Remember Berta Caceres: Call on Congress to cut U.S. military/security aid to Honduras

From SOA Watch

MONDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2016 19:22
Before Congress adjourns for 2016, we have one last opportunity to build support for suspending US military and security aid to Honduras, where repression of human rights defenders and social movements continues unabated.  With the US State Department certifying that the Honduran government is taking effective steps on human rights, despite continued assassinations and impunity, it is important that Congress pushes back. To date, 49 Representatives have co-sponsored the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which would suspend US military and security aid to Honduras.  Can you take a moment today to call your Representative if he or she has not yet signed on and ask him/her to sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act?

See if your representative has already co-sponsored the bill here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5474/cosponsors   (Need the name of your Representative?  Click here)
If not, call the Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask to be transfered to your Representative and ask your him/her to sponsor the bill: 

“Hello, I am calling to ask Rep. _____ to sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, before the end of the year. Internationally recognized Indigenous leader Berta Caceres and other leaders have been brutally assassinated in Honduras this year.  The death threats and attacks on environmental activists, human rights leaders, journalists, and others continue today.  Please sponsor HR 5474 before this year is out to call for an end to US military aid in Honduras.”If your Representative has signed on to support the bill, call his or her office to thank them (202-224-3121):

“Hello, I am calling to thank Rep. _____ for sponsoring HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, in 2016.  The repression and death threats and attacks on environmental activists, human rights leaders, journalists, and others continue unabated in Honduras.  I hope that your office will continue to speak out for the suspension of US security aid to Honduras at every opportunity.”

Let us know how your call went here.

Thank you for all your efforts to call on Congress to cut destructive US security aid to Honduras in 2016.  We look forward to continuing to work together in 2017.

 

http://www.soaw.org

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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

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Terror attacks in France. Cui bono? U.S.-led coalition supports terrorism

Global Research, November 18, 2015
16 November 2015

In the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, there are three important questions to ask. 

1) Cui bono? 

2) What country could surpass and thwart the sophisticated French intelligence and surveillance system?

3) Why are outcry and public outpourings of support and grief so muted or entirely absent when other countries are invaded or attacked by our forces?

France is on alert since the Charlie Hebdo and market attacks, with heightened security due to President Hollande attending a public sporting event. Who has the resources to wage a coordinated, well-armed, utterly secret attack across Paris and escape notice despite surveillance?

The answer is not “magical evil people,” unless you’ve been watching too much TV or too many Western press conferences.

Look at what is happening in Syria. Look at the timing. There are no coincidences.

  • The U.S., allies, and ISIS are losing in Syria
  • The U.S. is losing support from European allies
  • The U.S. and allies support ISIS
  • The U.S. and allies want control of pipelines, resources, and the region

U.S., allies, and ISIS losing Syria

Russia, assisting the Syrian government, has destroyed almost 2000 terrorist targets in a few short weeks – ammunition depots, command posts, training camps, fortified positions.[1] The U.S.-led coalition, though claiming to fight terrorists for over a year, has had few if any results. Syrians are retaking their country with the help of Russia, Iran, and Iraq.

The U.S. has repeatedly refused to cooperate with Russia or Syria. The U.S. and its partners kill Syrians, destroy vital national Syrian infrastructure, and lie about Syria and Russia.

Discussions are underway for Syrian political solutions. In contrast, the U.S. funds and trains mercenary terrorist forces to overthrow the democratically-elected and popular President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Special Envoy Daniel Rubenstein says Syrians may not even be part of the envisioned Western-created government.[2]

The Russian proposals and assistance are gaining popularity internationally.

U.S. losing European support

European leaders talk about working with Russia to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups. Members of the Bundestag (German Parliament) visited Moscow recently. Europeans are being hurt by sanctions. Many oppose U.S.-NATO actions against Russia. The refugee crisis is destabilizing Europe – a powerful impetus to work for peace in Syria.

U.S.-coalition support of terrorism

The U.S. and allies support ISIS and other terrorist groups with active, ongoing aid — supplies, weapons, logistics, medical aid, and protection. This is well documented. These aren’t just a few “mistaken” drops of weapons and supplies to ISIS forces. Turkey, Israel, the UK and France are all involved.[3]

John McCain has been repeatedly photographed with these groups and their leaders.[4] Instead of attacking ISIS, the U.S. and Israel have also attacked and murdered Syrian soldiers defending their country.

U.S.-European regional goals

The U.S. and allies want control of pipelines, oil and gas, and the region.[5] This has been their objective for decades. The U.S. began terrorizing Syria from the beginning, launching its first CIA coup against Syria’s newly formed government in 1949.[6] The U.S. hasn’t stopped since that time.[7] The British and French have been at this even longer.

The military mission by all coalition partners supports powerful economic and financial players. U.S. actions have nothing to do with “American values”, U.S. defense, or the American people. U.S. Marine Major General Smedley Butler said,

The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag… War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious…I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents…[8]

Information warfare is waged by U.S. and Western governments to hide what’s going on. The mainstream news media docilely reads whatever cover story it is handed.[9]

Destabilization and/or installation of puppet dictatorships are important to attain U.S./NATO goals.[10] Igniting ethnic feuds and rivalries and supplying weapons keep people divided, distracted, and killing each other, while the U.S. and coalition members loot the region of resources. The powerful American, UK, French, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi and coalition militaries are more than capable of guarding their own critical infrastructure in the midst of this created chaos. They have no qualms with ignoring national sovereignty and destroying people. General Wesley Clarke stated in 2007,

“We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”[11] [12]

But the European public is pushing for peace, especially due to the refugee crisis. What a perfect time to re-galvanize support for U.S./NATO power and goals with a terror attack.

The third question is actually several questions and follows President Assad’s statement that this has been happening in Syria for five years.[13]

3) Why are outcry and public outpourings of support and grief so muted or entirely absent when other countries are invaded or attacked by our forces, and thousands of people killed by our bombs, missiles, bullets, drones, cluster munitions, white phosphorus, depleted uranium, and by sanctions? Libya immediately comes to mind as well as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and eastern Ukraine. Over 500,000 children are dead in Iraq just due to U.S. sanctions in the 1990s. How many Westerners opposed that? How many mourned those hundreds of thousands of dead children due to Western terrorism?

Is it terrorism only when it’s done to “us”?

Do we ignore or even applaud our own countries’ terroristic and illegal actions, especially if the people in the countries we attack are a different ethnicity or race or religion? Europe and America have spawned many of the worst examples of terrorism in humanity’s history. How many millions of Syrian people are dead or are refugees because of French and Western terrorism?

How many Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans and others have been tortured, raped or murdered because of the terrorism created and funded by France and others?

Are racism and permissible genocide what really drive our community spirit as well as our foreign policies?

American terrorism has a long, long history across the globe; Syria is just one of the chapters.

The School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia, has trained death squads and torturers for many years. A protest in November will once again call for its closure.

NATO’s Operation Gladio and the “stay behind armies” have manufactured terror in Europe and elsewhere since the end of World War II. France has been in the crosshairs of the U.S. before, as have many other countries which weren’t firm enough vassal states. There were 31 assassination attempts against President De Gaulle which were traced to the United States and NATO.[14] When there is even a whiff of neutrality, Washington sends its hit men.[15]

Wikileaks just released evidence of John McCain’s involvement in a plot to shoot down an American plane over Syria and blame it on Russia.[16] In the 1960s, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff plotted similar false flag terrorist actions to blame on Cuba in Operation Northwoods.[17] We know that President George W. Bush proposed a similar action against Iraq because of the leaked “Downing Street” memo. Washington will do anything to keep its dominance and economic power.

Any school child can easily find a wealth of documentation on this, yet most Americans haven’t a clue. Why? Because they “believe” in Americanism and exceptionalism. They don’t read widely, they don’t ask questions, they don’t investigate, they don’t think, and they won’t protest. This is very, very dangerous. In Nazi Germany, Germans were afraid and many were inactive, but they weren’t blind. Many Americans are willfully blind, self-focused, and lazy. But what will happen when the mercenaries killing other people come knocking on their doors? They forget Martin Niemoller’s poem.[18]

Already, after the Paris attacks, the knives are out for Syria, the false evidence waved in front of the camera. We now know that France was tracking the purported culprits for years, and then stopped.[19] Coincidentally, the French had already brought their largest warship, the Charles De Gaulle, to the Syrian coast just in time for the attacks, and France has now bombed inside Syria, without Syrian permission.

Cui bono?

It is the responsibility of each person to think and see through the charades and the tragedies, to discern the real shapes hiding in the shadows. It is the obligation of each person to expose these crimes, past and present, and hold all the perpetrators responsible.

Silence is consent.

The time to act is very, very short.

Educate, expose, and demand justice now.

Notes:

[1] http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/11/current-results-of-russian-military.html

[2] Lecture: “The Challenges of Syria: Assad, ISIL, and the Opposition”, World Affairs Council, Monterey, California, March 2015

[3] http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931209001345

http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-finances-isis-us-and-israeli-military-advisors-arrested-in-iraq-for-aiding-isis-fighters/5436525

http://www.globalresearch.ca/isis-fires-american-made-missiles-at-syrian-army/5413381

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/alleged-spy-arrested-in-turkey-for-helping-girls-join-islamic-state-was-working-for-canadian-embassy-in-jordan-reports

http://www.globalresearch.ca/israeli-commanders-killed-within-al-nusra-ranks-inside-syria/5472791

http://www.globalresearch.ca/islamic-state-isis-supply-lines-influx-of-fighters-and-weapons-protected-by-turkey-in-liaison-with-nato/5416899

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akbfplUcjLU

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931223001274

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Report-Israel-treating-al-Qaida-fighters-wounded-in-Syria-civil-war-393862

http://awdnews.com/top-news/turkish-president%E2%80%99s-daughter-heads-a-covert-medical-corps-to-help-isis-injured-members,-reveals-a-disgruntled-nurse

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940109000632

http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/678699

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13931220000903

[4] http://www.voltairenet.org/article185085.html

[5]http://www.globalresearch.ca/turkey-is-looting-and-destroying-aleppo-syrian-industrialists-seek-international-justice/5470516

http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-strike-on-syria-is-desperation-incarnate/5404047

[6] Wikipedia: “March 1949 Syrian coup d’état”

[6] “1949-1958, Syria: Early Experiments in Covert Action”, by Douglas Little, Professor of History, Clark University. May 2003

Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, by William Blum. Common Courage Press, 2004.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-who-is-behind-the-protest-movement-fabricating-a-pretext-for-a-us-nato-humanitarian-intervention/24591

[7]http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

[8] War is a Racket by Major General Smedley Butler and selected quotes

http://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/smedley_butler.html

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

This is a major cause for PTSD and suicide in veterans. Recruited into the military with flag-waving and promises of free college education, men and women discover the truth too late. Once inside the military, it is almost impossible to get out, and they are virtual slaves. Soldiers can be shot if they refuse to obey orders. True support for the troops means stopping the wars, stopping the war economy, bringing all soldiers home with apologies and healing services, and jailing the people at the top in Congress, the Pentagon, and on Wall Street.

[9] http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/MOCK/mockingbird.php#axzz3Z9CBHG6K

http://www.markdice.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=113:operation-mockingbird-government-control-of-mainstream-media&catid=66:articles-by-mark-dice&Itemid=89

http://theintelhub.com/2012/02/27/cia-controlled-media-cia-admits-using-news-to-manipulate-the-usa/

On the sarin gas attack:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/seymour-hersh-exposes-us-government-lies-on-syrian-sarin-attack/5361034

http://www.globalresearch.ca/turkish-whistleblowers-corroborate-story-on-false-flag-sarin-attack-in-syria/5483982

[10] http://www.globalresearch.ca/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list-of-u-s-regime-changes/5400829

http://www.michaelparenti.org/DefyingSanctions.htm

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/09/10/redrawing-map-russia-federation-partition-russia-after-world-war-iii.html

Killing Hope, by William Blum

Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism, by Greg Grandin. Henry Holt & Co. 2007

“The Secret Wars of the CIA”, by John Stockwell, former CIA Station Chief in Angola in 1976, working for then Director of the CIA, George Bush. Parts 1 & 2

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info//article4068.htm     Part 1

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info//article4069.htm     Part 2

http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-blueprint-for-global-domination-from-containment-to-pre-emptive-war-the-1948-truman-doctrine/5400067

[11] http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/02/1440234

General Wesley Clark — retired 4-star U.S. Army general, Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the 1999 War on Yugoslavia

[12] http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/12/13/historic-speech-in-damascus-sends-shockwaves-around-the-world/

[13] http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/11/assad-on-paris-terror-attack-its.html

[14] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-lessons-of-history-in-1966-president-de-gaulle-said-no-to-us-nato/5386501

[15] Confessions of an Economic Hitman, by John Perkins. Berrett-Kohler Publishers. 2004

http://www.democracynow.org/2004/12/31/confessions_of_an_economic_hit_man

http://www.democracynow.org/2006/2/15/self_described_economic_hit_man_john

[16] http://www.fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/10/ukrainian-wikileaks-mccain-and.html

[17] http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92662

[18] One version of his famous quote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) a prominent Protestant pastor who became an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent seven years in Nazi concentration camps.

[19] http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2015/11/confirmed-french-government-knew.html

Nina Beety is a community advocate, public speaker, and writer on topics including wireless radiation hazards, environmental issues, and American foreign policy. She is author of the report “Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems — Legislative Proposal, December 2012″, available on her website www.smartmeterharm.org

Guatemala’s current situation can be traced back to the 1954 CIA-led coup. U.S. guidebook on political assassination

Part II of Why Americans Should Closely Watch Unfolding Events in Guatemala

By Prof. Edward Curtin
Global Research, October 08, 2015
Who.What.Why. 7 October 2015

For the first part in this two-part series, go here.

Guatemala’s current situation and tragic history can be traced back to the CIA-led coup in 1954 that ousted the democratically elected government of President Jacobo Arbenz and installed the military dictator Carlos Armas. Arbenz was an advocate for land reform and was loved by the poor. The wealthy hated him. And when the CIA couldn’t bribe him, they ousted him in a most humiliating way. Even after he went into exile, the agency used constant disinformation to smear him in every way imaginable until his strange death in a bathtub in 1971.

Since the 1954 coup, and with the ongoing support of the CIA and the School of the Americas (SOA), the Guatemalan people have lived a nightmare. What follows should give you a sense of the CIA’s thinking behind the coup and its aftermath. It is a transcription of a CIA document released to The National Security Archive, a research institute, on May 23, 1997 under a Freedom of Information Act request.

A hammer, axe, wrench, screwdriver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice.” For an assassin using “edge weapons,” the manual notes in cold clinical terms, “puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached.

United Fruit Company Building. Photo credit: Michael Bentley / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

United Fruit Company Building. Photo credit: Michael Bentley / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

“A Study of Assassination,” unsigned, undated:

Among the documents found in the training files of Operation PBSUCCESS and declassified by the Agency is a “Study of Assassination.” A how-to guide book in the art of political killing, the 19-page manual offers detailed descriptions of the procedures, instruments, and implementation of assassination. “The simplest local tools are often much the most efficient means of assassination,” counsels the study. “A hammer, axe, wrench, screwdriver, fire poker, kitchen knife, lamp stand, or anything hard, heavy and handy will suffice.” For an assassin using “edge weapons,” the manual notes in cold clinical terms, “puncture wounds of the body cavity may not be reliable unless the heart is reached…. Absolute reliability is obtained by severing the spinal cord in the cervical region.” The manual also notes that to provide plausible denial, “no assassination instructions should ever be written or recorded.” Murder, the drafters state, “is not morally justifiable,” and “persons who are morally squeamish should not attempt it.”

“President Arbenz delivers on his promise — Farmers: here is your land. Defend it, care for it, cultivate it.” (1954) One of a series of photos by Cornell Capa, documenting the sweet,short-lived dream of life under a democracy. Photo credit: Cornell Capa

“President Arbenz delivers on his promise — Farmers: here is your land. Defend it, care for it, cultivate it.” (1954) One of a series of photos by Cornell Capa, documenting the sweet,short-lived dream of life under a democracy. Photo credit: Cornell Capa

No, this dirty work is not for the “morally squeamish.”

If one is searching for the truth about the coup, the document above is accurate and revealing. However, if one searched the web and discovered a posting at globalsecurty.org (see sidebar at the end of the article) one would be misled. That posting is nothing more than a summary of a Congressional Research Service report. It never mentions Guatemala, although it includes other Latin American countries — Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Peru. A gullible reader might come away with the impression that the School of the Americas had nothing to do with Guatemala, when, in fact, it had a great deal to do with it. Why leave out this country in particular?

Could it be that GlobalSecurity.org is unfamiliar with documents such as the one described above? Is it one of those glib sites that posts articles that do not give the full picture, even if inadvertently? Or is it a site that presents disinformation? The web is filled with questionable information, so one must proceed skeptically.

Those interested in the truth must probe much deeper, but that is difficult as the following account of the propagandist Edward Bernays makes clear.

From PR to “The Engineering of Consent”

The 1954 coup d’etat was ably assisted by American Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, who is often called the “father of public relations.” He is barely known to the general public and is part of our secret history. A war propagandist for the US during World War I, Bernays used his propaganda techniques — now called PR — to “engineer the consent” of the American people on behalf of the power elite.

Leading up to the 1954 coup, he was the chief propagandist for The United Fruit Company and in that capacity created a vast media campaign painting the Arbenz government as communist and in cahoots with the U.S.S.R.

This was the height of the Cold War, and the American government was consumed with using anti-communist and anti-Soviet rhetoric to defend its spheres of interest; for a long time the American government, in conjunction with American corporations, had considered Latin America and the Caribbean their de facto colonies.

The United Fruit Company — now Chiquita Brands International — was an American corporation that had controlled vast tracts of land and numerous businesses in Guatemala and throughout Latin America since the early 1900s. The company was known for its support of dictators and the exploitation of the people and the land.

Intimately linked to the power elite within the US government, United Fruit extracted huge profits and rejected any reforms that challenged its control of the land. It was the largest landholder and employer in Guatemala. It owned railroads and discouraged the building of highways. It had long controlled Guatemala’s politicians. It’s power was so extensive that one historian compares it to the Dutch East India Company in its influence. It’s shareholders and supporters were amply distributed throughout the foreign policy establishment in the US.

As US Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler made clear in 1935, the US military was used to deal with any resistance to American corporations’ business interests overseas. Guatemala is a case study in this regard. President Arbenz’s land reform act of 1952Decree 900 — expropriated rural farm land, 70 per cent of which was in the hands of 2 percent of the landowners, including vast acreage controlled by United Fruit but, significantly, only land not under cultivation by the company. The land was redistributed to poor peasants. The owners ( who included Arbenz himself) were to be compensated at fair market value.

But this arrangement was not acceptable to United Fruit or their backers in Washington. The American Ambassador to Guatemala, John Peurifoy (CIA Director Allen Dulles’s handpicked man), then tried to bribe Arbenz with a $2 million payoff to terminate the land reforms.

Arbenz refused, and his overthrow was set in motion by the CIA. Bernays was called upon to present the land redistribution as a communist takeover and a threat to US national security. His media propaganda campaign, presenting Arbenz as a communist in league with the USSR, together with the CIA’s additional propaganda, created the justification for the CIA-led coup.

What wasn’t revealed at the time was that the Eisenhower administration had intimate ties to United Fruit. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had represented United Fruit at his law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, and his brother, Allen Dulles, the CIA chief in charge of the 1954 coup, once sat on United Fruit’s board of directors and had also done legal work for them. Both brothers had large financial stakes in the company. Such clear-cut conflicts of interest were not an anomaly within the Eisenhower administration. Many other administration officials were connected in one way or another to United Fruit. Bernays’s propaganda, using anti-communist rhetoric, served perfectly the interests of his conjoined clients — United Fruit and the CIA. As a result of Dulles’s and Bernays’s machinations, hundreds of thousands of Guatemalans were eventually massacred

The excellent documentary by Adam Curtis, The Century of Self, documents Bernays’s profound and largely pernicious influence on American life with a section specifically devoted to his propaganda efforts on behalf of the 1954 coup. Today’s “mainstream media” has learned a lot from Bernays, so if one wishes to see through the vast amount of propaganda and dissimulation in current news coverage, learning about Bernays is crucial.

The recent arrest of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina on corruption charges cannot be understood except within the larger context of US interference in Latin American countries going back more than a century. And that record of US meddling in Central and South America has been largely left out of official histories of the United States.

The rise of the CIA to virtually unchallenged supremacy in Washington’s power structure is but one part of this backstory. Peter Dale Scott, who has written voluminously on the subject, calls this phenomenon of a de facto shadow government hidden behind the public facade while serving corporate interests, “the deep state.” This secretive power elite, through its decades-long support of coups and death squads in Guatemala, has linked that country’s fate inextricably to US interests and policies.

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Sometimes even when the mind knows and assents, the heart stays frozen. But music, like poetry, can often break the ice within. Here is the acclaimed singer and former Panamanian reform presidential candidate Ruben Blades, singing a song from his album, Nothing but the Truth. The song is called “In Salvador,” but his words could apply to what goes on in many Latin American countries. The “regular guys” of Ruben’s song are often death squad killers, “made in America” at the “School of the Assassins.”

http://www.globalresearch.ca/guatemalas-current-situation-can-be-traced-back-to-the-1954-cia-led-coup-us-guide-book-on-political-assassination/5480546