Thursday, March 03, 2005

John Negroponte: Rewarding Terrorism

Central figures in the Iran-Contra affair and other human rights disasters are being rewarded and promoted.

To make a long story short in the beginning - here is the John Negroponte timeline:
  1. There were atrocities known about in Honduras by our ambassador under President Carter
  2. Reagan appoints Negroponte to replaces that ambassador
  3. Suddenly our new ambassador doesn't know about atrocities - for four years
  4. Areas directly managed by Negroponte become known for torture centers, like El Aguacate, where 185 bodies would be dug up later
  5. Known associates of Negroponte are known to be leaders of violence. Some trained at the School of the Americas
  6. Death squad leaders are permitted to retire in the US after the conflict
  7. George W. Bush apoints Negroponte to be UN ambassador
  8. Before any real dialog can take place, the death squad leaders were all deported from the US where they couldn't be questioned easily
  9. The man who claimed to be oblivious to the wave of murder around him wants to lead out whole intelligence community

In his 2001 hearings for ambassador to the UN, Negroponte said, "To this day I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras."

Al Gonzales skated past his memos okaying torture and overriding due process to become the first Hispanic Attorney General of the United States.

Elliot Smith has recently been named as the man who will lead democracy efforts abroad as President Bush promoted him to deputy national security adviser. Smith pleaded guilty in 1991 for lying to and withholding information from Congress regarding the Iran-Contra affair. President George H.W. Bush pardoned him in 1992 just before leaving office.

During the Iran-Contra era, during Negroponte's era, US military aid to Honduras expanded from $3.9 million to $77 million. Atrocities during this time period which Negroponte knows nothing about includes 32 nuns who were kidnapped and reportedly thrown from helicopters.

Here are a few scenarios to consider when reviewing these men. These men are simply opressed and deeply misunderstood, to the tune of screaming men and women in dark rooms. They actually are so ignorant and unaware that they didn't notice that the world around them was being slaughtered, in which case they are totally unqualified to hold any job protecting public interests.

Or, they were aware of the policies they were actively involved in and knew about the mass murder and human misery next to them that the world knew about from afar.

Since the confirmation process seems to be simply a formality, people should educate themselves about the the people who are being passed into power. We should also ask ourselves what message this sends about the value of human life and dignity, respect for Latin America or the future plicies of this country towards it's own citizens and others?

Thse questions become more important when we remember that just a couple of months ago, the "Salvador Option", introducing death squads to Iraq, was being explored. This appointment would basically say the debate is over.

Here is 1995 coverage from the Boston Sun on Negroponte and what happened under his watch.

Former envoy to Honduras says he did what he could,0,2446240.story

When a wave of torture and murder staggered a small U.S. ally, truth was a casualty, Was the CIA involved? Did Washington know? Was the public deceived?
Now we know: Yes, Yes and yes.,0,1240201.story

Glimpses of the 'disappeared',0,1305738.story

Torturers' confessions
Now in exile, these CIA-trained Hondurans describe their lives -- and the deaths of their victims,0,2249629.story

A survivor tells her story Treatment for a leftist:
Kicks, freezing water and electric shocks. In between, a visitor from the CIA.,0,1502347.story

How a journalist was silenced,0,1567884.story

More coverage at The Nation this week:
Throughout this episode, Negroponte acted as the boss of the contra operations in Honduras, and he participated in the covert quid pro quo arrangement. According to a 1997 CIA inspector general's report, he also smothered reports on human rights abuses committed by the Honduran military.

Since the early 1980s, Negroponte has denied that his partners in Honduras perpetuated deliberate and extensive human rights abuses. Yet this CIA report concluded, "The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned." According to the report, the US-backed Honduran army was linked to "death squad activities." The report quoted an official in Negroponte's embassy saying that "the embassy country team in Honduras wanted reports on subjects such as [human rights abuses] to be benign" because such reporting "would reflect negatively on Honduras and not be beneficial in carrying out US policy." The heavily redacted CIA report said that in one case the embassy discouraged reporting on a particular human rights matter because of Negroponte's concern that it would "create human rights problems for Honduras."

In 1995 Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson of The Baltimore Sun unearthed massive and substantiated evidence from various sources pointing the finger at Mr. Negroponte knowledge of the crimes. The reporters also found that hundreds of Hondurans "were kidnapped, tortured and killed in the 1980s by a secret army unit trained and supported by the CIA"(2). Reliable evidence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Honduras alleged that Negroponte oversaw the expansion of U.S training camp and military base on Honduran territory, where US-trained Contras terrorists, and where the military secretly detained, tortured and executed Honduran suspected dissidents.

More Resources on this appointment:

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