Socialist Worker

Murderers the US won't hunt down

Issue No. 1781

GEORGE W Bush tried to justify the search for Osama Bin Laden by saying that the US is committed to hunting down murderers and terrorists across the world. But, as anti-war journalist John Pilger remarked, if the US forces wanted to hunt down terrorists they would be going ashore in Florida.

That state and others in the US are stuffed with brutal killers of civilians. These are the people who did the US's bidding in various parts of the world, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s. They include:

José Guillermo Garcia, former minister of defence and general in the El Salvador army during the 1980s, and Eugenio Vides-Casanova, former director of the El Salvador national guard. They were centrally involved in the mass murders of thousands of women and children, torture, collaboration with 'civilian' death squads, and assassinations of members of the opposition.

Leading torturers and killers at the heart of Pinochet's Chilean regime, including Armando Fernandez Larios and Michael Townly. Larios was responsible for the torture and execution of at least 72 political prisoners in the month following the 1973 coup.

Suintong Panjaitan, an Indonesian general responsible for the massacre at Santa Cruz in East Timor in 1991 which took hundreds of lives.

Former Guatemalan minister of defence Hector Gramajo Morales. He is a graduate of the US School of the Americas, which has produced generations of torturers. There is overwhelming evidence of his role of directing the murder of thousands of people during the 1980s. 'We provide development for 70 percent in the population while we kill 30 percent,' he said.

Luckner Cambronne, General Prosper Avril, Colonel Carl Dorerlien, Emmanuel Constant, Major General Jean Claude Duperval, Ernst Propud'Homme, and many other servants of the murderous Haitian regime under the Duvaliers. Avril is remembered for displaying the bloodied bodies of opposition activists on television.

Key members of the Honduran 3-16 Battalion. This was created by the CIA, and carried out hundreds of murders of opponents of US policy. According to the Baltimore Sun the unit 'used shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves.' Those who came to the US included General Luis Alonson Discua Elvir, the founder and commander of 3-16, and Juan Angel Hernandez Lara.

Negroponte's bloody hands

NOT ALL of the criminals above are still in the US. Some became too hot to handle after a few years and had to be 'persuaded' to flee elsewhere. Others were embarrassing to key members of the US administration.

This is especially true of John Negroponte, now US ambassador to the UN. Negroponte has spent his entire career serving the bloodiest interests of US power. His record reads:

1964-8: Political affairs officer at the US embassy in Saigon.

1969-71: Aide to Henry Kissinger in the negotiations with the Vietnamese.

1971-3: Officer in charge for Vietnam in the National Security Council.

1973-5: Assigned to the US embassy in Ecuador.

1981-5: Ambassador to Honduras.

1987-9: Deputy assistant to the president for national security.

1989-93: Ambassador to Mexico.

1993-7: Ambassador to the Philippines.

During his time in Honduras he organised military assistance to the Contra terrorists in neighbouring Nicaragua. He presided over an increase in US military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77 million. Negroponte was closely involved with the murderers in the 3-16 Battalion.

These people were bundled out of the US last year to make sure they could not be forced to give evidence against Bush's shining new UN ambassador.

How not to build a bomb

THE TIMES 'world exclusive' in November that 'Bin Laden's nuclear secrets have been found in Al Qaida's Kabul safe houses' was based on documents from a spoof internet site. The 'incriminating material' is from which includes 'ten easy steps to build a nuclear bomb'.

Its instructions suggest, 'Plutonium is especially dangerous. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling, and don't allow your children or pets to play in it or eat it.'

The BBC carefully obscured parts of the material in case 'terrorists freeze-framed the shots' and used them to make a device.

NEWSPAPERS and magazines across the world published photographs purporting to show a young Osama Bin Laden on a family trip to Sweden and on a teenage trip to Oxford. There was just one problem with the pictures.

Two of his brothers said last month that the person in the pictures was certainly not Osama Bin Laden. Papers which had published the pictures over full pages noted this in small type.

Things they say

'MY FEELING is that until we catch Bin Laden, which we will, we won't know precisely where he was.'
DONALD RUMSFELD, US defence secretary, 17 December

'I AM not over-confident of winning the next general election.'

'I FEEL sorry for the Tories. What are they opposing? Policies they set up in the first place.'

'I'M profoundly grateful to prime minister Brown-er, Blair-who has been a strong support for President Bush.'
BILL CLINTON, former US president

'THE THING about Tony is that he is always trying to follow what he thinks public opinion wants. He doesn't give a damn about transport in Britain. He gets himself landed with the wrong priorities because he's not thinking it out for himself from the basis of principle.'
BARBARA CASTLE, veteran Labour peer

'MY members, nurses, teachers and other public sector staff worked tirelessly to ensure a Labour government last year. They did not do so to see a Labour government introducing the same privatisation policies forced on us by the Tories. But no longer can the party take the support of our members for granted.'
JOHN EDMONDS, leader of GMB union

'WE WILL now support independents fighting for public services in the local elections, but this will almost certainly spread to the national elections if the situation remains the same.'

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 5 Jan 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1781
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