John Negroponte will be an appropriate
appointment as US proconsul in Iraq for the current
regime in Washington. Death-squad-friendly Negroponte
is one of the suave-talking savages who misled the
US Congress about US actions in Central America through
the 1980s. That same group of people have now misled
the US people into disaster and disgrace in Iraq.
represent the corporate plutocracy that has always
swayed US foreign policy against the interests of
the United States people. As ever, they are happy
to commit grotesque waste of human, material and financial
resources to deliver corporate welfare to companies
like Dick Cheney's Halliburton and George Bush Sr.'s
Carlyle group. Corruption, mass murder, torture are
part of the package - none of this is new.
old script, same old actors
betrayal of the United States people could hardly
be deeper or more sharp. The script was written years
ago in South East Asia and Latin America by the same
ruthless ideologues who stole into the White House
after the electoral fiasco in Florida in 2000. Now
these white-collar barbarians - Dick Cheney, Colin
Powell, Richard Armitage, Elliot Abrams and the rest
- are unable to cover up the torture, murder and corporate
corruption that invariably characterise colonial regimes
such as theirs in Baghdad.
a Rip Van Winkle could plausibly pretend to be surprised.
Support for Israel, Plan Colombia, war in Afghanistan
and Iraq - all these foreign policy commitments serve
the needs of the corporate plutocracy that dominates
politics in the United States. The murder and torture
reported in Iraq (and in Guantanamo, and in the air
bases at Bagram and Diego Garcia) are as much White
House stock in trade as it is that of allies like
the governments of Israel and Colombia. It always
has been - from Guatemala and Vietnam through the
Philippines and East Timor, Nicaragua, Haiti and Colombia,
to Afghanistan and now Iraq.
bearable lightness of being John Negroponte's conscience
may have been a long trek politically for John Negroponte
from proconsul in Honduras to proconsul in Baghdad.
But for a man with no noticeable moral conscience
the distance is a very short step. Along with his
colleague John Maisto, now US Representative to the
Organization of American States, Negroponte worked
efficiently to cover-up and explain away atrocities
and human rights abuses so as to expedite Ronald Reagan's
terrorist war in Central America.
1989, three years after the World Court judgement
against the terrorist Reagan regime, the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights finally got around to issuing
a judgement on the matter of forced and involuntary
disappearances. The test cases involved were not from
Colombia, Chile or Argentina or Uruguay nor from Guatemala
or El Salvador. The court ruled that Honduras was
responsible for four disappearances (those of Francisco
Fairen Garbi, Yolanda Solis Corrales, Saul Godinez
Cruz and Manfredo Angel Velasquez).
four cases occurred between 1981 and 1983, when John
Negroponte as US ambassador was assisting the Honduran
army to destroy civilian opponents of the Honduran
government. In fact over 180 students, trades unionists,
human rights activists and others were disappeared
by the Honduran death squads. The murders helped crush
opposition to the presence of Nicaraguan Contra in
Honduras. For people in the US, of all those many
murders that of US Jesuit priest James Carney may
be the most poignant.
AWOL journalism or totally Teflon armor?
was caught by the Honduran army in 1983. He was chaplain
to a group of guerrillas entrapped by Honduran and
US forces then on military exercises. Honduran government
Human Rights Commissioner Leo Valladares investigated
Carney's case through the 1990s and concluded that
Carney was interrogated, tortured and murdered by
the Honduran army. Some testimony suggested the participation
of US military personnel in the interrogation.
Negroponte has never faced questions on the fact that
the Honduran army at that time would hardly have murdered
James Carney without the approval or knowledge of
someone on Negroponte's embassy staff. Such approval
or deliberate complacency might well have come from
Negroponte himself. Given the general AWOL status
of corporate media reporting he is unlikely ever to
be directly challenged on his role in Carney's murder.
his well-documented record in Central America, Negroponte
is certainly the right man to represent the Bush regime
in Iraq. He is the very model of a totally Teflon
torture manager. The fact that neither Congress nor
mainstream media ever grill Negroponte seriously on
his record in Honduras does much to explain the catastrophe
in Iraq. We can try and hide the truth about ourselves
in the attic like the portrait of Dorian Gray. But
the ugliness and the horror remain there all the same.
Solo is an activist based in Central America.
Index: Current Articles + Latest News and Views + Book Reviews +
Letters + Archives