Nairn: Murder as US Policy

Don’t think for a minute that this stuff isn’t happening in the present day just because this dates back to the mid-90’s. Twenty years from now we’ll be reading about what’s going on in the present day. That is if we ourselves haven’t joined the peasants of guatemala.

The US media’s silence on washington’s decades-long institutionalization of mass murder and torture is treasonous, not least because of what such policies imply about our future domestic situation when/if the economy goes to hell.

There are no “liberals” in the american media establishment.  They are all fascists and worse.

From: ri…@pencil.cs.missouri.edu (Rich Winkel)
Subject: NAIRN: Murder as US Policy
Date: 1995/04/07
Message-ID: <3m4fi2$l…@news.missouri.edu>
newsgroups: misc.activism.progressive

/** reg.guatemala: 137.0 **/
** Topic: Nation: State Dept. & Guatemala **
** Written 12:03 PM Apr 7, 1995 by nation in cdp:reg.guatemala **

Murder As Policy
by Allan Nairn
The Nation magazine, April 24, 1995

In Washington the spin on the disclosure that the U.S. government has been helping to run death squad operations in Guatemala has been that the crimes have not been policy but rather the work of C.I.A. rogues. The State Department, for example, has tried to say–with generous help from the press–that it has been an innocent bystander to forty years of army slaughter.

One former Ambassador to Guatemala, Thomas Stroock (1989=- 1992), was recently painted by The New York Times as having tried to rein in an out-of-control C.I.A. In fact, his real role, as has been that of all U.S. ambassadors since 1954, was to cover for and, in many ways, facilitate American support for a killer army. Stroock, characterized by the Times as “a broad-shouldered affable oil man from Wyoming [who] found himself staring into the heart of darkness,” was actually the on- the-scene supervisor of a broad, multi-agency program of support for the Guatemalan military.

An example of the State Department’s work in behalf of this U.S. policy was Stroock’s attempt to intimidate one of the army’s victims, an American citizen. On January 29, 1990, Stroock tried to discourage Sister Dianna Ortiz, who had been gang-raped and tortured, from discussing possible U.S. involvement in her abduction with a chilling, three-page single-spaced letter to her lawyer in which, among many other things, he accused the Ursuline nun of “an offense against the Eighth Commandment” (“Thou shalt not steal”; the affable Ambassa- dor probably meant the Ninth: “Thou shalt not bear false witness”) because she had stated her belief that the chief of her tormentors was an American who seemed to be linked to the U.S. Embassy (she had escaped by leaping from his jeep as he was, he claimed, driving her to the embassy). Stroock wrote: “I find the insinuation that U.S. Govern- ment personnel in Guatemala are involved in any kind of human rights violations against anyone to be insulting, absurd, and ridiculous…a scurrilous smear on the good names of the fine Americans who serve their country in this Mission.” Ortiz’s allegation of U.S. involvement “raises the most serious questions about” her “credibility, sincerity, and motives.”

By that time, Stroock’s aide, Lewis Anselem, the State Depart- ment’s human rights chief at the embassy, was suggesting to foreign visitors that Sister Ortiz had not been abducted but had been wounded in a sadomasochistic lesbian tryst. This lie was publicly repeated by Gen. Hctor Gramajo Morales, then Minister of Defense and a paid asset of the C.I.A., whose men had, by all evidence, raped and tortured Ortiz.

As Ambassador, Stroock had routine access to the C.I.A.’s list of its assets in the Guatemalan Army, as well as knowledge–widely shared throughout the embassy–that the agency was engaged in “liaison” with the death squad coordinator, the G-2. (Reached in Guatemala on April 4, Stroock, now retired, declined to comment. Asked whether he had had access to the asset list, Stroock said “Good night, sir,” and hung up.) The C.I.A. “liaison” relationship with the G-2 has been, by standard procedure, sanctioned by the White House and State Department and was even discussed by senior embassy officials in spring 1990 back- ground press briefings. The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, both citing “diplomats” and “diplomatic …sources,” reported that the United States was using the G-2 to promote “stability” in Guatemala (the L.A. paper even mentioned that the C.I.A. was paying the G-2).

During this period Washington, through its embassy, was sup- porting the Guatemalan Army in numerous ways:

Green Berets openly trained the Kaibil massacre force, the army’s self-proclaimed “Messengers of Death.”

Guatemalan officers made consultation and training trips to the Pentagon and U.S. military bases, where some (e.g., at the School of the Americas) were used as instructors for other Latin American countries’ troops (the S.O.A. even erected a plaque in honor of a notorious Guate- malan commander, Gen. Manuel Callejas).

The United States openly sold weapons to Guatemala with the support of Democrats in Congress, including 16,000 M-16s, some of which were used by the army in a December 1990 massacre in Santiago Atitl n.

Hundreds of U.S. troops (mostly from the National Guard) went to Guatemala to work with the general staff on “civic action” and roadbuilding in massacre zones.

Most important, Washington’s actions send a constant message of political support to the Guatemalan military, even when the State Department is hypocritically criticizing crimes secretly committed by unacknowledged U.S. employees.

All these forms of support have continued even after U.S. military aid to Guatemala was ostensibly cut off in December 1990, under Bush and Clinton, with only a few pragmatic, subtle alterations. The Kaibil training, for example, has been shifted underground; the consultation/training trips continue but in the guise of teaching “democ- racy.” (This past September 8, Maj. Mario Sosa Orellana, one of the officers implicated by 1993 eyewitness testimony to the Organization of American States in the torture and murder of guerrilla leader–and husband of Jennifer Harbury–Efra!n B maca Vel squez, was brought to Washington by the U.S. Information Agency with thirty-two other officers for Pentagon seminars on “Civilian-Military Relations in a Democratic Society.”) Pistol and rifle sales continue to be licensed by the Clinton State Department, in apparent violation of a written agree- ment with Congress requiring that the appropriations committees be notified.

Indeed, there have been further displays of support. Last October Guatemalan troops were sent to Puerto Rico for Green Beret “peace- keeping” training. Subsequently, a Guatemalan force overseen by a G-2 man, Maj. Jos Fernando Paiz Prem, was deployed by the United States to Cap Haitien, Haiti. Last December, despite an increase in assassina- tions and disappearances in Guatemala and Jennifer Harbury’s coura- geous hunger strikes outside the Palace and the Politcnica, Anthony Lake, Clinton’s National Security Adviser, decided–in consultation with the State Department and the Pentagon–to post U.S. troops to Guatema- la again this springa. They are still there.

** End of text from cdp:reg.guatemala **

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