The Acts of the Democracies

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Year : 1982

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Generated : 15th June 2024



Israel Invades Lebanon

On 6 June, Israel forces invade Lebanon.

According to G H Jansen, correspondent to the UK magazine, The Economist, Israeli forces would surround a town or city "so swiftly that civilian inhabitants were trapped inside and then to pound them from land, sea and air." Robert Fisk, journalist for the UK newspaper, The Independent, observes that the Israelis bombard residential areas with "50 shells at a time.. slaughtering everyone within a 500 yard [460m] radius of the explosions".

During the invasion, over 17,500 people are killed, many of them Lebanese civilians. Beruit is placed under a two month siege, in an attempt to evict Palestinians. The city is attacked with hundreds of cluster bombs (which shred flesh), phosphorus bombs (which are designed to create fires and produce untreatable burns on flesh) and vacuum bombs (which ignite aviation fuel, creating such pressure that buildings implode).

An entire apartment building in Beirut is destroyed by Israeli aircraft in an attempt to kill Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian leaders. More than 100 people are killed but the Palestinian leadership had left.

The embassy of the USSR is seized for two days in violation of diplomatic rules. A hospital is bombed killing hundreds of patients. Eight of the nine orphanages in Beirut are destroyed by cluster and phosphorus bombs despite being clearly marked and despite Israeli assurances that they would be spared according to a report by Elain Carey writing in the USA magazine, Christian Science Monitor (4 August 1982).

Chris Giannou, a Canadian surgeon working in a Palestinian hospital testified to the USA Congress that he witnessed "total, utter devastation of residential areas, and the blind, savage indiscriminate destruction of refugee camps by simultaneous shelling and carpet bombing from aircraft, gunboats, tanks and artillery".

The city of Sidon is bombed killing over 2,000 civilians. According to Olof Rydbeck of the United Nations Refugee Agency, 32 years work had been destroyed with virtually all schools and clinics for the refugees "wiped out".

Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners are executed by the Israelis and secretly buried in Sidon. Torture is used including severe beatings, attacks by dogs on leashes, the use of air rifles (intense pain but not usually fatal), humiliation and allowing prisoners to go thirsty. Similar techniques would be used by the USA on Iraqi prisoners in 2004.

Palestinian leaders are eventually forced to leave, escorted out of Beirut by USA troops to Tunis (in Tunisia). The USA envoy, Philip Habib, promises that the Palestinian civilians left behind would be protected by the international community and Israeli forces would not be allowed to enter Beirut.

A few days later, the Phalangists (a Lebanese Christian militia) massacre over 2,750 Palestinians in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila (in the suburbs of Beirut). Most of the victims are women, old men and children. Many girls (as young as 6) and women are raped by soldiers. During the three day massacre, Israeli troops look on and assist by sealing the camp perimeters and illuminating the camps at night. Bulldozers (supplied by the Israelis) are used to dig mass graves for bodies. A number of houses are also bulldozed to cover up the bodies of the victims.

One of the first journalists to enter the camps writes:

"The corpses of the Palestinians had been thrown among the rubble that remained of the Shatila camp. It was impossible to know exactly how many victims there were, but there had to be more than 1,000 dead. Some of the men who had been executed had been lined up in front of a wall, and bulldozers had been used in an attempt to bury the bodies and cover up the aftermath of the massacre. But the hands and feet of the victims protruded from the debris."

Another journalist (Loren Jenkins) from the USA's Washington Post describes the scene at the camps:

"The scene at the Chatila camp when foreign observers entered Saturday morning was like a nightmare. Women wailed over the deaths of loved ones, bodies began to swell under the hot sun, and the streets were littered with thousands of spent cartridges. Houses had been dynamited and bulldozed into rubble, many with the inhabitants still inside. Groups of bodies lay before bullet-pocked walls where they appeared to have been executed. Others were strewn in alleys and streets, apparently shot as they tried to escape. Each little dirt alley through the deserted buildings, where Palestinians have lived since fleeing Palestine when Israel was created in 1948, told its own horror story."

Two American journalists, Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone, later give this account to an international enquiry:

"When we entered Sabra and Chatila on Saturday, September 18, 1982, the final day of the killing, we saw bodies everywhere. We photographed victims that had been mutilated with axes and knives. Only a few of the people we photographed had been machine-gunned. Others had their heads smashed, their eyes removed, their throats cut, skin was stripped from their bodies, limbs were severed, some people were eviscerated. The terrorists also found time to plunder Palestinian property as well as books, manuscripts and other cultural material from the Palestinian Research Center in Beirut."

A 13 year old Palestinian girl who survived relates her story to a Lebanese officer:

"We stayed in the shelter until really late on Thursday night, but then I decided to leave with my girl friend because we couldn't breathe anymore. Then all of a sudden we saw people raising white flags and handkerchiefs and coming toward the kata'ib saying, 'We're for peace and harmony.' And they killed them right then and there. The women were screaming, moaning and begging [for mercy]. As for me, I ran back to our house and got into the bathtub. I saw them leading our neighbors away and shooting them. I tried to stand up at the window to look outside, but one of the kata'ib fighters saw me and shot at me. So I went back to the bathtub and stayed there for five hours. When I came out, they grabbed me and threw me down with everybody else. One of them asked me if I was Palestinian, and I said yes. My nine-month-old nephew was beside me, and he was crying and screaming so much that one of the men got angry, so he shot him. I burst into tears and told him that this baby had been all the family I had left. That made him all the more angry, and he took the baby and tore him in two."

In 2001, evidence would be unearthed that many survivors of the original massacre are taken away by Israeli troops to a football (soccer) stadium. Many are executed and buried in the tunnels under the pitch. The stadium would later be rebuilt.

The United Nations General Assembly condemns the massacre and declares it to be an act of genocide. The vote is 147 to 2 (Israel and the USA). The world condemns Israel and 400,000 of its own citizens join a Peace Now demonstration in Tel Aviv.

For the Arab world, the words Sabra and Chatila resonate all the injustices of this conflict. Israel, on the other hand, continues to receive massive military and financial aid from the USA as well as political and media support. In 2002, the anniversary of a terrorist attack on New York is marked in the UK with 2 minute silences in offices and work places as well as television programs about the victims. Less than a week later the 20th anniversary of the Sabra-Chatila Massacre is completely ignored by the West's media, as is the entire invasion.

Between 1982 and 1983, six separate United Nations resolutions condemning the Israeli invasion of Lebanon are vetoed by the USA. In addition, the USA refuses to invoke its own laws prohibiting Israeli use of American weapons except in self-defense.

According to Mordechai Bar-on, an education officer in the Israeli military, the aim of the invasion was "to deal a crushing blow to the national aspirations of the Palestinians and to their very existence as a nation endevouring to define itself and gain the right to self-determination".

Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila

Sabra and Chatila
Sabra and Chatila
The Sabra and Chatila massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon by militia allied and supported by Israel. The military incursion into Lebanon was planned and led by Ariel Sharon. USA vetoed six separate United Nations resolutions between 1982 and 1983 condemning Israel's invasion of Lebanon. In 2002 the USA referred to Ariel Sharon as "a man of peace".


An Israeli soldier shoots 11 Muslims worshipping on the Haram-Al-Sharif in East Jerusalem. The USA vetoes a United Nations resolution condemning the shooting. Another resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights (occupied in 1967) is also vetoed by the USA.


Jose Monnt assumes dictatorial powers in Guatemala. American companies, like United Fruit, continue to benefit.

Death squads kill a number of workers and union leaders at the Coca Cola bottling plant.

As many as 10,000 indigenous people are killed and over 100,000 flee to Mexico under the regime. Over 400 Mayan villages are wiped off the map.

Two of the political sayings of Monnt are:

The USA Ambassador to Guatemala says of Monnt: "Guatemala has come out of the darkness and into the light".

Guatemala has been given financial and military aid by the USA president, Ronald Reagan since 1980. The CIA operates in the country helping in the activities of the death squads. Even Americans are victims; according to the Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB):

"Several CIA assets were credibly alleged to have ordered, planned or participated in serious human rights violations such as assassination, extrajudicial execution, torture, or kidnapping while they were assets - and that the CIA's Directorate of Operations headquarters was aware at the time of the allegations. These cases include the 1984 killing of Peace Corps volunteer Peter Wolfe, the 1985 killings of journalists Griffith Davis and Nicholas Blake, the 1989 stabbing of human rights worker Meredith Larson, the 1990 assault on social worker Josh Zinner, and the 1992 death of archaeologist Peter Tiscione."


lan Smith is re-elected Prime Minister of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) by the minority white electorate by promising to keep Rhodesia's government white at any cost.

Smith rations food for the black population whom he believes are feeding black resistance fighters. This measure serves to starve the already undernourished black population. 90% of Rhodesia's black children are malnourished and nutritional deficiencies are the major cause of infant death. Smith rounds up black people into concentration camps he calls "protective" villages.

The government's spending on education is dependent on skin colour: $5 on each black child compared to $80 on each white child.

Many European, UK and USA companies trade secretly with the country.

South Africa and Mozambique

Militias backed by South Africa terrorise Mozambique. They attack transport routes, mine roads, burn shops, schools and health posts, poison wells, and mutilate peasants. South African commando units advise the militias.

South African commandos attack and destroy the oil depot in the city of Beira. The raid cuts supplies of petroleum to Zimbabwe and costs the country millions of dollars in lost revenue.

South Africa's actions in the country would kill 100,000 people between 1982 and 1983.

South Africa and Lesotho

South African commandos fly by helicopter to Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, and carry out a raid against houses inhabited by South African refugees killing 42 people.

USA and South Africa

USA officials help secure an approved loan from the International Monetary Fund of $ 1,100 million for South Africa. Much of the money is used to destabilise neighbouring countries and to oppress its own non-voting black population.

Anthony Lewis, writing in the USA newspaper New York Times (31 January 1983) boasts:

"Externally, the last year has seen South Africa use its military power both covertly and overtly in neighboring black-governed states... without any significant political penalty. The United States has privately urged restraint on South Africa. South Africa's neighbors have in effect been told, without subtlety, that they can have peace and a chance for economic development only on South African terms."

A South African official also quoted in the New York Times (25 January 1983) warns:

"We want to show that we want peace in the region, we want to contribute and we can help a lot. But we also want to show that if we are refused we can destroy the whole of southern Africa."

This view is confirmed by Charles Lichenstein, the Deputy USA Ambassador to the United Nations, quoted in the Johannesburg Financial Mail:

"destabilization will remain in force until Angola and Mozambique do not permit their territory to be used by terrorists to attack South Africa."

The "terrorists" are groups wanting a democratic and non-racist South Africa.

The USA vetoes four United Nations resolutions concerning South Africa and apartheid: The ratification of the convention on the suppression and punishment of apartheid (voted by 124 to 1); Promoting international action against apartheid (141 to 1); Against apartheid in sports (138 to 1); Cessation of further foreign investments and loans for South Africa (134 to 1).

USA and Chad

In 1981, the USA CIA had set up, financed and trained a Chadian military force in Sudan. Led by Hissen Habré, this force overthrows the government of Chad, ruling for 8 years with American support.

Habré's regime would kill tens of thousands of people and torture over 200,000. Many dissidents would simply disappear. In 2000, Habré would be tried for his crimes in Senegal.


With the active encouragement of the USA's CIA and Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries are encouraged to join in a jihad (holy war) in Afghanistan against the USSR between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more come to study in Pakistani madrasas (religious schools). Eventually more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals are directly involved in the war.

The Islamic jihad is supported by the USA and Saudi Arabia with a significant part of the funding generated from the drug trade in the Golden Crescent (Burma and Thailand).

Motivated by nationalism and religious fervour, the Islamic warriors are unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of the USA. While there are contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in Afghanistan have no contacts with the USA government or the CIA.

A study by Alfred McCoy confirms that within two years of the beginning of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, "the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world's top heroin producer, supplying 60 percent of USA demand. In Pakistan, the heroin addict population went from near zero in 1979... to 1,200,000 by 1985, a much steeper rise than in any other nation".

CIA assets control the heroin trade. As the Mujahideen (holy warriors) seize territory inside Afghanistan, they order peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan's ISI operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of drug dealing, the USA Drug Enforcement Agency in Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, fail to instigate major seizures or arrests ... USA officials had refused to investigate charges of heroin dealing by its Afghan allies "because [USA] narcotics policy in Afghanistan has been subordinated to the war against Soviet influence there."

The former CIA director of the Afghan operation, Charles Cogan, would eventually admit the CIA had indeed sacrificed the drug war to fight the Cold War:

"Our main mission was to do as much damage as possible to the Soviets. We didn't really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,... I don't think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout.... There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes. But the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan."

USA, Iraq and Iran

The USA continues to arm Iraq in its war against Iran. The USA CIA is implicated in a number of plots to assassinate the leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini.

USA Vetos in UN

The USA vetoes 15 United Nations resolutions that a majority of countries approve of.

Calling for the setting up of a World Charter for the protection of the ecology (votes 111 to 1); To set up a United Nations conference on succession of states in respect to state property, archives and debts (136 to 1); For a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (111 to 1); Request to USA and USSR to make public their nuclear arms negotiations (114 to 1, the USSR abstained); Prevention of arms race in outer space (138 to 1); Support for a new world information and communications order (131 to 1); Prohibition of chemical and bacteriological weapons (95 to 1); Development of international law (113 to 1); A resolution preventing the exclusion of certain United Nations employees (129 to 1); Protection against products harmful to health and the environment (146 to 1); Declares that education, work, health care, proper nourishment, national development are human rights (131 to 1); Implementation of the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (141 to 1); A declaration about the adequacy of facilities of the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia (132 to 1); Development of the energy resources of developing countries (146 to 1); Restructuring international economic relations towards establishing a new international economic order (124 to 1).

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