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« on: January 07, 2005, 12:17:33 AM »

U S (1900-99)

General MacArthur

In the Korean War (1950-53), he congratulated the napalm bombing of the city of Hoeryong. He had ordered the US airforce to turn N Korea into a wasteland by destroying “every installation, factory, city and village.” He later rejoiced that “a large part of enemy lines is now a wilderness of scorched earth.” He said he wanted to “spread a belt of radioactive cobalt from the Sea of Japan to the Yellow Sea.” The Korean War killed at least 2 million civilians.

President Conant of Harvard University:

Speaking to the New York Herald Tribune (Oct 1948)
"In the first place, this nation, unlike most others, has not evolved from military conquest. We have nowhere in our traditions the idea of an aristocracy descended from conquerors... On the contrary, we have developed our greatness in a period in which a fluid society overran a rich and empty continent..."
    [Tariq Ali, Clash of Fundamentalisms, Verso 2002]

Major General Smedley D Butler (1881-1940)

Butler was a high-powered state terrorist in the service of Big Capital. But one who spoke the truth towards the end of his life. He didn’t have to preach about ‘human rights’ and the need to make the world ‘safe for democracy’. IN 1933, Butler expounded his views on American imperialism with amazing candour:

"I spent  33 years & 4 months in active military service in the US Marine Corps, I served in all commissioned ranks: from second lieutenant to Major General. During that period I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I helped make Honduras 'right' for American fruit companies in 1903. I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped purify Nicaragua for the banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China, in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

I was rewarded with honours, medals, promotions. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few points. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents."
    [Third World Resurgence No 50, Oct 94 & Tariq Ali, Clash of Fundamentalisms, Verso 2002]

Lorena Hickok, US Government Official, 1934

"More than half the population of the city [Savannah, Georgia, USA] is Negro…They are almost as inarticulate as animals. They are animals. Many of them look and talk like creatures barely removed from the ape. Some I talked to yesterday seemed hardly more intelligent than my police dog."
[reporting on blacks in Georgia to President Franklin D Roosevelt’s administration.]
    [Quoted in Williams’ Sisters in the Wilderness]

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)

"The experience of Liberia and Haiti show that the African race are devoid of any capacity for political organisation… there is an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilisation which are irksome to their physical nature.

Our industries have expanded to such a point that they will burst their jackets… Our domestic markets no longer suffice; we need foreign markets. The world must be made safe for democracy."

During his presidential campaign in 1912: "In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for the national policy of exclusion... We cannot allow a homogeneous population of a people who do not blend with the Caucasian race."
    [R&Class, vol43, Jan04]

President William Howard Taft (1909-13) 1912:

“The day is not far distant when … the whole (western) hemisphere will be ours by virtue of our race superiority as in fact it already is ours morally…”
From John Pilger’s article in New Statesman & Society (4 Sept 1994)

Robert Lansing (US Secretary of State) 1912:

"The experience of Liberia and Haiti shows that the African race is devoid of any capacity fort political organisation… there is an inherent tendency to revert to savagery and to cast aside the shackles of civilisation which are irksome to their nature."
    [ Third World Resurgence, No 50 (Oct 94), pg 38.]
Lewis Terman, American psychologist, in 1916:

[Referring to the African-Americans] "No amount of school instruction will ever make them intelligent voters or capable citizens… their dullness seems to be racial…they cannot master abstractions but they can often be made efficient workers…"

William Jennings Bryan (colleague of Theodore Roosevelt 1901-09) 1900:

"Our republic (is) gradually but surely becoming the supreme moral factor in the world’s progress and the accepted arbiter of the world’s surplus."

Charles Metcalfe, Governor of Haiti, 1840:

"To make them labour and give them a taste for luxuries and comforts, they must be gradually taught to desire those objects which could be attained by human labour… This was the sort of progress the negroes had to go through…"
    [Quoted in Noam Chomsky, Year 501, pg227]
Britain (1900-99)

Harold Macmillan
(1894-1986). PM in 1957-63:

Wall Street Journal (12 June 03) contains the following quote from Harold Macmillan's diary.  The entry for 27 September 1952 [when Macmillan was in Churchill’s cabinet) has this to say about the U.S.:
"We are treated by the Americans with a mixture of patronizing pity and contempt. They treat us worse than they do any other country in Europe. They undermine our political and commercial influence all over the world...
They really are a strange people.  Perhaps the mistake we make is to continue to regard them as an Anglo-Saxon people.  That blood is very much watered down now; they are a Latin-Slav mixture, with a fair amount of German and Irish.  They are impatient, mercurial, panicky."

Field Marshal Montgomery (British Chief of Defence Staff in World War II):

In late 1947, ‘Monty’ toured 11 African countries and concluded that the African “is a complete savage and quite incapable of developing the country himself”. Then in January 1948, ‘Monty’ secretly submitted a serious plan to make the African continent into a white supremacy stronghold against communism.
    [From Guardian, 7 Jan 99]

George Orwell (1937):

"The high standard of life we enjoy in England depends upon keeping a tight hold on the Empire... In order that England may live in comfort, a hundred million Indians must live on the verge of starvation - a state of affairs in which you acquiesce every time you step into a taxi or eat strawberries and cream.

This basic formula remains: 'We in the rich world live in comparative comfort only because of the inordinate power our govts wield and the inordinate wealth which flows from that power... We acquiesce in this system each time we buy salad from the supermarket (grown with water stolen from Kenyan nomads or step into a plane... Global democracy means ensuring that the world is run for our benefit."

Agricultural Survey Commission 1932 (for European settlement in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia):

"Any land with poor soils, inadequate water supplies, low nutrition grasses unsuitable for European cattle or overgrown with impenetrable bush should be allocated to Africans."

David Lloyd George (1863-1945), British PM:

(referring to British pressure at the 1932 disarmament convention that bombing civilians be allowed)

"We insisted on the right to bomb niggers."
    [Mark Curtis The Great Deception, Pluto 1998, pg 135]

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) 

"Our possessions of the West Indies. like that of India, gave us the strength, the support but specially the capital, the wealth, at a time when no other European nation possessed such a reserve. It enabled us to come through the great struggle of the Napoleonic Wars, the keen competition of the 18th and 19th centuries and enabled us… to lay the foundation of that commercial and financial leadership … to make our great position in the world. [no date given]"
    [Patterns of Racism, Inst of Race Relations, London 1982, pg26]

To the Peel Commission of Inquiry (1937), following the British crushing of the first Palestinian intafada (1936-39): "I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race has come in and taken their place."
[Asian Times (12 April 1994)]

"The Indians of East Africa are mainly of a low class of coolies and the idea of equality with Europeans is revolting to every white man in British East Africa…"

"The Indians are the beastliest people in the world next to the Germans…"

- Black people: ‘niggers’, ‘baboons’; Italians: ‘mere organ grinders’

Chinese army in the Korean War: 4 million pigtails don’t make an army."
[Gary Younge, Guardian, 30 Sept 2002]

Churchill branded Gandhi “a half-naked fakir” who “ought to be laid, bound hand and foot, at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new viceroy seated on its back.” [no date given.]

“This small island [is] dependent for our daily bread on our trade and imperial connections. Cut this away and at least a third of our population must vanish speedily from the face of the earth.”
    [MediaLens, 10 Mar 2003]

Churchill quote: “We are not a young people with an innocent record and a scant inheritance. We have an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world. We have got all we want in territory and our claim to be left in the unmolested enjoyment of vast and splendid possessions - mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force – often seems less reasonable to others than to us.”
    [Peter Fryer, Black People in the British Empire, Pluto 1989, pg4]

Winston Churchill addressing a banquet of West Indies sugar planters in London on 20 July 1939:

"Our possession of the West Indies, like that of India... gave us the strength, the capital, the wealth at a time when no other European nation possessed such a reserve. It enabled us to come through the Napoleonic wars, the keen competition of the 18th and 19th centuries and enabled us to lay the foundation of that commercial and financial leadership  which gave us a great position in the world."
    [Mark Curtis, The Great Deception (Pluto 1998), p135]. Also more briefly in Chomsky: Chronicles of Dissent, p308 and Necessary Illusions, p308.

As Secretary of State at the War Office (1919), W Churchill authorised the RAF Middle East Command to use chemical weapons “against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment”, dismissing objections by the India Office as “unreasonable”. “I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas… I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes (to) spread a lively terror…” (The tribes were the Kurds of Iraq and the Afghans.)

“We cannot acquiesce in the non-utilisation of any available weapons to procure a speedy termination of the disorder which prevails on the frontier”, adding that chemical weapons are merely “the application of Western science to modern warfare”.

Bomber Harris (1920s):

Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris (Bomber Harris), Chief of RAF Bombing Command in World War II, mounted incendiary air raids over civilian populations in Germany culminating in the destruction of Dresden. As young squadron leaders in the air campaign against Iraq in 1924, he wrote:

“The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means in casualties and damage. They know within 45 minutes a full-sized village can be nearly wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured…”.

A colleague of Harris in the Iraqi operations of the 1920s wrote:

“Air control is a marvellous means of bringing these wild mountain tribes to heel. It is swift, economic and humane. We always drop warning messages before we start to ‘lay eggs’ on their villages… An eastern mind forgets quickly, and if he is not punished for his misdeeds straightaway, he feels his punishment is not merited if delayed.”
[From Economic & Political Weekly, 9 Jan 99]

Lord Arthur Balfour, British Foreign Secretary (1917 & 1919):

On 18 July 1917, Lord Rothschild (representing Zionist interests) wrote a memo appealing to the British government): ‘Palestine should be-constituted as the national home of the Jewish people.’ In November 1917, Foreign Secretary responded with a Declaration pledging ‘to view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.’

A European power was promising to transform a non-Euro territory into a European settler state without consulting the local population. The London Times (22 April 1998), playing down the British complicity, said the pledge ‘was never intended to be more than a romantic gesture.’

In May 1918, Zionist Chaim Weizmann had written to Balfour about : ‘the treacherous nature of the Arabs… he screams and blackmails. The Arab is a roué and therefore has a great advantage over the clean minded English official who is not conversant with the Oriental mind. The fellah is dishonest, uneducated, greedy…’

In July 1919, the same Balfour confirmed:

"In Palestine, we do not propose even to go through the form of consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country… Zionism, be it right or wrong, is rooted in age-old traditions, in present needs, in future hopes, of far profounder import than the desires and prejudices of the 700,000 Arabs who now inhabit that ancient land."

The British Census of Palestine (1922) determined the 1914 population at 689,272 persons of whom no more than 60,000 were Jews. By 1922m there were 78% Muslims, 11% Jews and the rest Christians & others. The British promoted rapid European migration to Palestine, their proportion reaching nearly 26% in 1934. IN 1937, PM Lloyd George wrote to the Palestine Royal Commission:

“The Zionist leaders gave us a definite promise that if the allies committed themselves to establishing a national home for the Jews in Palestine, they would do their best to rally Jewish sentiment and support throughout the world to the allied cause.”
    [Edward Said: "The Question of Palestine" (Kegan Paul 1980), The Politics of Dispossession (Vintage 1995)]

Encylopedia Britannica, 1911

"Mentally the Negro is inferior to the white… the mental constitution is very similar to that of a child. Because of their dog-like fidelity… given suitable training, the Negro is capable of becoming a craftsman of considerable skill."
    [quoted in R&C, vol 38, Oct 96, pg 61 in the article on Walter Daniel Tull 1888-1918 – black soldier & footballer]

Others (1900-99)

Paul Rohrbach
wrote in German Thought in the World (1912):

“No false philanthropy or race theory can convince sensible people that the preservation of South Africa’s kaffirs is more important to the future of mankind than the spread of the great European nations and the white race in general… Not until the native learns to produce anything of value in the service of the higher race… does he gain any moral right to exist.”
    [quoted in Exterminate the Brutes, by S Lindqvist, Granta, 1996]

Jules Harmand, French colonialist, 1910:

"We belong to the superior race and civilisation… The basic justification of  conquest over native peoples is the conviction of our superiority - not just economic and military but also moral…That quality underlies our right to direct the rest of humanity…"
Carl Jung, Psychologist (1875-1961), in 1921:

"An Indian does not think, at least not what we call ‘think’. He rather perceives the thought. He resembles the primitive in this respect…"

"The natives of Africa act first and do not know what they are doing…"
    [Racism of Psychology, p82]

Georges Cuvier  in his Animal Kingdom (1927 reprint)

"The Negro race… manifestly approaches the monkey tribe. The hordes of this variety have always remained in a state of complete barbarism."
    [Racism of Psychology, p71]

Frantz Fanon, Revolutionary writer and psychoanalyst from Martinique (1925-61)

"European opulence is literally scandalous, for it has been founded on slavery, nourished with the blood of slaves… The well-being and progress of Europe have been built up with the sweat and the dead bodies of Negroes, Arabs, Indians and the yellow races… Europe is literally the creation of the Third World."
     [From The Wretched of the Earth, Penguin reprint 1990, first published in French 1961]

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-80), French philosopher, novelist & critic:

Sartre wrote the Preface to Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth. Here are extracts:

"Fanon explains the mechanism by which we are estranged from ourselves… in the Congo, Negroes’ hands were cut off, in Angola until very recently malcontents’ lips were pierced in order to shut them with padlocks… With us there is nothing more consistent than a racist humanism, since the European has only been able to become a man through creating slaves and monsters… On closer scrutiny, our precious sets of values begin to moult, you won’t see one that isn’t stained with blood… those 8 years of ferocious war [in Algeria] have cost the lives of over a million Algerians…"

Bernadette Devlin (later McAliskey), Irish patriot, 70's:

The racially oppressed can become oppressors. After her visit to the US in the early 70s, Devlin said:

"My people - the people who knew oppression, discrimination, prejudice, poverty and the frustration and despair they produce - were not Irish Americans. They were black, Puerto Rican, Chicano. And those who were supposed to be my people - the Irish Americans who knew about Irish misrule and the Famine and knew that Partition and England were the cause of the problem - looked and sounded like Orangemen to me. They said exactly the same things about blacks that the loyalists said about us at home. In New York, the key that I was given to the city by the mayor, I gave to the Black Panthers…"
    [R & C, vol34, Apr 93]
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Period 1800-99

Joseph Chamberlain 1897

"We are fulfilling what I believe to be our national mission and … exercising those qualities that have made us a great governing nation… No doubt, these conquests have [entailed] loss of life among the native population, loss of still more precious lives among those sent out to bring these countries into some disciplined order."

John Mitchell, Irish Hero, 1857:

Mitchell, the most prominent of the Young Irelanders, was arrested for his part in the 1848 Rising in Ireland. He was sent to Tasmania and ended in the US. He became a staunch defender of  slavery. In 1857 he said in his paper the Southern Citizen:

"I consider Negro slavery here the best state of existence for the Negro and the best for his master… taking Negroes out of their brutal slavery in Africa and promoting them to a human and reasonable slavery here is also good."
    [Race & Class, vol 34, April 93: Ireland: conquest & decolonisation]

Georg Wilhelm Hegel (1770-1831):

German philosopher whose idealist metaphysics greatly influenced 19th century European thought. He advocated a reasoning process that interprets reality via the dialectic method.

To Hegel, native America was ‘physically and psychically powerless’, its culture so limited that it ‘must as soon as Spirit approached it… the aborigines gradually vanished at the breath of European activity. A mild and passionless disposition, want of spirit and a crouching submissiveness… are the chief characteristics of the native Americans… So slothful that a midnight a bell had to remind them even of their matrimonial duties.’

"Among the Negroes, moral sentiments are quite weak or strictly speaking non-existent… Polygamy of the Negroes has frequently for its object the having of many children to be sold every one of them into slavery.’ They are creatures at the level of a ‘a mere Thing – an object of no value."
    [Chomsky, Year 501 1993]

Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911), English scientist:

"Black people as a race are grossly inferior even to the lowest of any white people."

Sir Harry Smith, British general in the mid-19th century Wars in South Africa:

"War against savages cannot be carried out according to rules but to commonsense."
    [Mark Curtis, Great Deception, 1998, pg 134]

Cecil Rhodes, Imperialist (1853-1902):

"In order to save the 40 million inhabitants of the United Kingdom from a bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population. If you want to avoid a civil war, you must become imperialists…. We must find new lands [for] raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave labour from the natives… The colonies would be a dumping ground for the surplus goods produced in our factories."

..."I contend that we are the first race in the world and the more of the world we inhabit, the better it is for the human race…"

After the conquest, Matabeleland was renamed Rhodesia and Rhodes adopted an anthem based on a satirical verse: Onward chartered soldiers, on to heathen lands//Prayer in your pockets, rifles in your hands//Take the glorious tidings where trade can be done//Spread the peaceful gospel with the Maxim gun.
    [Niall Ferguson on Empire TV series – episode 5]

House of Commons 1837:

The Committee on Aborigines considered it Britain's national duty to "carry civilisation and humanity, peace and good government and, above all, the knowledge of the true God, to the uttermost ends of the the earth."
    [quoted on pg 105, in M Curtis, The Great Deception, Pluto 1998]

John Ruskin (1819-1900), English social critic:

"There is a destiny now possible to us… We are still undegenerate in race, a race mingled with the best northern blood… (England) must found colonies as fast and as far as she is able, seizing every piece of fruitful ground she can set her foot on…The England who is to be mistress of half the earth must guide the human arts and gather the divine knowledge of distant nations…"

Encylopedia Britannica, 1810:

"The membrane, muscles, secretions, even the Negro’s brain and nerves are tinctured with the shade of pervading darkness." [See above for Britannica 1911] 
    [Quoted by D Howitt & J Owusu-Bempah, Racism of Psychology (Harvester Wheatsheaf 1994), pg 4.]

Period 1700-99

It is certain that John Locke (1632-1704), English philosopher (most famous work An Essay concerning Human Understanding of 1690), David Hume (1711-76) and Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) were racist. They openly declared that dark skin colour was linked to moral and mental inferiority.
    [Martin Bernal, Black Athena]

Adam Smith (1723-90):

Adam Smith wrote in 1776, the year of publication of his Wealth of Nations:

"The discovery of America and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope are the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind. What benefits or what misfortunes may result hereafter from those great events, no human wisdom can foresee.

The discovery of America… certainly made a most essential [contribution to the] state of Europe, opening up a new and inexhaustible market –and leading to] real revenue and wealth.

To the natives both of the East & West Indies, all the commercial benefits have been sunk and lost… The savage injustice of the Europeans rendered an event, which ought to have benefited all, ruinous and destructive to several of those unfortunate countries. [With] superiority of force, they committed with impunity every sort of injustice in those remote countries.

Chomsky notes that Smith does not mention the native Americans. “There were but 2 nations in America in ant respect superior [Peru, Mexico] and these were destroyed almost as soon as discovered. The rest were savages.” A convenient idea for the British conquerors which was to persist until the 1960s.
    [Chomsky: Year 501 (1993)]

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78:)

French philosopher and Enlightenment thinker. Works include The Social Contract (1762).

On private property:

"The first man who, having fenced off a plot of land, thought of saying: ‘This is mine’ was the real founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders, miseries might the human race been spared if one had pulled up the stakes or filled the ditch and shouted to his fellowmen: ‘Beware of listening to this impostor. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all…’"

David Hume, Scottish Philosopher & Historian (1711-76):

"I am apt to suspect the Negroes and all other species of men to be naturally inferior to the whites. There never was a civilized nation of any other complexion than white. No ingenious manufacturers among them, no arts, no sciences,…Negroes are characterised by idleness, treachery, cruelty, lying, debauchery, stealing, nastiness and intemperance. They are strangers to every sentiment of compassion and are an awful example of the corruption of man left to himself."
    [Racism of Psychology, pg4 & 115], also Delores Williams in Sisters in the Wilderness (Orbis Books 1993), pg91.]

King George III  Proclamation of 1775:

"For every scalp of a male (American) Indian brought in as evidence of their being killed… (a reward of) forty pounds. For every scalp of a female Indian or an Indian male under 12 twenty pounds…"

Under Cromwell, the Council of State in 1652 offered rewards for the ‘person or head of any rebel against the Commonwealth…’ The head of an Irish Officer fetched a month’s pay, depending on the type of officer. In1655, Cromwell’s son Henry then President of the Council of Ireland, raised the reward for the capture of a Tory from £2 to £5 and the heads of certain Tories fetched up to £30.

The practices were extended to the American colonies. In Pennsylvania in 1756, scalps of Native Americans were offered bounties of $130 (males over 10) and $50 for women.
     [R&C, vol 34, April 98, p29]

George Washington, 1st US President (1789-96):

"Indians have nothing human except the shape…the gradual extension of our settlements will cause the savage as certainly as the wolf to retire - both being beasts of prey, though they differ in shape."
    [Dee Brown, Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee, Vintage, London 1995]

Use of smallpox to eradicate Native Americans
by Samir Hussain (Jan13, 2003) Samir Hussain is currently in his final year of medical school at McGill University.  He is an independent writer and a member of the Montreal-based Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement. He can be reached at                                                                                                                                                                                           

Dr. Henderson is the former Director of the WHO Smallpox Eradication Program and is the founding director of the Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland.  He is a senior advisor to the federal government and the Department of Health and Human Services on civilian biodefense matters.  

Speaking of the French and Indian Wars between 1754 and 1767, Dr Henderson writes, “oldiers [of the British army] distributed blankets that had been used by smallpox patients with the intent of initiating outbreaks among American Indians. Epidemics occurred, killing more than 50% of many affected tribes.”49 In the American best-seller “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies”, Jared Diamond actually goes beyond the culpability of the British army and extends it onto the entire white American population, “(…) as when U.S. whites bent on wiping out ‘belligerent’ Native Americans sent them gifts of blankets previously used by smallpox patients.”50 While Dr. Henderson attributes smallpox with having killed more than 50% of many affected Aboriginal tribes, in “The fox guards the henhouse,” Sherry Sullivan suggests that by the 1880’s “smallpox had already killed off, on average, more than 90% of them.”51
During the Pontiac rebellion in 1763, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in North America, wrote to Colonel Henry Bouquet, maliciously asking whether it could be “contrived to send smallpox among these disaffected tribes of Indians? We must use every stratagem in our power to reduce them.”59  The colonel replied, foreshadowing the very tactic that “rogue nations” may possibly deploy against the Western powers centuries later: “I will try to inoculate the [Native American tribe] with some blankets that may fall in their hands, and take care not to get the disease myself.”60  Thus, in an ironic twist of fate, the colonial powers are now under a self-imposed threat of being terrorised by an era of biological warfare which they themselves inaugurated in the conquest of decimating and expropriating the land of an entire people centuries ago. Of course, this irony does not bring any particular comfort to those of us, “average citizens”, who will suffer in the event of such a biological attack while the elite managers of the current world order watch from their Ivory Towers.

Period 1600-99

The 'Pilgrims' and the Pequot

 When the Pilgrims came to New England they too were coming not to vacant land but to territory inhabited by tribes of Indians. The Pilgrims, Christians of the Puritan sect, were fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They had fled England and went to Holland, and from there sailed aboard the Mayflower, where they landed at Plymouth Rock in what is now Massachusetts.

Religious persecution or not, they immediately turned to their religion to rationalize their persecution of others. They appealed to the Bible, Psalms 2:8: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee, the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." To justify their use of force to take the land, they cited Romans 13:2: "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."

The Puritans lived in uneasy truce with the Pequot Indians, who occupied what is now southern Connecticut and Rhode Island. But they wanted them out of the way; they wanted their land. And they seemed to want to establish their rule firmly over Connecticut settlers in that area.

In 1636 an armed expedition left Boston to attack the Narragansett Indians on Block Island. The English landed and killed some Indians, but the rest hid in the thick forests of the island and the English went from one deserted village to the next, destroying crops. Then they sailed back to the mainland and raided Pequot villages along the coast, destroying crops again.

The English went on setting fire to wigwams of the village. They burned village after village to the ground. As one of the leading theologians of his day, Dr. Cotton Mather put it: "It was supposed that no less than 600 Pequot souls were brought down to hell that day." And Cotton Mather, clutching his bible, spurred the English to slaughter more Indians in the name of Christianity.

Native Americans had helped the Pilgrims survive the hard winters less than 20 years ago and they wanted the native lands. Governor William Bradford of Plymouth Colony (which to become the state of Massachusetts) ordered the hundreds of Pequot men, women and children be burnt alive on 25 May 1637. He recorded the scene:
"It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire and the streams of blood quenching the same. Horrible was the stink and scent thereof; but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice and they praise to God who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands and gave them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy."]
 Three hundred thousand Indians were murdered in New England over the next few years. It is important to note: The ordinary Englishmen did not want this war and often, very often, refused to fight. Some European intellectuals like Roger Williams spoke out against it. And some erstwhile colonists joined the Indians and even took up arms against the invaders from England. It was the Puritan elite who wanted the war, a war for land, for gold, for power. And, in the end, the Indian population of 10 million that was in North America when Columbus came was reduced to less than one million.
    [R&C, vol 33, Jan 92, pg32-34, 41] 

In 1622 , the Powhatan Indians rose against the English migrants in Virginia whereupon the English condemned them as savages. In 1646, the 80-year old Powhatan leader was captured, ‘placed on public exhibition like a caged animal’ and then ‘treacherously shot in the back by an English guard’.

Captain John Smith, a founding father of Virginia, described the Powhatans as:

“cruel beasts”, and “perfidious and inhumane people”…”The chief God they worship is the divell [devil] … they fashion themselves as near to his shape as they can imagine”.

Rev Samuel Purchase:

“The English as Christians knowing God’s will have the obligation to work the land which is almost bare of inhabitants (and) make (things) for merchandise…

(The people have) little Humanitie but shape, ignorant of Civilitie, of Arts, of Religion; more brutish than the beasts they hunt…”
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