Tarik Ata Great Britain
The US Government & Death Squads: The Crimes of the US in Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Guatemala

The US Government & Death Squads: The Crimes of the US in Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Guatemala

Tarik Ata Great Britain//11:45am, Sep 13th '21

To ensure global supremacy and the protection of capital – the United States has, and continues to, attack large swaths of people throughout globe. Washington has long claimed to be defending “democracy” and opposing “undemocratic” “dictatorships”, which funnily, in many cases, are more democratic than the Metropole. Take the events in Cuba for example in July. The astroturfed protests in Cuba saw the corporate press showing images of pro-government protestors in the thousands claiming them to be anti-government forces. Then subsequent calls from US officials for the execution of Cuban elected heads of state. “Either [the Cuban government] immediately assist in the transition of government away from communism or be prosecuted and executed thereafter.” All while, Cuba’s democratic process is, in fact, far more democratic than Washington’s, one example being the outlawing of money within the election process preventing what is seen in the US with the wealthiest candidate coming out on top, and yet the US is seen as a voice of reason; while simultaneously strangling the island nation with brutal blockade and other methods of hybrid warfare, then claiming to be looking out for the Cuban peoples interests? Its laughable.

While constructing a world in its own image, Washington, has done many deplorable things. Supporting death squads and right-wing militias, providing them kill lists that have imprisoned, disappeared, and slaughtered millions – in Indonesia, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Guatemala, just to name a few – and these are only some of the many sadistic acts this hostile nation has done to project power and maintain global hegemony. We shall cover three nations (Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Guatemala) that have suffered at the bloody hands of American imperialism.


Following anti-colonial battles against the Dutch, Indonesia broke free from their colonial chains and the then leader, Sukarno, who was supported by left-wing groups due to his anti-imperialism, led the charge and was in power from 1945 to 1967. However, after 1965 Sukarno was virtually powerless as Suharto, an anti-communist-Western-backed military leader, took control over Indonesia following the 30 September Movements failed coup attempt, the Communist Party of Indonesia, the PKI, were subsequently blamed for the attempted coup. Indonesia at the time was home to one of the third-largest communist parties in the world with around two million members and the archipelagic nation also possessed countless amounts of natural resources, including oil, bauxite, tin, gold, and more, this was a major problem for the brutally anti-communist juggernaut – the United States.

Washington was long involved in Indonesia, bombing the nation and conducting clandestine operations in 1958 in attempts to overthrow Sukarno and training various sections of the army, that was staunchly anti-communist and had this hatred intensified by teachings from Washington (Weiner, Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA, pp. 170-180). Suharto now at the helm in 1965 saw over the extermination of around one million left-wingers, or anyone the state deemed communist or possessing communist sympathies. People were killed, disappeared, tortured, and many others were placed in concentration camps (Bevins, The Jakarta Method, p155). With Western powers, like London and Washington, aiding and abetting the murderous Suharto regime. Some British officials are known to of referred to Indonesian communists as “less than animals”.

In Bali, for instance, 5% of the entire population was killed, eighty thousand people, and Seminyak beach – the now famous tourist spot in Bali where Westerners, whose governments are complicit in the killings, come in droves – was used as a killing field (Ibid, pp. 150–151). During this extermination program the United States, as well as US companies, assisted Suharto and right-wing death squads by providing them with kill lists. US companies did so to be rid of “troublesome” communist and union organisers that sought better working conditions for their fellow Indonesians (Ibid, p. 156). A January 1966 memo from Washington outlines the government’s planned response to the mass extermination campaign:

“Without becoming directly involved, promote arrangements between the [Government of Indonesia] and American oil companies” and “Within the limits of prudence, give open or covert advice and assistance to responsible and competent anti-communist groups for worthwhile [meaning: extermination] activities.” (Ibid, p. 151).

And thus, the left in Indonesia was purged and anti-colonial movements throughout the world looked on in horror. The Indonesian capital was then known, and became synonymous with, mass murder. The “Jarkarta Method” would be exported around the globe – introduced into South America with Operation Condor.



Washington has been involved in Afghanistan since the 1970s – despite what the corporate press have you believe. During the Afghan-Soviet War (1979-1989), where the USSR was drawn in by National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who sought “to bleed the Soviet Union from their underbelly by arming and funding various mujahideen groups in Afghanistan”. That included supporting Afghan-Arab training camps in Pakistan, indirectly sponsoring Osama Bin Laden and many other unsavoury characters that formed the basis of Al-Qaeda, like “Jalaluddin Haqqani, who received direct cash payments from the CIA.” The US involvement in Afghanistan would continue into the twentieth century with the invasion in 2001. The war was a wet dream for the “trans-national security elite” with $300 million spent per day and near on $50 billion disappearing into thin air. “The goal”, as imprisoned journalist Julian Assange relays, “is an endless war, not a successful war”, allowing the money to flow from taxpayers in the West into the pockets of private groups. The Afghanistan Papers have also highlighted something similar, there was lack of understanding of Afghanistan and of the people as helping them was never the goal despite the noble declarations from Washington, rapid corruption, and Pentagon pushing a barrage of lies to reassure the public that the war was being won. With former Army lieutenant (referred to as the war tsar of Afghanistan) and former US ambassador to NATO, Douglas Lute, stating, “we didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were doing.”

Fast forward to now. Washington has recently pulled out of Afghanistan after twenty years of war, wanting to wipe the blood off their hands and move onto a new imperial venture. But let us not forget the atrocities committed in the name of the United States. What is it US clandestine operations have been doing in Afghanistan? A recent investigation has found that the CIA have been operating death squads that have killed women and children. Recently, former President George W. Bush claimed US withdrawal from Afghanistan is a mistake and that he’s “afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm,”. All while, his nation, is actively killing them indiscriminately – as we saw with the drone strikes of countless civilians, including children and women, recently. Adding to some 22,000 civilians killed by US drone strikes according to a new report since September 11, 2001.

The CIA death squads in Afghanistan have committed numerous atrocities. Take the execution that occurred at a madrasa, a religious school, in the Afghan village of Omar Khail in 2018. The school was home to some twenty-four boys aged between 9 and 18. Twelve of the children were killed in this night raid by forces who spoke English and Pashto (the English voice was in charge), the group that carried out this crime was an elite CIA-trained paramilitary unit known as 01, which is part of a larger shadowy collective called strike force units. This is one example of the many mass killings of civilians, some as young as 8, by CIA trained and backed death squads. A local Afghan official of Wardak provincial council, where these Langley backed killings have taken place, stated:

The Americans “step on all the rules of war, human rights, all the things they said they’d bring to Afghanistan,” They are “conducting themselves as terrorists. They show terror and violence and think they’ll bring control this way.”

These strike force units, according to The Intercept, “fall under the purview of the National Directorate of Security, or NDS, Afghanistan’s intelligence service.” And “They are comprised of 01, which operates primarily in central Afghan provinces including Wardak and Logar; 02, which is based in Jalalabad and works in the eastern part of the country; 03, also known as the Kandahar Strike Force, which operates in the south; and 04, which conducts raids in Kunar and adjacent provinces in the northeast.” These CIA death squads in Afghanistan that kill innocent people indiscriminately, according to George W. Bush’s logic, are not causing “unspeakable harm”.



The Central American nation was one of the first to feel the wrath of the young and belligerent CIA. In 1954, Jacobo Arbenz, the democratically elected President was overthrown in a CIA orchestrated coup. That also received substantial backing from the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita Brands International), due to Arbenz’s land reforms that took land holdings away from this corporation which practically controlled the nation and unshackled the chains the United Fruit Company placed on the Guatemalan people – it is also an example of Washington working in tandem with capital, as occurred in Indonesia regarding the pursuit of oil. The CIA installed a military dictator, Carlos Castillo Armas, following the removal of Arbenz, who was the first of many authoritarian rulers of Guatemala that were close allies with Washington.

The involvement in Central America and South America as a whole was overwhelming. It involved various coups (Chile 1973 as an example) and the establishment and backing of Operation Condor, which killed, disappeared, and imprisoned around half a million people due to their political affiliations. Forming a gigantic network of state terror and right-wing violence, similarly to the stay-behind right-wing militias established in Europe by the CIA, NATO, and others, that killed people indiscriminately – known as Operation Gladio – and was even involved in the 1980 coup in Turkey. Interestingly, one of the participants of Operation Gladio in Turkey, Mehmet Ali Ağca, part of the Counter-Guerrilla’s, an anti-communist far-right organisation, attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981 and also successfully assassinated notable left-wing Turkish journalist, Abdi İpekçi.

Washington would interfere in Guatemala all throughout the latter part of the twentieth century. One incident of this was close to the Guatemalan border with Mexico where the population is largely indigenous Mayans, and where US backed forces committed atrocities. In the 1980s military men stormed villages in the northwest, their faces painted black, and proceeded to rape and pillage these indigenous communities believing the Mayan people to be intrinsically communist.

General Efraín Ríos Montt, who was a special favourite of Reagan, in power come 1982 (later removed in a coup in 1984), launched a brutal policy of “scorched Communists”. Montt’s approach to fighting communism was: “The guerrilla is the fish. The people are the sea. If you cannot catch the fish, you have to drain the sea.” (implying mass slaughter). Indigenous peoples – who were deemed communist or potentially so – were put into state-built “model villages”, which were nothing more than concentration camps, and the mass killings continued. Washington’s anti-communist forces in Guatemala exterminated from 1954 to 1996 some 200,000 people.


When you hear the call to arms to restore the vague notions of “democracy” or “freedom” do not be misled by the imperialist powers smoke screen. These somewhat unclear statements have led to the deaths of millions of people and to the destruction of numerous nations, which have yet been unable to escape the hell that was unleashed upon them. The act of sanctioning, bombing, the backing of death squads, and numerous other means of warfare, are not for the betterment of the people – as we see with US sanctions being responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people in Venezuela – it is to further geopolitical interests and to protect and expand capital. The unclear declarations of restoring “democracy” and “freedom” are nothing more than PR for destruction, death, and war.

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