‘Bloody massacres’: Syria appeals to UN after French & US airstrikes ‘kill over 140 civilians’

From RT

https://www.rt.com/news/352255-france-syria-civilians-dead/video/

Syria is demanding the UN take action after it says French war planes killed more than 120 civilians during airstrikes on Tuesday near the Turkish-Syrian border. The deaths came just a day after US air assaults killed a further 20 people in Manbij.

Damascus wants the organization to look into atrocities committed by France, which is a member of the US-led international coalition, after it targeted the village of Toukhan Al-Kubra, located near the Turkish-Syrian border and the city of Manbij.

“The French unjust aggression claimed the lives of more than 120 civilians, most of them are children, women and elderly, in addition to tens of wounded citizens, the majority of them are also children and women as reports say that the fate of scores of other civilians who still under debris are unknown too,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry wrote, as cited by the Syrian Arab News Agency.

The mass death toll in Toukhan Al-Kubra came just a day after US war planes killed around 20 people, mainly women and children, while many more were injured in and around the city of Manbij, the Foreign Ministry states.

“The government of the Syrian Arab Republic condemns, with the strongest terms, the two bloody massacres perpetrated by the French and US warplanes and those affiliated to the so-called international coalition which send their missiles and bombs to the civilians instead of directing them to the terrorist gangs… Syria also affirms that those who want to combat terrorism seriously should coordinate with the Syrian government and army,” the ministry added.

In the letter, the Syrian Foreign Ministry added that it condemns the continued support by the US, France, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Qatar to terrorist organizations such as Al-Nusra Front and Jaish Al-Islam, despite these groups having clear links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Qaeda.

MANBIJ: 20 JUL 2016. 0130 UTC. Heavy airstrikes continue. Nat’l Hospital taken. Fighting in W urban areas.

The human rights watchdog Amnesty International also hit out at the US-led coalition, saying that it needs to do more to prevent the deaths of civilians.

“Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” Amnesty’s interim Middle East director Magdalena Mughrabi said, as cited by Reuters.

A spokesman for the US Department of Defense says that it is aware of the loss of civilian life in Syria.

“We are aware of reports alleging civilian casualties near Manbij, Syria, recently. As with any allegation we receive, we will review any information we have about the incident,” Matthew Allen said in a statement.

“We take all measures during the targeting process to avoid or minimize civilian casualties or collateral damage and to comply with the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict,” he added.

The US-led coalition has been providing air support to the rebel group the Syrian Arab Coalition, which is involved in heavy fighting around the city of Manbij, currently under the control of Islamic State.

The terrorist group has been in control of the city since it seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in the summer of 2014.

In an interview with NBC News last week, Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the US is not interested in defeating terrorists in Syria as it really wants “to control and use them.”

Western leaders support terror groups in Syria, get extremism at home – Assadhttp://on.rt.com/7iiq 

“The reality is telling that, since the beginning of the American airstrikes, terrorism has been expanding and prevailing,” he told the channel, specifying that “during the American and alliance airstrikes, ISIS was expanding and taking over new areas in Syria.”

“It’s about being serious, having the will. The United States doesn’t have the will to defeat the terrorists. It had the will to control them and to use them as a card, like they did in Afghanistan. That will reflect on the military aspect of the issue,” Assad said.

https://www.rt.com/news/352255-france-syria-civilians-dead/

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SYRIA: #AleppoIsBurning campaign — US-NATO sponsored NGOs and social media in support of “moderate terrorists”

Global Research, May 04, 2016
21 Century Wire 3 May 2016

I would like to point out something, if you open the trending section in Facebook you will see that Aleppo, Syria is trending.  They say the Syrian government is continuing air-strikes on Aleppo. The funny thing is we don’t see or hear any planes.” ~ Marianne R Bedoun, Aleppo

The following photo was taken from US funded ANA Press director, Deiaa Dughmoch’s Facebook page.  Translated as Aleppo citizens searching the skies for war-planes.  According to Marianne Bedoun, they might be there some time.

Marianne was immediately targeted by hate speech from the followers of mainstream media and the US NATO governed propaganda outlets who are controlling the Aleppo narrative. This from one UK based Facebook responder:

“Its about hiding the truth that Assad is massacring the Syrian people to keep himself in power and the US and NATO are backing him up rather than engaging in any Wahhabi terrorist support operation.  Its really quite racist to call those defending their homes and lives NATO backed terrorists but I guess you are so deep in this shit you cant see.”

Dick Gregory. [Juggler, also available for children’s parties]

Marianne responded from inside Aleppo:

“You are right I am so deep in this I cant exit because I am a Syrian living in Aleppo. And please tell me where did you get your facts? Your brain-washing western media? I am telling you what I see every minute. Racist? We are the ones defending our homes against their brutal ways…hell cannons, hand-made missiles etc every day since day one”

Professor Tim Anderson

This social media exchange exemplifies the ever widening chasm between the reports from the Syrian people living in areas under siege or occupied by US NATO backed terrorists and the blatant bias from western and gulf funded journalists.

“The Pentagon has now designated “information operations” as its fifth “core competency” alongside land, sea, air and special forces. Since October 2006, every brigade, division and corps in the US military has had its own “psyop” element producing output for local media.

This military activity is linked to the State Department’s campaign of “public diplomacy” which includes funding radio stations and news websites. InBritain, the Directorate of Targeting and Information Operations in the Ministry of Defence works with specialists from 15 UK psyops, based at the Defence Intelligence and Security School at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.

In the case of British intelligence, you can see this combination of reckless propaganda and failure of oversight at work in the case of Operation Mass Appeal.

This was exposed by the former UN arms inspector Scott Ritter, who describes in his book, Iraq Confidential, how, in London in June 1998, he was introduced to two “black propaganda specialists” from MI6 who wanted him to give them material which they could spread through “editors and writers who work with us from time to time”.

The Aleppo Spin

A very quick look at who has rapidly generated the #AleppoIsBurning campaign that has made red the new black on Facebook and Twitter brings us rapidly to the Purpose Manhattan PR company and their Syria cohorts.  Syria Campaign, the White Helmets are implicated and the actual event has been created by none other than Rami Jarrah of Soros funded ANA Press based in Southern Turkey and operating with the explicit approval of chief terrorism supporter, Sultan Erdogan.

Photo Caption: Rami Jarrah meeting with Erdogan to discuss the “difficulties” in maintaining media coverage of the “Syrian revolution”. 

Note in this image, Erdogan makes no effort to conceal his support for the mythical Syrian revolution.

Rami Jarrah’s connections to Soros and his commitment to promoting the US NATO narrative are discussed in the two following articles:

If we go to the Aleppo is Burning event page on Facebook, the producers are clearly visible:


Deiaa Dughmoch
 and Rami Jarrah are co-founders of ANA Press.  Sarah Dadouch works for ANA Press and is based in Istanbul, Turkey according to her Facebook page.

Co-initiator of the #AleppoIsBurning campaign is Lilah Khoja who has been instrumental in promoting the “Worldwide Red Protest”.  Khoja is on the team of the Karam Foundation  as their advocacy co-ordinator. While there is minimal financial information on the Karam Foundation, set up in 2007 by co-founder and CEO, Lina Sergie Attar, Attar is on the board of the Muslim Brotherhood Syrian American Council.

“The Syrian American Council is one of the largest American based Syrian lobbying organizations and key SAC leaders are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in the US:

The last known SAC President was Talal Sunbulli (aka Talal Sunulle ) who was listed as the Syrian coordinator in the international phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members seized by federal investigators during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.

The last known SAC Chairman was Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of the California office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), a part of the Us Muslim Brotherhood.

US Muslim Brotherhood figure Louay Safi is known to have been a leading member of the SAC.”

~GlobalMBWatch

Attar is in fact Chair of the Humanitarian Committee as well as being on the National Board of Directors under one of her many name variations, Lina Segie.

According to Attar’s biography on the Karam Foundation site, she is a Syrian-American architect and writer from Aleppo.

“Sergie Attar frequently travels to the Syrian border in southern Turkey to run Karam’s Smart Aid programs.”

Perhaps of even greater interest, Attar “serves on the board of directors” of the Avaaz/Purpose created Syria Campaign.

“Heimans, the Avaaz front man of Purpose, is a darling of the high-finance corporate world. “In 2011, Jeremy received the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary Visionaries Award. The World Economic Forum at Davos has named him a Young Global Leader, and the World e-Government Forum has named Jeremy and Purpose co-founder David Madden among the “Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of the Internet and Politics.” [Source]

The New York public relations firm Purpose has created at least four anti-Assad NGOs/campaigns: The White HelmetsFree Syrian Voices , The Syria Campaign and March Campaign #withSyria.” ~ Cory Morningstar

Photo caption: Lina Attar of Karam Foundation/Syria Campaign/SAC with Ex US Ambassador to Syria and known terrorism supporter, Robert Ford.

In February 2016 Attar appeared with alleged death squad creator and ex US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford at the “War on the Innocents: The Syrian Humanitarian Crisis” conference held at Phillips Exeter Academy. Ford has been singularly involved in the creation of the so called “moderate rebels” in Syria, a euphemism that is rapidly losing all credibility despite his best efforts to shore up their crumbling facade of respectability.

The final member of the #AleppoIsBurning marketing team we will discuss is Noha Kamseh, based in Gazientep, Turkey. Kamseh works for the Syrian Forum.

According to their website, the Syrian Forum is registered in Turkey, Austria and the US. It supports “Local Administration Councils as an utmost priority” and “Aspires to contribute to the rebuilding of a democratic Syria under the Rule of Law.”

“Local Administrative Councils (LACs) are well positioned to take the place of government municipalities, especially in the areas of the north devoid of government services. The SOC [Syrian Opposition Council] should provision funding and resources to the identification, development, and training of civil society groups in watchdog functions so that they can monitor the LACs for transparency and accountability where appropriate.”

~ Local Councils in Syria report.

Are we seeing a US NATO funded Syrian Shadow State creation supported by the Syria Forum? They aspire to “rebuilding a democratic Syria under the rule of Law”, one wonders which law they are talking about as there is no mention of the existing Syrian constitution, nor any reference to the recent widely accepted, reformed and democratic elections.

The Syrian Forum operates with institutionalized, yet dynamic processes that seek out unique and creative initiatives. Its work is supported through private donations from Syrians, and international partnerships with governments, foundations, academic institutions, and other non-profit organizations”

So which governments and foundations are supporting the formation of a “Syrian shadow state”?

The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development and the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, various UN Agencies and a few other organisations heavily invested economically and geopolitically in “regime change” in Syria.

Qatar has defended Riyadh funded and Al Qaeda affiliate Ahrar Al Sham currently besieging and daily shelling or sniping the Idlib villages of Kafarya and Foua among many others across Syria including the village of Madaya where Ahrar Al Sham terrorist factions are occupying the village and stockpiling humanitarian aid before selling it at extortionate prices to the civilians. This narrative was naturally distorted by many members of the same team, now generating the #AleppoIsBurning reports.

“I am telling you that Ahrar al Sham is a Syrian group, they look for their liberation, and they are working among other moderate groups,” ~ Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al Attiyah

As Canadian peace campaigner and writer, Ken Stone said in 2013, Canada has also been pivotal in the war against Syria and the “regime change” objectives of the US and NATO alliance.

“1. Organizing the covert mercenary war against Syria through the Group of Friends of the Syrian People (“Friends of Syria Group”);

2. Establishing a regime of economic sanctions against Syria and hosting, in Ottawa, the Friends of Syria Group’s International Working Group on Sanctions;

3. Funding and supporting the so-called “rebel” side;

4. Planning for an overt western military action against Syria;

5. Working with Syrian-Canadians antagonistic to the Assad government;

6. Contributing to the demonization of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to the de-legitimation and isolation of his government.”

Photo caption: Burned out bus in Aleppo. Photo: Shababeek Media

The  Aleppo Narrative from Doctors in Government Held Areas

On the 30th April we received an exclusive report from Dr Nabil Antaki also based in western Aleppo, in which he stated the following facts:

1: The majority of Aleppo civilians are living in the Syrian government held sectors of western Aleppo.  Over 1.5 million in these areas compared to 300,000 in the primarily Al Nusra occupied eastern sectors.

2: The western media lies and distorts the truth.  They do not mention the terrorist blockade of western Aleppo or the constant food, water and electricity shortages.

3: Terrorist bombardment of civilians in western Aleppo is relentless and unreported. Mosques and hospitals are regularly targeted. No sector is spared the onslaught.

We also asked Dr Antaki to verify the existence of the MSF “supported” Al Quds hospital allegedly bombed by Syrian or Russian air-strikes, consistently denied by both governments. We sent him the Channel 4 video allegedly taken from the hospital CCTV recording of the last moments before the attack.  This was his response:

This hospital [Al Quds] did not exist before the war started. It must have been installed in a building after the war began.  I dont know anyone in the East of Aleppo who could confirm this hospital is Al Quds.”

Dr Zaher Hajo who is head of Forensic Medicine in Aleppo also confirmed the deaths of 90 civilians of whom 30 were children from the US and NATO backed terrorist hell cannon and mortar fired into western Aleppo sectors over the last week. 8 of those murdered were targeted as they left the Mosque in the Bab al Faraj area after Friday prayers on the 30th April 2016.

Dr Hajo reported over 500 civilians injured in the ongoing terrorist attacks.

The following report has just come in from Al Masdar News on Tuesday 3rd May 2016:

“The jihadist rebels from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Jabhat Al-Nusra (Syrian Al-Qaeda group) fired several rockets at the Dubayt Hospital in government controlled Aleppo City on Tuesday, killing and wounding several patients and staff members.

According to local reports from Aleppo City, the Jihadist rebel forces were seen targeting the Dubayt Hospital with multiple rockets; these fighters were from the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat Al-Nusra. The total death toll is unknown at the moment; however, local activists stated the dead and wounded are still being rescued from the burning hospital.”

3/5/2016 Tweet from Leith Abou Fadel Al-Masdar News

On the 29th April, Al Alam reported: 

“Terrorists targeted al-Razi Hospital with rocket shells and fired others on al-Jamiliyeh and al-Mohafaza (governorate) neighborhoods, leaving 4 people dead and 38 others injured and causing material damage to the hospital and the locals’ houses.”

Aleppo Christian Community Responds to Western Media Lies 

“We have been under continuous bombardment over the past few days in Aleppo with civilian deaths, injuries and destruction.” Last night “in our neighborhoods we had four dead and over 15 injured, in addition to homes and buildings damaged. And these attacks are being carried out by the so-called “moderate opposition groups”. ~ Vicar of Aleppo: Msgr. Georges Abou Khazen

The Vicar went on to say that “foreign jihadists have been given the green light to intensify the bombing of civilians” by the US and NATO in response to recent Syrian Arab Army advances towards the liberation of Aleppo from the occupying and surrounding terrorist factions.

On a recent trip to Canada, Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart, Melkite Catholic archbishop of Aleppo, Syria spoke about one Christian neighbourhood targeted by the US NATO “moderate rebels”.  The 13 year old son of one family, Fouad Banna, was killed instantly in the attack:

“It was awful: a bomb that the rebels deliberately launched on a Christian neighbourhood, on a popular borough. It has blown everything apart, destroyed countless houses. Such was the case of Fouad’s home” ~ Catholic Herald

Where are the Syria White Helmets and Western Media?

One can be forgiven for asking where the neutral and unarmed saviours of all Syrians are when the US NATO terrorists rain missiles down upon Syrian people living in the government held western sectors of Aleppo. While photos circulating in western media are entirely of White Helmet “first responders” during the bombing of known Al Nusra terrorist zones, they are conspicuously absent from photos & scant reports covering the “moderate rebel” murderous excesses.

However one video released by the Syria White Helmets during the massacres of the Syrian people and targeting of civilian facilities in Aleppo, reveals what they were doing, while on the other side of the demarcation line, Syrians were dying.

The White Helmets are embedded in the eastern, terrorist held sectors of Aleppo. While the western media runs unquestioningly with the US NATO narrative of Syrian and Russian aggression against terrorists portrayed as civilians we have to ask the question, where is their objective reporting? Why are the massacres of Syrian civilians in western Aleppo being ignored?

Why are the White Helmets, icons and heroes for the misled and deceived, busy filming a promo video for the Soros “turn the world red” campaign when the Syrian people they claim to defend and cherish are being maimed and murdered a few blocks away?

As Doctor Nabil Antaki said on the 30th April:

“With regards to recent events in Aleppo, I state very clearly that the mainstream media are lying by omission. Since the beginning of the war in Aleppo that began 4 years ago, they have consistently failed to report all the facts.”

In 2013 Al Kindi hospital in Aleppo was targeted by the US NATO “moderate rebels”. Al Kindi was the 4th biggest hospital, specialising in cancer treatment, in the Middle East.

After days of heavy shelling, the terrrorists drove a truck up to the front of the hospital and detonated it. The remaining Syrian Arab Army soldiers defending Al Kindi were executed and this horrific execution was filmed by the US and NATO terrorists.  Their videos are still available but are graphic and not for the faint hearted.

A Syrian tragedy ignored by a western media in the midst of fomenting anti Assad fervour.

The US NATO Media Campaign Objectives

The US NATO campaign driven by this team of Soros funded agents of change depends entirely upon unproven accusations levied against the Syrian & Russian governments of bombing civilians in Aleppo and the alleged bombing of an MSF “supported” hospital in eastern Aleppo, the Al Quds.

 From the German Federal Press conference 29th April 2016

[Germany conducts aerial reconnaissance of Syria with Tornado units and they survey airspace]

“It is not very likely, but we cannot completely rule out the possibility that the anti-ISIS coalition [US NATO] has been responsible for the attack on the MSF hospital.”

Taken from campaign organiser, Fahtme Otman’s facebook page.

We have come full circle from the early “No Fly Zone” to the “Safe Zone” and finally to the “No Bomb Zone”.  The objective is clear. This campaign like so many before it,is attempting to re-generate public outrage and support of the implementation of a No Fly Zone in Syria. A No Fly Zone that would ensure the unmitigated devastation of Syria and its reduction to a Libya style failed state in preparation for Imperialist looting and pillaging.

So our media are working as a megaphone for US and NATO propaganda, the Humanitarian NGOs in Syria are embedded in terrorist areas and are not saving lives, rather they are prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people.

The humanitarians who are calling Syrians “racist” for telling the truth should perhaps have more respect for those who are living through hell because they have consciously chosen to remain ignorant of the facts.

Author Vanessa Beeley is a contributor to 21WIRE, and since 2011, she has spent most of her time in the Middle East reporting on events there – as a independent researcher, writer, photographer and peace activist. She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Syria Solidarity Movement, and a volunteer with the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine. See more of her work at her blog The Wall Will Fall.

Guatemalan authorities arrest officers trained at U.S. School of the Americas/WHINSEC for massacres, disappearances

Also, see SOA Watch  www.soaw.org

In a daring and historic move just one week before a new president takes office, Guatemalan authorities arrested 18 former high-ranking military men Jan. 6 for massacres and forced disappearances during the bloodiest years of the dirty war that particularly targeted indigenous populations.

Most of the arrests resulted from an investigation that exhumed the remains of 558 people — 90 of them children — buried in clandestine mass graves on a military base in Cobán, formerly known as Military Zone 21. DNA testing identified victims who were killed or disappeared by the military in the 1980s. Many of the bodies were blindfolded, bound or dismembered.

Guatemala Attorney General Thelma Aldana called it “one of the biggest cases of forced disappearance in Latin America.”

Records show that 12 of the 18 arrested were trained at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (SOA), highlighting the sordid U.S.-support for the war, which spanned from 1960 to 1996 and claimed the lives of some 250,000, many of them women and children.

The most prominent of those arrested are Gens. Benedicto Lucas García, and Gen. Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas, both graduates of SOA, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.

In the early 1980s, during the peak of the government’s repression, Lucas Garcia was the army’s Chief of Staff while Callejas y Callejas was the Director of Intelligence.

The arrests came just a week before incoming president Jimmy Morales takes office on Jan. 14. Morales, a former television comedian, ran as the candidate of the National Convergence Front (FCN), a party he co-founded that’s dominated by military officers.

Prosecutors are seeking to arrest Morales’ top aid, Edgar Justino Ovalle Maldonado, on similar charges of crimes against humanity and forced disappearances. Ovalle Maldonado, also an SOA graduate and a FCN co-founder who helped Morales get the FCN’s nomination, currently has immunity as a legislator. But Aldana has appealed to the Supreme Court to revoke his immunity.

Ovalle Maldonado was an Operations Officer at the Cobán military base in 1983, and later the commander of the base, according to Amnesty International. He is reported to have claimed that the mass graves merely served as cemeteries for two towns near the base.

Morales will be succeeding former President Otto Pérez Molina, another SOA graduate, who resigned last September as the result of a popular uprising over government corruption and is now facing bribery charges.

Further heightening the drama is the retrial of former military dictator Gen. Efrain Ríos Montt on charges of genocide. The proceedings begin today (Jan.11) for the SOA graduate, who was convicted of the same charge in 2013, but saw the verdict overturned on a technicality.

Another SOA graduate arrested in the Jan. 6 sweep was Col. Francisco Luis Gordillo Martínez, who helped Ríos Montt overthrow the government in 1982. He, Rios Montt and another SOA graduate formed a junta that created secret tribunals, repealed the constitution, abolished the legislature, and escalated a “scorched earth” policy to wipe out entire villages.

Records show that Gordillo Martinez was a three-time graduate of SOA, graduating from its infantry Weapons and Infantry Tactics programs in the 1960s and from its Command and General Staff College in 1974.

Another SOA graduate — Col. Ricardo Mendez Ruiz — commanded the Cobán military base where the bodies were found from 1980 to 1982, the year he became the Minister of Interior under Rios Montt. Mendez Ruiz died Jan. 1, five days before the arrests began.

Details on the current charges against the 18 officers are sketchy, and limited to the mass graves at the Cobán base and the case of a Guatemala City teenager disappeared in 1981 by the military. But human rights investigators have long documented the human rights records of those arrested.

The Guatemalan Catholic church’s human rights office estimated the number of dead from counterinsurgency operations in 1981 alone to be 11,000, most of whom were indigenous peasants living in the Highlands.

Lucas García took command of the counterinsurgency campaign in the Highlands in October 1981, according to anthropologist Shelton Davis*, writing in Harvest of Violence: The Maya Indians and the Guatemalan Crisis. The campaign, Davis said, was marked by massacres, targeted killings of community leaders, and the burning of houses and fields to terrorize the Indian population into not joining the guerillas.

Callejas y Callejas was arrested in connection with the 1981 disappearance of a Guatemala City teenager, but his tenure as chief of intelligence coincides with the slaughter of thousands of Mayan Indians, the murders of 27 professors, more than 80 union leaders and four priests, including American Fr. Stanley Rother and the failed 1980 attempt to murder Quiche Bishop Juan Gerardi.

As it turned out, Gerardi was assassinated 18 years later, just two days after releasing a four-volume study showing that the military forces were responsible for 90 percent of the atrocities in the war.

Both Lucas García and Callejas y Callejas graduated twice from the SOA. Lucas García was trained in 1965 in combat intelligence while Callejas y Callejas was trained in 1962 in communications. Both men later graduated in 1970 from the school’s elite Command and General Staff College.

Callejas y Callejas rose to become the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, and despite his horrific human rights record, the U.S. State Department approved his induction in 1988 into the School of the America’s Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame induction underscored U.S. complicity, says Roy Bourgeois, a former Maryknoll priest who founded the SOA Watch after learning that the school had trained the killers of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador 1989.

In 1990, Bourgeois was arrested after throwing blood on the Hall’s gallery where the portrait of Callejas y Callejas hung alongside that of several Latin American dictators.

The U.S. intervention, he said, was extensive. “Several U.S. administrations trained, advised, funded and armed the Guatemalan military. Many of its military and intelligence officers were on the CIA payroll.”

Bourgeois and other human rights activists have hailed the Guatemalan arrests.

Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action, a Canadian NGO engaged in human rights work throughout Central America, called it “an extraordinarily positive step forward” in a country where military impunity has been the rule.

In an interview with the Venezulean-based TeleSUR television network, Russell praised the Guatemalan attorney general for filing a “series of war crimes charges” stemming from “the worst years of the U.S.-backed repression and genocide.”

The filing was especially significant, he said, coming “just as another military-backed president is about to assume the presidency, in this as yet very undemocratic country.” With Morales strong links to the military, Russell believes that the country will likely continue to be “dominated by the same economic elites — national and international — that were in power during the worst years” of the 1970s and 1980s.”

Still, Bourgeois draws hope from the fact, that against all odds, Guatemalans themselves — from the prosecutors to the “courageous survivors and relatives of the disappeared” — have risked their lives to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“They want the truth, and they want it to come out. And they are willing to die for it,” he said. “They’ve waited some 35 years. The strategy of the military has been to keep stalling until those responsible have died off. But there will never be any justice or reconciliation until there is accountability and the perpetrators start going to prison.”

*An earlier version of this story attributed the wrong author for Harvest of Violence.

[Linda Cooper and James Hodge are the authors of Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of the Americas.]

http://ncronline.org/news/global/guatemalan-authorities-arrest-soa-trained-officers-massacres-disappearances

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