America Tortures From The 1950’s to Bush

While many American’s believe that the Bush administration is the first to advocate torture or cruel and in human punishment they are not. As the title tells you America’s involvement in the torture, death, kidnapping or illegal imprisonment of another countries citizens has been going on since the 1950’s  starting with the CIA sponsored coup in Guatemala which was just the first act. Americas full involvement in these practices began in 1962 when the Colombian government sought assistance from the Kennedy administration    in helping it to “control” the peasantry. Thus; with this one commitment    the United States would become a traveler on the toturers road.    

Lieutenant General William Yarborough the father of Americas Special Forces (Green Berets) was chosen by the Kennedy administration to assist in their efforts to contain the growing insurgency in Colombia. Lt.Gen. Yarorough’s recommendations:  

“[A] concerted country team effort should be made now to select civilian and military personnel for clandestine training in resistance operations in case they are needed later. This should be done with a view toward development of a civil and military structure for exploitation in the event the Colombian internal security system deteriorates further. This structure should be used to pressure toward reforms known to be needed, perform counter-agent and counter-propaganda functions and as necessary execute paramilitary, sabotage and/or terrorist activities against known communist proponents. It should be backed by the United States.”

“In general, the Yarborough team recommended that the US provide guidance and assistance in all aspects of counter-insurgency…Civilian and military personnel, clandestinely selected and trained in resistance operations, would be required in order to develop an underground civil and military structure. This organization was to undertake ‘clandestine execution of plans developed by the United States Government toward defined objectives in the political, economic, and military fields’…it would…undertake … ‘paramilitary, sabotage, and/or terrorist activities against known communist proponents’.”

It was the blue print for the creation of Death Squads in Central and South America.

Americas use of Death Squads wasn’t limited to Columbia they were in wide use during the Vietnam war especially from 1967 to 1972 under the Phoenix Program in which 26,369 were killed of the 81,740 neutralized.

Throughout the 1960s, Latin America and Southeast Asia functioned as the two primary laboratories for US counterinsurgents, who moved back and forth between the regions, applying insights and fine-tuning tactics.

As in Latin America, so too in Vietnam, the point of death squads was not just to eliminate those thought to be working with the enemy, but to keep potential rebel sympathizers in a state of fear and anxiety. To do so, the US Information Service in Saigon provided thousands of copies of a flyer printed with a ghostly looking eye. The “terror squads” then deposited that eye on the corpses of those they murdered or pinned it “on the doors of houses suspected of occasionally harboring Viet Cong agents”. The technique was called “phrasing the threat” – a way to generate a word-of-mouth terror buzz.

Death Squads were just one part of the equation in Americas counterinsurgency play book disappearances of innocent civilians would become an integral part of Americas training of Central American armed forces and intelligence agencies for the physiological impact they would have on a nations populace. The goal of all this? Was to train the aforementioned intelligence apparatuses, if you can believe this: To become more professional allowing them to become part of a world wide information gathering network.  

Here is their reward for participation

Washington supplied phones, teletype machines, radios, cars, guns, ammunition, surveillance equipment, explosives, cattle prods, cameras, typewriters, carbon paper and filing cabinets, while instructing its apprentices in the latest riot control, record keeping, surveillance and mass-arrest techniques.

Supplying all the necessary tools in which to terrorize a population in countries like El Salvador and Guatemala where no insurgencies existed. Yet, here was the CIA, US Agency for International Development and the Green Berets helping to organize these various security forces to fight against nonexistent rebel forces which as mentioned would become Death Squads.

Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile in 1970 with just 36.2 percent of the vote divided among three candidates. Jorge Alessandri a former president received 34.9 percent with Radomiro Tomic of the Christian Democrats polling 27.8 percent. The election its self was marred my attempts to influence they out come by the United States by funneling from the CIA through the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation which gave Alessandri’s campaign $350,000. Further the CIA claimed that Allende’s campaign had received the  same amount of mone $350,000 from Cuba.

On September 11, 1973 Chile’s military staged a successful coup against Allende which he did not survive.

Shortly afterwards, Allende died. An official announcement declared that he had committed suicide with an automatic rifle,[25] purportedly the AK-47 assault rifle given to him as a gift by Fidel Castro, which bore a golden plate engraved “To my good friend Salvador from Fidel, who by different means tries to achieve the same goals.”[26][verification needed]

In his 2004 documentary Salvador Allende, Patricio Guzmán incorporates a graphic image of Allende’s corpse in the position it was found after his death. According to Guzmán’s documentary, Allende simply shot himself with a gun, and not a rifle.

U.S. involvement:

After General Pinochet assumed power, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told U.S. President Richard Nixon that the U.S. “didn’t do it,” but “we helped them…created the conditions as great as possible.” (referring to the coup itself)[32]. Recent documents declassified under the Clinton administration’s Chile Declassification Project show that the United States government and the CIA had sought the overthrow of Allende in 1970 immediately before he took office (“Project FUBELT”), but claims of their direct involvement in the 1973 coup are not proven by publicly available documentary evidence. Many potentially relevant documents still remain classified.

General Augusto Pinochet head of Chilean Army would assume the presidency with the full backing of the United States.

Suppression of opposition

The Rettig Report concluded that 2,279 persons who disappeared during the military government were killed for political reasons, and approximately 30,000 tortured according to the later Valech Report, while several thousand were exiled. The latter were chased all over the world in the frame of Operation Condor, a cooperation plan between the various intelligence agencies of South American countries, assisted by a US communication base in Panama. Pinochet believed these operations were necessary in order to “save the country from communism”[11].

Some political scientists have ascribed the relative bloodiness of the coup to the stability of the existing democratic system, which required extreme action to overturn. Some of the most famous cases of human rights violation occurred during the early period: in October 1973, at least 70 people were killed by the Caravan of Death, to which Manuel Contreras, later head of the DINA intelligence service, participated. Charles Horman, a US journalist, “disappeared”, as did Víctor Olea Alegría, a member of the Socialist Party, and many others, in 1973.

source (Wikipedia)

With the election of Ronald Reagan America’s involvement in Central America grew because the Sandinista’s had gained power in Nicaragua who were seen like Castro’s Cuba of 1959 as a means for a Communist foot hold in the Western Hemisphere able to influence or help propel other Communists to power in Central America. El Salvador was a country ruled by an authoritarian right wing government which was involved in a civil war but was still seen as government the U.S. could support with $7 billion over a ten year period. While the number of U.S. advisor’s reached only 55 it was during these years and with the tacit support of the Reagan and Bush administrations that the death squads in Central America really came into there own.  (In total the civil war killed 75,000 people, left 8,000 more missing and a million homeless with another million exiled.)

If this all seems familiar to you it is.  

The Bush administration has really followed this play book.

Suppression of civil and legal rights:

Warrantless Wiretaps: not only of foreign nationals but of American citizens as well through the corporation of all the major American telecoms save one.

National Security Letters which enables law enforcement search a persons personnel effects without any judicial oversight.

The No Fly List: In which anyones name can be added without their knowledge and which can be almost impossible to have removed because like the list its self those procedures are classified.

Renditions: How about just disappearances or kidnaping’s which is really what they are. Done by the CIA, who knows how many people this has happened too.

These individuals are then placed in a secret prison system (Soviet Gulags) outside of judicial review in countries known for torture: Egypt,             Syria, Jordan and Thailand among others.

Enemy Combatants: A group of people who have been held indefinitely without ever being charged with any crime with evidence that they have been tortured.

To think it has come full circle is in away amazing. For it was the United States that created the means for the export of information that allowed governments around the world to learn how to create a better means for controlling its citizens through fear, intimidation, repression of civil and legal rights and death.  



Skip to comment form

  1. We can’t talk about this enough.

    We have to do all we can to make America into what it should be…and not just accept the horror of what it has become.

Comments have been disabled.