Central America, Yelling Louder: Bibliography (nausea edition)

Following are some selections from this larger bibliography about death squads.

Any mention of “Battalion 316 of Honduras” or similar name is the infamous group which literally wrote the “how-to-torture” manuals, discussed at length here.

But first:  recent talk of torture and fascism goes unconnected to the beginnings of deep US State-sponsored death squads through the beginnings of what was formerly known as School of the Americas, now euphemistically known as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation:

The School of the Americas was opened in 1946 under the name of the Latin American Training Center-Ground Division. It assumed its most persistent name in 1963, and it moved from the Canal Zone to its present location in Fort Benning, Georgia in 1984. The school officially closed on December 15, 2000, perhaps solely in an effort to escape its widely-circulated epithet as the School of Assassins-for it swiftly reopened the next January 17 with a new name: the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation. It is located on the same premises and-according to its critics-teaches essentially the same courses to the same clientele. Its original purpose was to promote closer ties with the militaries of Latin America and to assist the military and police forces in the region better to maintain control of their environment.

(…)

The school is the most famous of more than 150 facilities in the United States and abroad used to train foreign soldiers. The school has trained upward of 59,000 Latin American military personnel, policemen, and civilians. Ten of the graduates of the school became the president/dictators of their countries, 23 became ministers of defense, and 15 ministers of other departments.

Serving as the head of Guatemalan Intelligence, General Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas was responsible for the disappearances and deaths of thousands of Guatemalans. He was not only a graduate of the school, but his portrait hangs on the wall at the school’s headquarters along with that of General Banzar and other distinguished alumni who have been selected for the Hall of Fame. Over two-thirds of the more than sixty officers cited for the worst human rights abuses in the United Nations report on the repression in El Salvador graduated from the school. It “has graduated over 500 of the worst human rights abusers in the hemisphere, who are implicated in the murder and torture of countless Latin Americans.” School of the Americas

El Salvador, Central America, 1981-1993. Salvadoran death squads set up as a consequence of Kennedy administration decisions. Killers were Treasury Police and the military who were trained in intelligence and torture by U.S. U.S. personnel staffed military and intelligence apparatus. Generals selected and trained by U.S. were most notorious killers. 1984 FBI report on death squads never released. For savage expose of School of Americas’ killers, see Father Roy Bourgeois’s School of the Americas Watch, Box 3330, Columbus Ga. 31903; (706) 682-5369. The Nation, 12/27/1993, p. 791  *

El Salvador, 1985. In 2/1985, CIA reported that behind Arena’s legitimate exterior lies a terrorist network led by D’Aubuisson using both active-duty and retired military personnel…” main death squad was “the Secret Anti-communist Army,” described by CIA as the paramilitary organization of Arena – from the National Police and other security organizations. These were funded directly from Washington. Death squads became more active as 1994, election approached. Columbia, possibly leading terrorist state in Latin America, has become leading recipient of U.S. military aid. Since 1986, more than 20,000 people have been killed for political reasons, most by Colombian authorities. More than 1,500 leaders, members and supporters of the Labor Party (UP) have been assassinated since party established in 1985. Pretext for terror operations is war against guerrillas and narcotraffickers. Former a partial truth, latter a myth concocted to replace the “communist threat.” Pmers works hand-in-hand with drug lords, organized crime, and landlords. National Police took over as leading official killers while U.S. aid shifted to them. Targets include community leaders, human rights and health workers, union activists, students, members of religious youth organizations, and young people in shanty towns. Sale of human organs. Case of Guatemala. Shift of 1962, under Kennedy administration from hemispheric defense to “internal security:” war against the internal enemy. Doctrines expounded in counterinsurgency manuals. Internal enemy extends to labor organizations, popular movements, indigenous organizations, opposition political parties, peasant movements, intellectual sectors, religious currents, youth and student groups, neighborhood organizations, etc. From 1984 through 1992, 6,844 Colombian soldiers trained under U.S. International Military Education and Training Program (MET). Z Magazine, 5/1994, 14 pages   *

El Salvador, 1981-93. 12 years of tortured truth on El Salvador – U.S. declarations undercut by United Nations. Commission report. For 12 years, opponents of U.S. policy in Central America accused Reagan and Bush administrations of ignoring widespread human rights abuses by the Salvadoran government and of systematically deceiving or even lying to Congress and people about the nature of an ally that would receive $6 billion in economic and military aid. A three-man United Nations.-sponsored Truth Commission released a long-awaited report on 12 years of murder, torture and disappearance in El Salvador’s civil war. Commission examined 22,000 complaints of atrocities and attributed 85 percent of a representative group of them to Salvadoran security forces or right-wing death squads. It blamed remainder on guerrilla Farabundo Marti National Liberation front (FMLN). In May 1980, for instance, when Carter was still President, security forces seized documents implicating rightist leader D’Aubuisson in the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero. In Fall of 1981, Army Brig. Gen. Fred Woerner supervised preparation of a joint U.S.-Salvadoran internal military “Report of the El Salvador Military Strategy Assistance Team,” which noted that “the (Salvadoran) armed forces are reluctant to implement vigorous corrective actions for abuses in the use of force.” One reason so many people found it hard to believe U.S. officials could not have known more about rights abuses and acted more aggressively to curb them is that the U.S. was deeply involved in running the war, from intelligence gathering to strategy planning to training of everyone from officers to foot soldiers. By 1982, U.S.. military advisers were assigned to each of the six Salvadoran brigades, as well as each of 10 smaller detachments. The U.S. put tens of millions of dollars into developing the ultra-modern national intelligence directorate to coordinate intelligence gathering and dissemination. U.S. military and CIA officials participated in almost every important meeting. Most brigades had a U.S. intelligence officer assigned to them, as well as a U.S. liaison officer. U.S. advisers regularly doled out small amounts of money, usually less than $1,000 at a time, for intelligence work. The U.S. was not informed of arrests or captures Unless they specifically asked. “They never asked unless there was a specific request because someone in Washington was getting telegrams.” El Mozote, the report said, was work of U.S.-trained Atlacatl battalion, part of a days-long search-and-destroy sweep known as “Operation Rescue.” In fact, the report said, the soldiers massacred more than 500 people in six villages. In El Mozote, where the identified victims exceeded 200, “the men were tortured and executed, then women were executed and finally, the children” Washington Post, 3/21/1993

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El Salvador, 1981-89. Salvadoran atrocity posed agonizing choice for U.S. COL Rene Ponce, chief of staff of Salvador’s armed forces, has been accused of ordering murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter at Central American University. Newly available U.S. documents show U.S. knowingly and repeatedly aligned themselves with unsavory characters during 1980s while defending them to U.S. Public. Diplomatic cables found among more than 10,000 recently declassified State, Pentagon and CIA documents, reveal extent U.S. policy makers chose to overlook Ponce’s brutality. U.S. officials long labeled Ponce a right-wing extremist tied to death squads. But documents make clear U.S. played down unsavory side of Ponce. Details from correspondence between Ambassador Walker and Baker. In 10/1983, CIA prepared a “briefing paper on right-wing terrorism in El Salvador” that described Ponce as a supporter of death squads. Impact Bush’s visit in 1984 to push for human rights was minimal. By 7/1989, CIA reported that Ponce “espouses moderate political views.” Ponce refused repeated requests to pursue those responsible for deaths of Jesuits. Washington Post, 4/5/1994, A13   *

El Salvador, 1980-93. Report of UN’s Truth Commission re enormous crime of a government that killed upwards of 70,000 civilians between 1980-92. Report refutes official statements made by Reagan and Bush administrations – when officials denied leaders of Salvadoran armed forces were using execution, rape and torture to sustain their power – reports says they were. We need a truth report on our own government per Rep. Moakley. Truth report adds growing body evidence U.S. Government officials may have participated in perpetuation of atrocities in El Salvador. In 1960s, CIA advisers helped create a nationwide informant net. In 1981, team of military advisers led by Brig. Gen. Frederick Woener sent to determine “rightist terrorism and institutional violence.” Salvadorans generally dismissed notion that terror was a bad idea. One of Colonels, Oscar Edgardo Casanova Vejar, was one covering up rape and murder of four churchwomen. Woener recommended U.S. proceed and give $300-400 million aid. U.S. officials claimed churchwomen had run a roadblock and there was no massacre at El Mozote. Neil Livingstone, a consultant who worked with Oliver North at NSC concluded, “death squads are an extremely effective tool, however odious, in combating terrorism and revolutionary challenges.” op-ed by Jefferson Morley, an Outlook editor. Washington Post, 3/28/1993, C1,5  *

El Salvador, 1980-93. 11/5/1993 release of thousands pages of intelligence reports shows every U.S. diplomat, military officer, and intelligence operative who worked with El Salvador’s military and political leaders in 1980s knew most of those involved in organizing death squads. State Department officials lied to Congress. Intelligence reports detailed precise information on murder, kidnapping, and coup plots, and death squad funding, involving people like VP Francisco Merino and current Arena candidate Armando Calderon Sol. At least 63,000 Salvadoran civilians – equivalent of 3 million Americans were killed – most by government supported by U.S. The Nation, 11/29/1993, p. 645

El Salvador, 1980-93. Approximately 50-page article on the massacres at El Mozote. Article by Mark Danner. New Yorker, 12/6/1993   *

El Salvador, 1980-92. “Secret of the Skeletons: Uncovering America’s Hidden Role in El Salvador.” Pathologists uncovered 38 small skeletons in El Mozote. In 1981 soldiers of ACRE, immediate reaction infantry battalion created by U.S., herded children into basement and blew up building. U.S. officials denied any massacre had taken place and kept on denying for years. About 800 residents killed. Armed service leaders said they conducted war on part of Reagan and Bush administrations with bi-partisan support Congress since 1984; received daily assistance from State Department, DOD and CIA. Truth Commission investigating via U.S. Government interagency committee. State and CIA not cooperating with commission. CIA not giving one document on formation of death squads, prepared in 1983 for congressional intelligence committees. Kidnap-for-profit ring against Salvadoran business community. With U.S. Encouragement, Salvadoran government arrested several members of ring. One was a death squad assassin, Rudolfo Isidro Lopez Sibrian, who implicated in deaths of 2 American labor advisers. Washington Post, 11/15/1992, C1,2   *

El Salvador, 1980-91. Truth Commission report says 19 of 27 Salvadoran officers implicated in 6 Jesuit murders were graduates of U.S. Army’s School of Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. Almost three quarters of Salvadoran officers accused in 7 other massacres were trained at Fort Benning. It called school for dictators. Since 46 it has trained more than 56,000 Latin soldiers. Graduates include some of region’s most despicable military strongmen. Now, when U.S. wants to build democracy, school an obstacle. Newsweek investigation turned up hundreds of less than honorable grads. At least 6 Peruvian officers linked to a military death squad that killed 9 students and a professor were graduates. Four of five senior Honduran officers accused in Americas Watch report of organizing a death squad, Battalion 316, were trained there. A coalition charged 246 Colombian officers with human rights violations; 105 were school alumni. Honored graduates include General Suarez, a brutal dictator of Bolivia; General Callejas Ycallejas, chief of Guatemalan intelligence in late 1970s and early 1980s, when thousands political opponents were assassinated; and Honduran General Garcia, a corrupt person; and, Hernandez, armed forces chief of Colombia suspected of aiding Colombian drug traffickers. Newsweek, 8/9/1993, pp. 36-7  *

El Salvador. Former San Francisco police officer accused of illegal spying said he worked for CIA and will expose CIA’s support of death squads if he prosecuted. Tom Gerard said he began working for CIA in 1982 and quit in 1985 because he could not tolerate what he saw. He and Roy Bullock are suspected of gathering information from police and government files on thousands of individuals and groups. Information probably ended up with B’nai B’rith and ADL. CIA refused to confirm Gerard’s claim. Gerard said there is proof CIA directly involved in training and support of torture and death squads in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala during mid 1980s. Proof in his briefcase San Francisco police seized. Gerard said several photos seized by police show CIA agents attending interrogations, or posing with death squad members. Washington Times, 4/28/1993, A 6  *

El Salvador, 1989 Member of Salvadoran army said first brigade intelligence unit army troops routinely kill and torture suspected leftists. First brigade day-to-day army operations carried out with knowledge of U.S. military advisers. CIA routinely pays expenses for intelligence operations in the brigades. U.S. has about 55 advisers in Salvador. Washington Post, 10/27/1989, A1,26  *

El Salvador. The CIA and U.S. Armed forces conceived and organized Orden, the rural paramilitary and spy net designed to use terror against government opponents. Conceived and organized Ansesal, the presidential intelligence service that gathered dossiers on dissidents which then passed on to death squads. Kept key security officers with known links to death squads on the CIA payroll. Instructed Salvadoran intelligence operatives “in methods of physical and psychological torture.” Briarpatch, 8/1984 p. 30 from the 5/1984 Progressive   *

El Salvador. Administration sources said at height of rightist death squad activity, Reagan administration depended on commanders of right wing death squads. The U.S. shared some intelligence with them. U.S. intelligence officers developed close ties to chief death squad suspects while death squads killed several hundred a month and totaling tens of thousands. Washington Post, 10/6/1988, A 39 and 43   *

El Salvador. AID public safety advisors created the national police intelligence archive and helped organize Ansesal, an elite presidential intelligence service. Dossiers these agencies collected on anti-government activity, compiled with CIA surveillance reports, provided targets for death squads. Many of 50,000 Salvadorans killed in 1981-85 Attributable to death squad activity. National Reporter, Winter 1986, p. 19  *

El Salvador, 1980-84. Colonel Roberto Santivanez, former chief of the Salvadoran Army’s special military intelligence unit, testified before U.S. Senators and Congressmen. He charged that Roberto D’Aubuisson was the principal organizer of the death squads, along with Colonel Nicolas Carranza, the head of the country’s Treasury Police. He said Carranza also serves as a paid CIA informer. Other reports said Carranza received $90,000 a year for providing intelligence to the CIA. Washington Post, 4/1/1984  *

El Salvador, 1963. National Democratic Organization (Orden) formed as pro-government organization with assistance from CIA, U.S. military advisers, AID’s police training program. Orden supervised by Salvadoran national security agency, intelligence organization of military. CIA chose “right hand man,” Jose Medrano, to direct Orden. Orden served as base for death squad operations and sanctioned in 1970-79 all “above ground” unions. Barry, T., and Preusch, D. (1986). AIFLD in Central America, p. 33

El Salvador, 1965-85. For a report of CIA supporting death squad activities in El Salvador see “Spark,” 4/1985, pp. 2-4   *

Honduras, Argentina, 1980-89. A survivor tells her story: treatment for a leftist – kicks and freezing water and electric shocks. In between, a visitor from CIA. CIA worked closely with the Honduran military while the military tortured and killed dissidents during the 1980s, human rights groups said. A government official also said Argentine military advisers, with U.S. support, were brought in to help monitor leftist activism. “At least nine Argentine military (officers), supported by the CIA, trained many Honduran officers to prevent communism from entering Honduras,” said Leo Valladares of the government’s human rights commission. Bertha Oliva, head of committee of relatives of the disappeared, claimed CIA knew of disappearances by Honduran security forces and that “the U.S. Embassy had absolute power in this country.” in the first of a series of four articles, the Baltimore Sun reported Sunday that CIA and the State Department collaborated with a secret Honduran military unit known as Battalion 316 in the 1980s in cracking down on Honduras dissidents. Following a 14-month investigation. In order to keep up public support for Reagan administration’s war efforts in Central America, U.S. officials misled congress and the public about Honduran military abuses. Collaboration was revealed in classified documents and in interviews with U.S. and Honduran participants. Among those interviewed by the Sun were three former Battalion 316 torturers who acknowledged their crimes and detailed the battalion’s close relationship with CIA. Ramon Custodio, president of non-government human rights commission, said a former member of Battalion 316, Florencio Caballero, disclosed that CIA in early 1980s took 24 soldiers to the U.S. for training in anti-subversive techniques. At the time, Custodio said, “Honduras’ policy was oriented to detaining and summarily executing those who did not please the government or the military.” Battalion 316 was created in 1984 and its first commander was General Luis Alonso Discua, current armed forces chief. A government report subsequently blamed it in the cases of 184 missing people. Baltimore Sun, 6/15/1995  *

Honduras, 1980-93. CIA-trained death squad issue in presidential campaign. In early 1980s, Battalion 3-16, of Honduran military whose members instructed by and worked with CIA “disappeared” scores of activists. Both candidates accusing other of connections to Battalion 3-16. In 1980 25-Honduran officers to U.S. for training per sworn testimony in International Court by Honduran intelligence officer who participated – Florencio Caballero. Group trained in interrogation by a team from FBI and CIA. Training continued in Honduras. U.S. Trainers joined by instructors from Argentina and Chile – sessions focused on surveillance and rescuing kidnap victims. Battalion 3-16 engaged in a program of systematic disappearances and murder from 1981 to 1984. By March 1984, 100-150 students, teachers, unionists and travelers picked up and secretly executed. Squads, according to Inter-American Court of Human Rights, belonged to 3-16. Squads modus operandi included weeks of surveillance of suspects followed by capture by disguised agents using vehicles with stolen license plates, interrogation, torture in secret jails followed by execution and secret burial. CIA’s connection to 3-16 confirmed by General Alvarez, who created and commanded squad from 1980 through 1984. He later became chief of police and then head of the armed forces. Alvarez said CIA “gave good training, lie detectors, phone-tapping devices and electronic equipment to analyze intelligence.” CIA men informed when 3-16 abducted suspected leftists. When bodies found, 3-16 put out story they killed by guerrillas. CIA looked other way. Ambassador Negroponte in 1982 denied existence of death squads. State Department was attacking as communist, anti-democratic and a terrorist group, Committee for Defense of Human Rights in Honduras that was exposing 3-16. In a barracks coup, Alvarez forced into exile in Miami and became paid consultant to Pentagon writing study on low-intensity conflict. Members of 3-16 still in positions of power in government. Congressional intelligence committee in 1988 looked into CIA’s role with 3-16, but findings never published. Op-ed by Anne Manuel. Washington Post, 11/28/1993, C5  *

Honduras, 1982-86. Zuniga told congressional staffers about the 316 Battalion established with the knowledge and assistance of the U.S. Embassy. By 1984 more than 200 Honduran teachers, students, labor leaders, and opposition politicians had been murdered. The CIA had knowledge of the killings. Zuniga killed in 9/1985. Mother Jones, 4/1987, p. 48    *

Honduras, 1981-87. Florencio Caballero, who served as a torturer and a member of a death squad, said he was trained in Texas by the CIA. He said he was responsible for the torture and slaying of 120 Honduran and other Latin American citizens. The CIA taught him and 24 other people in a army intelligence unit for 6 months in interrogation. psychological methods — to study fears and weaknesses of a prisoner, make him stand up, don’t let him sleep, keep him naked and isolated, put rats and cockroaches in his cell, give him bad food, throw cold water on him, change the temperature. Washington Post, 6/8/1988, B3   *

Honduras, circa 1982-87. Army Battalion 3/16, a special counterinsurgency force which many considered a kind of death squad, was formed in 1980. Florencio Caballero, a former battalion member, described a clandestine paramilitary structure for repressing leftists. Caballero, who studied interrogation techniques in Houston, said the CIA was extensively involved in training squad members. NACLA 2/1988, p. 15, from New York Times, 5/2/1987  

Honduras, circa 1981-84. Honduran government established a secret unit that seized, interrogated, tortured, and murdered more than 130 people between 1981-84. Unit named Battalion 316. Unit operated with CIA supervision and training and received U.S. instruction in interrogation, surveillance and hostage rescue. Commander of unit in first years was a graduate of International Police Academy. NA, 2/20/1988, pp. 224-5 The clandestine houses and command post of 316 were visited by CIA agents. NA, 1/23/1988, p. 85  *

Honduras, 1980-83. Agents of Battalion 316, a Honduran death squad, received interrogation training in Texas from CIA in 1980. CIA agents maintained contact with unit in early 1980’s, visiting detention centers during interrogation and obtaining intelligence gleaned from torture victims. See Americas Watch “Human Rights in Honduras” (May 1987). Dillon, S. (1991). Commandos, p. 101  *

Honduras, 1980-89. CIA and State Department worked with a Honduran military unit called Battalion 316 during the 1980s. Unit was responsible for cracking down on dissidents. AP, 6/12/1995. Honduran special prosecutor for human rights asking the U.S. to turn over classified information on Ambassadors John Negroponte and Chris Arcos and several CIA agents connected to the disappearance of dissidents in the 1980s. AP, 6/13/1995

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Guatemala, 1954. Goal of CIA was apprehension of suspected communists and sympathizers. At CIA behest, Castillo Armas created committee and issued decree that established death penalty for crimes including labor union activities. Committee given authority declare anyone communist with no right of defense or appeal. By 11/21/1954 committee had some 72,000 persons on file and aiming to list 200,000. Schlesinger, S., & Kinzer, S. (1983). Bitter Fruit, p. 221  *

Guatemala, 1954. Department of State Secretary Dulles told Ambassador Peurifoy to have the government scour the countryside for communists and to slap them with criminal charges. A few months later the government began to persecute hundreds for vague communist crimes. The Nation, 10/28/1978, p. 444  *

Guatemala, 1985-93. CIA collected intelligence re ties between Guatemalan insurgents and Cuba. CIA passed the information to U.S. military, which was assisting Guatemalan army extinguish opposition. Washington Post, 3/30/1995, A1,10  *

Guatemala, 1970-72. Under Arana presidency, with Mario Sandoval Alarcon and others involved in right-wing terrorism, Arana unleashed one of the most gruesome slaughters in recent Latin American history (only in Chile, following the coup against Allende was the degree of violence greater). The New York Times reported in June 1971 that at least 2000 Guatemalans were assassinated between 11/1970 and 5/1971; most corpses showed signs of torture. Most of killing attributed to the officially supported terrorist organizations Ojo Por Ojo (an eye for an eye) and Mano Blanca. Jones, S., and Tobis, D. (Eds.). (1974). Guatemala, pp. 202-3  *

Guatemala, 1970-87. Violence by security forces organized by CIA, trained in torture by advisors from Argentina, Chile. Supported by weapon, computer experts from Israel. Marshall, J., Scott P.D., and Hunter, J. (1987). The Iran-Contra Connection, p. 133   *

Guatemala. 1960-82. Trained military death squads who used “terror tactics” from killing to indiscriminate napalming of villages. Special Forces almost certainly participated in operations despite Congressional prohibition. Marshall, J., Scott P.D., and Hunter, J. (1987). The Iran-Contra Connection, p. 193    *

Guatemala. At least three of recent G-2 chiefs were paid by CIA. Crimes are merely examples of a vast, systematic pattern; [the guilty] are only cogs in a large U.S. government apparatus. Colonel Hooker, former DIA chief for Guatemala, says, “it would be an embarrassing situation if you ever had a roll call of everybody in Guatemalan army who ever collected a CIA paycheck.” Hooker says CIA payroll is so large that it encompasses most of Army’s top decision-makers. Top commanders paid by CIA include General Roberto Matta Galvez, former army chief of staff, head of presidential General Staff and commander of massacres in El Quiche department; and General Gramajo, defense minister during the armed forces’ abduction, rape and torture of Dianna Ortiz, an American nun. Hooker says he once brought Gramajo on a tour of U.S. Three recent Guatemalan heads of state confirm CIA works closely with G-2. Gen. Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores (military dictator from 1983 to 1986) how death squads had originated, he said they started “in the 1960s by CIA.” General Efrain Rios Montt (dictator from 1982 to 1983 and the current congress president), who ordered main high-land massacres (662 villages destroyed, by army’s own count), said CIA had agents in the G-2. CIA death squads by Allan Nairn. The Nation, 4/17/1995   *

Guatemala. CIA works inside a Guatemalan army unit that maintains a network of torture centers and has killed thousands of Guatemalan civilians. G-2, since at least 60s, has been advised, trained, armed and equipped by U.S. undercover agents. One of American agents who works with G-2, is Randy Capister. He has been involved in similar operations with army of neighboring El Salvador. A weapons expert known as Joe Jacarino, has operated through out Caribbean, and has accompanied G-2 units on missions into rural zones. Jacarino [possibly a CIA officer]. Celerino Castillo, a former agent of DEA who dealt with G-2 and CIA in Guatemala, says he worked with Capister as well as with Jacarino. Colonel Alpirez at La Aurora base in Guatemala Denied involvement in deaths of Bamaca and Devine. He said CIA advises and helps run G-2. He praised CIA for “professionalism” and close rapport with Guatemalan officers. He said that agency operatives often come to Guatemala on temporary duty, and train G-2. CIA gives sessions at G-2 bases on “contra-subversion” tactics and “how to manage factors of power” to “fortify democracy.” During mid-1980s G-2 officers were paid by Jack McCavitt, then CIA station chief. CIA “technical assistance” includes communications gear, computers and special firearms, as well as collaborative use of CIA-owned helicopters that are flown out of piper hangar at La Aurora civilian airport and from a separate U.S. Air facility. Guatemalan army has, since 1978, killed more than 110,000 civilians. G-2 and a smaller, affiliated unit called Archivo have long been openly known in Guatemala as the brain of the terror state. With a contingent of more than 2,000 agents and with sub-units in local army bases, G-2 coordinates torture, assassination and disappearance of dissidents. CIA Death Squads by Allan Nairn. The Nation, 4/17/1995   *

Guatemala, 1954-95. For at least five years, Colonel Alpirez was also a well-paid agent for CIA and a murderer, a U.S. Congressman says. Alpirez has been linked to the murder of Michael Devine, an American innkeeper who lived and worked in the Guatemalan jungle, and the torture and killing of Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, a leftist guerrilla who was the husband of Jennifer Harbury. CIA ties began in 1954, when Alpirez was about five years old. The CIA engineered a coup in Guatemala that overthrew a leftist president and installed a right-wing military regime. CIA’s station in Guatemala began recruiting young and promising military officers who would provide information on the left-wing guerrillas, the internal workings of Guatemala’s intertwined military and political leadership, union members, opposition politicians and others. Alpirez was sent in 1970 to School of the Americas (SOA), an elite and recently much-criticized U.S. Army academy at Fort Benning, Ga. Human-rights groups and members of congress point out that SOA’s graduates include Roberto D’Aubuisson, leader of death squads in El Salvador; 19 Salvadoran soldiers named in the 1989 assassination of six Jesuit priests and three soldiers accused of the 1980 rape and murder of four U.S. church workers; Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedars and other leaders of the military junta that ran Haiti from 1991 to 1994; General Hugo Banzer, dictator of Bolivia from 1971 to 1978, and General Manuel Antonio Noriega of Panama, now imprisoned in U.S. In 1970s Alpirez was an officer in a counterinsurgency unit known as Kaibiles. Kaibiles became notorious in the early 1980s, known as scorched earth years, when tens of thousands of Indians were killed as military swept across rural Guatemala, systematically destroying villages. Guatemalan government’s own count, campaign left 40,000 widows and 150,000 orphans. In late 1980s, Alpirez served as a senior official of an intelligence unit hidden within the general staff and became a paid agent of CIA who paid him tens of thousands of dollars a year. Intelligence unit, known as “Archivo,” or archives, stands accused of assassination, infiltration of civilian agencies and spying on Guatemalans in violation of the nation’s Constitution. Archivo works like the CIA. “It was also working as a death squad.” New York Times, 3/25/1995  *

Guatemala, 1954-95. U.S. Undercover agents have worked for decades inside a Guatemalan army unit that has tortured and killed thousands of Guatemalan citizens, per the Nation weekly magazine. “working out of the U.S. Embassy and living in safe houses and hotels, agents work through an elite group of Guatemalan officers who are secretly paid by CIA and implicated personally in numerous political crimes and assassinations ”unit known as G-2 and its secret collaboration with CIA were described by U.S. and Guatemalan operatives and confirmed by three former Guatemalan heads of state. Colonel Julio Roberto Alpirez, Guatemalan officer implicated in murders of guerrilla leader Efrain Bamaca Velasquez — husband of an American lawyer — and rancher Michael Devine discussed in an interview how intelligence agency advises and helps run G-2. He said agents came to Central American country often to train G-2 men and he described attending CIA sessions at G-2 bases on “contra-subversion” tactics and “how to manage factors of power” to “fortify democracy” the Nation quoted U.S. and Guatemalan intelligence sources as saying at least three recent G-2 chiefs have been on CIA payroll — General Edgar Godoy Gatan, Colonel Otto Perez Molina and General Francisco Ortega Menaldo. `It would be embarrassing if you ever had a roll call of everybody in Guatemalan army who ever collected a CIA paycheck,” report quoted Colonel George Hooker, U.S. DIA chief in Guatemala from 1985 to 1989, as saying. Human rights group Amnesty International has said Guatemalan army killed more than 110,000 civilians since 1978 with G-2 and another unit called Archivo known as main death squads. Reuters, 3/30/1995  *

Guatemala, 1981-95. DIA reports re MLN particularly disturbing, as they raise grave questions about extent of U.S. knowledge of MLN activities in earlier years when MLN leader Mario Sandoval Alarcon was tied to Reagan Administration’s efforts to support Contras. Having come to power in 1954 with the CIA-backed overthrow of Colonel Jacobo Arbenze, MLN leader Sandoval was accused in 1980 by Elias Barahona, former press secretary to the Guatemalan Interior Minister, of having worked for CIA. Head of National Congress from 1970 to 1974, at which time he was made vice president, a position he kept until his term expired in 1978, Sandoval is widely regarded as father of Latin America’s “death squads.” In 1970’s, he had a close relationship with Roberto D’Aubuisson, deputy chief of El Salvador’s national security agency (Anseal). D’Aubuisson reportedly was behind El Salvador’s death squads. Sandoval was so close to Reagan administration that he was one of only two Guatemalans invited to attend Reagan’s inauguration. Intelligence – a computerized intelligence newsletter published in France, 4/24/1995, p. 1

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Guatemala, 1990-95. Member of House Intelligence Committee, Robert G. Torricelli (D- NJ.) said, in letter to President Clinton, that a Guatemalan military officer who ordered killings of an American citizen and a guerrilla leader married to a North American lawyer was a paid agent of CIA. CIA knew of killings, but concealed its knowledge for years. Another member of House Intelligence Committee confirmed Torricelli’s claims. Torricelli wrote in letter to President that the “Direct involvement of CIA in the murder of these individuals leads me to the extraordinary conclusion that the agency is simply out of control and that it contains what can only be labeled a criminal element.” Colonel Julio Roberto Alpirez, Bamaca, and Michael Devine. Tim Weiner, New York Times, 3/23/1995  *

Guatemala, 1988-91. CIA station chief in Guatemala from 1988 to 1991 was a Cuban American. He had about 20 officers with a budget of about $5 million a year and an equal or greater sum for “liaison” with Guatemalan military. His job included placing and keeping senior Guatemalan officers on his payroll. Among them was Alpirez, who recruited others for CIA. Alpirez’s intelligence unit spied on Guatemalans and is accused by human rights groups of assassinations. CIA also gave Guatemalan army information on the guerrillas. New York Times, 4/2/1995, A11   *

Guatemala, 1989. 25 students in two years killed by squads. Entire university student association has been silenced. U.S. backed governments in virtual genocide have more than 150,000 victims. AI called this genocide a “government program of political murder.” The Nation, 3/5/1990, cover, p. 308  *

Guatemala, 1990-95. Clinton has threatened to fire anyone in CIA who withheld information from him about activities of its informant in Guatemala, Colonel Julio Roberto Alpirez. What is more likely to be agency’s undoing is its failure to tell congress that only six months after he graduated from command-level courses at School of Americas Colonel Alpirez, a member of military intelligence on agency’s payroll, ordered murder of a U.S. citizen, William Devine, and then torture-murder of husband of an American woman. White House officials, and President Clinton in particular, were very angry about Guatemalan affair but NSC Anthony lake was arguing that there is no evidence that CIA tried to deceive president. Los Angeles Times reported that late last year State Department found information about Devine murder in its files that appeared to have originated with CIA and had not been passed on to White House. This discovery prompted State Department and White House to ask CIA for more information. State initially asked CIA for information on rebel Commandante Efrain Bamaca Velasquez and received a few modest files. Several weeks later, State again asked CIA for information but this time on “Commandante Everardo,” which was Commandante Bamaca’s well-known nom de guerre. Only then did CIA produced incriminating data that it held solely under that name. CIA has tried to ease situation with a rare “leak” about itself to press. On  3/24, Los Angeles Times quoted “CIA sources” as saying Agency was only told after the fact that its Guatemalan informant, Colonel Alpirez, was present at killing in 1990 of Devine, a U.S. citizen who ran a popular tourist resort in Guatemala. CIA insisted to the paper that it cut ties with Colonel at that point, but, significantly, sources did not put a date on rupture. That gave it “wiggle room” to say it didn’t find out about Colonel’s involvement in March 1992 torture-murder of Bamaca until early this year. CIA gave Colonel Alpirez a “final payment” of $44,000 at about time of Bamaca’s murder. Per National public radio commentator Daniel Schorr, CIA station chief in Guatemala has been fired for failing to relay information. But New York Times says he was reassigned to Langley in January, after U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala accused him of withholding information. CIA has assigned its inspector General, Fred Hitz, to investigate. CIA station chief in Switzerland, who held a top position at Department of Operations (DO) Latin American Division from 1990 to 1992, is now being questioned, as is Jack Devine, who headed division from January 1983 until last October. He was appointed Associate Deputy Director of Operations in October after John MacGaffin was removed from that post for secretly giving an award to a senior operative who had just been disciplined in Ames case. Devine’s successor is a woman, first to direct a DO division. She is in her 50s, was previously station chief in El Salvador, and is said by officials outside CIA to be very forthcoming about case. Intelligence – a computerized intelligence newsletter published in France, 3/27/1995, p. 30  *

Guatemala, 1990-95. Guatemalan soldiers killed Michael Devine under orders from Colonel Mario Garcia Catalan, per convicted soldier, Solbal. He killed as the army convinced he had bought a stolen rifle. They tortured him before killing him. Solbal says Colonel Alpirez gave food and shelter to the killers. Washington Times, 5/15/1995, A13  *

Guatemala, 1970-95. Discussion of Torricelli, Harbury, Devine, Bamaco, etc. The death of husband of Harbury not a rogue operation. This was standard operating procedure in El Salvador and Guatemala and elsewhere around the globe. CIA organized death squads, financed them, equipped them, trained them, etc. That’s what the CIA does. Once in a decade the U.S. public hears about this. CIA should be abolished. The CIA mislead Congress about the Devine case. Getting rid of CIA is not enough – the CIA did not act alone. The National Security Agency and the Army may have been involved in Guatemala. The Progressive, 5/1995, pp. 8,9

13 comments

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  1. post-money.

  2. very knowledgeable and passionate about this subject.

    Do you know of John Perkins? He was interviewed on DemocracyNow.

    However, Latin America is not alone. Bill Moyers in this 90 min program called The Secret Government that aired in 1987, tells of the history of the US secret government. It begins around the 23 minute mark, but the true origin is revealed at 25:15.

    Mossadek in Iran, the democratically elected president was driven from office by the CIA in 1953. They reinstalled the hated Shah of Iran and provided him with SAVAK death squads filled with former Nazi war criminals.

    It is my fear that, as democracy grows in the world, they are going to be challenged more and more at home, resulting in an El Salvadoran style rule here in the US.

    • Tigana on November 29, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Now that you have provided such excellent resources, we will get on this!  

    • Pluto on November 29, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    As I read all those citations. So where are you going with this? How does it tie in? It’s a reason for us to do what?

    I ran across this paragraph this morning:

    You know myth that “America doesn’t torture.” Sorry folks, but we have been doing it for quite some time. Abu Ghraib was no anomaly. MK-ULTRA was not about mind control. The CIA used the results of the horrifying abuse Dr. Ewen Cameron inflicted on his psychiatric patients to write Kubark, their manual on employing psychological torture. During the Vietnam War, the US employed Operation Phoenix, which included the routine use of torture and resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 Vietnamese. The School of Americas (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) at Fort Benning in Georgia has churned out over 60,000 Latin American Right Wing thugs trained to torture and murder any who dare challenge the sacred right of capitalists to rape and exploit our neighbors to the south, including saintly men like Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was gunned down for having the fortitude to stand up for the impoverished victims of US-sanctioned and financed death squads in El Salvador.

    This is no secret. The entire world knows. Chavez is the last man standing between the US Storm Troopers and Venezuela’s oil.

    We’re gonna get that oil, you know. But not before we invade Mexico and seize northern Mexico and it’s oil fields in  Chihuahua. Goodbye Pemex, hello Exxon. Peak oil changes everything. I wonder how the Mexican army and Federales will feel about the Gringos living amongst them, then? Guadalahara will become the new Bagdad. Northern Mexico the new Gaza Strip.

    It’s all a matter of when. It looks like the 2008 Republican candidates have decided to run on “the terrorist attack of Mexicans that swarmed across our borders and stole our healthcare, schools, and social security.” They could win on that, you know. They’re convincing the Sheeple that the reason they have money problem is because of Mexican Terrorists.

    The opportunity to kill more people always wins elections in America.

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