Tyrants Several Times Deadlier Than Natural Disasters

February 13, 2009

[First published December 6, 2005] Have you noticed how disasters will dominate the headlines and mobilize the world to rush aid to the region or country involved, and help search for survivors? We’ve all see the moving videos — the bodies pulled from wreckage of hurricanes, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tornadoes, the destroyed homes and rubble everywhere. Then in hours come the headlines, “Death toll in quake feared to be 10,000,” “Village leveled by volcanic blast — 2000 dead,” or “Tsunami killed 2,500.”

These headlines are soon followed by, “Aid rushed in . . . ,” “U.S. planes carry . . . ,” or “UN Annan inspects . . . .” Surely, such headlines should invoke memories, for they have deluged us all. I do not wish to make light of such disasters or the plight of the victims. Our heats go out to them. I just want to draw an incredible comparison to the democide, which goes on and on without headlines or aid or intervention, as in North Korea, Sudan, Burma, the two Congos, Angola, and so on.

In the last century, 56,679,764 people died in disasters, totaled for those killing more than 10,000 people. The list is here, and includes the 5,000,000 Ukrainians that Stalin purposely starved to death 1932-1933. I arrived at the above 56,679,764 figure by subtracting the 5,000,000 Ukrainians from the list total. Oddly, the world’s worst famine created by Mao in China, 1958-1962, is not listed as a disaster.

There is also another list of the “Death Toll from Disasters, War & Accidents, which comes to 99,000,000 for disasters alone. I suspect that it includes Stalin’s and Mao’s democidal famines, the latter listed in a different table on the same page as 30,000,000. So, I will take the total in the above paragraph and estimate that when the dead for disasters less than 10,000 are added, the disaster toll for the last century is 60,000,000 dead.

That is an indigestible number. It is as though virtually every living human being in France, or Britain, or everyone in Italy or South Korea were wiped out. If the average height of these dead were five feet, the bodies lined up head to toe would span 56,818 miles. The circumference of the earth is 24,855 miles. So, the 60,000,000 dead from disasters would circle the earth head to toe 2.3 times! Wow, what a lot of bodies.

Of course, you know where I’m going with this. The total murdered in all communist countries alone was 148,000,000, or 2.5 times those killed in disasters. For all countries, the world total is 212,000,000 murdered in the last century — 3.5 times all of the century’s disasters. Since almost all these murders were by dictators, I can say this.

Dictatorships are human made disasters many times more deadly than nature’s. Dictatorships are not simply disasters, they are human catastrophes. Power kills, absolute power kills absolutely.

It should be a crime against humanity for any dictatorship to exist.

Spread the word and help freedom ring.

Dictatorships — A Crime Against Humanity

December 5, 2008

[First published December 31, 2004] By international law, as defined in the statute of the International Criminal Court, genocide is illegal. And the statute names murder and extermination (actually types of democide, as is genocide) as crimes against humanity. Also, various international human rights conventions have been signed and ratified by well over a majority of nations, such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly; and the two international covenants passed by the General Assembly in 1966, one on civil and political rights and the other on economic, social, and cultural rights. These conventions unambiguously assert the right of a people to life, liberty, freedom from torture, equal protection of the law, secret ballot, periodic elections, and freely chosen representatives.

In brief, it is illegal for governments to murder their people, torture them, and deny them democratic freedom.

Well, then, who does this? Who systematical violates these international laws? Assuredly, the regimes of Syria, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Egypt, Libya, Cuba, Angola, Chad, and so on. But, this is tiresome. Why keep listing these countries that violate international law, whose rulers are criminals because of the genocide or democide their agents commit, and their denial of their people’s human rights—freedom. Better, lets just simplify this and introduce what is sadly missing in our news and commentary, which is moral clarity.

So, I suggest that finally we call all dictatorships what they are. Since in themselves they are a crime against humanity and thus illegal under international law, we should recognize that all dictators are international criminals. Period.

After all, in most cases nondemocratic governments are nothing more than gangs of thugs. They have seized or hold power with their guns and use their naked power to pillage, rape, and kill at their whim. The are like a gang of thugs that have descended on a group of hikers, stealing their possessions, raping some, and killing others.

Unlike these thugs who need no justification for their debauchery, out international thugs often use nice words that seduce the intellectually unwary and naive, such as justifying their actions and rule by their alleged pursuit of development, glory, some Utopia, racial purification, religious doctrine, or simply by saying that they are a “government.” But beneath this cover they remain what they are — gangs of international outlaws.

If we keep firmly in mind that many governments are made up of nothing but supremely powerful gangs of thugs, then it clarifies much of the why and how of democide and war. It makes it easier to see them all as the criminals they are, to take international action to bring them to justice, or at least to put a halt to their repression and violence.

Of course, characterizing all dictatorships as criminal will upset the diplomats and international relations specialists of the democracies who see stability of relations, diplomatic interaction, balancing of interests, and personal relationships with dictators as paramount for their national interests and the peace. I submit. They are wrong, deadly wrong. Peace and national interests are best preserved by democratizing these dictatorships and unchaining their people – by freeing them from fear.

Pol Pot? Idi Amin? No, Its Pinochet.

December 1, 2008

[First published on December 19, 2004]

Pol Pot? Idi Amin? No, It’s Pinochet. Again.

Again, former Chilean President Augusto Pinochet is headlined, as by a recent article in BBC News . And Friday evening, Lehrer’s PBS news hour had a segment on his torture and murders. Evidence of the attention he garners is that there are 428,000 links to “Augusto Pinochet” on Google.

In 1973, Pinochet seized power from Chile’s democratically elected President Allende and ruled dictatorially until he stepped down as president in 1990 to be replaced by Patricio Aylwin, who was elected through democratic multiparty elections. 

Now, by my statistics, which end in 1987, during his rule Pinochet is likely responsible for the murder of 10,000 Chileans, possibly even as many as 30,000. He is a mass murderer, and should be locked away forever or executed.

Yet, one must ask, why in a world of mass murderers that have killed far more people than Pinochet, do the media and human rights organizations devote so much attention to him? Elsewhere, many former mass murdering dictators and their henchmen walk the streets free from publicity or have died in their sleep never having faced justice. Uganda’s former President Idi Amin, who murdered 255,000 people, some with his own hands, fled Uganda into exile and lived in Saudi Arabia with his four wives and with a government stipend until he died peacefully in 2003. 

Here is a list of those nations or rulers responsible for murdering more citizens than the probable 10,000 Pinochet killed during, or almost over, the same period of Pinochet’s rule (statistics give the number murdered, nation, and years—click the nation for sources).

  • 2,000,000 Cambodia/Pol Pot (1975-1979)
  • 874,000 China (1976-1987)
  • 780,000 USSR (1970-1982)
  • 725,000 Ethiopia (1974-1987)
  • 255,000 Uganda (1979-1987)
  • 230,000  Cambodia/Samrin  (1979-1987)
  • 228,000 Afghanistan (1978-1987)
  • 198,000 Mozambique (1975-1987)
  • 125,000 Angola (1975-1987)
  • 56,000 Laos (1975-1987)
  • 55,000 Iran (1979-1987)
  • 20,000 Argentina (1976-1982)
  • 15,000 Philippines (1972-1986)
  • 15,000 Bangladesh (1972-1987)

Pol Pot, the worst of the lot over this period, responsible for the murder of 2,000,000 Cambodians in four years, was arrested in 1997, charged with treason, and sentenced . . . get this now . . . to house arrest. 

For comparison, there are 361,000 references to mega murderer “Pol Pot” on Google, 67,000 less than to Pinochet who murdered probably 10,000, but in no case over 30,000 during the period I covered. As to Idi Amin who murdered 255,000 Ugandans, there are 185,000 links to him on Google, less than half those for Pinochet. Why the huge difference in attention? 

I suspect it is because Pinochet was a victorious enemy of the left. He seized power from Chile’s Marxist president who was maneuvering his own revolutionary overthrow of the democratic system, and eventually succeeded in setting the stage for a return to a moderate democratic government and full capitalism (this is a description and not praise of his mass murders to achieve this). Most of the other killers on the list above, including Pol Pot, however, were Marxist or socialist of some favor (Amin was praised by the left as an anti-imperialist, particularly his nationalization of foreign businesses; in 1975 he was elected president of the Organization of African Unity). To coin a phrase, for the Marxist and left, which dominate the major Western media, academic studies, and human rights organizations, which is the worst of the worst seems to depend on whether their ox is gored. 

Of course, I may be wrong. This attention may be coincidental, as might be the fact that the religion of those who pay so much attention to the Holocaust is Judaism.