Archive for the Guatemala Category

New Snowden documents detail political and corporate espionage by US, UK [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Andrew Lukashenko, Belarus, Brazil, China, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Peru, Russia, Somalia, Syria, U.K., Ukraine, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yemen on April 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
31 March 2014

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been engaged in aggressive surveillance operations against Germany’s political and corporate establishment and against more than 100 heads of state around the world, secret documents disclosed by Der Spiegel and the Intercept show.

The classified files leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the two publications show that the NSA targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel and more than 100 other leaders of foreign governments as part of a program known as “Nymrod.”

Heads of state listed on on the leaked files include, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf, Peruvian President Alan Garcia, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Malian President Amadou Toumain Toure, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, and Ukrainian Prime Minister and oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko.

The documents also show that GCHQ targeted three German firms in complex operations that involved infiltration of their computer systems and surveillance of employees…

…These are only the latest revelations showing that the NSA’s surveillance activities have targeted Germany’s leadership. As of yet, Germany has been hesitant to mount a legal challenge to the operations, as such a move could exacerbate already growing tensions between US and German imperialism. “The launch of legal proceedings against GCHQ agents or NSA employees would quickly become a major political issue that would further burden already tense trans-Atlantic relations,” Der Spiegel wrote.

The documents also show that the NSA’s Special Source Operations (SSO), which oversees the agency’s “corporate partnerships” with US telecommunications companies including Google, Microsoft, Verizon and AT&T, received an open-ended FISA court authorization in 2013 to conduct surveillance against targets in Germany.

According to Der Spiegel’s report, the FISA court has granted similar authorizations for blanket surveillance operations against Mexico, Venezuela, Yemen, Brazil, Guatemala, Bosnia, Russia, Sudan and China…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/03/31/nsas-m31.html

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Jimmy Carter And Human Rights: Behind The Media Myth [FAIR / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Genocide, Guatemala, Haiti, Historical myths of the US, Indonesia, Iran, Media cover-up, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Sep. 21 1994

By Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon

…During his presidency, Carter proclaimed human rights to be “the soul of our foreign policy.” Although many journalists promoted that image, the reality was quite different.

Inaugurated 13 months after Indonesia’s December 1975 invasion of East Timor, Carter stepped up U.S. military aid to the Jakarta regime as it continued to murder Timorese civilians. By the time Carter left office, about 200,000 people had been slaughtered.

Elsewhere, despotic allies — from Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines to the Shah of Iran — received support from President Carter.

In El Salvador, the Carter administration provided key military aid to a brutal regime. In Nicaragua, contrary to myth, Carter backed dictator Anastasio Somoza almost until the end of his reign. In Guatemala — again contrary to enduring myth — major U.S. military shipments to bloody tyrants never ended.

After moving out of the White House in early 1981, Carter developed a reputation as an ex-president with a conscience. He set about building homes for the poor. And when he traveled to hot spots abroad, news media often depicted Carter as a skillful negotiator on behalf of human rights.

But a decade after Carter left the Oval Office, scholar James Petras assessed the ex-president’s actions overseas — and found that Carter’s image as “a peace mediator, impartial electoral observer and promoter of democratic values…clashes with the experiences of several democratic Third World leaders struggling against dictatorships and pro-U.S. clients.”

From Latin America to East Africa, Petras wrote, Carter functioned as “a hard-nosed defender of repressive state apparatuses, a willing consort to electoral frauds, an accomplice to U.S. Embassy efforts to abort popular democratic outcomes and a one-sided mediator.”

Observing the 1990 election in the Dominican Republic, Carter ignored fraud that resulted in the paper-thin victory margin of incumbent president Joaquin Balaguer. Announcing that Balaguer’s bogus win was valid, Carter used his prestige to give international legitimacy to the stolen election — and set the stage for a rerun this past spring, when Balaguer again used fraud to win re-election.

In December 1990, Carter traveled to Haiti, where he labored to undercut Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the final days of the presidential race. According to a top Aristide aide, Carter predicted that Aristide would lose, and urged him to concede defeat. (He ended up winning 67 percent of the vote…)

…Petras described Carter as routinely engaging in “a double discourse. One discourse is for the public, which is his moral politics, and the other is the second track that he operates on, which is a very cynical realpolitik that plays ball with very right-wing politicians and economic forces…”

Excerpted; full article link: http://fair.org/media-beat-column/jimmy-carter-and-human-rights-behind-the-media-myth/

Hillary and Other Assorted Barbarians at Russia’s Gate [Black Agenda Report]

Posted in Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-communism, Anti-fascism, Fascism, Genocide, Germany, Guatemala, Hillary Clinton, Libya, NATO, Russia, Ukraine, US - Nazi connection, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR on March 15, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“Americans sound like southern white fascists, with their reflexive assumptions of supremacy, global privilege, and ordained national mission.”

March 5, 2014

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The United States is more than just an ally to fascists in Ukraine and everywhere else; the American South provided an historical model for fascism. “The fascist order of the pre-Sixties Solid South was simply a domestic expression of U.S. Manifest Destiny – the national religion.” The fascists – both local and imperial – have laid siege to Russia.

Hillary Clinton is a walking profanity – and, thereby, a prime candidate to be the next president of the United States. The fiend who played Julius Caesar when U.S.-employed jihadists butchered Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi (“We came, we saw, he died”) now likens Russia’s response to the U.S.-backed fascist putsch in the Ukraine to Hitler’s quest for a Greater Germany. It is like spitting on the graves of the 25 million Russians and other Soviet nationalities slaughtered in Hitler’s racist jihad – the people who actually defeated the Nazis while the U.S. and Britain loitered off Europe’s shores. At war’s end, the United States imported thousands of Nazis to construct the nuclear/chemical/biological military juggernaut that would usher in an “American Century” – while confiscating Paul Robeson and W.E.B. Dubois’ passports.

Thanks to the Americans, West German denazification never happened but, by the mid-Seventies, Washington had implanted fascist military regimes throughout Latin America – one of which exterminated 200,000 Guatemalan Mayas.

When John Kerry praises the “brave Ukrainians” that “took to the streets to stand against tyranny and demand democracy,” he makes common cause with the direct political heirs of the Ukrainian Waffen SS units and concentration camp guards that eagerly joined Hitler’s genocidal rampage in the mid-20th century. The Ukrainian fascists, who command 40 percent of the electorate in some western regions of the country, return the compliment, hoisting the Confederate flag in Kiev’s city hall. They see, correctly, that the epicenter of their ideology is not Berlin, but Washington.

“Ethnic purity was the organizing principle of one-party Democratic rule in Dixie from the mid-1870s to the mid-1960s.”

The trans-Atlantic affinity is more fundamental and deep-rooted than the $5 billion that Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland brags the U.S. has invested in developing “democratic institutions” in Ukraine – resulting in the overthrow of the elected government and its replacement by ethnic-based mob rule. This is the model that held sway in the southern United States for nearly a century, following the death of Reconstruction. Ethnic purity was the organizing principle of one-party Democratic rule in Dixie from the mid-1870s to the mid-1960s. Race and Nation were One, ordained by God, Science and History, obligating every white man to break and burn the bodies of all Negroes, mongrels and race-mixing whites that might challenge the political order. Mob rule – lynch law – buttressed the political and economic supremacy of the most exploitative sectors of industry and agribusiness. The American “Solid South” not only fits the “classic” definition of fascism, it provided a template for future fascists. The apartheid order in Dixie predates the establishment of fascist regimes in Europe and, in terms of its racial component, has more in common with the Nazi strain than Mussolini’s Italy.

The ideological unity of the White South empowered Democrat/Fascists to exercise outsized influence over the national government. The Dixie-born Ku Klux Klan became a national phenomenon, and the emerging U.S. empire swaggered about the globe with a decidedly southern accent. Pre-Civil War white southern dreams of building a slave empire throughout the Americas meshed nicely with Teddy Roosevelt’s imperial ambitions. Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, Roosevelt violated all the rules of naval warfare in favor of racial pageantry, painting U.S. naval vessels white for a world tour of “The Great White Fleet.” Both Europe and the non-white world understood his meaning.

“The American ‘Solid South’ not only fits the ‘classic’ definition of fascism, it provided a template for future fascists.”

When the Black Freedom Movement forced a split in the national Democratic Party, in the early Sixities [sic], southern whites bolted to the Republicans, transforming the Party of Lincoln into the national White Man’s Party. With Dixie the bedrock of Republican electoral college strength, the coded language of race came to dominate general U.S. political discourse. In a very real sense, Americans sound like southern white fascists, with their reflexive assumptions of supremacy, global privilege, and ordained national mission – including lots of Black Americans. After all, the fascist order of the pre-Sixties Solid South was simply a domestic expression of U.S. Manifest Destiny – the national religion.

Fascists all over the world – not just Ukraine – know they have tens of millions of soul mates in the United States, including the leadership of both major parties. That’s why they flashed the white supremacist gang-sign from Kiev. In turn, the American political class and corporate media prove they are also fascists, by pretending that their Ukrainian allies are democrats.

With the U.S. and NATO now poised at Russia’s door, as was Germany in 1941, Hillary Clinton attempts to flip the clear historical parallel by ranting that it is President Putin who seeks a “Greater Russia.” The Kremlin has every reason to believe the barbarians are at the gate.

Article link: http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/hillary-and-other-assorted-barbarians-russia%E2%80%99s-gate

How International Financial Elites Change Governments to Implement Austerity [counterpunch]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, Allende, Bolivia, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Chile, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hugo Chavez, IMF - International Monetary Fund, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Nukes, Somalia, Syria, Thailand, U.K., Ukraine, US imperialism, USA, Venezuela, Yemen, Zelaya coup on March 7, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Feb. 28, 2014

by ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH

Many countries around the world are plagued by all kinds of armed rebellions, economic sanctions, civil wars, “democratic” coup d’états and/or wars of “regime change.” These include Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Thailand, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Somalia and Lebanon. Even in the core capitalist countries the overwhelming majority of citizens are subjected to brutal wars of economic austerity.

While not new, social convulsions seem to have become more numerous in recent years. They have become especially more frequent since the mysterious 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001 and the 2008 financial collapse in the United States, which soon led to similar financial implosions and economic crises in Europe and beyond.

Despite their many differences, these social turbulences share two common features. The first is that they are largely induced, nurtured and orchestrated from outside, that is, by the Unites States and its allies—of course, in collaboration with their class allies from inside. And the second is that, contrary to the long-established historical pattern of social revolutions, where the desperate and disenfranchised masses rebelled against the ruing elites, in most of the recent struggles it is the elites that have insigated insurgencies and civil wars against the masses. The two features are, of course, integrally intertwined: essentially reflecting the shared interests and collaborative schemes of the international plutocracies against the global 99%.

Fighting to Make Austerity Economics Universal

The official rationale (offered by the U.S. and its allies) that the goal of supporting anti-government opposition forces in places such as Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela is to spread democracy no longer holds any validity; it can easily be dismissed as a harebrained pretext to export neoliberalism and spread austerity economics. Abundant and irrefutable evidence shows that in places where the majority of citizens voted for and elected governments that were not to the liking of Western powers, these powers mobilized their local allies and hired all kinds of mercenary forces in order to overthrow the duly elected governments, thereby quashing the majority vote.

Such blatant interventions to overturn the elections that resulted from the majority vote include the promotion of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005) and the Green Revolution in Iran (2009). They also include the relentless agitation against the duly elected governments of the late Hugo Chavez and now his successor Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, as well as the rejection (and effective annulment) of the duly elected Hamas government in Palestine.

So, the real driving forces behind wars of regime change need to be sought elsewhere; specifically, in the imperatives of expansion and accumulation of capital on a global level. Socialist, social-democratic, populist or nationalist leaders who do not embrace neoliberal economic policies, and who may be wary of having their markets wide open to unbridled foreign capital, would be targeted for replacement with pliant leaders, or client states. This is, of course, not a new explanation of economic imperialism; it is as old as the internationalization of trade and investment.

What is relatively new, and seems to be the main driving force behind the recent wars of regime change, is that, as the U.S. and other major capitalist powers have lately embarked on austerity economic policies at home they also expect and, indeed, demand that other countries follow suit. In other words, it is no longer enough for a country to open its markets to investment and trade with Western economic powers. It seems equally important to these powers that that country also dismantle its public welfare programs and implement austerity measures of neoliberalism.

For example, after resisting imperialist pressures for years, the late Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi eventually relented in 1993, and granted major oil and other transnational corporations of Western powers lucrative investment and trade deals. Under pressure, he even dismantled his country’s nuclear technology altogether in the hope that this would please them to “leave him” alone, so to speak. None of the concessions he made, however, proved satisfactory to the U.S. and its allies, as his regime was violently overthrown in 2011and he was literally butchered by the thuggish gangs that were trained and armed by Western powers.

Why? Because the U.S. and its allies expected more; they wanted him to follow the economic guidelines of the “experts” of global finance, that is, of the U.S. and European economic “advisors,” of the International Monetary Fund and of the World Trade Organization—in short, to dismantle his country’s rather robust state welfare programs and to restructure its economy after the model of neoliberalism.

The criminal treatment of al-Gaddafi can help explain why imperialist powers have also been scheming to overthrow the populist/socialist regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and his successor in Venezuela, of the Castro brothers in Cuba, of Rafael Correa Delgado in Ecuador, of Bashar Al-assad in Syria and of Evo Morales in Bolivia. It also helps explain why they overthrew the popularly elected nationalist governments of Mohammad Mossadeq in Iran, of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala, of Kusno Sukarno in Indonesia, of Salvador Allende in Chile, of Sandinistas in Nicaragua, of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti and of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.

The imperialist agenda of overthrowing al-Gaddafi and other “insubordinate” proponents of welfare state programs abroad is essentially part of the same evil agenda of dismantling such programs at home. While the form, the context and the means of destruction maybe different, the thrust of the relentless attacks on the living conditions of the Libyan, Iranian, Venezuelan or Cuban peoples are essentially the same as the equally brutal attacks on the living conditions of the poor and working people in the US, UK, France and other degenerate capitalist countries. In a subtle way they are all part of an ongoing unilateral class warfare on a global scale. Whether they are carried out by military means and bombardments or through the apparently “non-violent” processes of judicial or legislative means does not make a substantial difference as far as their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods is concerned.

The powerful plutocratic establishment in the core capitalist countries does not seem to feel comfortable to dismantle New Deal economics, Social Democratic reforms and welfare state programs in these countries while people in smaller, less-developed countries such as (al-Gaddafi’s) Libya, Venezuela or Cuba enjoy strong, state-sponsored social safety net programs. Plutocracy’s intolerance of “regimented” economies stems from a fear that strong state-sponsored economic safely net programs elsewhere may serve as “bad” models that could be demanded by citizens in the core capitalist countries.

In a moment of honesty, former U.S. President Harry Truman is reported as having expressed (in 1947) the unstated mission of the United States to globalize its economic system in the following words: “The whole world should adopt the American system. The American system can survive in America only if it becomes a world system” [1].

In a similar fashion, Lord Cecil Rhodes, who conquered much of Africa for the British Empire, is reported to have suggested during the heydays of the Empire that the simplest way to achieve peace was for England to convert and add the rest of the world (except the United States, Germany and few other Western powers of the time) to its colonies.

The Mafia equivalent of Truman’s or Rhodes’ statements would be something like this: “You do it our way, or we break your leg.”ismaelhz

The mindset behind Truman’s blunt statement that the rest of the world “should adopt the American system” has indeed served as something akin to a sacred mission that has guided the foreign policy of the United States ever since it supplanted the British authority as the major world power…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/28/how-international-financial-elites-change-governments-to-implement-austerity/

“Operation Nazification” – New book ‘Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America’ [WarIsACrime.org]

Posted in Anti-communism, Argentina, Assassination, CIA, Fascism, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Nazism, Nukes, Pentagon, Philippines, Russia, Truman, Uncategorized, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR, War crimes on March 2, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by David Swanson

Feb 20, 2014

Annie Jacobsen’s new book is called Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America. It isn’t terribly secret anymore, of course, and it was never very intelligent. Jacobsen has added some details, and the U.S. government is still hiding many more. But the basic facts have been available; they’re just left out of most U.S. history books, movies, and television programs.

After World War II, the U.S. military hired sixteen hundred former Nazi scientists and doctors, including some of Adolf Hitler’s closest collaborators, including men responsible for murder, slavery, and human experimentation, including men convicted of war crimes, men acquitted of war crimes, and men who never stood trial. Some of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg had already been working for the U.S. in either Germany or the U.S. prior to the trials. Some were protected from their past by the U.S. government for years, as they lived and worked in Boston Harbor, Long Island, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, and elsewhere, or were flown by the U.S. government to Argentina to protect them from prosecution. Some trial transcripts were classified in their entirety to avoid exposing the pasts of important U.S. scientists. Some of the Nazis brought over were frauds who had passed themselves off as scientists, some of whom subsequently learned their fields while working for the U.S. military.

The U.S. occupiers of Germany after World War II declared that all military research in Germany was to cease, as part of the process of denazification. Yet that research went on and expanded in secret, under U.S. authority, both in Germany and in the United States, as part of a process that it’s possible to view as nazification. Not only scientists were hired. Former Nazi spies, most of them former S.S., were hired by the U.S. in post-war Germany to spy on — and torture — Soviets.

The U.S. military shifted in numerous ways when former Nazis were put into prominent positions. It was Nazi rocket scientists who proposed placing nuclear bombs on rockets and began developing the intercontinental ballistic missile. It was Nazi engineers who had designed Hitler’s bunker beneath Berlin, who now designed underground fortresses for the U.S. government in the Catoctin and Blue Ridge Mountains. Known Nazi liars were employed by the U.S. military to draft classified intelligence briefs falsely hyping the Soviet menace. Nazi scientists developed U.S. chemical and biological weapons programs, bringing over their knowledge of tabun and sarin, not to mention thalidomide — and their eagerness for human experimentation, which the U.S. military and the newly created CIA readily engaged in on a major scale. Every bizarre and gruesome notion of how a person might be assassinated or an army immobilized was of interest to their research. New weapons were developed, including VX and Agent Orange. A new drive to visit and weaponize outerspace was created, and former Nazis were put in charge of a new agency called NASA.

Permanent war thinking, limitless war thinking, and creative war thinking in which science and technology overshadowed death and suffering, all went mainstream…

…But how big a change did the United States go through after World War II, and how much of it can be credited to Operation Paperclip? Isn’t a government that would give immunity to both Nazi and Japanese war criminals in order to learn their criminal ways already in a bad place? As one of the defendants argued in trial at Nuremberg, the U.S. had already engaged in its own experiments on humans using almost identical justifications to those offered by the Nazis. If that defendant had been aware, he could have pointed out that the U.S. was in that very moment engaged in such experiments in Guatemala. The Nazis had learned some of their eugenics and other nasty inclinations from Americans. Some of the Paperclip scientists had worked in the U.S. before the war, as many Americans had worked in Germany. These were not isolated worlds.

Looking beyond the secondary, scandalous, and sadistic crimes of war, what about the crime of war itself? We picture the United States as less guilty because it maneuvered the Japanese into the first attack, and because it did prosecute some of the war’s losers. But an impartial trial would have prosecuted Americans too. Bombs dropped on civilians killed and injured and destroyed more than any concentration camps — camps that in Germany had been modeled in part after U.S. camps for native Americans. Is it possible that Nazi scientists blended into the U.S. military so well because an institution that had already done what it had done to the Philippines was not in all that much need of nazification?

Yet, somehow, we think of the firebombing of Japanese cities and the complete leveling of German cities as less offensive that the hiring of Nazi scientists…

Obama, Like Ike, ‘Avoided Military Adventures’? Not Quite [FAIR]

Posted in Afghanistan, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Korean War, Libya, New York Times lie, Obama, Pakistan, Pensacola, south Korea, Syria, US drone strikes, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Yemen on August 11, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Peter Hart
July 16, 2013

New York Times reporter Peter Baker has a piece today (7/16/13) about Barack Obama and Dwight Eisenhower that presents a somewhat confusing picture of both.

The article is about how Obama wields power–or, in the eyes of some critics, fails to take advantage of the “bully pulpit.”

The real point of the piece is to draw a parallel to Dwight Eisenhower’s “hidden hand” approach. According to an author of an Eisenhower book, Baker writes, ” Mr. Obama was like the former president in avoiding major international conflict, relying more on covert action and letting Congress take the lead in legislation.”

Baker explains:

Just as Eisenhower, the 34th president, pulled troops out of Korea and avoided other military adventures, Mr. Obama has pulled out of Iraq, is leaving Afghanistan, has limited intervention in Libya largely to airstrikes and has resisted being drawn directly into the civil war in Syria.

Let’s try a rewrite–especially on the Obama years.

Obama withdrew troops from Iraq on the schedule inherited from Bush. His administration wanted to keep some troops there, but the Iraqi government would not allow it.

To say that Obama “is leaving Afghanistan” ignores the fact that he massively escalated the Afghan War, sending tens of thousands of additional troops to the country – essentially tripling the size of the U.S. military in the first 2 years of his term.

To say that Obama “limited intervention in Libya largely to airstrikes” is an odd way to describe what was a rather extensive bombing campaign in violation of the War Powers Act.

Baker does note that the White House has decided to formally begin arming the Syrian rebels – it is somewhat unclear how and/or when that will happen – and the CIA has reportedly been coordinating arms shipments into the country.

And, of course, one has to factor in ongoing drone wars in countries like Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is possible that these do not count as ” military adventures, ” but I think you’d have [a] hard time explaining that to anyone in those countries.

As for Eisenhower, when the Times refers vaguely to “covert operations” during his term, one might want to spell out that the CIA was instrumental in the overthrew of governments in Iran, Guatemala and Congo, and that the CIA was deeply involved in supporting anti-government rebels in Indonesia fighting the Sukarno government – including dropping supplies to the rebels. His hands may have been “hidden,” but there’s no reason to not let the record speak for itself 50 years later.

Article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/07/16/obama-like-ike-avoided-military-adventures-not-quite/

Former U.S. puppet convicted of genocide in Guatemala [Workers World]

Posted in CIA, Genocide, Guatemala, Panama, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA on May 29, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Gene Clancy on May 22, 2013

BULLETIN: On May 20, Guatemala’s highest court threw out Rios Montt’s conviction. Appeals are being filed.

On Dec. 4, 1982, President Ronald Reagan met Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt in Honduras. It was a useful meeting for both. Reagan declared Montt to be “a man of great personal integrity and commitment.” Reagan said, “I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice.” (North American Congress on Latin America, Spring 2012)

The next day, one of Rios Montt’s elite platoons entered the village of Dos Erres and killed more than 200 of its inhabitants, 67 of them children. Soldiers grabbed babies and toddlers by their legs, swung them in the air and smashed their heads against walls. They forced older children and adults to kneel at the edge of a well, and then with a single sledgehammer blow sent them plummeting below. The platoon raped many women and girls, and then threw the women into a well and filled it with dirt, burying some alive. (This American Life, Radio WBEZ, May 25, 2012)

On May 10, after decades of delay, obstruction and coverups, mass-murderer Rios Montt was finally convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in a Guatemalan court. “We are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic group,” said Judge Yasmin Barrios, as she read the hour-long summary of a three-judge panel’s ruling. For five weeks, the tribunal heard more than 100 witnesses, including psychologists, military experts and Ixil Mayan survivors who told how Rios Montt’s soldiers had killed their families and wiped out their villages. (New York Times, May 10)

The packed courtroom was quiet for much of Judge Barrios’ reading. Then cries of “¡Justicia! ¡Justicia!” erupted when she pronounced the 80-year sentence and ordered Ríos Montt to begin serving it immediately.

Antonioi Caba, an Ixil leader of the Mayan survivors’ group that first brought the case more than 10 years ago, wiped his eyes and said the sentence had “broken impunity and achieved justice,” reported the Times.

– A U.S.-backed criminal –

Many other criminals who participated in the genocide and assisted Rios Montt were not convicted — and were not even present in the courtroom. Chief among these were U.S. CIA officials and several past U.S. presidents.

The campaign of genocide against Mayan peoples killed more than 200,000 and was roundly condemned at the time. Two investigations, one by the Guatemalan Council of Catholic Bishops and another by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, excoriated the Rios Montt regime in Guatemala. Secret detailed CIA cables have come to light, which show that the U.S. government was fully aware of the atrocities and purposely suppressed this information for decades.

Rios Montt had a long and bloody career as a U.S puppet. In 1951, at age 25, he attended the infamous School of the Americas then located in Panama. In 1954, he played a key role in the successful CIA-organized coup against the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. In 1970, under President General Carlof Manuel Arana Osorio’s military regime, Rios Montt became a brigadier general and chief of staff for the Guatemalan army.

In 1978, Rios Montt left the Roman Catholic Church and became a minister in the California-based Evangelical Church of the Word. Since then, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two notorious leaders of the religious right in the United States, have been his friends. (Dissident Voice, July 17, 2003)

In March 1982, Rios Montt seized power in a bloody coup d’etat that was quietly backed by the CIA and the Reagan White House. He and his generals unleashed a scorched-earth attack on the nation’s Mayan population that, according to a U.N. commission, resulted in the annihilation of nearly 600 villages.

As many as 1 million more Guatemalans, many of them Mayan peasants, were uprooted from their homes. Many of them were forced to live in concentration camps enclosed with barbed wire and patrolled by armed guards. Many were later forced to work in the fields of wealthy land barons.

Rios Montt scorned charges that his scorched-earth policy violated human rights: “We don’t have a policy of scorched earth. We have a policy of scorched Communists,” he sneered, the Dissident Voice reports.

If not for the United States, Rios Montt would not have escaped justice until he was 86 years old. Progressives around the world must see to it that all of his many accomplices, including those culpable within the U.S., are also punished for their crimes.

Article link: http://www.workers.org/2013/05/22/former-u-s-puppet-convicted-of-genocide-in-guatemala/

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