Socialist Worker

‘Unleash the death squads’

Issue No. 1934

US–sponsored death squads carrying out their brutal work in El Salvador during the 1980s

US–sponsored death squads carrying out their brutal work in El Salvador during the 1980s

THE OCCUPATION forces in Iraq are to deploy Central American style death squads, under plans drawn up by the US.

The Pentagon is already calling it the “Salvador option”—a reference to the fascistic murder gangs the US spawned in that country against a popular movement for national sovereignty in the 1980s.

US magazine Newsweek reports, “Then, faced with losing a war against Salvadorean rebels, the US government funded or supported ‘nationalist’ forces... to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathisers... Many US conservatives consider the policy to have been a success—despite the deaths of innocent civilians.”

A senior military officer told the magazine similar calculations are at work in Iraq: “We can’t just go on as we are. We have to find a way of taking the offensive against the insurgents. Right now... we are losing.”

Pentagon officials close to US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld believe the CIA, which ran the 1980s death squads throughout Latin America, has been soft about organising them in Iraq.

A secretive Senate committee is hotly debating extending the role of US military units trained in assassination. Rumsfeld has dispatched a retired US general to Iraq to “review” military strategy.

There he will rub shoulders with the US “ambassador” to Baghdad, John Negroponte, who as “ambassador” to Honduras in the early 1980s helped mastermind the terror squads in Central America. He concealed murder, kidnapping and torture by CIA-trained Honduran military units.

The New York Times credits Negroponte with “carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the left wing Sandinista government in Nicaragua”. Death squads in El Salvador, funded via Honduras, murdered 40,000 people in one year alone.

According to Newsweek, the new plan will involve “Iraqi squads, most likely handpicked Kurdish fighters and Shia militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathisers”.

A major investigation by Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhil, broadcast this week, found that the US during the destruction of Fallujah “also increased the chance of civil war in Iraq by using their new national guard of Shias to suppress Sunnis”.

Tony Blair says the occupation is all that stands in the way of mayhem and civil war—yet it is breeding both.

That’s why it should end now.


Sat 19 March, 1pm
central London

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