Western selective outrage has always included burning people alive. Acting exactly as any sane criminal would, Western criminals want you to let them get away with their crimes while they broadcast the often lesser atrocities of others as pretexts for continuing and escalating their own.
Taking heart, this is exactly what ISIS has just done.
ISIS today released a video of themselves burning a captured Jordanian soldier alive in an enclosure, saying the act was intended as retaliation for US bombings, which also burn people alive, making the execution an “eye for an eye” punishment, according to ISIS. The US, in turn, will now purport to be disgusted by and retaliate against this crime, furthering the downward spiral it put into overdrive with the 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq, which led to and allowed for the creation and empowerment of ISIS and other such groups.
US and Western selective outrage say this latest crime is another illustration of ISIS’s viciousness, which of course it is. However, that is less than half of the story. The limited focus is intended to have us ignore or, better, support and defend, examples of much worse US and Western viciousness, including innumerable cases of burning people to death.
First of all, it is correct that explosives cremate, dismember, and torture people to death in a cruel and unusual manner. Here is an example of what US explosives do to people. But let’s leave aside plain old explosives and take a brief look at six live mass cremations the West would like us to forget.
1) Odessa massacre
On May 2nd, 2014, supporters of the Nazi-influenced, US-backed militants in Ukraine burned people alive in a building in Odessa:
Veteran journalist Robert Parry:
“A modern version of this Nazi brutality surfaced again on May 2 when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encampment of ethnic Russian protesters driving them into a trade union building which was then set on fire with Molotov cocktails. As the building was engulfed in flames, some people who tried to flee were chased and beaten to death.
Those trapped inside heard the Ukrainian nationalists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato beetles called Colorados, because those colors are used in pro-Russian ribbons. “Burn, Colorado, burn” went the chant.
As the fire worsened, those dying inside were serenaded with the taunting singing of the Ukrainian national anthem. The building also was spray-painted with Swastika-like symbols and graffiti reading “Galician SS.”
The death by fire of dozens of people in Odessa recalled a World War II incident in 1944 when elements of a Galician SS police regiment took part in the massacre of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka, which had been a refuge for Jews and was protected by Russian and Polish partisans. Attacked by a mixed force of Ukrainian police and German soldiers, hundreds of townspeople were massacred, including many locked in barns that were set ablaze.
Yet, this historical context is almost always missing in the mainstream U.S. media which goes along with the State Department’s desire to delete the neo-Nazi role in last February’s coup and inside the post-coup government.”
A partner of Ukraine’s national security chief, Dmytro Yarosh, called the massacre “another bright day in our national history.” And a member of the Ukrainian parliament said, “Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Devils burn in hell.”
Click here to see the results of the Odessa burning.
2) Israel’s burning of children and other civilians with white phosphorus
Under both Bush and Obama, Israel has killed civilians with US-provided white phosphorus, an illegal chemical weapon when used unlawfully, as Israel uses it.
On the attack, which the UN found was part of Israel’s effort to “terrorize [the] civilian population” of Gaza, Human Rights Watch produced an in depth report on Israel’s use of the chemical weapon, called “Rain of Fire: Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza”. It found that Israel “repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital”, which those who follow Israel’s attacks know are always and repeatedly targeted.
“The fifth floor children’s playroom [of al-Quds hospital] was totally destroyed, with charcoal beams littering the jungle-gym and small merry-go-round.”
“My 14-year-old cried out, ‘I’m going to die. I want to pray.’ I saw my daughter-in-law melt away.”
Human Rights Watch found that the attacks were not only illegal but without any justification, confirming the UN conclusion as to the terrorizing purpose of Israel’s assaults on the trapped refugees. (In this and Israel’s latest assault, it has been confirmed that Israel, not Palestinians, used human shields. Also see.)
Noted in The Independent: “Phosphorus burns bodies… it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone…”
Since Israel’s terrorist attacks with chemical incineration weapons, Obama has illegally increased US money and weaponry flowing to Israel, which was already the single biggest recipient of US arms and cash, all given illegally.
More pictures of Israel’s use of white phosphorus as a chemical weapon.
3) US use of white phosphorus and napalm against human targets in Iraq
Above: US engulfs an Iraqi town with “fireballs”
The Independent notes that, after warning women and children to flee through the desert on foot (the same courtesy recently given to civilians by Boko Haram) and then locking all men age 15 to 65 and remaining civilians inside the city:
…the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah… [causing] the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.
…hideous photographs and videos and interviews with American soldiers who took part in the Fallujah attack [provide] graphic proof that phosphorus shells were widely deployed in the city as a weapon.
…colour close-ups show bodies of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, whose clothes remain largely intact but whose skin has been dissolved or caramelised or turned the consistency of leather by the shells.
The US used chemical weapons in Iraq and lied about it.
[In addition to using white phosphorus on Iraqis,] the US used napalm…
Former US Marine Jeff Englehart, “who participated in the operation against Faluja in November 2004” said the US used “firebombs” and “he saw the scorched bodies of women and children.”
The US was using “MK77 bombs, an evolution of the napalm used in Vietnam and Korea, [which] carry kerosene-based jet fuel and polystyrene so that, like napalm, the gel sticks to structures and to its victims” and cremates them.
4) US also doused people with napalm in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere
In WW2, the US dumped 14,000 tons of napalm, mostly on Japanese civilians.
The US dumped 32,000 tons of napalm on Koreans as part of the US-inflicted Korean “holocaust” (Prof. Cumings).
The US dumped 373,000 tons of napalm “directly at civilians” in Vietnam. (Boggs, 69, quote + above tonnages)
Martin Luther King Jr. noted at the time that the US was the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and was “test[ing] [its] latest weapons” on “peasants”, “just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe”.
Video of US incinerating Vietnamese peasant villages.
5) US firebombing of Tokyo
Above: Tokyo largely reduced to ash.
After initially supporting Japan’s invasions and killings of civilians but then deciding that they were beginning to impinge on resources the US wanted to maintain control over and that Japan might be overcoming its “dependence” on the US (Zinn, ch. 16), Japanfocus.org notes that the US commenced the mass firebombing of Japanese civilians, killing hundreds of thousands. One example:
The full fury of firebombing and napalm was unleashed on the night of March 9-10, 1945 when LeMay sent 334 B-29s low over Tokyo from the Marianas. Their mission was to reduce the city to rubble, kill its citizens, and instill terror in the survivors, with jellied gasoline and napalm that would create a sea of flames.
…the US Strategic Bombing Survey estimated [the area] to be 84.7 percent residential…
Whipped by fierce winds, flames detonated by the bombs leaped across a fifteen square mile area of Tokyo generating immense firestorms that engulfed and killed scores of thousands of residents.
The bombing of March 9-10 took the lives of 100,000 Tokyoites and leveled sixteen square miles of the city in the most devastating raid in human history to that time . . . according to Japanese and US Strategic Bombing Survey figures, and may have taken the lives of many more.
Images of victims of US firebombing of Japan.
6) The foundation of the United States
Colonists “swarmed into the Indian encampment, slashing and shooting at anything that moved.” “We must burn them,” shouted one colonist, Mason, who later wrote:
God was above them, who laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to Scorn, making them as a fiery Oven…
Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling the Place with dead Bodies!
The majority of the Indians “crawling under beds and fleeing from Mason’s dripping sword were women, children, and feeble old men.”
Indians who were not burned or stabbed to death were shot if they tried to escape the fires.
Puritan leader Cotton Mather said: “In a little more than one hour, five or six hundred of these barbarians were dismissed from a world that was burdened with them.” (Stannard, 113-14)
While ISIS has now used live cremation as a weapon of terror, the United States’ cremation tactics, exhibited through today in continual bombings, stem from its foundation of using live cremation as both a weapon of terror and a method of exterminating targeted populations. US colonists would burn indigenous women, children, men, and the elderly alive in closed off camps and structures and shoot, stab or bludgeon to death anyone who managed to to try to flee. Countless thousands were thus exterminated to create the United States. US/Western tactics, as seen in examples above, have since been expanded around the globe.
Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published researcher and writer who focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry. He is a regular contributor to Washington’s Blog. Follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.
Also see “Extremists Execute up to 30,000 Surrendered Soldiers and Civilians”
Seven suggestions for how to reduce violence.