dentists, nurses, public health workers, teachers, etc.), and 43 military personnel. 84 of these people were killed or wounded in the US invasion. — Cuban government lists accepted later by the United States
The lies are unmasked…
Three days after the invasion the deputy White House spokesperson resigns, citing "damage to his personal credibility". – Les Janka, New York Times, 11/1/83
"[Officials of the Reagan administration] acknowledge that in their effort to rally public support for the invasion of Grenada, they may have damaged the Government’s credibility by making sweeping charges about Soviet and Cuban influence on the island without so far providing detailed evidence. … [The officials simply ask that the public] reserve judgment until all the information is in." – New York Times, 12/1/83 (… until all the information is in, until the Grenadan government is overthrown, until the US forces have killed or wounded hundreds of people, etc. Note that we are never asked to reserve judgment about unevidenced claims regarding governments we are supposed to hate by reflex, such as Libya, Syria, China, etc.)
The US-approved Interim Government after the invasion "readily praise the [NJM] for giving the Granadians new awareness, self-confidence and national pride and admit it is a hard act to follow". – The Guardian (London), 6/12/84
"Reliable accounts are circulating of prisoners being beaten, denied medical attention and confined for long periods without being able to see lawyers. The country’s new US-trained police force has acquired a reputation for brutality, arbitrary arrest and abuse of authority." – Council on Hemispheric Affairs, The Guardian (London), 1/3/86
In 1989 Prime Minister Herbert Blaize suspends Parliament to forestall a no-confidence vote.
"You’re looking at an individual that is the last one in the world that would ever want to put American troops into Latin America, because the memory of the great Colossus in the north is so widespread in Latin America. We’d lose all our friends if we did anything of that kind." – Reagan, New York Times, 3/22/86