Behind the Bastards

There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.

Part One: The Deadliest School in History

Part One: The Deadliest School in History

Tue, 15 Sep 2020 10:00

Part One: The Deadliest School in History

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Hey, Robert here. It's been like two months since I had LASIK and I'm still seeing 2020. All I had to do was go in for a consultation, then go in for a maybe 10 minute procedure and then my eyes have been great ever since. You know, I healed up wonderfully. It was very simple, couldn't have been a better experience. So if you want to explore LASIK plus I can't recommend it enough. They have over 20 years experience in the industry and they performed more than two million treatments right now if you want to try getting LASIK plus you can get $1000 off of your surgery when you're treated in September, that's $500. Of per eye, just to schedule your free consultation. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried true crime. And if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's breaker handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to That's Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost, city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff you should know. You will listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Welcome back to behind the ******** the show about the worst people in all of history. And boy howdy, is it an appropriate week for an episode of this show about the worst people in all of history. Because today is the day that I I don't know. It's one of the days that a series of horrific wildfires have gripped my entire state, forcing 10% of its population to flee. And there are armed militiamen setting up checkpoints based on racism and. Paranoia in small rural areas. And that may seem like it's not connected to other things in history, but it's actually connected very directly to the subject of our podcast today, which is a little something called the School of the Americas. And the way that these two tie together is very fascinating. And the ooh you just heard is my guest today, Joelle Monique, who is a culture critic and a podcast. You know, the thing that this is that you're listening to a podcast. Producer, you produce the things that that are occurring right now in everyone's ears. Joel, how are you doing? Hanging in there, we're in the apocalypse. We are fun is orange and the sky is Gray. I am just trying to keep it and feels weird to keep going. Like, I feel like I have to change something actively in my life to reflect the chaos outside, but haven't figured what that is yet. I don't know that's how I'm doing. I don't know how I'm doing. It's chaos. Yeah, we need a German word for how surreal it is to, like, go out to a grocery store or meet a friend for lunch as like plumes of smoke the size of skyscrapers. Drift by and and like the smell of death fills the air and fascist militias begin like bivouacking, you know, 20 minutes away from your door. It's surreal. Umm, but you know what's not surreal is how professional the introduction of this episode was doing. Great. I got right in there. Like I directly connected it to a thing that was going on. I just. I'm real proud of that. Proud of you, Robert. Thank you. School of the Americas. Is, uh, spoilers, a horrific, uh, CIA slash Defense Department operation that that led to the overthrow of, like, a dozen different democratically elected governments in Latin America over the course of several decades? Ohh yeah, no, it's a bad thing. The School of the Americas is a bad thing. It's a bad it was a real terrible thing that existed for a while. Good thing it's only happened on this podcast and episode. It does tie in rather directly to what's going on right now in the United States, because a lot of the things we're seeing the government clamping down on unrest, you know, illegal arrests, suppression of political opposition, the disappearance of political activists. The the, the increasing inter organization between state law enforcement, uh, and different sort of militias and paramilitary groups. All of that stuff that's happening right now that people are getting really terrified about in the United States is exactly the stuff that we've been doing in Latin America and a number of different countries for decades going back to when, like our parents were kids and today is the episode about how a lot of that was organized. So a lot of the things that are happening in America today have their genesis in things the United States was doing the Latin America and we're going to learn about that. So that's going to be good. Yeah, I listen I really am because the more people from. We've been in countries where they're like, Oh yeah, no fascists took over here. They're like, pay attention to this small detail here. And I'm like, oh, OK and then they're like, and let me show you how that expanded into something that was horrible, try to stop this before it becomes a fire. Sorry, that's maybe bad phrasing right now. No, it actually, I think it compares really well to a fire because it's one of those things where you don't have to have this kind of problem with fires like you can there. There are ways that people dealt with. You know, the the propensity and the fact that this both like every the West Coast needs to burn a lot every year. It doesn't need to lead to hundreds of thousands of people losing their homes because it's it can be managed in predictable ways. But you know, we could do controlled fires and like put them out and maybe we can clear the grid of a lot of the nurseries that we have that exist to just like raise a bunch of trees for commodification, which uh, you know are are much worse. In terms of like areas like like they they contribute to making an area vulnerable to fires. We can bury our power lines. We can shut off power access to area like there's a whole lot of things that can be done Americans and we want to solve a problem after it's become a problem never before. And the calamity that Oregon and California is experiencing right now, a lot of people saw it coming, just like a lot of people have seen the rise of fascism coming for decades in the United States and instead of doing anything about it, we had that one TV show where. Flava Flav, he does this like he had this. He was looking for a wife, if I'm remembering correctly. Not expect him to be the next reference. Yeah, I blame the rise of fascism in the United States entirely on Flava Flav. Actually, I would read that essay. Robert Flava Flav, well known, the backer of the CIA. So let's look. I think we should start if we're going to, if we're going to explain the school of the Americas and how the United States did what is now happening in the United States. To a huge chunk of the world and Americans didn't pay attention. If we want to really tell that story, we have to go back in time almost as well, sorry almost 2 centuries to 1823. You know, at that point, 1823 in the US was only established in like or. You know, the whole Revolutionary War kicked off in 1776. the US was like younger than a lot of presidential candidates now in in 1823, but it had started to get like. Of power and geographic reach that it was beginning to like, look S at what was going on in Central and South America. And, you know, there were at that point all these kind of powers, these these rate, these burgeoning nations. And in what we call Latin America today, we're starting to, in a really effective way, throw off kind of the yoke of colonial oppression. They were there, a bunch of revolutions. They were kicking out their European masters and kind of President Monroe, who was the guy in charge of the US at that point, looked at all this going on. Umm. And he started what what came to be known decades later as the Monroe Doctrine, where he was basically like, hey, Europe, if you know, European powers aren't allowed to take over any new chunks of Latin America, like, we the United States are not going to stand for that. This is the area that we have influence in, and you're not allowed to, like, keep coming in. Ballsy move. It was for a country that had like, just gotten the **** kicked out of it in the War of 1812 and like barely held on. It was it was a. It was quite a statement to make, but it was hard for the European powers to like get troops and **** down to South America. So, you know, the US had a big advantage there. It was basically like the Monroe would came to in the Monroe started making that, like made this statement in like 1823. But the Monroe Doctrine didn't get start to be called the Monroe Doctrine to like 1850. But it was basically the US saying to Europe stay the **** out of our backyard. And this was initially kind of like an aspirational thing because we didn't really have the ability to project any power. Down there. But over the decades, as the United States grew into more of a functional nation and gained more sort of military and naval power, it became something that like, we actually had the ability to back up somewhat. So yeah, now there were a few different big reasons why the United States felt it was so important, you know, even as early as the 1820s, to start telling Europe to stay the hell out of Latin America. One of the reasons was that Europeans of the mid 1800s were like they were just the messiest ******* in the world like they were. Constantly at war with each other, huge, these huge, terrifying what seemed like, you know, like, you look at the Napoleonic Wars and stuff, you look at that through a lens of, like, where it was the look like the end of the world to a lot of people. And these revolutions that were just horribly bloody. And so the US monarchs and the street, there's no rule of law. Plus you have there's like a widespread starvation at that time. Right. Because we're having, like, horrible droughts and things, and so the lower classes all suffer. Yeah. It feels very similar. Yes. And Napoleon. You're raising, you know you've got, but like European warlords are raising like armies that are in the hundreds of thousands that look, that are like a significant chunk of the entire US. It just seemed like a nightmare to a lot of Americans. And Europe was just seen as such like what they like the the result of European squabbling and fighting was seen as so apocalyptic that the US, there were a lot of people in the US who like thought about the idea of like, what if they start coming back to South America and trying to make new colonies? Like it'll inevitably. Lead to horrible, horrible wars right at our doorstep that'll pull us in. So there was there, and that's a that was a reasonable thing at the time to be scared at, like, the stuff the year the British Empire was, like, getting up to all sorts of horrible, bloody **** in India and Afghanistan, in part as a result of their conflicts with Russia at this time. So, like, the idea that, like, that, that South America might become another European battleground, like that was a real thing to be afraid of the US what, like the President Monroe wasn't being unreasonable when he was like, this is, we don't want to let this happen. So there was a reasonable reason for the Monroe Doctrine. There were also, like, racist reasons for it, which one of which is that, like the US didn't want any competition when it came to politically dominating Latin America. Yeah. So lots of lots, lot of former slaves down there just chilling, ready to be recolonized. Yeah. It's not them. They have kings and ****. So stay over there. Yeah. And there were a lot of folks, like, people who went on to be, like, part of the Confederacy, who, you know, Once Upon a time we're looking at Latin America and like, well, eventually we're going to have to like, that's a lot of that's going to wind up being ours, too. I mean, that makes sense if we think about manifest destiny just being like, we're going to conquer all of the. I'm sorry to use this word. Heavens. I yeah. It it always kind of surprised me that we didn't continue to go further down South. Yeah aggressive takeover. A lot of folks wanted to like a lot of Americans wanted to. And there were even cases of like like Confederate survivors, sort of like packing up and moving down into Latin America to establish plantations and try to keep, you know, there's **** going for a while. Just like the similar things actually kind of happen with the Nazis. But so time goes by you know the Monroe. Doctor gets his name in 1850. It becomes like more and more kind of solid U.S. policy. Every year. You know, the decades go by, the United States becomes more and more of a world power. It has a big civil war. It has a couple of wars with Mexico and by and by, you know, time passes, the 1900s come and the United States finds itself with a dude named Teddy Roosevelt in the Oval Office. So Teddy OTR. Yeah. We all. We've all heard of Teddy. And he was he's like, he's one of these guys that if you, if you don't. Think too much about aspects of what he believed. He's a fun dude to read about. Like, man, people love the burly backwards. He haunted his own bear. And then we made he's like a Ron Bear on sunshine. Yeah, yeah, people, people love him. If you don't think too much about what he actually believed would see that drunk history of just Ron Swanson version Teddy Roosevelt, that's amazing. Well, and it is, it is the truth most of our if you're a white person and you didn't talk about the things that he believed. About race, you probably could get along with Teddy Roosevelt because he was a fun guy outside of the horrific genocidal racism. And like every history teacher's favorite president like, this is what's going to get boys to read, get all sorts of cool ****. Yeah, but he was also, like, as as ******** and imperialist as you can. Like, it doesn't get more imperialist than ******* Teddy Roosevelt. He'd gone out of his way to fight in a hysterically unjust war of colonial domination down in Cuba. Umm. And he's one of the reasons that we all have owned Guantanamo Bay today, which is, you know, have you ever, do you enjoy partly owning Guantanamo Bay, Joel? I do not. It weirds me the hell out. We've committed human atrocities there. It seems like a place America, the land of the free, should maybe not have. I disagree. I love the fact that we just own part of Cuba and use it just to torture people and we don't talk about it all that often. I think it's a great thing to just forget about. And just keep doing forever. I love that Obama campaigned on getting rid of that and then just stop talking about it because what a ******* cool country. So by the turn of the 20th century, Teddy's, Teddy's the president and the US is like a full continental power, right? Like we've we've we've achieved more or less our final form. Like you can see like the United States is the United States and it's a real you don't want you wouldn't want to **** with her. So Roosevelt like has the ability to project power now and he was a big believer in the Monroe Doctrine. And more to that, he wanted to kind of expand what the the idea behind the Monroe Doctrine because he thought the United States had a right and a duty to act as the policeman of the Americas. And I know in the early 2000s, like we all started talking about America is like world police as like a bad thing. But Roosevelt would have used those terms. And he thought it was a good thing. He thought it's it's what we we ought to be doing, but not in the world, just in our hemisphere. Oh, very reasonable, man, very reasonable. So, you know, one of the things that, uh, Roosevelt gets concerned with is that Venezuela is in a huge amount of debt to a bunch of creditors in Europe, and he's worried that this is going to lead to her being invaded by European powers, which would destabilize Latin America and again, lead to this thing. This is not entirely unreasonable thing, because 1904, if you're at all aware of what's happening, most people know some horrible European war is coming. So again, you've got this mix of, he's an imperialist, but also he's just kind of looking at what Europe. Doing and, like, we gotta keep this **** away from as far away from us as possible, which again, not an entirely unreasonable thing to want to do. That's OK. All right. I guess, yeah. So he's he's he's got both these racist reasons for what he's doing and he's pretty reasonable reasons. It's a mix of things. Uh, and in 1904 he issues what's known as the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine quote, the United States would intervene as a last resort to ensure that other nations in the Western Hemisphere fulfilled their obligations to international. Editors and did not violate the rights of the United States or invite foreign aggression to the detriment to the entire body of American nations. That's how our own State Department summarizes it. So we're not just the police, we're also the bank. Yeah, kind of. He's like, basically, I don't want Europe coming in here to, like, insure its own debts. So we will police and invade Latin American nations on behalf of European powers to keep them out of here. That is some white nonsense. Yeah, that is some white nonsense. And again, that quote I read is from our own State Department's Office of the historian. And it goes on to note, quote as the corollary worked out in practice, the United States increasingly used military force to restore internal stability to nations in the region. Roosevelt declared that the United States might exercise international police power in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence. So that's very broad stability, yeah. Remember what our State Department calls stability, the people who live in those countries. Might not have called stability just a thing to keep in mind. So TR we we again, we tend to think about, like, the stuff he did as a person. His actual presidential policy is pretty overlooked, in part because he's like, he's in power right before all the cool **** in the 21st, the 20th century starts to happen. So, like, you know, nobody really gives a **** most average person on the street about like, ******* 1900 to 1914. You know, World War One starts and people start to get interested, but his corollary to the Monroe Doctrine would go on to become one of the most. Tragically influential decisions made by a U.S. President. More than a century later, the United States is still operating under the logic Teddy Roosevelt enshrined and policing large chunks of Latin America, always in the name of internal stability, but somehow never really helping to further that cause. Now you Fast forward a couple of presidents, right? So TR has his time in the sun. And then it's 1912 and this cool cat named Woodrow Wilson is running for president now. Woodrow. As part of his like, election campaign, he starts shopping. Around something at campaign rallies called the Pan American Treaty. Uh and his idea for the Pan American Treaty would have been a little bit like creating a US, like a not a US, but an American EU, right? So the EU got like this continent, all these states in it that have been independent, start to like form common economic and trade zones and stuff in, in, in. In Wilson's mind, the Pan American Treaty was going to include the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Chile, which were then kind of the most powerful nations in the region. Now I found a really good masters thesis from a guy who's a historian now named Doctor Matthew Hassett and he kind of summarizes the goal of the Pan American Treaty and I'm going to quote from him now. His plan contained 2 main points. The first was mutual guarantees of political independence under Republican forms of government and mutual guarantees of territorial integrity. The second was that the signatories to the Treaty would acquire complete control within its jurisdiction of the manufacture and sale of munitions of war. The wording of these points is telling. In the first signatories must guarantee the survival of Republican forms of government. Wilson believed peace and security rested on the establishment and maintenance of liberal democracies. Member nations would only ensure the maintenance of. Republican forms of government, however, the United States would send in the Navy and the Marines to ensure compliant governments regardless of how they came to power. So #1, he's insuring, you know, quote UN quote, Republican forms of government. And there's a difference between a Republican government and a democracy. #2 he's, he's insisting that these, this new political union that he's working for would acquire, like complete control of the manufacture of sale and of munitions. Which which essentially is saying, like, the United States and her allies are going to have complete control of what weapons get made and where they get distributed. That's that's the idea as early as 1912 and will, we must now pause here because imagine a world. It's just crazy to me how quickly we're like, I don't care what's happening with any of the people that actually live there. Like there are entire indigenous communities with their own forms of government. And like I, I'm trying to imagine. Deep brown, the force it takes to just walk into somebody else's neighborhood, district, country and be like, no, this is how we do things now. So also, you can only buy guns from us. Please kill each other with our weapons. And also, like, whatever indigenous concern, whatever concerns you as indigenous people have, the thing that matters most to us is making sure that arms sales are respected and that the kind of governments we like come to power and we'll send our troops in if you **** with either of those things, which are the only things we care about. In your whole country with whatever history it has, like, **** that ****. We're here for selling guns and ensuring a form of government that we can dominate. So that's cool. Wilson was known, as was what's known as a reformer imperialist. Now. That means he did reject a lot of the obvious cruelties of European style colonialism with like permanent and direct military occupation of foreign lands. But he still wanted the US to be able to loot and culturally dominate an entire continent, and he was still willing to use the military to do that. Just ask the. Well, they're a cruise now. He framed this as simple compassion on his part. He thought the United States should use its power to ensure good government in nearby lands, and he never bothered to define what good government was. But he was emphatic that the US should use the basically use the Marines to violently force Latin American governments to have what he would consider to be good governments. Which is where you ever hear the catch phrase, like send in the Marines. It's not really used that much now, but it's like, Umm, you deal with the problem, right? You send in the Marines. Right. Like it was the thing they used to say, like when my grandpa was like a young man. And it but it it comes out of this. Because Wilson basically says if anything starts happening in these Latin American governments that we don't approve of in the United States will send in the Marines to **** him up. Because the Marines, the Marine Corps is kind of like, historically the people we send in to **** ** folks, they're doing stuff ******** like training program. And I've listened and they're very moraines. Yes. Yeah, they're extremely. That's a big part of it. And they like boats, which are useful for traveling places, I've been told. So you know what is also useful for traveling places, Joelle? The products and services that support this podcast, including our main sponsor, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Marine Corps, do you need some guys on boats to **** to **** people up? Because that's essentially the Marine Corps. They're coming and they're going to get you. 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You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. We're back. Ohh, thank you, United States Marine Corps. It was a weird choice to sponsor this podcast, but, but but we appreciate it. I don't know. I don't know where to take, I don't know where else to take this joke. Woodrow Wilson laid out his vision of the future very openly in campaign speeches in 1912, declaring that the United States had a special place on the world stage as a disseminator of democracy, he told crowds. We are chosen and prominently chosen to show the way that to the nations of the world, how they shall walk in the paths of liberty. Now the the guy, the the the historian who wrote this masters thesis that I found. Doctor Hassett argues that Wilson's dedication to spreading democracy. Was real, kind of, within Wilson's conception of democracy. But it was also heavily compromised by his outrageous racism, and Doctor Hassett writes, Wilson's racism obscured his vision of a new world order. While the President of Princeton University, Wilson successfully persuaded all African Americans to withdraw their applications for admission, Josephus Daniels, a Wilson campaign manager and later his secretary of the Navy, stoked racial fears in East Saint Louis to garner votes. Once in office, Wilson told darkey stories and jokes during cabinet meetings. Presided over the segregation of the Department of the Treasury Post Office and the Bureau of Engraving. These offices had been desegregated since the end of the Civil War. Wilson refused to condemn the lynching of blacks, and the only federal actions taken regarding racial conflict was to keep African Americans from attaining equality. So that's Wilson is the guy who, like in 1912, expands segregation. It is the craziest thing, especially knowing like what's around the corner for black people in government jobs. Like if you look posts like 1950s, early 1960s we see a lot of black people starting to work for the post office. Like the only like quote UN quote respectable job you can get as a black person is like doing some type of government work usually like low level foot blue collar kind of stuff. I would argue that that maybe the only respectable government job that exists is the post office and Park Rangers Post Office and. Park Rangers. What else do we really need? We love you guys. Yeah? So, uh, yeah, it's this is this is important not just because, like, oh, here's a story about another racist American president, but because this plays directly into what Wilson is thinking about what he's doing in Latin America. Because Wilson is a guy who does believe in democracy, like, he worked himself ill, trying to push forward this vision he had of the League of Nations. And, like, one of the problems, whenever we have someone who's terrible and Woodrow Wilson's a horrible person, I think people tend to just kind of write it. Office that and and assume they don't really believe things. And Wilson is a big believer in his out what he considers to be democracy, which is white people and democracy. It's a Republic, right? That's a big thing for him is it's not. He's not a fan of like the this like a pure democracy. He's like a populist democracy. Wilson believes that you should have a Republic dominated by white people who are able to direct things and act as patient stewards for their racial inferiors. Wilson believed that democracy was the fullest form of state life and non white peoples were not ready to take part in that. Which is why you need a part of why you need a Republic. He believed that they needed to undergo what he called a period of political tutelage in order to know how to be good democratic citizens. So this is like very vital information to me, Robert, because it helps me understand like why some people still hold these beliefs. Like it's hard to wrap your mind around, I think. I mean, I don't like, I'll just speak for myself. From living in black skin, sometimes it's hard to be like, OK, but where, where is this hate rooted in? And I understand from a larger perspective, like, OK, you've believed that because of the way history's been taught to you. I know a lot of racist white people believe, like, oh, white people invented everything. And white people are the ones who, like, colonized the world. And we made sure you believed in God or like sane things. And we invented all of the science. So clearly we're like the superior race, but like to hear it on, like, a governmental level, like this idea. Of we can train the blackness, the part we fear, the part that doesn't sit right with us, the part that isn't like us out of you. And then that's like the world that will be better. Like, that's how we uplift and make the world better is by removing. It's like it's horrifying. It's so scary. Like it's scary because it's happening right now, it is happening right now. And one of the reasons I think this is so important to understand is that, number one, there are a lot of people today who will say the same basic things about the US and its actions. And it the way that it influences and sort of changes the political course of other nations like like political lives right now there's people who will argue the same basic things. Wilson will argue they will not argue the same things domestically. And the fact that because they because you can't admit that right you can't sit down. You can as an American today say, hey like these people need to learn from us the the ways of democracy and it's our responsibility to teach the right like that that we ******* Afghanistan. A rack and a whole bunch of places all around the world like that's that's going on today. And there's people who will argue forcefully for that. You can't say black people aren't ready to be full democratic citizens and they need our tutelage as white people, which is why we have to oppress them. You can't say that openly in mainstream politics anymore, but the fact that people argue for that in foreign countries shows you what they believe about the domestic situation and if they just learned how not to use those words. Yeah, looking at Woodrow Wilson, I think is important because. We see, we can see the truth of what the people who believe that **** internationally are saying what they also believe domestically. They're the same as Woodrow Wilson. They haven't changed. It's just not acceptable to say what he says or what say what he used to say. I think that's important for people to kind of understand, and we don't talk vital. Yeah, I agree. So Doctor Hassett goes on to write quote. The supposed need for a period of tutelage was Wilson's method of justifying interventions in Latin America and the disenfranchisement of blacks in the United States. Non whites needed the guidance of whites, often lasting many years, until they were ready to operate autonomously in a democracy. Of course, it was white too, then decided when their pupils passed their civics courses. Yeah. Because like, like us, yeah. When when a majority. I feel like, especially if I look at like countries like Colombia and Brazil and the way that white passing people were sort of allowed to ascend the ranks. While we look at read a lot of stories of like Brown, Black Indigenous former slaves talking about like where their class system is at and how similar almost exactly the way it has worked in America has fostered. Were there as well this the idea of segregation, the idea of like even even the basic like non political stuff like the idea of good hair and who gets to be on billboards and things like that, it is absolutely insane. Even their attempts to like desegregate, like to to desegregate and to bring in like black people has had like horrifyingly racist connotations. If we look at like a lot of Spanish soaps where you're just like, good Lord, is this still where we're at representation wise, and then. Sometimes I just look around here too, and be like, Oh well, you know, I can, I can complain and and maybe I get a little bit of my on my Woodrow Wilson box and be like, they should learn from us and the ways we've desegregated our Hollywood system, our media empire. But we haven't. We still have so many issues here as well in how we represent black people, such a problem. We don't seem to be good at it. We're good at, good at tear gas, though. Amazing. At tear gas, we know how to beat the hell out of a protester. Just if you, if you want entire city blocks tear gassed. I know some guys who are just pros at it at this point. Oh my God. And now we know how to fence off the White House. So, really, you know the defense off the White House. Yeah, we're growing. Anyway, so back-to-back to Wilson. Let's talk about Woodrow Wilson. So Wilson gets elected. This North American, you know, Pan American treaty thing gets signed. It it takes a while, though. It's not signed until 1923. In it. But yeah, World War One happens in Wilson. Like lets the US get pulled into that cluster **** Umm. And it takes until after the war when the League of Nation gets established, the Pan American Treaty get signed as part of a bunch of International League of Nations Pacts, but kind of like a lot of the rest of the League of Nations **** it doesn't amount to much, but the impulse that the Pact represented this idea that the US could could group up with the strongest nations in Latin America, sell them arms, and use them to dictate how everyone in the continent lived without using. U.S. troops, that idea never, like, went out of vogue in the US government up until the present day. And and just so you know, we're kind of, we are eventually headed in here. It's equally popular with Republicans and Democrats. So, like, no matter where you land on this, Joe Biden loves him some *******. We'll talk about playing Colombia maybe a little bit. That's. But yeah. So World War Two kind of distracts the United States from affairs in, you know, it's its own hemisphere for a while. We're not. We're not focusing so much on Latin America. During that whole war thing, because it's, you know, a lot of stuff going on in the other parts of the World War, we have other people to kill. We have that we have so many people to kill. And thankfully, like some of them deserve it, which is better than we usually do. Yeah, yeah. World War Two was the time where some of the people we bombed from the sky deserved to die. Man, how we have forgotten so quickly is crazy to me. So yeah, it also, like World War Two also saw the sudden pullout of European military advisers from a lot of South American states. Because while like, they hadn't been like European colonialism, never kind of in the in the modern era got was even vaguely on the same levels like what happened in Africa because of the Monroe Doctrine, there were still, it was still a lot of European involvement in Latin America. They were they were selling arms to a lot of these States and they would send in military advisers to train their militaries. And it was a way both of Europeans. States kind of projecting power and of course it was very profitable. And if you were in Latin America, you were an up and coming state and you wanted to get because there are all these wars between Latin American powers in this period of time to constant, constant, really horrific wars. So if you're one of these states, you have a lot of enemies all around you and you want to get a jump on your opponents. You you want to be partnered with some state that has a more advanced military, both access to better guns and access to better sort of training and like military organizational techniques. And, you know, the US was certainly in a more advanced state than a lot of Latin America at this point, but Europe was the gold standard prior to World War Two. So a lot of these Latin American countries before World War Two, they have like German or French or Italian, unfortunately Italian. You don't want them as military advisers, but ideally you'd have like the Germans or the French or something advising your military. Like Argentina spent about a century using German officers to train their militaries. And actually up until like the present day, you can find pictures of the ship from the 90s. I don't know if it's. That continued past that. You can write pictures of Argentine soldiers giving the fascist salute because that's how they were trained to salute. Like a lot of actually one of Hitler's best friends, you know, best friends who Hitler then had killed this guy, like the leader of the brown shirts went and trained Argentine soldiers while the Nazis were in power. So, like, a lot of different Latin American states have European advisers and stuff, but by the end of the Second World War, Europe was kind of broken as a military power. Even the states that had won were in ruins. France and Germany were like blood white and the governments of Latin America like started have needing to look to the United States for military training and for equipment because the US has all the guns at this point and it has a huge military. It has a lot of excess **** to sell, it has a lot of soldiers to send over to train them and Europe just doesn't. So me at the same kind of time while all these Latin American states are start like turning from Europe to the United States for advice on how to have armies, the guys that sort of the top of the political establishment in the US. We're kind of starting to realize the position the end of World War Two had left them in. And, you know, everyone knows in a World War Two, the US is kind of the big power in the world. But I don't think a lot of people know how what a dominant position we had at the end of World War Two. the United States was in control of fully half of the planet's wealth. What? Yeah, half of the wealth in the world was controlled by the United States. In 1945, yeah. Like, I I've tried. I mean, I guess it makes sense if you think about, like, how much of the world was, like, absolutely death animated. Just how just totally ******. Yeah, and how clean, like, it's always I I love studying, like, what was happening as we come out of World War Two. Because the idea of, like, all of these women being forced back into their homes so rapidly as to reduce their status and power in not just in like outside of their homes, not just in businesses and stuff, but in the government, too. Like, we had risen up to take so much power. And then this idea of, like, black people who had come back from the war and the way they were treated is basically like, you didn't do anything for me and you're still just a black person. There's so much people like there were so many opportunities for. Quick development on a social level that I think because we had money access and access to guns and power, and because we were really feeling ourselves, was squashed so quickly. And I think that's really scary to think about how both when we are in power and when we are out of power, we tend to take a dump on everybody who isn't a white male. That is, yeah, it's the the real one of the real tragedies of World War Two is at the end of it, the US had the power and influence to do literally anything. And we basically chose to hoard that wealth and power and compromise every single thing we've ever claimed as a as a core belief of this nation in order to try to keep it for as long as possible. And that, like this kind of thinking, people talk directly about this in the US government. And I'm going to quote now from a State Department policymaker named George Kennan, who was one of like the most influential minds in the US during the Cold War. This is something George Kennan wrote in 1948, and he's talking about. Kind of how he's talking about U.S. policy in Southeast Asia at this time, but it applies to kind of the the the way that the men in charge of our government post World War Two, we're looking at the whole world. So this is something George Kennan wrote for the State Department. We have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming. Is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming and our attention. Will have to be concentrated everywhere on our most immediate national objective, if we need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. Just laying it all out there now. Kennan was watching his nation, like the specific thing that prompted him to write this as he was watching the United States start to flail around in China because at this point, China civil war still going on, we're backing, you know, the the quote UN quote democratic sort of side of things or the Republicans or whatever, which is not working out great. And we're starting like **** in South Korea, like that's beginning kind of like we're going to see that, like what? What's what's called at the time, French Indochina. Like a bunch of ****** going to go wrong there, right? Like France is starting to get ****** ** by Vietnamese rebels. Yeah, and it's it's becoming obvious to folks in the State Department that Southeast Asia is going to be a place where the US either has to just kind of abandoned to the influence of these quote UN quote communist powers or it's going, we're going to burn a lot of treasure and lives fighting there. So Kennan at the time is kind of specifically referring to U.S. policy in Asia. But again, the pattern of thinking that he talks about up there, this idea that the most important thing is to maintain the position of disparity we have with the rest of the world and we can't we can't let our. Fields, you know I'm reminded. Like we can't let ourselves be human. Like, think about altruism and stuff. We have to think about holding on to power. And it it does make me Umm, it it reminds me reading that of a quote from Richard Kipling's White Man's Burden. Take up the white man's burden. You dare not stoop to less, nor call too loud on freedom to cloak your weariness. Like it's the same, the same pattern of thought, right? Like where you can't, you can't let yourself. What? What's important is maintaining this position of disparity. And maintaining our position of power. And you can't let whatever we we claim to believe, you can't let that matter more to you than continuing to dominate. That's it. It's interesting to me. You can draw it like it's the same kind of thinking that you see in the British Empire, too. It just got transferred over to us when we took power. So again, this is Kenan talking about Southeast Asia, but it's you can generalize it to a lot of how a lot of American leaders in the late 40s are thinking about Latin America. I want to read. One more quote from George Kennan's right up there before we before we continue on, we should cease to talk about vague and for the Far East, unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hammered by idealistic slogans, the better. Wow. I'm gonna use a slogan from Don Draper and it's I have a life and it goes in only One Direction forward. And this whole like mentality of late 40s, like needing to not just make like you have almost all of the power, like that breakdown of 50% of the wealth to 6% of the population, it's astounding ideology that like, we have to continue to build on that. But why would you, how could you possibly need to build like that? Is the most **** ****** thing ever. I can't imagine being like, oh, I have 50% of everything. How do I get more like, how hungry are you? Yeah. And. And. And like, the idea that, like, we have to immediately discard our beliefs about democracy and human rights in order to maintain the power that we currently hold. No more things more important than the power. Yeah. And again, this isn't the period after which, like kind of America. Like, I think a lot of people looking at this story think that, like, America is like, idealism was broken by Vietnam. This is 19. 48, right. We it wasn't like the Cold War wasn't even, like, really up to what it would become like. There was still like, World War Two had just ended, fascism had just been beated and immediately were like, well, nothing matters more than keeping all this money that we've got. **** human rights. That's the people in those influential folks in the State Department are saying this ****. So again, Kennan was writing about Southeast Asia there. But you really can generalize what he's saying to what a lot of US State department and in sort of military thinkers in Latin America believe these people supported straight power. And they, they found themselves kind of discarding unrealistic objectives like human rights because straight power is, they thought that they would have claimed that it's more realistic. It's really that it's just easier. It's easier to shoot people than to try to improve their material conditions, even though improving their material conditions probably does cost less and as a general rule. So the school of the Americas became this thing that we're talking about today. The actual focus of our article was what became these men's kind of the linchpin in their plan to do that in Latin America. And it's also sort of a, it acted as kind of a fulfillment of Woodrow Wilson's dream, the United States being able to act as a police force for Latin America to ensure good, what he we would consider good governance. So the US spends the first few years after World War Two kind of rebuilding Europe and starting to **** around in Asia, and there wasn't a lot of military manpower to spare in Latin America. So the decision was made to do something more subtle than the Pentagon traditionally did, you know, rather than just like sending in troops and like building bases. In 1946, the Army established a new training school for foreign soldiers in the Panama Canal Zone, which is still under US control. Right, Panama. The Panama Canal is like owned by the United States at this point, and it's it's not its own independent thing. Our government is basically like, it's a little US outpost in Latin America. And so they they build a new school there to train officers from all around Latin America and they call it the Latin American Training Center Ground division. And at this point, ground division is just kind of like what I'm going to call the school. So this is what it's named. Or it's called the School of the Americas. So in 1947, the United States had signed the Rio Treaty with 20 different Latin American nations. Now, this was kind of an expansion of a lot of the ideas that Wilson had had back in 1912. It was a mutual defense pact meant, on paper, to provide a unified hemispheric front against, like, a foreign invasion. This was all window dressing. The real agenda of the Treaty had nothing to do with mutual defense for the hemisphere and everything to do with the maintenance of US political dominance in the region. And control over raw materials. And I'm going to quote now from a book, a really good book called The School of the Americas, by Leslie Gill. Quote While the United States dedicated itself to containing the global expansion of the Soviet Union and persecuted domestic critics with varying degrees of intensity, it assigned its Latin American allies the task of guarding against the threat posed by internal subversion. National security doctrine. NSD provided the broad rationale for fighting communists by assigning the maintenance of internal order to Latin American security forces. And by delegating to the United States the task of guarding the ramparts of the Western Hemisphere from external aggression. So you see, what, what's what's being done here? This is being framed as like we need to protect our hemisphere from like a Soviet invasion. What's really happening is the US so because it doesn't have a lot of troops to spare at the moment, is setting up, arming and training Latin American national militaries to act as internal security forces to keep communism out of Latin America. That's what's being done here. We're building a continental police force to enforce American political ideology on an entire continent when the school like. When the school opens, right, and there's this because I'm trying to picture like the type of person that goes into this, like I know the type of person who believes they can go into the police force and change it and make it a force in a space for good, very normal soldiers at first. So initially, and this is like you hear a lot of folks on the left on like Twitter and stuff talk about the school of the Americas and generally most of what they talk about is stuff that happened kind of later on when there was and we'll talk about. Called the torture classes and **** that happened, but that wasn't how it started. It started as very normal military training. Its first class was a bunch of Argentine soldiers who were being taught to use US anti aircraft guns that their nation had just been allowed to purchase. So it was not. There's nothing really shady there, right? Like they buy these advanced weapons from the US that are primarily defensive in nature and they need to be trained in how to use them. So the actual classes, the goal of the ground school first, there's nothing really. You wouldn't call that shady, right? Like that's a reasonable thing to do if you believe. Selling arms is reasonable. It's reasonable. We're like, Oh yeah. You should train them how to use the guns. OK, that's fine. And the most dangerous thing that's going on here is not the actual curriculum of the school. It's what's happening around that curriculum. But yeah, what? What? We'll talk about that in a little bit. I want to quote something Leslie Gill writes here about sort of what the defense industry is starting to do in Latin America in this. Quote, defense manufacturers sought out new markets for their wares, and Congress created generous military aid programs facilitating arms transfers not only helped secure US access to raw materials and the general cooperation of regional militaries. It also tied Latin American militaries to the use, and thus the continued purchase of technology produced in the United States. The defense establishment referred to the latter as standardizing Latin American militaries. Wow. Yeah, and the Caribbean defense commander put it bluntly when he stated that standardizing Latin American armies with US equipment furthered the quote penetration of the United States into the military system of any country so that such nation becomes dependent on us. You can't. What's happening here is humans, but you can standardize. The equipment that they use. And then you make them dependent on you. They can't fight you. They can't rebel against you. They can't resist you. If they need your factories to produce the weaponry that allows them to defend themselves from their neighbors, this is devious as hell. Yes. It's extremely insidious, because now we also know everything you have. We know all of the tools, and we can advance our ship before we give you access to the advanced ships. So we're always one step ahead. Oh my God. Yeah. There's a lot going on here. US weapons. Or again, consider the most advanced on the planet at the time. And Latin American militaries were very much comparatively technologically backwards compared to the United States in this. A lot of them had recently been at war with each other, so there was really very reasonable fear of invasion, of losing territory. It had just happened for a lot of them. So there's this understanding that, number one, you can defend yourself, you can gain massive local advantages by buying US guns, but it also on the US side, it gives us this permanent influence in national politics, because the ammunition that these weapons need, the parts that they need. Training the reliant on the United States for all of that. But the thing that was truly insidious about the ground school had nothing to do with weaponry and everything to do with what I would consider to be the deadliest fantasy in human history, probably the American dream. And that's what we're going to talk about after we get back from the real American Dream, which is products and services. Yeah, yeah, right. Let's do it. Buy some things. Buy some things. Products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. 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You maybe even heard the rumors from your friends and loved ones. But are any of the stories about government conspiracies and cover ups actually true? The answer is surprisingly or unsurprisingly, yes. For more than a decade, we here at stuff they don't want you to know have been seeking answers to these questions. Sometimes there are answers that people would rather us not explore. Now we're sharing this research with you for the first time ever in a book format, you can pre-order stuff they don't want you to know now. It's the new book from us, the creators of the podcast and video series. You can turn back now or read the stuff they don't want you to know. Available for pre-order now, it's stuff you should read or wherever you find your favorite books. All right. We're back and we're talking about the thing that was most dangerous about the American school. And this is the thing that everybody I see talking about this **** on Twitter, like, really does seem to miss. Which is not that, like, they're not wrong about the torture programs being awful. And like everything else we're going to talk about. But I don't see this being referenced. And it's the thing that strikes me the hope of having a dollar and a dream coming to. Yeah. This is what? And this is this is really fascinating to me. So in the late 1940s and 50s. Right. the US winds up after the war with all of the money in the ******* world. And this leads to an unprecedented explosion in like, the rates of home ownership, vehicle ownership, employment, job security. Regular people suddenly were gaining access to labor, saving devices like washing machines and dishwashers, luxury products like televisions. It was a it was a heady period of time, and it it it was easy to kind of when you see regular working people making these kinds of gains, it's easy for the propaganda of like, this is because there's something special. And beautiful about this, this dream America has for what life can be. It's very easy to sell that when you've got, because this is a period you do have to like. Obviously the the benefits in this. Weren't evenly shared, but like black people, you know, made a lot of like, like wealth improvements and stuff in this time too. Everybody did. It wasn't evenly distributed, but you can look at damn near anybody in the United States who's working class in like the late 40s, early 50s and be like, *** **** there might be something to this, this American dream thing. And the rest of the world isn't benefiting from that, right. But they're, look, they're, they're able to look in from the outside and they're able to see what's happening in the United States and the soldiers who are being sent from other Latin American countries to Panama to partake in the ground school, because Panama is run by the United States, they get to live in that world for a brief period of time. These students, most of whom had come from lower middle class families and very, very poor nations, are able to get a glimpse into the American way of life. They're there, they're getting paid money, they're getting, they're able to buy American products. And so they're they're they kind of get get a taste of what Americans are enjoying in the late 40s and early 50s. So in the in 1948, the ground school starts to offer a special training program for Argentine officers and enlisted men that mixed technical training with what Leslie Gill calls cultural persuasion. The US Army officials at the ground school wanted badly to make a good impression on the Argentines, who had broadly leaned towards the Axis during the war. Because, remember, Germany had taught their army a lot, a bunch of stuff. So as Argentina was one of the great powers of Latin America, gaining their trust successfully, you know, and drawing them into the bosom of US power was seen as a really important thing to do. It was a critical step and kind of locking down the continent and the whole hemisphere. Quote from Leslie Gill they dwelled on every aspect of the training program, they being the US trainers, which they believed carried considerable symbolic weight for the United States. One individual effused that it is no exaggeration to state that the cooperation and the solidarity of the Western Hemisphere nations depends to a great degree upon the impressions which the Argentine personnel take back with them to their native country. Army officers described the Argentines as extremely high type personnel who are probably well qualified. They told everyone who interacted with them. Learn the customs of the Argentine Army and to recognize the Insignia used to designate particular ranks. Most importantly, the officials advised course instructors from the 56th Anti Aircraft Artillery Group to instill among the trainees faith in the weapons and in this way to draw a connection between the powerful weapons and the United States. They asserted that if the Argentines had confidence in the weapons, they would have confidence in the United States and this confidence would spread when the Argentines returned home and taught others to use the guns. Building confidence in the United States was a complex undertaking that involved much more than impressive weaponry. The Argentine trainees held strong opinions about their national and racial superiority VIS a VIS other Latin Americans, and these views did not go unappreciated by their North American hosts. So, fortunately for this whole dream of getting Argentina on the US side, if there's one thing you could rely on U.S. military planners in 1948 to know how to do it was how to be super ******* racist. So officers at the ground school wrote that it was essential. In view of the nationalistic feelings of the Argentine and their belief in certain racial theories that they be made to feel they enjoy equal privileges with American officers and enlisted men. So wow, like most places in the American Empire, the ground school in Panama was was pretty segregated. White American soldiers ate better food, lived in better dorms, and enjoyed higher standards of comfort than their Latin American students. Uh, so they start issuing the Argentine soldiers passes that distinguish them from other Latin American students at the ground school and grant them privileges such as special. Food rights exemption from maintenance duties carried out by darker skinned Latin Americans. And, you know, obviously the US military in Panama has kind of its own racial theories. They believe that, like White suffered more from prolonged exposure to intense heat and humidity than than other peoples were more susceptible to certain diseases. Yeah. So I laugh because racism is so easy. Like, I get it. Like we, I, we've, I've been talking a lot about racism. I right about, you know, black representation in media and this like, it's so vividly easy to see. Like the comfort racism provides. Like my skin is so fair. How could I possibly do the labor this person is to look at their dark skin? They just they're made for this right off of it. This is where you belong. And you know, the idea that. We essentially brainwashed a people to believe that, like, if we think about you the way that the way racism separates and divides makes it nearly impossible to come together and have those conversations that allow you as like a community to grow and develop. So this idea of like, oh, make sure the light of your skin like Latin Americans understand that they're better so that as a country they can never follow, always be unrest in that space that is. So sick. Yeah, it's really ****** **. Umm, and there's this, there's this. So what's happening there is like white people kind of believed had been like dark skinned people in Latin America and the canal zone had been doing all the physical labor because of this belief that like white people like they just weren't weren't as suited to hard labor. And we, we add the Argentinian soldiers in like we treat them as white people as part of a propaganda campaign to kind of get that number one, to separate them from other Latin Americans further and to kind of get them on our side. So there's this kind of immediate willingness to, like, start racially playing the peoples of Latin America against each other now. Yeah. So this is, this is, uh, has a big impact on Argentinian soldiers, and it provides them with a taste of the American way of life, a sample of what it's like to be a white American. And this meshes well with kind of the other tastes they were offered at the ground school students were paid to attend. And as Panama was under US control, it's a place where they could buy a lot of consumer goods. This included a lot of Labor saving devices. Luxury products that would have been unavailable back in these students home countries. Things like laundry machines and dishwashers and blenders. In the late 40s and early 50s, a lot of this stuff was was just kind of like magic to many of these soldiers coming into the canal zone. And the fact that they could buy this stuff now when we're being like able to kind of participate in this, this racially segregated society on the top of it for a period of time, it not only does it reinforce the idea in their mind that the US is this kind of all powerful utopia, but it lets them feel like they're a part of it. And yeah, so that's that's a big aspect of what the American, you know, at this point called the ground school is trying to do with these soldiers. To be fair though, Robert, I still find washing machines and dishwashers to be magical. I hate them. Not a fan? Not a fan? Well, I like washing machines. I don't like dishwashers fair. So school instructors worked hard to keep their students occupied constantly with very little unstructured downtime. And this, too, was part of the grander strategy, Leslie Gill writes. Quote they did so for two reasons. First, they hope to convey to the students a particular vision of U.S. citizens as industrious and successful. Second, they wanted to keep students in the canal zone and out of Panama. Officials worried that disorders created by students such as public drunkenness, expressions of immorality or fights, would provoke. Ire of Panamanian authorities and cause a public relations difficulty for the US military. The Commandant did not mince words when he told a group of staff officers that in addition to taking care of these people and making them welcome and happy while here, they must be kept busy. Organize their instructions, make the schedule so that they do not have too much free time. Give them organized athletics, that they will stay in the zone and out of Panama. They are here to learn the equipment and technique. They must carry with them the impression that this is the way we work and why we are a great nation. So again, this is all there's there's, there's. It's kind of basic military training going on, but there's also this much deeper cultural training and what what the United States is and kind of us pushing like this is what your country should be. This reminds me a lot of the vow. I don't know if you guys are. Yeah. Yeah. There's to say it's all coach ****. There's not enough said about that. Yeah. You're very like, yeah. The brainwashing the way like a lot of the way they treat them like children. This idea of like, Oh no, the devil and I don't mind is the devil's workshop. Like, make sure they're they're kept busy because who knows what they'll get up to on their own devices. Like that wasn't at least from what I just heard it wasn't based off of like, oh, these are like young kids who are getting rowdy. Let's, you know, give them something constructive to do. It's like, well, they might embarrass us. So let's make sure they stay under our. Some like, yeah yeah. So much of racism is infantilization of of people and I it's yeah, yeah, there's a lot going on here. So for more than a decade, this kind of goes on and the the ground school quietly trains hundreds and eventually thousands of soldiers from not just Argentina, but Guatemala, Chile and a bunch of other countries in Latin America. And these men walked away from their months. It was often like a year long course in Panama with more than just an expanded understanding of US weaponry. They left with deep and personal. Knowledge of the wonders of American culture, American capitalism, the benefits that it could bring. And they they walked away in a lot of cases with an understanding, a personal brief and fleeting understanding of, of how good it felt to be a winner in that society. So these young, ambitious men get this taste of America at its height, and then they go home. They go home to their own nations, which much must have felt like crude backwaters by comparison. There's not a lot of luxury goods and appliances to buy. People don't work in the same way. Like this capitalism thing that has taken over the whole world now, hadn't yet. And it's this kind of like, what's one of the things that a lot of Latin American cultures are known for, you know, really, really putting a lot of emphasis on this idea of like a siesta or whatever. Like, you don't always work all the time. There's like culturally you build in periods of rest because it's healthy to rest even in like the middle of the day. We don't ******* do that in America. We drink coffee so that you can work through, you know, a 16 hour shift, right. So these guys. These, these young ambitious men get a taste of, you know, American man manic work culture in the kind of the, the kind of benefits that it can bring in terms of like the things you get to own when you partake in it and succeed. And then they go home to these countries where, like, people don't have the same attitude towards work and don't have access to a lot of the same luxury goods and appliances. And they draw connections between all this stuff. And they start to, they start to place blame on segments of their society for why they don't get to enjoy the same things they enjoyed. You know, in the Panama zone, including the fact that indigenous cultures in these regions valued leisure and community over relentless capitalism. And including the fact that there were a lot of left wing movements who were arguing that, like, things should be nationalized rather than this kind of free for all, lazy, fair ship that the US really wanted to push in all these Latin American countries because it benefited larger and already established American corporations. So not only, you know, they're frustrated when they come back and they also have a ready group of people within their own countries. Blame for the fact that things aren't the way they want them to be at home now that they know how you know things are in the United States. So a lot of these soldiers, you know, they would finish their time in their respective militaries after going to the ground school and they go on and do something else. But a significant number of them went on to be career officers. And since training at the ground school was prestigious, they often rose high in the ranks of their national militaries. As the 50s rolled along. There were a series of left wing revolutions in Latin America in 1952, Bolivia. At 8:00. Left wing coup, you know, kind of socialistic that brought in a new government that was dead set on nationalizing every mine in the country, which at that point we're basically owned by a bunch of US based corporations. Uh, then of course there's the Cuban Revolution of 1959, which brought that bearded heartthrob Castro, you know, into the hearts and minds of everybody. And then, yeah, kind of. It seems like in the early 50s, the left is on the rise in Latin America. And it was in the eyes of a lot of these officers who have been thoroughly. If you know, you compare it, you compared it earlier to a cult. They've been thoroughly enraptured by the cult of the American way of life. It seems like these, these left wing movements are hell bent on stopping Latin America from ever achieving that same dream. So the US government gets caught off guard by all of these revolutions as it generally is, by everything that happens. And Latin America, like they saw it as basically our property and suddenly, like the the Russians are parking nuclear missiles in Cuba, 70 miles off the the the Florida coast. So U.S. officials. In a panic and they're afraid that they might start to lose the whole region to this new wave of left wing politicians. Uh, the prevailing kind of political wisdom at the time was something called the domino theory, which stated that the fall of 1 nation to communism would start this like, horrible chain reaction would doom the whole continent to because they're all the same. Yeah. Yeah. And there's no way that people could be like, what, we just had free healthcare and we didn't let random foreign companies own everything in the country. And it's like, no, that the only that only leads to identical things to Stalinism and Maoism. You could you couldn't just do that. And then keep just like, whatever. It's a very frustrating idea that people have. So the US, like, panics as these revolutions start to take hold and they start turning to this network they have in Latin America. Of all of these military officers who are dedicated pro US capitalists, just kind of waiting in the wings, furious at these damn commies who are like pulling their people away from the promised land of being able to buy washing machines. So by the time the Cuban Revolution succeeded, nearly about 8000 students had graduated the ground. Cool. And these guys were a good start. But Washington realized that kind of the revolution sweeping Latin America were of such a scope that they're gonna need a lot more than 8000 dudes to put a lid on all of this now. President Kennedy is the guy who issued orders for the ground school to start training students in counter insurgency. U.S. special forces were sent to the ground school, and they start teaching courses and traveling around to these countries, too, and teaching people and, you know, the the exact nature of the counterterrorism courses that start getting counterinsurgency. Courses that start getting taught after Kennedy gives the order. Professor Michael Mcclintock describes them as the legitimization of state terrorism, as a means to confront dissent, subversion and insurgency. And that's really what's. Yeah, but we start backing state terrorism in order to stop left wing politics in Latin America. That's what happens in this. And that's, again, people accusing me of like, going after the right wing, that's JFK. Like, let's just keep that all in mind, that that's ******* JFK who does this, right? So in 1963, they changed the name of the ground school to the School of the Americas. That's when that that alteration happens. And this new name kind of reflected its expanded role as a tool in the hands of the US government, so in 1967. Just a couple of years later, uh, that's when Che Guevara, who had kind of gotten his start as acute, like fighting with Castro, launches a guerrilla campaign. And SE Bolivia and the School of the Americas, you know, had started kind of years before this as left wing sort of militancy and Bolivia had grown. They started taking in more and more Bolivian students. And so it was US trained soldiers who captured Che Guevara shortly after his arrival in the country and, you know, once he was captured, the US forces, like, who were kind of actually. Vetted there, actually wanted him at least a lot. Most of the stories you'll hear, like, wanted him to just kind of be taken into custody because they thought that killing him would turn him into a global martyr who had his face on a bunch of T-shirts at music festivals for decades. But the soldiers we trained were like, no, let's just murder him. So they murder him. And yeah, now he's he's on all sorts of T-shirts. Yeah, so. Yeah, well, I mean, yeah, I mean in and you know, I'm not a big fan of Chet, but, uh, it it clearly like what? One of the things that's funny to me is that you've got some of the guys who were some of the US, guys who were in the field instructing. These troops are smart enough to recognize what's going to happen if Shea gets executed. But the actual soldiers in charge, these Latin American officers, had learned so well from the United States, who was doing nothing in this. But creating martyrs that they like. They can't even listen to the direct advice in the field because they've been inculcated. This US style of thinking that that that, yeah, they just murder this guy. It's very funny. So, yeah, by opening up more slots in the school of the Americas to students of a different nation, the US was able to kind of modulate like, which countries got floods of these motivated. Far right. Military officers who were willing to like, take power and execute camp basically act as death squads against leftists. So they do that in Bolivia, right? Which is a big part of like, why **** what she's doing there doesn't work is the US had already flooded. Olivia with these trained and uh motivated kind of right wing ideologue soldiers and we do that in every country that we start to see the left wing take often. So in 19 in the 1960s, the Chilean left wing starts to organize and gain political power, led by a charismatic socialist named Salvador Allende and one of one of, you know, for an understanding of who ayende was. He was, he was a big backer of better educational policy. He wanted better education for like indigenous people. More people in in in Chile. He won a monster pay for this by nationalizing a lot of the different resources in Chile because, like, corrupt politicians prior to him had made these very much illegal deals with U.S. companies that basically gave them all of Chili's resources for for nothing. So he was like, well, let's stop that ****. Let's use the money from the resources that we have in our country to make life better for our people. And a bunch of Americans with financial interest and stealing Chili's resources are like, oh, that doesn't seem like a good idea. Umm. And so in the early late 50s, early 60s, the School of America starts taking in more Chilean soldiers under the guise of we'll train them how to be more effective soldiers and will also teach them about how Salvador I, Ende and everybody like him need to be ******* murdered. So yeah, the this again starts under the Kennedy administration. But you know, as as the whole Kennedy thing doesn't work out so well, things actually do work out for a while. For the Chilean left, something happened. Yeah, Bernard Montgomery Sanders made a couple of key decisions there. So that's as the as the Chilean left begins to win more victories, they start kind of quietly inviting the US starts quietly inviting more and more Chilean soldiers into the school of the Americas, and in fact, more Chilean soldiers trained at the School of the Americas than soldiers from any other country during the 1970s, between 1970 and 1975. I have a quick question, Robert. Are they like, I know that the job, like if you graduate from school, you're more likely to get a job that's higher up in the ranks, which probably means more money, but it's. Or other financial incentives from going to the school that, like, allow these people to maintain their power, like, or is their power strictly come from their training? It gets them better positions, which gives them control of more and more men, and higher numbers of their men are also trained at these schools, and they don't get money directly from that. But the fact that they're in this position means that suddenly there's this opportunity to, hey, if we take over, right? We have all the guns, we have the Millet, we are the military. If we take over, well then we can get all that money for ourselves and we can personally start to enjoy the benefits of this, like this, this lucrative American life. Like we can get rich like that. That can happen for us if we take over the country. If we stop these resources from being nationalized and going to all of the people, we can just sell them access to them to the United States and get this **** out for ourselves. This is happening all over Latin America. That that's why all these people get ******* rich. A lot of them do. Like when they when they do their coups is because. Like, they take over the country and then they get to sit down with all these corporations who had backed the overthrows of the governments in these nations and say, like, hey, we can keep this **** flowing to you, but like, Daddy needs a little cut and it's cheaper to you than giving than the entire nation getting a cut because all you got to do is help me and my buddies out. But yes, there, that's the financial incentive. And a lot of these guys, by the way, the ones who are really smart, wind up buying homes and property and immigrating to the United States. There's a bunch of America like there are a bunch of the. School of the Americas graduates help overthrow their governments, look their own countries and then flee to the United States when things start to turn against them politically. That happens all the ******* time. Greed is wild up to the present day. You know, we'll talk about Bolivia a little bit at the end of this, of this series. So when Salvador and he finally gets elected President of Chile, you know, the whole 60s, we're pumping soldiers who are, you know, trained to be these right wing idealogues into Chile and the Chilean left is rising politically and ayende finally gets elected president. The 1970 and you know, now he's going to be in a position to actually nationalize all these resources, help the Chilean people, and kind of **** over some big US corporations that have financial interests in Chile. So as soon as this happens, as soon as Ayende gets elected, and in fact a little bit before he actually gets elected, talk in the White House turns to cooling him out of power, Henry Kissinger says. I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its people, because it's the 70s. So Nixon. Yeah. Yeah. Nixon's in charge now. Yeah. But again, same basic idea under Nixon and JFK. And in fact, you look at that quote from Henry Kissinger, we don't why would we stand by and let a country go Communist? Because it's people are irresponsible. That's the same attitude that Woodrow Wilson professed, you know, 60 years ago, earlier. Too ignorant to run your own country. Yeah. Just the most batshit thing I've ever. I've never understand this. And of course Nixon expresses and again, we have this on tape. That's what we know. Because what? You said that ****. And Nixon is terrified that the nation might become another Cuba, which, like, I don't want to whitewash the bad things Castro did. But Cuba also has some of the best disaster response in the world, and more doctors than basically any other country. Like it's not exactly the nightmare story of community, but whatever. You know, every nation, because it's a nation, has bad **** to it, too. But like, I it's just so crazy to me, people looking at Cuba as this, like, nightmare when it's like, well, you want to look at the grand scheme of every nation on the planet. They're like, not in the worst part of the places in the world to be, yeah, I don't know, whatever. So under Nixon, the US backs I endes far right opposition for several years, and it engages in a program of vicious economic sabotage aimed at collapsing the Chilean economy. And thus, you know, all support in the new president. So the CIA starts reaching out to officers in the military who were solid right wing anti communists and one of the men that they reach out to is a general named Augusto Pinochet, who I'm going to guess that name is at least familiar to a lot of people. Now there's some debate as to whether or not Pinochet was the main architect of the coup that followed, which he claimed, or if he was just brought in at the last minute as a bunch of other members of the coup claim. And again, Pinochet is a liar, so I'm not going to say what the actual. Truth is here, but he gets involved at a certain point. And he was not a graduate of the School of the Americas, but basically 100% of the other officers who were involved in the plot against Ayende, including the guys who started the plot, were all graduates of the School of the Americas. How did Pinochet, like, just get ahead of all of them? He's real smart. He's very, very, very, very cunning political operator. Right. Like, you just have to give it to them sometimes. Like, he was good at what he did, which was become the dictator of Chile. Copy. Yeah. It's kind of like, how did Stalin wind up in power? Because if you look at the way things were, kind of at the start of the Bolshevik revolution, he he probably isn't the guy you would have guessed would wind up with all of the power. But he does. And it's a very complicated story as to how, but it boils down to he's real ******* smart dude, and hot and hot. Well, that is overblown, but he was very intelligent. Got a lot of acne scars that get that get Photoshopped out of skin? Shame him. I am gonna skin shave the dictator of the Soviet Union. Yeah, I'm not. I'm not. That's not the thing to. And I actually, they were like smallpox scars. So, yeah, the so all of these, basically all of the Chilean officers who start this plot to overthrow Allende and organize the military against them, are graduates of the school of the Americas. And these men saw Ayende, who sought to improve public education and ensure Chili's resources were shared for the benefit of its people, as a threat. Ayende meant a future without shiny new American malls filled with shiny new luxury goods that they could buy with the bribes. Received from the Western resource extraction companies that wanted Chili's wealth. So in September of 1973, a large group of Chilean officers, again, basically all the all of whom were graduates of the SOA, launch a coup. They surround the presidential palace and President Diende is found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Shortly thereafter there's debate over whether or not he shot himself, whether or not an aide shot him if the military killed him. We don't really need to get into that. He's certainly murdered by this coup. Like whether or not he pulled the trigger, he dies because there's a coup. Get stem. Yeah. So General Pinochet winds up in power, and he would hold. He would stay in power until 1990. During his reign, Chilean soldiers continued to train at the School of the Americas. They learned fun new counterinsurgency tactics to suppress the left, like throwing suspected leftist militants out of helicopters. They learned how to torture, and they practiced their new skills on 10s of thousands of their fellow Chileans. Between 1200 and 3200, people were executed by Pinochet. More than 80,000 were interned. And again. 10s of thousands were tortured. Now Pinochet himself didn't, you know, attend the school of the Americas. But the head of his secret police, Manuel Contreras, did graduate from the SOA. Another graduate of the SOA was the deputy director of Pinochet's secret police and so also another graduate of the SOA was the head of the Villa Grimaldi, which was Pinochet's notorious torture castle. He had a castle where he tortured people and the Villa Grimaldi was was particularly famous for its signature punishment, which was rape like that. This week, one of the things that's notorious about this is like male or female, you get sent here, one of the things that happens you're gonna get, you're gonna get really, really raped, like either by individuals or by individuals, like using objects. And it's kind of, it's to humiliate them in. I guess it's to humiliate the women too. But like this is like Ray a lot, pretty much every torture prison that exists, rape as a part of it. But as I say, it's just there, Guantanamo, but this is particularly a thing here that is so. The. They I. It's wild to me that in the desire for not just things, not just the ability to buy, not just the American dream, but like prosperity and future and like growth and development, we always like. We as human beings always seem to take a step back to the dark ages, like build a castle with giant walls and like, assault people as a form of of development so that we can all be better. Like, where is the logic? Well, you know, I think they had this building and it was a good place. From prison and they uh, you know, for whatever reason, one of the things you find studying the school of the Americas is that when people are trained in how to punish leftists by the US military, they wind up ****** their prisoners all the ******* time. It's a huge thing for SOA graduate big rapists, graduates of the SOA. Huge fans of of. Rape as a method of violent political control? Alright, just seeing the same thing in Oh my God. There's a country right now where there's a coup happening and they just forced a guy to, like, assault himself with a bottle. Oh yeah, yeah. I forget where that was, that I think. So, yeah, that wouldn't have anything to do with the US, really, because Belarus not. Not a lot of ties with Belarus Belarusian soldiers aren't being trained by the US military like, that's one you can't that's that's kind of more Russia's into things but also like just kind of fellow how different are we from like, I feel like so much of our tactics are just very similar in same results. This, this is the thing. And again it's the thing when you start talking about like, you know, people will talk about will praise the things that like, let's go back to Cuba, the things that Cuba does right and someone will bring up like all of the horrible human rights things that are real things, the Cuban government. Some ****** ** **** pertia like a lot of ****** ** **** like LGBT people. You know, it was happening during the AIDS crisis. A lot of reasons to criticize the Cuban Government, but you try to find a single thing the Cubans did that the United States isn't also doing in this period to members of multiple foreign nations and to its own nation like we've got. We've got no leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing these people just because you personally didn't get brought, taken into a rape castle and molested to death like we trained people and how to do that. And then we were like, it's good that they're doing this, let's be their friends while they do it because this is what we want them to do because it gets us copper, like, **** everybody. So yeah, the Villa Grimaldi ****** ** place and I'm going to quote from a report in Amnesty International on it, quote. They took us to an interrogation room where they had a metal bunk bed. There was another detainee on the top, and my partner was tied to the side. They were interrogating all three of us at the same time, taking turns to electrocute US1 after the other. The interrogation session lasted through the night into the next morning. Jesus Christ. Yeah. Now in Villa Grimaldi. Detainees would be electrocuted, waterboarded. They had their heads forced into buckets of urine and excrement. They were suffocated with bags. They were hanged by their feets or their their feet or their hands, and beaten. Uh. Women obviously were raped. Uh, and for some detainees. The punishment was death. The dark, cramped cells they were held in was just like. Yeah, that was that was, that was the that was the world you lived in, one detainee later recalled. After an interrogation, you would be thrown back in your cell. They would shut the door, and then the first thing you would experience is someone coming closer. They would hold you, help you lie down, take the blindfold off, and put some water to your lips. The electric shocks would make you stream with sweat, and you'd get extremely dehydrated, so very thirsty. And about 4500 people went to this place over the course of the time Pinochet was in charge. A lot of them never made it out. We'll never know how many died there. Huge numbers of people are still missing. Horrible, yeah. General Carlos Prats was one of the few members of the Chilean military command who remained loyal to President Ayende. For this, he and his wife were murdered by a car bomb in 1974 in Buenos Aires. Before his death, he mused on exactly how his former comrades in the Chilean military had, in his kind of words, confused Chilean national interest with the interest of the United States betraying their own people because, again, because of these ideas they buy into about like American, the American way, like this American dream they want. For themselves, they send thousands of their own people off to die. So this, this general who is one of like the loyal to the people of Chile generals, is kind of before his own murder, musing on how this happened. And this quote from him, I think is really, really telling. As far as the internal enemy is concerned, the opinion acquired by those who have attended courses at the School of the Americas and others organized by the Pentagon has been increasingly prevalent. Many of these soldiers have responded to the stereotypes and thoughts which were inculcated into them during these courses, and, believing they were liberating the country from the internal enemy, have committed a crime which can only be explained by their ingenuousness, their ignorance, and their political shortsightedness. I used to tell the President that we should send our officers to know what it was like in the countries of Europe, Africa and Asia. So as not to copy or imitate their armed forces, but so that they could widen their horizons and understand that the world does not begin to end in the schools of the Pentagon. So this is kind of his blame, you know this this is him specifically saying that like the the the mindset, it's not the specific training at the at the school of the Americas that has as much an impact on why these men do the things they do as the mindset, the inculcated in them. It turns them into. It turns them into the same kind of right wing extraction, hairy monsters that are currently governing, governing our own country and that have for a while determined US public policy. It turns them into little ******* nixons right, that's. That's what's happening here now. Another famed school of the Americas graduate was Hugo Banzer. He graduated from the USA in 1956. He went home to Bolivia. He rose through the ranks and he became a general. In 1971, he seized total power during a violent coup. He immediately closed universities and banned all political parties and activity. He jailed labor leaders, arrested 3000 political opponents, and had more than 200 of them executed. Under banzer's rule. The basement of the Ministry of the Interior was turned into a torture chamber. Or more than 2000 prisoners were held for his good work. Benzer earned a spot on the Wall of Fame back at the School of the Americas now. **** yeah, it sucks. It's it's one thing to go down there, like make a school, brainwash a bunch of people, spread them across the entire continent and allow them to take over. It is entirely another to be like, this is a prime example of the students we're trying to create. This is this guy did it. This is what we want you to do. I mean it. You couldn't be more direct. You couldn't be more direct. So now remember how I kind of started talking about the the ground school and, like, what it was trying to do to the minds of soldiers by talking about these Argentine soldiers who were like the first wave into that school? Well, one of the men in that first wave was a young officer named Leopoldo Galtieri. And he went on to again become a general because it's great for your career to go to the school of the Americas. And eventually, he helped carry out a military coup that took power in Argentina in the late 1970s. He became the dictator of Argentina. And as the dictator school of the Americas graduate, Gualtieri presided over more than 30,000 executions. Ohave other countries alone. We have to stop doing this **** right? Stop messing with us. Other countries, I mean, honestly, right now, the most of you have, but you keep that up. Like, keep this coronavirus energy later, like protect your citizens. That's nuts. It's ****. A lot of stuff's ******. There's a lot I could say about this. One of the things that's so ****** is that, like, we **** all these countries over and help them establish dictatorships. And because of how badly it goes, you get this attitude that the US should never do anything else. Ever so that when the people of these countries rise up against their dictators, uh, there's basically no nobody, there's no you can't you can't make a political argument for helping them because of how bad it works. Every time we like it's this and and it just it compounds the heart. It's just all ******. Everything's ******. I wish a lot of different. And there's a lot of people. If I could unborn people, there's a lot of people that would make not have been born. And most of them are America. So over the decades that it was open, the school of the Americas is known to have graduated at least 11 students who became dictators, which is a lot that so many dictators for one school. Is there any school competing with them for a number of dictators created? No, no, there's not like. If that's so many ******* dictators from a single school, yeah, I don't think anywhere has that kind of pedigree. Not even ******* Harvard. So the school? Yeah. Many of the school's deadliest graduates weren't always the ones who became world leaders, though. More than anything, school of America's men were the willing instruments of dictators. The happy killers who made the right wing authoritarian wave that crashed over Latin America in the 70s and 80s possible El Salvadoran. General Juan Zepeda was a graduate. He planned the assassination of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and their teenage daughter. The crime of these Jesuits was providing humanitarian aid to suffering left wing peasants. We'll talk a lot more about Catholics and Jesuit being murdered in the next episode because they're a big part of in Latin America. They get killed all the time by these right wing death squads because like, say what you about the Catholic Church in Latin America, a lot of Catholic and Jesuit leaders are like, oh, there's all these people starving to death. And, like, we should help them. And those people are also left wing, so you gotta murder those priests and stuff. It's this whole thing. What about Oscar Romero? A bit, yeah. Those are cool Jesuits, yeah. It's like it's I of the things the Catholic Church has done, this is the best of them is their attempts to reduce the horrors happening in Latin America in this period of time. Probably so. Zepeda, again school of the Americas graduate, was involved in 210 summary executions, 64 tortures, and 110 illegal detentions during his career. US training certainly influenced how he did what he did, but it's important to remember that a very deliberate campaign of US propaganda influenced. Why he did what he did. Leslie Gill, the author of that book, The School of the Americas that I keep citing, interviewed a number of graduates of the school, including a Bolivian Colonel who told her about the El Salvadoran soldiers he'd met there. And this guy is really interesting. We'll hear from him in Part 2 because he's very critical of the school of the Americas and what he learned there. But he also went like, he has this experience. He knows all these people who go there, so he's able to talk from direct experience about how would influences them as human beings and changes the way they think, which is part of why this book, the School of the Americas. Leslie Gill is such an incredible resource that really, if you care about this, you should buy and read. It's a very readable and and very detailed breakdown of what happened there. So I'm going to read a quote from this Bolivian Colonel. He's talking again about the El Salvadoran soldiers he met at the School of the Americas. Those guys thought about three things. First, they wanted to train themselves well. Second, they wanted to buy pickup trucks and drive them back to El Salvador. When I finished class at the end of the day and went to the library, they would go out and look for cheap pickups to buy. And third, they had a lot of relatives, and this is during, this is after 1984. So this is a period where the school of the Americas has moved to the United States and third, they had a lot of relatives who they wanted to see in the United States, especially Washington. And it was not the first time that they'd been to the United States. They admired the United States in the same way as the Bolivians who trained at the School of the Americas, so. Like, this is like, like that. That's interesting to me. These guys, when they get trained at the school of the Americas in the US, like the first thing they want to go do is buy cheap pickups and drive them back home again. This thing, this continuous thing from the 1940s of being an American, the thing that I've been inculcated in is this idea of, like, easy access to luxury goods. That's huge for these guys. And they have family members who have moved here and, like, become part of the culture. They're they're very much in their head in a lot of ways. They're Americans. And they're frustrated by the fact that other people in Bolivia, most of their countrymen, don't want their country to be more like the United States and the only way they can sort of it's the same thing you're saying now with all these right wing militias in the United States who see folks on the left here who want things that are different from them and the only thing they can think to do is kill them. Because at the end of the day, like, that's the kind of people that they are and they have guns, Umm. And it's the same thing going on in Latin America. It happens here. It happens there first, right? It happens there first as part of an organized plan by the United States and it happens here sort of by this is just the way things are going to go. You have all these people who believe the same thing who here in the United States who believe the same things as these officers were training in Latin America about the American dream, and they also come to believe the same thing about Communists and Marxists and whatnot. Making it impossible for them to live that dream by stopping the the heedless extraction of resources and trying to build a more equitable society. And both groups come to the same conclusion. These soldiers in Latin America and these militia dudes in the United States, which is murder. Everyone who disagrees with me and doesn't want me to have a cool truck. There's like a level of absolutism to the American Dream, which is like this idea of all or nothing, which is to me so fraught with like, I don't want to live my life on terms of like. Pass or fail, you know what I mean. And then the how that extends then to us versus them and then pass that to you either live our way or die. I I'm. Obsessed with this idea of like, especially when you start to look at like the items that they obsess over. Like, not only is there like a very strict uniform code, like if you've ever been in a protest with a **** ton of undercover cops, you can pick them out so fast they can't break that, like, uniform look. But then to this idea of like trucks, like trucks being a symbol, not just of masculinity, but of like. Freedom at the expense of others. Is that the way you say that? Like this idea of like, what is it about a pickup truck that makes you feel so much more? Is it the height? Is it the fact that you can haul a lot of things? I don't understand boys and their toys. I don't. I mean, I I just bought, I have a large off roading vehicle and they're fun. I wouldn't, you know. Shoot babies to death and light a church on fire to have access to an off roading vehicle? No. But they do have a power to them. Yeah. I I don't know. Like, there's a lot. There's a lot to be said about what trucks mean within the context of the American Dream and within sort of the American willingness to do violence both to the world, like, to the environment and to individuals around them. Like, there's actually a lot I think that should be ethnographically studied about how Americans view trucks, but that is too much of a topic for this. We're near the end of our episode and kind of. Before we close out and in Part 2, we're going to talk a lot more about, you know, we're gonna talk about the Mozote massacre. We're going to talk about Oscar Romero. We're going to talk about horrible things that happen in Guatemala. And we're going to talk about kind of what happens in the United States when the school of the Americas moves there and how it operates when it leaves Latin America. And and is it, it's it's operated out of Columbus, OH, after 1984. So, like column boids, that's what they call people from Columbus. We're talking about your backyard. Next episode. Hey, *******. And spessard, arenos, whatever we call you. Just jumping in here to let you know that I made a mistake. I said Columbus. OH there. It's actually Columbus, GA. The School of the Americas and the United States was outside of Fort Benning. I do apologize for the error. I've never actually made a mistake before in my entire life. So I, you know, we we we regret this being my first one. I want to cite a passage from an article on the School of Americas that I found in the Thomas Jefferson Law Review that just kind of runs through a horrific laundry list of the different things graduates of the SOA did to give you an understanding of just how widespread the destruction. From this school is it's almost impossible to keep in your head. So I'm gonna read that quote now. Pedro Pimentel Rios, who was an El Salvadoran soldier trained in the SOA, participated in the Dos Erres massacre, which resulted in the killing of 201 people. Soldiers systematically murdered men, women and children, bludgeoned villagers with a sledgehammer, threw them down a well, and raped women and girls. Haitian Colonel Frank Romein directed the Saint Jean Bosco massacre. As Father Jean Bertrand Aristide was saying, mass armed men broke into the church, killing 12 parishioners and wounding at least 27. They then doused the church with gasoline. Set it on fire Honduran General Romero Vasquez led the 2009 military coup in Honduras that overthrew a democratically elected government. Vasquez is the third SOA graduate to overthrow governments in Honduras, Nicaragua. During the Somoza dictatorship, more than 4000 National Guard troops graduated from the the SOA. Many of them became Contras, responsible for the deaths of thousands of Nicaraguan peasants. Between 1947 and 1979, more soldiers from Nicaragua attended the school than from any other country. Peru Telmo Hurtado. Directed the massacre of 69 men, women and children in Echo Marca after separating the women and children from the men, his unit raped them, ordered them into buildings and then set them on fire, where they burned alive. That's a tiny set. It's 5%, maybe of the of the crimes committed by SOA graduates. That's just one pair. I could have picked a bunch of different ones just summarizing the ******* nightmares that come out of this place. And we're going to talk about a massacre that makes all of those look tiny. Tomorrow. The Elma Azote massacre. We talk about it on Thursday, I should say. That cool stuff. Wow. Hard to hard. It's hard to like process, right? Right. Well, I mean, I think, like, I keep wanting to say something. I'm like, Oh no, that's happening right now. Like, how could you hate your fellow countrymen so much that you burned the mother note we we've been doing you from getting a truck. Like, how dare you stop the progress of all of us. I must progress faster. Or even just the idea of, like, it's hard for me to. OK, so I have two thoughts. One is I've been so poor, I've almost been homeless. Before I understand looking at a life of ease and coveting it and and being like that temptation of like, what would you like and really having to face the question of like, what would I do in order to have access to those things, right? Like, I I have like some level of sympathy for the boys that went into this school and were inundated with opportunity. Like that's the opportunity is a hell of a drug like the and especially when it's fed to you in such a sense of like, if you work hard, it's going to be there for you, all you had to do. It's all within you, right? Like that that part of the American dream of, like, it's already in there, you just have to tap into it hard enough is what I think drives some people right over the line because you don't want anything that stops yourself. That should be the easiest hurdle to overcome. And then I'm thinking about like, these men who returned home and like, there must be. Such a level of like. Self hate to look at people that look like you or have shared experiences as you, and then not just violently rape them, but also burn them alive. Women and children and like it's just yeah, I commend you on your ability to continue to find ******** after all these like people. I truly want to be like, I hate you for what you've done. I can't understand it, and I'm mystified. At the level of hate and destruction we as human beings are able to cause, it's just it's never ending. Yeah, it's it's. It's amazing and it is one of those things like, I'm not gonna pretend I don't see why. Part of what these people find appealing because like I am I am someone who I don't think I'm. I don't think as an adult I've ever been taken in by the American Dream as a an ideal. But I have been taken in by like I grew up poor and or at least poor by I don't know, kind of white people standards. Right. Like we weren't we weren't in the streets. But what my parents were worried about like being bankrupt and stuff and like it was, it was a really like. Atomic anxiety is a huge part of my youth, and it has kind of. It did propel me to focus on. Making money, right? Like I, I that has always been a huge thing for me, is being able to like live comfortably on my own without any help from anybody. And that's not a healthy part of my personality. Like it's it's not a good thing that I that I did. It's a thing that I did because of the the way in which I grew up in sort of an inability I had to kind of. Umm, like this constant fear that I had to sate before I could accomplish anything else. Like I had to not be scared about finances before I could do other things because of the it's not a good thing, right? It's it's it's not a it's not a good thing, but it's a I get how powerful The thing is. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the gentleman you were describing who went to the school but didn't come out brainwashed. Yeah, he's a really interesting guy. Yeah, how did you, how were you? Like one of I imagined. Very few people who were like, no, this is insane, you know, crazy what's happening around us. There's some people who just kind of have that ability, even within, you know, training regimens that are designed to. I I have a friend who was, who was in, you know, we talk about the Marines, the Marines. And like, one of the things he'll say about basic training is that, like, he kind of immediately realized, like, oh, this is a game. And I have to pretend to agree with and believe and react in certain ways in order to succeed at it and and and. Get through this part that like, I I know what they're trying to do and how they're trying to alter me and I have to pretend like it's having this effect so that I can get through this part and and do the stuff I guess that I want to do, right. Like some some people just have. And you get the feeling from this guy that he kind of like goes to this school and he doesn't agree with a lot of what's happening and he but he's able to see what's happening to other people there and it's good you know that he went and did that and brought back this experience so we're able to understand it. The human level, right. We need witnesses. Yes. It's a vital bad that this guy brought that experience to us. Yeah. Yes. Yes. This is exactly what James Baldwin talks about is being a witness. It's a it's a legitimate role. Some people frown upon it because you're literally like, I think some people view witnesses like just taking up space and documenting the story. But by not participating and by not stopping, you can better explain how things happened. And it's it's just as important as our quote. Quote heroes who are are changing the world for the better. Like it's it's where would we be without understanding how we got here in the 1st place? Yeah. I mean and it is one of those things like one of the critiques, I mean obviously like like Leslie Gill in her book like they didn't stop anything. You know the school of the Americas was kind of already past its period of real influence, of major influence by the time, you know her book came out. But it's important that it be documented that we understand this stuff because it. If if the information is allowed to get out to the people that needs to, it can act and building our cultural immunity to some of this stuff, and we have to have, we have to let it do that. We have to, we can't. We can't not learn these lessons, which is why I think, I think and you get the feeling one of the this is really the school of the Americas is such an amazing book to me because of the depth Leslie Gill goes into the number. She talks to instructors at the school and in from different eras. She talks to people who went there. She talks to their victims like she she is really, you can see motivated and she thinks she's a person who had spent a lot of time living in and around and like writing about Latin America and Latin American issues. She's a very, very. Competent, you know. Ethnographer, I guess you'd say. But you get this feeling that it was there was this kind of she understood how important it was for the story of what this place did to people, how it succeeded in its goal and the consequences, how crucial that is to get out to people. Because, I mean, for one thing, it's happening ******* Oregon right now, like we're seeing school of the Americas **** starting just the earliest stages, thankfully. Not the mass grave stages, but the things that could lead to that if people aren't careful, like it's it's happening here. So we should understand what happened over there that we did to these people, you know that that we did in a lot of cases and and a lot of them did too. Like, you know, not to, I don't want to like, you don't want to. One of the problems sometimes with criticizing, like the US influence on places like this is like then you you you don't criticize the fact that there's a lot of, you know, folks who live in those countries and come from those countries who did a lot of ****** ** **** too. But like we what happened over there, the violence they committed in our name was part of a plan. That US leaders had and executed and that's important to know. So, Joel, we'll talk more later. Let's start. Two's are coming. I look forward to it. You want to plug anything? Uh. If you're intrigued by any of the comments I made about black representation in America and the Horror Story that that is, I am recapping Lovecraft country for the AV Club right now. It is a doozy. There is a lot happening, especially if I don't know when this will be released, but if you all have seen Episode 5, then you know what goes down. So yeah, check that out. Otherwise, you can find me all over the Internet at Joel. Monique, that's JOELEMONIQUE. Yeah, come. Chat with me about the crazy ******** you guys talk about. Yeah, always fascinated by this show. And you can't find me at those same places online because I am not Joelle Monique. So that's the end of the you can follow Robert on Twitter and I write OK you can follow us on Twitter password? We have two public store. They'll do it. I don't know. I was trying to explain to them why they couldn't find me because I thought that would be useful to people. Yeah, but the contract you posted is important. All right. Well, thank you everybody, Twitter. Don't. Be in a fire. By. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams. 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