April 27, 2004
NEGROPONTE - Sleeping Ambassador or Death Squad Diplomat?
BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
As reports are coming in that yet more Iraqi civilians are being killed in Iraq [The Guardian], is it any wonder that the Honduras reneged on their commitment to participate in the effort to rebuild just as Bush announced that their former Ambassador from the U.S. was taking over?
During a recent press conference, President Bush recently scolded a reporter to not undermine the importance of our allies contributions in Iraq. There is much evidence that they may have withdrawn due to his recent appointment of John Dimitre Negroponte to Ambassador of Iraq. To the people of the Honduras, the mention of his name alone undoubtedly conjured up bloody memories of the CIA-backed death squads and countless atrocities.
"The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned," the IG (Inspector General of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) acknowledged. "CIA reporting linked Honduran military personnel to 'death squad' activities." One CIA cable released with the report identified the "Honduran Anti-communist Liberation Army," a secret military squad that engaged in "surveillance, kidnappings, interrogations under duress, and execution of prisoners who were Honduran revolutionaries." - excerpt [Parascope.com]
How closely can all of those atrocities be tied to Bush's nominee for the position of Iraqi Ambassador? As Ambassador to the Honduras, it is possible that he was merely asleep the entire time he was on duty, and it was merely negligence which allowed his assigned country to become a major staging and training grounds for the Reagan-Bush cabinet's Iran-Contra affair. Negroponte may not have meant to misrepresent the abuses by the CIA backed military in his reports, and it may have been only accidental that the years of obfuscation thwarted any possibility of proper Congressional oversight of illegal CIA covert operation.
That's the ticket.
Although the sheer number of mass murders filtered through into U.S. reports, it was only the occasional murder of an Archbishop, that group of nuns, or a Seattle man down there helping to construct a water supply that made headlines.
The widespread use of American aerial surveillance to direct the Contra murderers to villages where only women and children were present to be killed, the routine use of torture, the encouragement of drug-smuggling into the U.S. to provide funding for the U.S.-backed forces all were revealed only after Negroponte had left his post as U.S. Ambassador to the Honduras. And who could forget the Honduran Anti-communist Liberation Army's ever popular practice of dropping victims from helicopters while they were in flight?
Make no mistake about it -- both Iraqi rebels and Al Qaeda terrorists see Negroponte's appointment as the first stage in implementing a policy of covert violence against their right to sovereignty and will effectively use it to recruit and incite radicals to commit more acts of violence against us. It's no coincidence that our Office of Homeland Security issued a heightened security alert just as Bush announced his plans for Negroponte.
Senators who stand ready to rubberstamp Bush's nominee should think about this: Whether or not Ambassador Negroponte advocated death squads or the indiscriminate murder of the general population in the past isn't the problem. What matters is that it happened on a large scale over a long period of time while under his watch. And with that in mind, once he's installed, will America be any safer than when Saddam Hussein was running the place?
And speaking of sleeping while on duty, let's not forget how far Iraq has slid into open rebellion since Mzzz. Condoleezza started running her Iraq Stabilization Group just five months after Bush publicly declared that the major war operations were over. [BuzzFlash.com]
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
HOTLINKS: Award Winning 1995 Baltimore Sun Series About US activities in Honduras
a wave of torture and murder staggered a small U.S. ally, truth was
of the 'disappeared'"
survivor tells her story"
a journalist was silenced"
carefully crafted deception"
envoy to Honduras says he did what he could"
Additional research yield:
"On August 27, 1997, CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz released a 211-page classified report entitled "Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980s." This report was partly declassified on October 22, 1998, in response to persistent demands by the Honduran human rights ombudsman. You can read parts of the document on the National Security Archives website. Only senators and their staff who have security clearance can read the report in its entirety. It is absolutely critical that every senator read and consider the entire report before approving Negroponte’s nomination. Negroponte is highly respected in diplomatic circles as "a man who speaks five languages but knows when to keep silent." Due to his urbane temperament and broad support in the professional diplomatic field, it will be very tempting for senators to whisk his nomination through". -excerpt http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO404E.html
Washington turned a blind eye to the army’s human-rights violations even when the U.S. ambassador himself reported them. Jack Binns, a Carter appointee who served as ambassador to Honduras from September 1980 through October 1981, was rebuked by his State Department superiors for continuing to report the rapid rise in violations that accompanied Battalion 316’s emergence.
As Amb. Binns told a May 1997 seminar hosted by the Center for International Policy, the Reagan State Department made clear its displeasure with his insistence on reporting human-rights violations. In June 1981, after Binns described a rash of abuses and recommended a cutoff of military assistance, he was summoned to Washington by Thomas Enders, the assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs. Enders asked Binns to discontinue his reports about the military’s crimes because it could prejudice attitudes toward the administration’s policies in Central America. Binns refused to honor this request.
Upon returning to Tegucigalpa, he learned that the CIA had been instructed not to share information on human-rights issues with the embassy. The ambassador, ostensibly the highest U.S. authority in the country, was cut "out of the loop" by a supposedly subordinate agency.
Forced to rely on overt sources for information, Amb. Binns continued reporting the military’s abuses and urging Washington to take action; by the fall of 1981 he was called home early and replaced with John D. Negroponte, a "team player" who shared the administration’s vision. During his four-year tenure Amb. Negroponte cleared the way for a massive U.S. and Honduran military buildup—a strategy that required categorical denials of the Honduran military’s human-rights violations in order to be palatable domestically. Unlike Amb. Binns, Amb. Negroponte willingly obliged. - excerpt
"Open the Files-A chance to aid demilitarization
"In a cruel irony, the Bush administration has appointed a bona fide "terrorist" to wage its "war on terrorism" in Iraq.
In the words of Human Rights Watch's executive director Kenneth Roth: "There are serious unanswered questions about his complicity with the atrocities in Honduras and the war in Nicaragua."
But "atrocities" are part of the Bush Administration's agenda in Iraq. Negroponte is "the man for the job". He has as the required skills from his stint in organizing death squadrons in Honduras.
The hidden agenda is to replicate in Iraq, the Central American death squadrons of which Negroponte was one of the main architects.
Negroponte is not being nominated for his diplomatic skills. His mandate does not consist in "peace-keeping" or "peace-making" in liaison with the UN, nor is it concerned with post-war "reconstruction".
His background is CIA. His nomination responds in a very direct way to the current situation, with a mounting resistance movement, which is challenging US military presence throughout Iraq. In other words, his mandate is to mount an effective counterinsurgency, using both overt and covert operations. -excerpt
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