The Salvador Death Squad Option In Iraq _ John Negroponte
- The Salvador Death Squad Option In Iraq _ John Negroponte
Negroponte has been exploring the "The Salvador Option" to kill
enemies in Iraq. As anyone who might know Latin American history the
"The Salvador Option" launched a holocaust against Native People and
countless other victims under Mr Reagan's regime that still has not
been fully revealed to the US Amerikan citizens. The following are
articles from DemocracyNow and AlterNet.org:
Monday, January 10th, 2005
Is the U.S. Organizing Salvador-Style Death Squads in Iraq?
According to Newsweek, the U.S. government is considering "The
Salvador Option" - setting up assassination squads to target leaders
of the Iraqi resistance. We speak with journalist and activist Allan
Nairn whose 1984 article in The Progressive Magazine titled "Behind
the Death Squads" exposed the CIA's backing of El Salvador death
squads and led to an investigation by the Senate Intelligence
Committee. [includes rush transcript] As violence in Iraq continues
into 2005, the U.S. government is considering setting up assassination
squads to target leaders of the Iraqi resistance. Newsweek Magazine is
reporting that the Pentagon is drawing up possible proposals to send
special forces teams to advise, support and train hand-picked Iraqi
squads to target Sunni rebels.
Within the Pentagon, the tactic is named "The Salvador option" after
the strategy that was secretly employed by Ronald Reagan's
administration to combat the guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in
the early 1980s. The U.S.-backed death squads hunted down and
assassinated rebel leaders and their supporters.
The current US ambassador in Iraq is John Negroponte. As ambassador to
Honduras, Negroponte played a key role in coordinating US covert aid
to the Contras who targeted civilians in Nicaragua and shoring up a
CIA-backed death squad in Honduras.
The Newsweek report says the Iraqi squads would most likely be made up
of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen and could even
operate across the Syrian border. It is also still unclear whether
Pentagon or the CIA would take responsibility for the squads.
We are joined right now by journalist and activist Allan Nairn. In
1984, his article in The Progressive Magazine entitled "Behind the
Death Squads" [Download pdf] exposed the CIA"s backing of El Salvador
death squads and led to an investigation by the Senate Intelligence
* Allan Nairn, investigative journalist and activist. To read
Allan's reports, go to: newsc.blogspot.com.
The Death Squad Option
By Christy Harvey and Judd Legum and Jonathan Baskin, Center for
American Progress. Posted January 10, 2005.
Faced with an intractable insurgency in Iraq, the Pentagon is
returning to its bad old ways. Remember El Salvador?
To deal with the skyrocketing insurgency, the Pentagon is considering
creating secret death squads in Iraq. Now, the Pentagon's brave new
solution for democracy in the Middle East is to revisit the
reprehensible "Salvador Option," the clandestine operation implemented
by the Reagan White House in the 1980s in El Salvador. Back then,
faced with losing a war against the Salvadoran rebels, the United
States government funded "nationalist" forces "that allegedly included
so-called death squads" which killed scores of innocent civilians.
Today, according to an explosive new article in Newsweek, the Pentagon
dusted off that model and has a proposal on the table to "advise,
support and possibly train" secret Iraqi squads, "most likely
hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to
target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border
It's unclear whether the current proposed policy would direct the
Iraqi squads to assassinate their targets or "snatch" them and send
them to secret facilities for interrogation. In plain language: the
squads would be either hit men or kidnapper/torturers. The United
States has recently come under serious criticism for whisking suspects
to countries with questionable interrogation techniques. Recently, for
example, a German national was allegedly kidnapped by Macedonian
authorities, turned over to the United States and flown to a prison in
Afghanistan where he claims to have been repeatedly beaten, all
because he shared a name similar to one of the 9/11 suspects. Other
reports show the CIA has employed a secret private jet to ferry terror
suspects to places with terrible human rights records, such as Egypt,
Jordan, Afghanistan and Libya.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has held El Salvador up as a
model for Iraq. And during the recent Vice Presidential debates, Vice
President Dick Cheney stated, "Twenty years ago we had a similar
situation in El Salvador. We had a guerilla insurgency that controlled
roughly a third of the country, 75,000 people dead. And we held free
elections ... And today El Salvador is a whale of a lot better because
we held free elections." According to a 1993 U.N.-sponsored truth
commission, however, up to "90 percent of the atrocities in the
conflict "were committed by the U.S.-sponsored army and its
surrogates, "with the rebels responsible for 5 percent and the
remaining 5 percent undetermined." These death squads "abducted
members of the civilian population and of rebel groups. They tortured
their hostages, were responsible for their disappearance and usually
John Negroponte, the current U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, is no
stranger to death squads. In the 1980s, Negroponte served as the U.S.
ambassador to Honduras. At the time, he was cozy with the chief of the
Honduran national police force, Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, who
also ran the infamous Battalion 316 death squad. Battalion 316
"kidnapped, tortured and murdered more than 100 people between 1981
and 1984." According to Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human
Rights Watch, "Negroponte publicly adopted a see-no-evil attitude to
this army death squad."
President Bush also appointed neocon Elliot Abrams to be his senior
adviser on the Middle East. Abrams was also a staunch supporter of the
Salvador Option in the 1980s: when newspapers "reported that a
U.S.-trained military unit had massacred hundreds of villagers in the
tiny Salvadoran hamlet of El Mozote, Abrams told Congress the story
was nothing but communist propaganda." When confronted with the United
Nations report that the vast majority of "atrocities in El Salvador's
civil war were committed by Reagan-assisted death squads," Abrams's
response: "The administration's record on El Salvador is one of
fabulous achievements." Abrams was convicted of lying to Congress
about Iran-Contra in 1987 â" he was pardoned by George H.W. Bush in 1992.