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Ed Jewett
01-28-2012, 03:01 AM
Former Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt to face genocide charges for 1980s abuses (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/former-guatemalan-dictator-rios-montt-to-face-genocide-charges-for-1980s-abuses/)
28012012Ex-dictator Ríos Montt to face genocide charges for 1980s abuses (http://www.ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/News-Briefs/Ex-dictator-Rios-Montt-to-face-genocide-charges-for-1980s-abuses-_Thursday-January-26-2012)
By AFP
Tens of thousands died during the former Guatemala strongman’s rule from 1982-1983.
http://www.ticotimes.net/var/tico/storage/images/media/images/news-photos/efrain-rios-montt-1/1095209-1-eng-US/Efrain-Rios-Montt-1_newsfull_v.jpgAFP
Human rights organizations have long called for former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, 85, to be prosecuted for genocide. Several massacres occurred during his rule from 1982-1983.




GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan judge ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to try Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide for abuses committed during the ex-general’s 1982-1983 military dictatorship.
Judge Patricia Flores said that the information presented by the prosecution showed that Ríos Montt, 85, should answer to charges of orchestrating the destruction of native Maya villages during the country’s civil war with leftist guerrillas.
Ríos Montt, known for his “scorched earth” campaign against Guatemala’s leftist rebels, will have to answer charges that his regime was responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of people.
Flores set bail at $64,000 and ordered Ríos Montt to be placed under house arrest. She said the former general is not a flight risk.
Thursday’s hearing was to determine whether Ríos Montt should be formally charged with alleged atrocities that occurred during his regime, prosecutors said.
The hearing is the first since Ríos Montt lost the congressional immunity that for years had shielded him from prosecution for human rights crimes.
After the judge’s ruling, the atmosphere outside the courthouse took on a celebratory tone. Family members of massacre victims, human rights activists and other Guatemalans cheered and set off fireworks. Social media buzzed with posts about the historic ruling.
“‘Sa sa linch’ool laa’in,’ says a Q’eqchi supporter outside the #RiosMontt court hearing. ‘My heart is very, very happy,’” the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala tweeted.
Guatemala’s truth commission, which has been tasked with investigating the bloodletting, estimates that there have been some 200,000 casualties from the country’s 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Some of the worst atrocities are said to have taken place during Ríos Montt’s rule.
The U.N.-backed group – the Historical Clarification Commission – found that the government was guilty of a deliberate campaign of genocide against the mostly poor, indigenous massacre victims, many of whom were caught in the crossfire as the government battled leftist rebels.

Magda Hassan
03-20-2013, 12:59 AM
March 15, 2013
Guatemala and Latin America’s Struggle for Justice (http://www.riosmontt-trial.org/2013/03/guatemala-and-latin-americas-struggle-for-justice/)
by James A. Goldston
I came to Guatemala in the late 1980s as a young researcher for what was then called Americas Watch (now Human Rights Watch). Back then, the human rights community in Guatemala was under enormous pressure. A civil war was still very much underway. And the idea that a former president might be put on trial for genocide seemed unlikely.
Times have changed. This week, a former president and his chief of military intelligence are on trial in a Guatemalan court for genocide and crimes against humanity.
In 1988, many countries in this hemisphere were just beginning to contend with abuses of the past, and for most, prosecution seemed out of the question. Truth commissions, essential though they were, were seen to be as far as governments would go in addressing the past.
Only Argentina had tried to prosecute former leaders for rights abuses, trying nine (and convicting five) members of its former military junta in 1985. But new laws effectively put a stop to any further prosecutions of abuse. Most of the nearly 9,000 disappearances documented in the Argentinean truth commission’s final report went unpunished.
But over the next quarter century, we have seen astonishing progress in the search for accountability throughout the hemisphere. Jo-Marie Burt, of George Mason University, has written extensively about the transformation of recent decades, including in her recent article, “Challenging Impunity in Domestic Courts: Human Rights Prosecutions in Latin America.”
In Argentina itself, in 1998, a judge held that amnesty laws did not apply to the crime of baby kidnapping. In 2005, after years of petitions, agitation, and legal battles by victims’ rights groups and their supporters, the Supreme Court declared the amnesty laws as such unconstitutional, and prosecution became a real possibility again. To date, more than 1,500 alleged perpetrators have faced prosecution in Argentina; more than 200 having been convicted.
In Chile, it was only after General Augusto Pinochet left power in 1988 that a truth commission became possible. Although the commission documented more than 3,000 murders and disappearances, a 1978 amnesty law continued to block most prosecutions long afterward.
Pinochet’s arrest in London in 1998 and the House of Lords’ vindication of the principles of accountability galvanized the filing of numerous criminal complaints against the former dictator in Chile, where he returned in March 2000. But that August, pushed by family members of victims, the Supreme Court held that the amnesty did not apply to the crime of forced disappearance, allowing prosecutions to advance.
Pinochet eventually died in 2006 without having been tried. But since 2000, more than 750 members or former members of the state security forces have been prosecuted for human rights violations.
In Peru, for years, cases brought to the courts on behalf of civilian victims of abuses committed during the country’s two-decade long civil war were blocked by amnesty laws and an unreceptive system of military justice. Change came with the thorough documentation of the Peruvian Truth Commission—which issued its final report in 2003—and several key judgments by the Inter-American Court, which found state responsibility for human rights violations, and struck down the amnesty laws. In December 2009, the Supreme Court upheld the conviction and 25-year sentence of former president Alberto Fujimori for grave violations of human rights.
Significant barriers remain in Peru. Comparatively few registered complaints have as yet been processed, faced with a sluggish criminal justice system and political hostility by the government in power from 2006 to 2011.
In Uruguay, in 1986, a year after the end of military rule, the first trial of a military officer accused of human rights abuse was blocked by a new law which effectively halted prosecutions of members of the security forces accused of human rights violations.
The Inter-American Commission’s call for repeal of the law went unanswered until persistence by victims’ groups led some judges to reinterpret the law and allow some prosecutions to proceed.
In 2010, former president Juan Maria Bordaberry was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for violation of the constitutional order, as well as for murder and disappearance.
In each of the above cases, what at first seemed an impossibility—prosecution of former senior figures for grave crimes—became a reality within the space of two or three decades.
Many factors were at work, but three stand out: pressure and persistence by victims and their families, supported by human rights organizations; secondly, a capable cadre of lawyers, judges and prosecutors skillful at exploiting political openings when they occur; and thirdly, the role of the Inter-American Commission and Court in providing redress when domestic avenues are shut.
The story is not all positive. There are numerous examples of international crimes still unpunished, where the political will, or the necessary laws or legal institutions are lacking. Haiti’s former president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has yet to face trial for crimes committed during his rule. Brazil has not prosecuted a single military officer for crimes which took place during the 1964-85 dictatorship. Just last month, Uruguay’s Supreme Court held that a law allowing fresh investigations of dictatorship-era human rights crimes violates the country’s constitution, a ruling that puts dozens of cases into doubt. And in the United States, President Obama, has refused to countenance prosecutions for crimes of torture or forced disappearance which took place under his predecessor.
Prosecutions are not the only appropriate response. But, together with truth, reparations and institutional reform, they are an essential part of a comprehensive approach to transitional justice.
Guatemala now stands at an important crossroads, and is poised to join the growing list of countries which, over the past two decades, have begun the hard but necessary process of coming to terms with a scarred past.
In the months ahead, advocates for justice across the globe will be looking to Guatemala for a signal that, after decades of impunity, a new stage in the struggle for justice has emerged.
James A. Goldston is executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

Magda Hassan
03-20-2013, 01:00 AM
March 17, 2013
Trial to start despite last minute legal challenges (http://www.riosmontt-trial.org/2013/03/trial-to-start-despite-last-minute-legal-challenges/)
by Emi MacLean
This Tuesday, March 19, sees the scheduled start date for the oral phase of the trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against Rios Montt and Rodriguez Sanchez. They are accused of being the intellectual authors of the assassination of 1,771 indigenous Mayans of Ixil ethnicity in the Quiche Department, the forced displacement of 29,000, and sexual violations and torture, in massacres and violations perpetrated by the Guatemalan military during Rios Montt’s 17-month rule between 1982 and 1983.
The trial is due to commence at 8:30 am local time at the Supreme Court (Corte Suprema de Justicia). It will be held before a three-judge panel of the First High-Risk Tribunal A (Tribunal Primero A de Mayor Riesgo). Judge Yazmin Barrios, the President of the High-Risk Tribunal, will be the chief judge on the panel, along with Judges Patricia Bustamante and Pablo Xitumul.
The trial is scheduled to last at least 6 weeks.
The trial date is confirmed for Tuesday, March 19, but had been uncertain, and changed, in recent weeks. On February 7, the trial date was initially set for August 14, only to be advanced from August to March 19 (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/guatemala-ex-strongmans-trial-moved-march) two weeks later, on February 20. Further, on Saturday, March 9, it was widely reported that an appellate court suspended the start date of the trial (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/genocide-trial-delayed-ex-guatemalan-leader). On March 11, the civil parties clarified that the trial date remained unchanged from March 19, and that the appellate court had suspended only a separate February 4 decision by Judge Angel Galvez (http://nsarchive.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/update-on-guatemalan-genocide-trial/), the judge overseeing a preliminary phase of the trial.
Also, on March 12, the Constitutional Court resolved a long-pending amparo appeal (http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/03/13/world/americas/ap-lt-guatemala-rios-montt.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0) filed by the defense concerning the applicability of a 1986 amnesty issued by General Mejia Victores, Rios Montt’s successor as de facto president. The Constitutional Court ruled that the amparo was unfounded.
This historic trial results from complaints made more than a decade ago in 2000 and 2001. Various factors impeded or delayed the process for nearly a decade, a period in which there were virtually no prosecutions initiated in connection with the internal armed conflict, despite thousands of legal complaints pending or filed.
The trial has advanced in the last two years, and in particular in the last year after Rios Montt stepped down from Congress and lost his legal immunity from prosecution. In January 2011, Judge Patricia Flores, a trial court judge overseeing some of the preliminary matters in the case, ordered Rodriguez Sanchez to prison pending the prosecution. Rios Montt was a sitting legislator at this time, but when his term ended in January 2012, he also was formally accused by Judge Flores and placed under house arrest.
In the last year, the defense filed scores of amparo challenges which delayed further steps in the trial. With some of the amparo challenges still outstanding—including the aforementioned appeal to the Constitutional Court with regard to the 1986 Mejia Victores amnesty—Judge Galvez determined on January 28 that there is a prima facie case sufficient to justify a trial and ordered that a trial date be set.
On February 4, Judge Galvez ruled on the admissibility of evidence for the parties. This February 4 decision accepted all of the prosecution witnesses, experts and documentary evidence, and denied the defense various of their proposed experts, reports and documents on the ground that they were submitted out of time or in violation of certain procedural obligations. The defense challenged the rejection of some of their proposed experts and evidence, and on March 9, an appellate court granted a provisional amparo on the issue of the admissibility of the proposed defense witnesses, experts and evidence. This issue remains unresolved.
The defense continues to state that the trial cannot start on Tuesday, and that they intend to challenge the opening of the oral phase.
President Otto Perez Molina also spoke about the upcoming trial (http://www.dca.gob.gt/index.php/template-features/item/14263-%25E2%2580%259Cen-guatemala-no-hubo-genocidio%25E2%2580%259D.html) on March 13, after having remained silent on various aspects of it for months. He stated: “In Guatemala, there was no genocide,” and that he “personally never received a document to go to massacre or kill a population.”

Magda Hassan
03-20-2013, 01:02 AM
March 19, 2013 Luis Moreno Ocampo: the Meaning of the Rios Montt Trial (http://www.riosmontt-trial.org/2013/03/luis-moreno-ocampo-the-meaning-of-the-rios-montt-trial/) by Jonathan Birchall
Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, made the following remarks today as the trial of former generals Efrain Rios Montt and Jose Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez began in Guatemala City:
The judges, public prosecutors, and defense attorneys of Guatemala have an enormous responsibility to guarantee a fair trial: fair for the victims and fair for the accused. A fair trial is a necessary condition of, but not alone sufficient for a successful experience: the impact of the trial on Guatemala and on the world will depend on the actions of others. Journalists, politicians, movie directors, writers, and concerned citizens are the ones who can make this trial a turning point in history.
The trial can help us understand the impact of the Cold War, a difficult period in Latin American history, when the massacre of civilians became a political tool for obtaining or maintaining power. Trained guerrilla fighters hid among the civilian populations while military and political forces developed plans for control that included the torture and murder of Guatemalan citizens.
In 1985 I had the privilege of serving as an assistant prosecutor in the trial of the military juntas that had governed Argentina. We had proof that intelligence officials from our army, educated by French and American officials, had trained Guatemalan officials in the use of torture and extrajudicial executions. Both in Argentina and in Guatemala, these murders were not isolated or spontaneous actions by members of security and armed forces. These crimes were the result of carrying out plans and orders. For this reason it is so important that the trial concentrates on those who gave the orders. In an army, the commander is responsible for the actions of his troops. If the commanding officers order and cover up the crimes, then they are responsible. This is the kind of conduct that must be avoided in future.
In the 21 st century, Latin America has liberated itself from political violence. Colombia is battling with the last active guerrilla group, but the violence of organized crime is the scourge of our time.
The trial of Ríos Montt should serve to clarify and overcome both the political violence of the past and this new violence of organized crime. It can serve to create a just and peaceful future for Guatemala, Latin America, and the world.
Luis Moreno Ocampo
Former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (2003-2012)
Former Assistant Prosecutor in the Trial of the Juntas in Argentina (1985)

Peter Lemkin
03-20-2013, 07:44 PM
Former Guatemalan Dictator Ríos Montt to face genocide charges for 1980s abuses (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/former-guatemalan-dictator-rios-montt-to-face-genocide-charges-for-1980s-abuses/)


2801
2012Ex-dictator Ríos Montt to face genocide charges for 1980s abuses (http://www.ticotimes.net/Current-Edition/News-Briefs/Ex-dictator-Rios-Montt-to-face-genocide-charges-for-1980s-abuses-_Thursday-January-26-2012)


By AFP
Tens of thousands died during the former Guatemala strongman’s rule from 1982-1983.
http://www.ticotimes.net/var/tico/storage/images/media/images/news-photos/efrain-rios-montt-1/1095209-1-eng-US/Efrain-Rios-Montt-1_newsfull_v.jpgAFP
Human rights organizations have long called for former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, 85, to be prosecuted for genocide. Several massacres occurred during his rule from 1982-1983.




GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan judge ruled Thursday that there was sufficient evidence to try Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide for abuses committed during the ex-general’s 1982-1983 military dictatorship.
Judge Patricia Flores said that the information presented by the prosecution showed that Ríos Montt, 85, should answer to charges of orchestrating the destruction of native Maya villages during the country’s civil war with leftist guerrillas.
Ríos Montt, known for his “scorched earth” campaign against Guatemala’s leftist rebels, will have to answer charges that his regime was responsible for the massacre of tens of thousands of people.
Flores set bail at $64,000 and ordered Ríos Montt to be placed under house arrest. She said the former general is not a flight risk.
Thursday’s hearing was to determine whether Ríos Montt should be formally charged with alleged atrocities that occurred during his regime, prosecutors said.
The hearing is the first since Ríos Montt lost the congressional immunity that for years had shielded him from prosecution for human rights crimes.
After the judge’s ruling, the atmosphere outside the courthouse took on a celebratory tone. Family members of massacre victims, human rights activists and other Guatemalans cheered and set off fireworks. Social media buzzed with posts about the historic ruling.
“‘Sa sa linch’ool laa’in,’ says a Q’eqchi supporter outside the #RiosMontt court hearing. ‘My heart is very, very happy,’” the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala tweeted.
Guatemala’s truth commission, which has been tasked with investigating the bloodletting, estimates that there have been some 200,000 casualties from the country’s 36-year civil war that ended in 1996. Some of the worst atrocities are said to have taken place during Ríos Montt’s rule.
The U.N.-backed group – the Historical Clarification Commission – found that the government was guilty of a deliberate campaign of genocide against the mostly poor, indigenous massacre victims, many of whom were caught in the crossfire as the government battled leftist rebels.

It really couldn't happen to a 'nicer' guy....I wish him the best...in prison and in hell! Of course, my dear country supported him.....as they did/do most dicators [and most of them they even set up in power - or ran as proxy puppets to do the US's dirty-work.]

Peter Lemkin
03-29-2013, 05:36 PM
Rios Montt Trial: The U.S. Bankrolled and Directed Mass Murder in Guatemala
By Ingrid Nanne / Guatemala Times March 28th

Rios Montt Trial: The U.S. Bankrolled and Directed Mass Murder in Guatemala

” … The acts perpetrated by the Guatemalan government during the civil war (fully backed by American government money and expertise, least we forget who bankrolled all of this) were horrendous crimes against humanity. Whether these actions can be defined as genocide - a term also debated in describing the Khamer Rouge’s atrocities in Cambodia – is less important. They were massacres of non combatant civilians: children, women and the elderly. … “

Related: “THE CIA IN GUATEMALA: THE LESSER KNOWN HOLOCAUST” and “Back to the Future in Guatemala — The Return of General Rios Montt“

Photo: As a young Guatemalan living abroad, it has been interesting to follow Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt’s trial since it started on March 19th. The story’s main plot points, and its objectives, vary greatly depending on the sources. Worldwide media publications applaud Guatemalans for being the first country to prosecute a president for genocide in-country. However, while the foreign media speak of massacres, the civil war, and the guilt of General Ríos Montt, they do so without critical analysis. (General Efraín Rios Montt, courtesy of “La Hora. “)


Distorted Visions from Ríos Montt’s Trial

March 25, 2013

Guatemala is often presented as a “Banana Republic”, – a war-torn Cold War front with brutal dictators and genocide– a simplistic and misleading stereotype. But when the so-called observations of the media are so neatly in line with widespread assumptions they often go unchallenged. As a result, coverage of this story becomes one-sided.

Publication in Guatemala, on the other hand, tell an entirely different story. Many columns are filled with praise for Gen. Rios Montt as the leader that fought for the country’s freedom and saved it from the jaws of communism. Local coverage of the trial emphasizes the blatant injustice of stripping these generals of their amnesty while the equally guilty guerilla leaders walk free. They challenge the definition of “genocide” in efforts to defend the General, claiming that the orders to raze entire indigenous villages were normal acts of war, and reminding us that casualties were equally savaged by both sides. This view popular amongst Guatemala’s media is also backed by current president Otto Perez Molina. Locally, this trial is seen as the result of foreign pressure, and former communist supporters encroaching on the Government in hopes of pushing their own leftist agenda.

Such extreme differences in the media’s coverage beg the question of what the true story is, if there even is one. Is this trial a symbolic effort to right past wrongs, can it actually serve to shift a national paradigm, or even a global one? It raises questions about the importance of amnesty and who deserves it? And will this trial bring closure and repair the harm done?

The acts perpetrated by the Guatemalan government during the civil war (fully backed by American government money and expertise, least we forget who bank rolled all of this) were horrendous crimes against humanity. Whether these actions can be defined as genocide – a term also debated in describing the Khamer Rouge’s atrocities in Cambodia - is less important. They were massacres of non combatant civilians: children, women and the elderly and have no excuses. The destruction of the war needs to be repaired, yet the thousands who suffered are neglected.

Now, will trying elderly generals undo the harm done? Not really. Will it stop the current wave of crime in Guatemala? Unlikely. Can the court case be more transparent, open and fair? Probably, the constant switching of lawyers and the judge’s strong bias reduces the trial’s credibility, and taints the verdict’s validity.

What can this trial accomplish? Its main achievement may be to reduce the taboo to discuss this era of Guatemala’s history. After years of repressive dictatorships, Guatemalans watch their words because they know the walls have ears and outspokenness has serious consequences. If people begin talking freely then I hope that those who suffered from the war can benefit from articulating the traumas endured. For too long indigenous people’s opinions have been undermined and ignored; an attitude that continues during the court case, as can be read in the snide commentary in many local papers when describing the trial’s witnesses and victims. Considering the case’s proceedings, Ríos Montt will most surely be found guilty, and this will naively be regarded as a success abroad. Meanwhile, little will change in Guatemala; the victims will remain unrecovered, and poverty and discrimination will continue unaltered. The question remains: who is better off because of this process?

http://www.guatemala-times.com/opinion/columns/3631-distorted-visions-from-rios-montts-trial.html

Magda Hassan
04-19-2013, 01:36 PM
BREAKING NEWS: The Genocide Trial of General Efrain Rios Montt Has Just Been Suspended: A firsthand behind-the-scenes account of how Guatemala's current President and threats of violence killed the case. (http://www.allannairn.org/2013/04/breaking-news-genocide-trial-of-general.html)


By Allan Nairn
Guatemala City
April 18, 2013




For a while it looked like Guatemala was about to deliver justice.


But the genocide case against General Efrain Rios Montt has just been suspended, hours before a criminal court was poised to deliver a verdict.



The last-second decision to kill the case was technically taken by an appeals court.


But behind the decision stands secret intervention by Guatemala's current president and death threats delivered to judges and prosecutors by associates of Guatemala's army.


Many dozens of Mayan massacre survivors risked their lives to testify. But now the court record they bravely created has been erased from above.


The following account of some of my personal knowledge of the case was written several days ago. I was asked to keep it private until a trial verdict had been reached:




"It would be mistaken to think that this case redounds to the credit of Guatemala's rulers.



It was forced upon them from below. The last thing they want is justice.


But they agreed to swallow a partial dose because political forces were such that they had to, and because they thought that they could get away with sacrificing Rios Montt to save their own skins.


I was called to testify in the Rios Montt case, was listed by the court as a 'qualified witness,' and was tentatively scheduled to testify on Monday, April 15. But at the last minute I was kept off the stand 'in order to avoid a confrontation with the [Guatemalan] executive.'


What that meant, I was given to understand, was that Gen. Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala's president, would shut down the case if I took the stand because my testimony could implicate him.


Beyond that, there was fear, concretely stated, that my taking the stand could lead to violence since given my past statements and writings I would implicate the 'institutional army.'


The bargain under which Perez Molina and the country's elite had let the case go forward was that it would only touch Rios Montt and his codefendant, Gen. Mauricio Rodriguez Sanchez. The rest of the army would be spared, and likewise Perez Molina.


On that basis, Perez Molina, it was understood, would refrain from killing the Rios Montt trial case, and still more importantly would keep the old officer corps from killing prosecutors and witnesses, as well as hold off any hit squads that might be mounted by the the oligarchs of CACIF (the Chambers of Agriculture, Commerce, Industry and Finance). (Perez Molina has de facto power to kill the case via secret intervention with the Constitutional and other courts.)


This understanding was seen as vital to the survival of both the case and those involved in it. Army associates had already threatened the family of one of the lead prosecutors, and halfway through the trial a death threat had been delivered to one of the three presiding judges.


In the case of one of those threatened a man had offered him a bribe of one million US dollars as well as technical assistance with offshore accounts and laundering the funds. All the lawyer had to do was to agree to stop the Rios Montt case.


When that didn't work, the angle changed: the man put a pistol on the table and stated that he knew where to find the lawyer's children.


But so far no trial people had actually been killed. Though things were tense, the bargain was holding.


But to the shock of many and to world headlines in a press that had long under- and mis- reported Guatemala's terror, everything changed on April 5 when Hugo Ramiro Leonardo Reyes, a former army mechanic, testified by video from hiding that Perez Molina had ordered atrocities.


Testifying with his face half-covered by a baseball cap he recounted murders by Rios Montt's army and then unexpectedly added that one of the main perpetrators has been Perez Molina who he said had ordered executions and the destruction of villages.


This had occurred, he testified, during the massacres around Nebaj when Perez Molina was serving there as Rios Montt's field commander in 1982-83.


As it happened, I had also been there at that time and had encountered Perez Molina who was then living under the code name Major Tito Arias.


I had interviewed him on film several times. On one occasion we stood over the bodies of four captured guerrillas he had interrogated. Out of his earshot, Perez Molina's subordinates told me how, acting under orders, they routinely captured, tortured, and staged multiple executions of civilians.


The trial witness's broaching of Perez Molina's past evidently angered the President. He publicly denounced the witness and had him investigated


He then summoned the Attorney General. The word went forth that if the trial case mentioned Perez Molina again, all previous understandings would be suspended. Canceling the Rios Montt case would be the least of their worries: there would be hell to pay.


The case went forward as originally agreed with Perez Molina. My testimony was cancelled, and the court record was kept clear of any additional evidence that could have further implicated the President.


Under Guatemalan law, a sitting President cannot be indicted. Perez Molina's term ends in 2016.


This is one small but revealing aspect of the case. The massacre story is not yet over."




After the above private account was written, Guatemala's army and oligarchy rallied. They started to feel that they had no political need to sacrifice Rios Montt. As Perez Molina heard from the elite, his and Rios Montt's interests converged.


On April 16 Perez Molina said publicly that the case was a threat to peace. On April 18, today, the Rios Montt genocide case was suspended.






(Regarding Background Sources: For some of my filmed inteviews with Perez Molina see the documentary Skoop! directed by Mikael Wahlforss. EPIDEM, Scandinavian television, 1983. Long excerpts from it, under the title Titulares de Hoy, are available on the website of Jean-Marie Simon who was my colleague on the film. Also see her photographs and narrative in her book Guatemala: Eternal Spring, Eternal Tyranny, W.W. Norton, 1988.


For a detailed contemporaneous report of the Rios Montt massacres see my piece in the April 11, 1983 The New Republic, "The Guns of Guatemala: The merciless mission of Rios Montt's army." The piece quotes some of Perez Molina's army subordinates and briefly mentions him as "Major Tito." At the time I wrote it and worked on the film I did not know his real name.


YouTube excerpts from the film went viral in Guatemala during Perez Molina's 2011 presidential campaign. During the campaign Perez Molina was evasive about whether he really was "Major Tito," though it later surfaced that he had admitted it years before but had then attempted to obscure that admission.


Also see my piece in the April 17, 1995 The Nation, "C.I.A. Death Squad: Americans have been directly involved in Guatemalan Army killings." The piece reports on US sponsorship of the G-2, the Guatemalan military intelligence unit which picked targets for assassination and disappearance and often did its own killings and torture. The piece names Perez Molina as one of "three of the recent G-2 chiefs [who] have been paid by the C.I.A., according to U.S. and Guatemalan intelligence sources."


The piece adds that then-Colonel "Perez Molina, who now runs the Presidential General Staff and oversees the Archivo, was in charge in 1994, when according to the Archbishop's human rights office, there was evidence of General Staff involvement in the assassination of Judge Edgar Ramiro Elias Ogaldez."


Likewise, at the time of The Nation article I still did not know that Perez Molina was Tito.

For one aspect of the US role in supporting Rios Montt see my Washington Post piece: "Despite Ban, U.S. Captain Trains Guatemalan Military," October 21, 1982, page 1.


After the 1983 New Republic piece the Guatemalan army sent an emissary who invited me to lunch at a fancy hotel and politely told me that I would be killed unless I retracted the article. The army murdered Guatemalans all the time, but for a US journalist the threat rang hollow. The man who delivered the threat later became an excellent source of information.)
http://www.allannairn.org/2013/04/breaking-news-genocide-trial-of-general.html

David Guyatt
04-19-2013, 02:25 PM
Such things are so commonplace we shouldn't be surprised.

When push comes to shove, politicians and the state machinery invariably capitulate to threats, bribes or influence. The guilty are set free, the innocent killed or imprisoned.

The world is upside down.

Peter Lemkin
04-20-2013, 06:03 AM
A historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Ríos Montt on was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Thursday’s decision is seen as a major blow to indigenous victims. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina. Ríos Montt was the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Nairn flew to Guatemala last week after he was called to testify in Ríos Montt’s trial. He was listed by the court as a "qualified witness" and was tentatively scheduled to testify on Monday. But at the last minute, Nairn was kept off the stand "in order," he was told, "to avoid a confrontation" with the president, General Pérez Molina, and for fear that if he took the stand, military elements might respond with violence. In the 1980s, Nairn extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres and was prepared to present evidence that personally implicated Pérez Molina, who was field commander during the very Mayan Ixil region massacres for which the ex-dictator, Ríos Montt, had been charged with genocide. [includes rush transcript]
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: An historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina.

Ríos Montt was the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide.
He was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands.

On Thursday, survivors of the genocide attempted to approach Ríos Montt inside the courtroom, screaming "Murderer!"

AMY GOODMAN: The trial took a surprising turn last week when Guatemala’s current president, General Otto Pérez Molina, was directly accused of ordering executions. A former military mechanic named Hugo Reyes told the court that President Pérez, then serving as an army major and using the name Tito Arias, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage a Mayan Ixil area in the 1980s.

We’re going right now to investigative journalist Allan Nairn. He flew to Guatemala City last week after we—he was called to testify in Ríos Montt’s trial. He was listed by the court as a "qualified
witness" and was tentatively scheduled to testify Monday. But at the last minute he was kept off the stand "in order," he was told, "to avoid a confrontation" with the president, General Pérez Molina, and for fear that if he took the stand, military elements might respond with violence.

In the ’80s, Allan Nairn had extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres and was prepared to present evidence that personally implicated Pérez Molina, who was field commander during the very Maya Ixil region massacres for which the ex-dictator, General Ríos Montt, has been charged with genocide.

Allan Nairn, welcome to Democracy Now! Can you talk about the significance of the latest developments, the annulling of the trial of Ríos Montt?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, this trial was a breakthrough, not just for Guatemala, but for the world. It was the first time that any nation had been able to use its domestic criminal courts to try a former head of state for genocide. Dozens upon dozens of Mayan survivors of the massacres risked their lives to come and testify. A massive evidentiary record was put together, in my view, to proving a case of genocide against General Ríos Montt and his co-defendant, his former intelligence chief. A verdict was just hours away. A verdict could have come today in the trial, but yesterday it was all annulled after intervention by General Pérez Molina, the current president, and the Guatemalan military and oligarchy killed it.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Allan, can you talk about what you learned in terms of the threats to the judges and—the judge and the prosecutor and what’s been their reaction, even though they’ve been sitting here now for several weeks in this trial?

ALLAN NAIRN: In one case, one of—one of the lawyers involved in pushing the case forward was approached by a man who offered him a million dollars if he would kill the case against Ríos Montt, a million U.S. dollars. He also said he would help him launder the money, set up offshore bank accounts. The lawyer rejected that. The man then took out a pistol, put the pistol on the table and said, "I know where your children are." Another was approached on the street with a—with a direct death threat. Despite those threats, though, the case went forward. And now, after [inaudible] to kill the case, the attorney general of Guatemala, the trial judge presiding in the case are both vowing to try to go forward with it. They’re vowing to continue with the court hearing just a couple hours from now, even though they’ve been told they can’t. So a direct political confrontation has been set.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to investigative journalist Allan Nairn. He’s in Guatemala City. We’re reaching him by Democracy Now! video stream. Listen carefully. It’s a little difficult to make out what he is saying. But, Allan, we wanted to ask about why your testimony was canceled before the overall annulment of the trial yesterday. Why was your testimony considered so dangerous?

ALLAN NAIRN: I was given to understand that if I were called to the stand, two things would happen. First, President Pérez Molina would intervene to shut down the trial. And secondly, there could be violence, particularly from retired military. The reason was that, as you mentioned in the introduction, one witness had already implicated Pérez Molina in the massacres. He was a field commander at that time. After that testimony, Pérez Molina called in the attorney general, and the word went out that if he was mentioned again in the trial, if his name came up once, he would immediately shut it down. So—and they knew that I could implicate Pérez Molina further, because I had met him in the highlands during the massacres when he was operating under a code name. And I interviewed soldiers under his command who described how, under orders, they executed and tortured civilians.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Allan, in terms of the—of Pérez Molina himself, you have a situation here, obviously, after the Central America accords, when some sort of relative peace came to the region. How did Pérez Molina rise to power, being one of the underlings of Ríos Montt and the military that visited such carnage and such destruction on the people of Guatemala?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, the reason the military was doing those massacres in the first place was to preserve a political and economic system under which there was 80 percent attrition in the area around Nebaj, which is where Pérez Molina was stationed and where, at the same time, there were world-class rich people running the plantations, the banks, the industries. Those massacres were basically successful in crushing the population and crushing any resistance and in maintaining that system. And within that system, Pérez Molina was able to rise. He became a colonel. He became the head of the G-2 military intelligence service during a time [inaudible]—

AMY GOODMAN: We’re having a little trouble hearing, Allan.

ALLAN NAIRN: —placed on the CIA payroll. At one point, an office under his control was implicated in the—at one point, an office under Pérez Molina’s control was implicated in the assassination of a judge. He rose to general, and he was able to become president. That’s the—that’s the Guatemalan system. Yet, remarkably, even given that system, this movement from below of massacre survivors who refused to give up, who insisted on trying to bring generals to justice, was able to generate this trial, aided by people of integrity who had found their way into the Guatemalan judiciary and prosecution system, and a trial was begun. They heard massive amounts of evidence. I believe it was on the verge of giving a verdict, but then, at the last minute, Pérez Molina and the powers that be intervened.

AMY GOODMAN: Very quickly, Allan, we just have less than a minute, the attorney general is a woman. The judge is a woman. They are saying they’re going to move forward with this case, although it has been anulled, with a trial today? And what about protests outside?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, protests are planned outside the court. The judge, Yassmin Barrios, and the attorney general, Claudia Paz y Paz, both say they’re going to defy this order to kill the case, which is extraordinary. You know, this indicates, I think, that Guatemala has reached a higher level of civilization than the United States has. Even though this case was killed in the end, it’s inconceivable that in the United States a U.S. attorney, say, could indict a former U.S. president, could indict a George W. Bush for what he did in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, or could indict an Obama, and that this could proceed to trial and that massive amounts of evidence could be heard. That’s not yet conceivable in the American legal system, but it happened here in Guatemala, and it almost succeeded. It came very close. And now there’s going to be a popular reaction to try to continue that fight for law enforcement and justice.

AMY GOODMAN: And is it possible the trial will continue?

ALLAN NAIRN: Excuse me?

AMY GOODMAN: Is it possible the trial will continue?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I guess it’s possible, if Judge—Judge Barrios and the prosecutors are physically allowed into the courtroom, that they could try to have the trial. But the powers that be above them have now banned it, have now prohibited it. Ríos Montt and his lawyers may not show up. I don’t know what will happen. This is a real political crisis for Guatemala.

Allan Nairn Exposes Role of U.S. and New Guatemalan President in Indigenous Massacres

In 1982, investigative journalist Allan Nairn interviewed a Guatemalan general named "Tito" on camera during the height of the indigenous massacres. It turns out the man was actually Otto Pérez Molina, the current Guatemalan president. We air the original interview footage and speak to Nairn about the U.S. role backing the Guatemalan dictatorship. Last week, Nairn flew to Guatemala where he had been scheduled to testify in the trial of former U.S.-backed dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Ríos Montt was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. The trial took a surprising turn last week when Guatemala President Gen. Otto Pérez Molina was directly accused of ordering executions. A former military mechanic named Hugo Reyes told the court that Pérez Molina, then serving as an army major and using the name Tito Arias, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage a Maya Ixil area in the 1980s. Click here to hear our live update of the trial from Nairn in Guatemala City. [includes rush transcript]
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González. We continue our coverage of the historic trial of former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Allan Nairn joined us in our studio last week before he flew to Guatemala. I began by asking him to describe just who Ríos Montt is.

ALLAN NAIRN: Ríos Montt was the dictator of Guatemala during 1982, '83. He seized power in a military coup. He was trained in the U.S. He had served in Washington as head of the Inter-American Defense College. And while he was president, he was embraced by Ronald Reagan as a man of great integrity, someone totally devoted to democracy. And he killed many tens of thousands of civilians, particularly in the Mayan northwest highlands. In this particular trial, he is being charged with 1,771 specific murders in the area of the Ixil Mayans. These charges are being brought because the prosecutors have the names of each of these victims. They've been able to dig up the bones of most of them.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how this campaign, this slaughter, was carried out and how it links to, well, the current government in Guatemala today.

ALLAN NAIRN: The army swept through the northwest highlands. And according to soldiers who I interviewed at the time, as they were carrying out the sweeps, they would go into villages, surround them, pull people out of their homes, line them up, execute them. A forensic witness testified in the trial that 80 percent of the remains they’ve recovered had gunshot wounds to the head. Witnesses have—witnesses and survivors have described Ríos Montt’s troops beheading people. One talked about an old woman who was beheaded, and then they kicked her head around the floor. They ripped the hearts out of children as their bodies were still warm, and they piled them on a table for their parents to see.

The soldiers I interviewed would describe their interrogation techniques, which they had been taught at the army general staff. And they said they would ask people, "Who in the town are the guerrillas?" And if the people would respond, "We don’t know," then they would strangle them to death. These sweeps were intense. The soldiers said that often they would kill about a third of a town’s population. Another third they would capture and resettle in army camps. And the rest would flee into the mountains. There, in the mountains, the military would pursue them using U.S.-supplied helicopters, U.S.- and Israeli-supplied planes. They would drop U.S. 50-kilogram bombs on them, and they would machine-gun them from U.S. Huey and Bell helicopters, using U.S.-supplied heavy-caliber machine guns.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to a clip of you interviewing a soldier in the highlands. This is from a Finnish documentary—is that right? And when was this done? When were you talking to soldiers there?

ALLAN NAIRN: This was in September of 1982 in the Ixil zone in the area surrounding the town of Nebaj.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to a clip of this interview.


GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] This is how we are successful. And also, if we have already interrogated them, the only thing we can do is kill them.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And how many did you kill?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] We killed the majority. There is nothing else to do than kill them.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] So you killed them at once?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Yes. If they do not want to do the right things, there is nothing more to do than bomb the houses.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Bomb? With what?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Well, with grenades or collective bombs.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] What is a collective bomb?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] They are like cannons.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Do you use helicopters?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Yes.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] What is the largest amount of people you have killed at once?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Well, really, in Sololá, around 500 people.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And how do they react when you arrive?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] Who?

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] The people from the small villages.

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] When the army arrives, they flee from their houses. And so, as they flee to the mountains, the army is forced to kill them.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And in which small village did the army do that kind of thing?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] That happened a lot of times.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Specifically, could you give me some examples where these things happened?

GUATEMALAN SOLDIER: [translated] In Salquil, Sumal Chiquito, Sumal Grande, Acul.


AMY GOODMAN: When did you interview this soldier, Allan?

ALLAN NAIRN: This was in September of ’82.

AMY GOODMAN: What were you doing there?

ALLAN NAIRN: Making a documentary for Scandinavian television.

AMY GOODMAN: So you have soldiers talking about killing civilians, the brutal interrogations that they were engaged in. Why would they be telling you this? You’re a journalist. They’re talking about crimes they’re committing.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, because this is their everyday life. They do this all the time. They do it under orders from the top of the chain of command, at that time Ríos Montt. And they had hardly ever seen journalists at that time. It was very rare for an outside journalist or even a local journalist to go into that area.

AMY GOODMAN: So let’s take this to the current day, to the president of Guatemala today, because at the same time you were interviewing these soldiers, you interviewed the Guatemalan president—at least the Guatemalan president today in 2013.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes, the senior officer, the commander in Nebaj, was a man who used the code name "Mayor Tito," Major Tito. It turns out that that man’s real name was Otto Pérez Molina. Otto Pérez Molina later ascended to general, and today he is the president of Guatemala. So he is the one who was the local implementer of the program of genocide which Ríos Montt is accused of carrying out.

AMY GOODMAN: This is a huge charge. I mean, right now, it’s an historic trial when it’s 25 years after a past president is now being charged. Let’s go to a clip of Otto Pérez Molina, the current president of Guatemala, but this is 1982 in the heartland area of Quiché in northwest Guatemala, northwest of Guatemala City. In this video clip, Otto Pérez Molina is seen reading from political literature found on one of the bodies. This is your interview with him.


MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] "The poor artisan fights alongside the worker. The poor peasant fights alongside the worker. The wealth is produced by us, the poor. The army takes the poor peasants. Together, we have an invincible force. All the families are with the guerrilla, the guerrilla army of the poor, toward final victory forever." These are the different fronts that they have.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] So here they are saying that the army killed some people.

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Exactly.


AMY GOODMAN: I mean, this is astounding. This is the current president of Guatemala standing over these bodies. Tell us more.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, as one of the soldiers says in the sound in the background, the—Pérez Molina interrogated these men. And soon after, they were—they were dead. And one soldier told me off camera that in fact after Pérez Molina interrogated them, they finished them off.

AMY GOODMAN: This man, Pérez Molina, the president, actually was going by a code name at the time. When was it clear that this is Pérez Molina? Though we have a very clear shot of him.

ALLAN NAIRN: For a long time, Pérez Molina was trying to obscure his past and apparently hide the fact that he played this role in a supervisory position during the highland massacres. During the Guatemalan presidential campaign, which Pérez Molina eventually won, about two years ago, I got calls while I was in Asia from the Guatemalan press, from The Wall Street Journal, asking whether I could vouch for the fact that Mayor Tito, the man in the video who I encountered in the northwest highlands in the midst of the massacres—whether I could vouch for the fact that Mayor Tito was in fact General Otto Pérez Molina, the presidential candidate. And I said that I couldn’t, just from looking at the current videos. You know, people can change a lot visually over 30 years, so I said I couldn’t be sure. It turns out that—and during the campaign, when reporters would ask the Pérez Molina campaign, "Is Pérez Molina Mayor Tito?" they would dodge the question. They would evade. They were running from it. It turns out, though, we just learned this week, that Pérez Molina had admitted back in 2000 that he was Mayor Tito. But then, apparently afterward, he thought better of it and was trying to bury it. And now, this is potentially trouble for him. He’s currently president, and so, under Guatemalan law, he enjoys immunity. But once he leaves the presidency, he could, in theory, be subject to prosecution, just as Ríos Montt is now being prosecuted.

AMY GOODMAN: That could be a serious motivation for him declaring himself president for life.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Ríos Montt seized power by a coup, but one of the important facts about the situation now is that the military men don’t have the power that they used to. The fact that this trial is happening is an indication of that. This trial is happening because the survivors refused to give up. They persisted—the survivors have been working on this for decades, pushing to bring Ríos Montt and the other generals to justice. They refused to give up. They got support from international—some international human rights lawyers. And within the Guatemalan justice system, there were a few people of integrity who ascended to positions of some authority within the prosecutorial system, within the judiciary. And so, we now have this near-political miracle of a country bringing to trial its former dictator for genocide, while the president of the country, who was implicated in those killings, sits by.

AMY GOODMAN: Allan, this video that we have of you interviewing Pérez Molina—again, as you said, he admitted to the Guatemalan newspaper, Prensa Libre, in 2000 that he used the nickname Tito—is quite astounding. So let’s go to another clip, where you’re talking to him about the kind of support that he wants.


ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] The United States is considering giving military help here in the form of helicopters. What is the importance of helicopters for all of you?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] A helicopter is an apparatus that’s become of great importance not only here in Guatemala but also in other countries where they’ve had problems of a counterinsurgency.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Like in Vietnam?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] In Vietnam, for example, the helicopter was an apparatus that was used a lot.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Can you also use it in combat?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, of course. The helicopters that are military types, they are equipped to support operations in the field. They have machine guns and rocket launchers.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] What type of mortars are you guys using?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] There’s various types of mortars. We have small mortars and the mortars Tampella.

ALLAN NAIRN: Tampella.

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, it’s a mortar that’s 60 millimeters.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Is it very powerful? Does it have a lot of force to destroy things?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, it’s a weapon that’s very effective. It’s very useful, and it has a very good result in our operation in defense of the country.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Is it against a person or...?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Yes, it’s an anti-personnel weapon.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Do you have one here?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] It’s light and easy to transport, as well.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] So, it’s very light, and you can use it with your hand.

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] Exactly, with the hand.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] Where did you get them?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] These, we got from Israel.

ALLAN NAIRN: [translated] And where do you get the ammunition?

MAYOR OTTO PÉREZ MOLINA: [translated] That’s also from Israel.


AMY GOODMAN: So, this is, again, the current president, Pérez Molina, of Guatemala, the general you met in the highlands in 1982, asking for more aid. Talk about the relationship between Guatemala then and the United States.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, the U.S. was the sponsor of the Guatemalan army, as it had been for many decades, as the U.S. has and continues to sponsor dozens and dozens of repressive armies all over the world. In the case of Guatemala, if you go into the military academy and you see the pictures of the past presidents of military academy, some of them are actually Americans. They’re actual American officers there who were openly running the Guatemalan military training. By the ’80s, when the Ríos Montt massacres were being carried out, the U.S. Congress was under the impression that they had successfully stopped U.S. military aid to Guatemala. But in fact it was continuing. The CIA had an extensive program of backing the G-2, the G-2, the military intelligence service, which selected the targets for assassination and disappearance. They even—they even built a headquarters for—a secret headquarters for the G-2 near the Guatemala City airport. They had American advisers working inside the headquarters. Out in the field, Guatemalan troops were receiving from the U.S. ammunition, weapons.

And most importantly, the U.S., beginning under the Carter administration but continuing under Reagan and after, asked the Israelis to come in and fill the gap that was caused by congressional restrictions. So Israel was doing massive shipments of Galil automatic rifles and other weapons. And Pérez Molina, as you saw in the video, actually had one of his subordinates come over and show me an Israeli-made mortar. That mortar and the helicopters he was asking for from the U.S., those were the kind of weapons they would use to bomb villages and attack people as they were fleeing in the mountains. In listening to the testimony in the trial up to this moment, I was struck by the fact that almost every witness mentioned that they had been attacked from the air, that either their village had been bombed or strafed or that they were bombed or strafed as they were fleeing in the mountains. This testimony suggests that the use of this U.S. and Israeli aircraft and U.S. munitions against the civilians in the Ixil highlands was actually much more extensive than we understood at the time.

Beyond that, beyond the material U.S. support, there’s the question of doctrine. Yesterday in the trial, the Ríos Montt defense called forward a general, a former commander of the G-2, as an expert witness on the defense side. And at the end of his testimony, the prosecution read to this general an excerpt from a Guatemalan military training document. And the document said it is often difficult for soldiers to accept the fact that they may be required to execute repressive actions against civilian women, children and sick people, but with proper training, they can be made to do so. So, the prosecutor asked the Ríos Montt general, "Well, General, what is your response to this document?" And the general responded by saying, "Well, that training document which we use is an almost literal translation of a U.S. training document." So this doctrine of killing civilians, even down to women, children and sick people, was, as the general testified, adopted from the U.S. Indeed, years before, the U.S. military attaché in Guatemala, Colonel John Webber, had said to Time magazine that the Guatemalan army was licensed to kill guerrillas and potential guerrillas. And, of course, the category of potential guerrillas can include anyone, including children.

And the point of guerrilla civilians is actually very important to understanding this. Those bodies that Pérez Molina was standing over in Nebaj in 1982 in the film we saw, those were actually an exception to the rule, because the truth commission which investigated the massacres in Guatemala found that 93 percent of the victims were civilians killed by the Guatemalan army. But there was also some combat going on between the army and guerrillas. And in that case, in the video we saw, the bodies Pérez Molina was standing over were guerrillas, guerrillas that the army had captured. And one of them in captivity had set off a hand grenade as a suicide act, but apparently, from what I saw and what the soldiers told me, apparently they survived the blast, and they were then turned over to Pérez Molina for interrogation. He interrogated them, and then, as we saw, they turned up dead. But in the vast majority of cases, they were civilians, completely unarmed people, who were targeted by Ríos Montt’s army for elimination.

And I asked Ríos Montt about this practice on two different occasions, first in an interview with him two months after he seized power in 1982, and then later, years later, after he had been thrown out of power. And when I asked him in ’82 about the fact that so many civilians were being killed by the army, he said, "Look, for each one who is shooting, there are 10 who are standing behind him," meaning: Behind the guerrillas there are vast numbers of civilians. His senior aide and his spokesman, a man named Francisco Bianchi, who was sitting next to him at this interview, then expanded on the point. Bianchi said the guerrillas—well, the indigenous population—he called them "indios," which is a slur in Guatemalan Spanish—

AMY GOODMAN: For Indians.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes—were collaborating with the guerrilla, therefore it was necessary to kill Indians. "And people would say," Bianchi continued, "'Oh, you're massacring all these innocent Indians"—"innocent Indios," in his words. But Bianchi then said, "But, no, they are not innocent, because they had sold out to subversion." So this is the—this is the doctrine of killing civilians, and particularly Mayans, because the army saw them collectively as a group. They didn’t view them as individuals, but they saw them collectively as a group as sold out to subversion. And this was a doctrine that the U.S. supported.

AMY GOODMAN: Journalist Allan Nairn. The interview we did was recorded last week just before he left for Guatemala to testify in the trial against the Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt. But at the last minute, his testimony was canceled late yesterday. The trial was canceled. We’ll continue with the interview in a minute.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Mercedes Sosa, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report, as we continue our coverage of the historic trial of former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Allan Nairn joined us in our studio last week before he flew to Guatemala. His testimony was canceled. The trial was canceled last night. But I asked Allan to talk about how he managed to interview the Guatemalan dictator, Ríos Montt, two months after he seized power in the 1980s.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, he was—he was giving press interviews. This was an interview in the palace. I was there with a couple of other reporters. Ríos Montt was very outspoken. He would go on TV and say, "Today we are going to begin a merciless struggle. We are going to kill, but we are going to kill legally." That was his style, to speak directly. And it’s in great contrast to what he’s doing today. I mean, it’s very interesting from point of view of people who’ve survived these kind of generals who live on the blood of the people, not just in Guatemala but in Salvador, in East Timor, in Indonesia, in countless countries where the U.S. has backed this kind of terror. You have the spectacle now of this general, who once made poor people tremble at the sight of him, at the mention of him, now he’s hiding. In the trial, he refuses to talk. He will not defend himself. He’s like a common thug taken off the streets who invokes his Fifth Amendment—invokes his Fifth Amendment rights. But back then, when he had the power, when no one could challenge him, he would speak fairly openly. In fact, the second time I spoke to him, a number of years after, I asked Ríos Montt whether he thought that he should be executed, whether he should be tried and executed because of his own responsibility for the highland massacres, and he responded by jumping to his feet and shouting, "Yes! Put me on trial. Put me against the wall. But if you’re going to put me on trial, you have to try the Americans first, including Ronald Reagan."

AMY GOODMAN: Allan Nairn, at the time in Guatemala, you not only were interviewing, well, now the current president, Pérez Molina, who was in the highlands at the time standing over dead bodies, but you were also talking to U.S. officials, and I want to go to this issue of U.S. involvement in what happened in Guatemala. Tell us about U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth, a man you got to interview at the time during the Ríos Montt years.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, Bosworth was, at the time, an important player in U.S. Central American policy. And he, along with Elliott Abrams, for example, attacked Amnesty International when Amnesty was trying to report on the assassinations of labor leaders and priests and peasant organizers and activists in the Mayan highlands. And he also was denying that the U.S. was giving military assistance to the Guatemalan army that was carrying out those crimes.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s turn to the interview you did with then U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth.


STEPHEN BOSWORTH: Well, I think the important factor is that there has been, over the last six months, evidence of significant improvement in the human rights situation in Guatemala. Since the coming into power of the Ríos Montt government, the level of violence in the country, politically inspired violence, particularly in the urban areas, has declined rather dramatically. That being said, however, I think it’s important also to note that the level of violence in the countryside continues at a level which is of concern to all. And while it is difficult, if not impossible, to attribute responsibility for that violence in each instance, it is clear that in the countryside the government does indeed need to make further progress in terms of improving its control over government troops.


AMY GOODMAN: You also, Allan Nairn, asked the then-U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth precisely what was the U.S. military presence and role in Guatemala. This is how Bosworth responded.


STEPHEN BOSWORTH: We have no military presence or role. We have, as a part of our diplomatic establishment, a defense attaché office and a military representative. But that is the same sort of representation that we have in virtually all other countries in the world. We do not have American trainers working with the Guatemalan army. We do not have American military personnel active in Guatemala in that—in that sort of area.

ALLAN NAIRN: There are no American trainers there?

STEPHEN BOSWORTH: No.

ALLAN NAIRN: None performing the types of functions that go on in El Salvador, for instance?

STEPHEN BOSWORTH: No, there are not.


AMY GOODMAN: That was then-U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs Stephen Bosworth. Respond to what he said, and tell us who he later became, who he is today in the U.S. government.

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, first, just about everything that Bosworth said there was a lie. He said that the killings were down. In fact, they increased dramatically under Ríos Montt. He said, quite interestingly, that it was impossible to know and attribute responsibility for what was happening. Well, the Conference of Catholic Bishops had no difficulty knowing and attributing responsibility. They said that the killings have reached the extreme of genocide. They were saying this at the moment that the massacres were happening and at the moment that Bosworth was denying it. And they and the survivors and the human rights groups were all clearly blaming it on the army.

And then, finally, he said that the army has to be careful to maintain control over its troops. Well, there was a very strict control. In fact, the officers in the field in the Ixil zone that I interviewed at the time said they were on a very short leash and that there were only three layers of command between themselves in the field and Ríos Montt. And, in fact, a few weeks earlier, there had been only two layers of command between themselves and Ríos Montt.

Then, Bosworth went on to say that the U.S. was not giving any military assistance to Guatemala, but I guess it was a couple weeks after that interview when we went down to Guatemala, I met a U.S. Green Beret, Captain Jesse Garcia, who was training the Guatemalan military in combat techniques, including what he called how—in his words, "how to destroy towns." This was apart from the weapons and U.S. munitions that I mentioned before, apart from the CIA trainers who were working in the CIA-built headquarters of the G-2, the military intelligence service that was doing the assassinations and disappearances.

AMY GOODMAN: The G-2 being the Guatemalan G-2. Now, today Stephen Bosworth is the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. But before that, in 2009, well, he played a key role in the Obama administration.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes, rather than being—you know, in what you might consider to be a normally functioning political system, if a high government official lied like that about matters of such grave, life-and-death importance and was involved in the supply of arms to terrorists, in this case the Guatemalan military, you would expect him at the minimum to be fired and disgraced, or maybe brought up on charges. But Bosworth was actually promoted. And under the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton chose him as the special envoy to North Korea. He’s been in the news a great deal in recent times because of his very prominent role there.

AMY GOODMAN: In 1995, Allan Nairn was interviewed on Charlie Rose about his piece in The Nation called "CIA Death Squad," in which he described how Americans were directly involved in killings by the Guatemalan army. He was interviewed alongside Elliott Abrams, who challenged what he was saying. Abrams had served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs under President Reagan from 1981 to 1985. This clip begins with Elliott Abrams.


ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Wait a minute. We’re not here to refight the Cold War. We’re here to talk about, I thought, a specific case in which an allegation is being made that—of the husband of an American and, another case, an American citizen were killed, and there was a CIA connection with—allegedly with the person allegedly involved in it. Now, I’m happy to talk about that kind of thing. If Mr. Nairn thinks we should have been on the other side in Guatemala—that is, we should have been in favor of a guerrilla victory—I disagree with him.

ALLAN NAIRN: So you’re then admitting that you were on the side of the Guatemalan military.

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: I am admitting that it was the policy of the United States, under Democrats and Republicans, approved by Congress repeatedly, to oppose a communist guerrilla victory anywhere in Central America, including in Guatemala.

CHARLIE ROSE: Alright, well, I—

ALLAN NAIRN: A communist guerrilla victory.

CHARLIE ROSE: Yeah, I—

ALLAN NAIRN: Ninety-five percent of these victims are civilians—peasant organizers, human rights leaders—

CHARLIE ROSE: I am happy to invite both of you—

ALLAN NAIRN: —priests—assassinated by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan army. Let’s look at reality here. In reality, we’re not talking about two murders, one colonel. We’re talking about more than 100,000 murders, an entire army, many of its top officers employees of the U.S. government. We’re talking about crimes, and we’re also talking about criminals, not just people like the Guatemalan colonels, but also the U.S. agents who have been working with them and the higher-level U.S. officials. I mean, I think you have to be—you have to apply uniform standards. President Bush once talked about putting Saddam Hussein on trial for crimes against humanity, Nuremberg-style tribunal. I think that’s a good idea. But if you’re serious, you have to be even-handed. If we look at a case like this, I think we have to talk—start talking about putting Guatemalan and U.S. officials on trial. I think someone like Mr. Abrams would be a fit—a subject for such a Nuremberg-style inquiry. But I agree with Mr. Abrams that Democrats would have to be in the dock with him. The Congress has been in on this. The Congress approved the sale of 16,000 M-16s to Guatemala. In ’87 and ’88—

CHARLIE ROSE: Alright, but hold on one second. I just—before—because the—

ALLAN NAIRN: They voted more military aid than the Republicans asked for.

CHARLIE ROSE: Again, I invite you and Elliott Abrams back to discuss what he did. But right now, you—

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: No, thanks, Charlie, but I won’t accept—

CHARLIE ROSE: Hold on one second. Go ahead. You want to repeat the question, of you want to be in the dock?

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: It is ludicrous. It is ludicrous to respond to that kind of stupidity. This guy thinks we were on the wrong side in the Cold War. Maybe he personally was on the wrong side. I am one of the many millions of Americans who thinks we were happy to win.

CHARLIE ROSE: Alright, I don’t—

ALLAN NAIRN: Mr. Abrams, you were on the wrong side in supporting the massacre of peasants and organizers, anyone who dared to speak, absolutely.

CHARLIE ROSE: What I want to do is I want to ask the following question.

ALLAN NAIRN: And that’s a crime. That’s a crime, Mr. Abrams, for which people should be tried. U.S. laws—

ELLIOTT ABRAMS: Why don’t you—yes, right, we’ll put all the American officials who won the Cold War in the dock.


AMY GOODMAN: That was Elliott Abrams—he served as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs under President Reagan from ’81 to ’85—debating investigative journalist Allan Nairn on the Charlie Rose show. Actually, Congressmember Robert Torricelli, then from New Jersey, before he became senator, was also in that discussion at another point. Allan, the significance of what Mr. Abrams was saying? He went on, Abrams, to deal with the Middle East.

ALLAN NAIRN: Yes. Well, he—when I said that he should be tried by a Nuremberg-style tribunal, he basically reacted by saying I was crazy, that this was a crazy idea that you could try U.S. officials for supplying weapons to armies that kill civilians. But people also thought that it was crazy that Ríos Montt could face justice in Guatemala. But after decades of work by the survivors of his Mayan highland massacres, today, as we speak, Ríos Montt is sitting in the dock.

AMY GOODMAN: Award-winning journalist Allan Nairn, speaking last week before he flew to Guatemala. On Thursday, a landmark genocide trial against former Guatemalan dictator Ríos Montt was suspended after the trial threatened to implicate the current president of Guatemala in the mass killings of civilians. Allan reports Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina. Some of the video footage used in the show comes from a 1983 documentary directed by Mikael Wahlforss. We’ll link to it at democracynow.org and to Allan Nairn’s website, allannairn.org.

Magda Hassan
04-23-2013, 08:20 AM
Here is the video of the above interview:
http://www.democracynow.org/2013/4/19/exclusive_allan_nairn_exposes_role_of

Keith Millea
05-11-2013, 02:59 PM
Published on Saturday, May 11, 2013 by Allan Nairn (http://www.allannairn.org/2013/05/a-formal-legal-mandate-for-criminal.html)

A Formal Legal Mandate for a Criminal Investigation of Guatemala's Current President, Perez Molina

by Allan Nairn

http://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imce-images/otto-perez-molina.jpg

In this Dec. 5, 2011 file photo, Guatemala's President-elect Otto Perez Molina, center right, greets new members of Guatemala's Army elite special forces, "Kaibiles," at a graduation ceremony in Poptun, Guatemala. (AP)

General Efrain Rios Montt has been found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. He has already begun his "irrevocable" sentence of 80 years in prison.

The court that convicted Rios Montt has also ordered the attorney general to launch an immediate investigation of "all others" connected to the crimes.

This important and unexpected aspect of the verdict means that there now exists a formal legal mandate for a criminal investigation of the President of Guatemala, General Otto Perez Molina.

As President, Perez Molina enjoys temporary legal immunity, but that immunity does not block the prosecutors from starting their investigation.

Last night, in a live post-verdict interview on CNN Espanol TV, Perez Molina was confronted about his own role during the Rios Montt massacres.

The interviewer, Fernando del Rincon, repeatedly asked Perez Molina about his filmed interviews with me when he was Rios Montt's Ixil field commander.

At that time, Perez Molina, operating under the alias "Major Tito Arias," commanded troops who described to me how, under orders, they killed civilians.

At first, Perez Molina refused to answer, then CNN's satellite link to him was cut off, then, after it was restored minutes later, Perez Molina replied that women, children and "complete families" had in fact aided guerrillas.

Offering what appears to be a rationale for killing families may not be a sufficient defense. But that is up to Perez Molina.

He too deserves his day in court.

© 2013 Allan Nairn

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/11-0

Kenneth Kapel
05-11-2013, 07:45 PM
Back about 30 years ago "The Reverend Robertson" "Pat" that is said many times, on his TV program, that Rios Montt was a great Christian. Now we all know what the Reverend Pat means when he says what a "great Christian" is, he means that he/she a mass murderer. Da Reverand Pat a liar, and proud supporter of Mammon.

Magda Hassan
05-13-2013, 01:25 AM
Ronald Reagan: Accessory to Genocide

By Robert Parry

May 12, 2013 "Information Clearing House (http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/) - The conviction of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt on charges of genocide against Mayan villagers in the 1980s has a special meaning for Americans who idolize Ronald Reagan. It means that their hero was an accessory to one of the most grievous crimes that can be committed against humanity.

The courage of the Guatemalan people and the integrity of their legal system to exact some accountability on a still-influential political figure also put U.S. democracy to shame. For decades now, Americans have tolerated human rights crimes by U.S. presidents who face little or no accountability. Usually, the history isn’t even compiled honestly.
By contrast, a Guatemalan court on Friday found (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/world/americas/gen-efrain-rios-montt-of-guatemala-guilty-of-genocide.html) Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced the 86-year-old ex-dictator to 80 years in prison. After the ruling, when Rios Montt rose and tried to walk out of the courtroom, Judge Yasmin Barrios shouted at him to stay put and then had security officers take him into custody.
Yet, while Guatemalans demonstrate the strength to face a dark chapter of their history, the American people remain mostly oblivious to Reagan’s central role in tens of thousands of political murders across Central America in the 1980s, including some 100,000 dead in Guatemala slaughtered by Rios Montt and other military dictators.
Indeed, Ronald Reagan – by aiding, abetting, encouraging and covering up widespread human rights crimes in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua as well as Guatemala – bears greater responsibility for Central America’s horrors than does Rios Montt in his bloody 17-month rule. Reagan supported Guatemala’s brutal repression both before and after Rios Montt held power, as well as during.
Despite that history, more honors have been bestowed on Reagan than any recent president. Americans have allowed the naming of scores of government facilities in Reagan’s honor, including Washington National Airport where Reagan’s name elbowed aside that of George Washington, who led the War of Independence, oversaw the drafting of the U.S. Constitution and served as the nation’s first president.
So, as America’s former reputation as a beacon for human rights becomes a bad joke to the rest of the world, it is unthinkable within the U.S. political/media structure that Reagan would get posthumously criticized for the barbarity that he promoted. No one of importance would dare suggest that his name be stripped from National Airport and his statue removed from near the airport entrance.
But the evidence is overwhelming that the 40th president of the United States was guilty as an accessory to genocide and a wide range of other war crimes, including torture, rape, terrorism and narcotics trafficking. [See Robert Parry's Lost History (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1868/t/12126/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=1037).]
Green Light to Genocide
Regarding Guatemala, the documentary evidence is clear that Reagan and his top aides gave a green light to the extermination campaign against the Mayan Ixil population in the highlands even before Rios Montt came to power. Despite receiving U.S. intelligence reports revealing these atrocities, the Reagan administration also pressed ahead in an extraordinary effort to arrange military equipment, including helicopters, to make the slaughter more efficient.
“In the tortured logic of military planning documents conceived under Mr. Ríos Montt’s 17-month rule during 1982 and 1983, the entire Mayan Ixil population was a military target, children included,” the New York Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/world/americas/in-rios-montt-trial-guatemalans-give-account-of-suffering.html?ref=guatemala&_r=0) from Rios Montt’s trial last month. “Officers wrote that the leftist guerrillas fighting the government had succeeded in indoctrinating the impoverished Ixils and reached ‘100 percent support.’”
So, everyone was targeted in these scorched-earth campaigns that eradicated more than 600 Indian villages in the Guatemalan highlands. But documents from this period indicate that these counterinsurgency strategies predated Rios Montt. And, they received the blessing of the Reagan administration shortly after Reagan took power in 1981.
A document that I discovered in the archives of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, revealed that Reagan and his national security team in 1981 agreed to supply military aid to Guatemala’s dictators so they could pursue the goal of exterminating not only “Marxist guerrillas” but people associated with their “civilian support mechanisms.”
This supportive attitude took shape in spring 1981 as President Reagan sought to relax human-rights restrictions on military aid to Guatemala that had been imposed by President Jimmy Carter and the Democratic-controlled Congress in the late 1970s. As part of that easing, Reagan’s State Department “advised our Central American embassies that it has been studying ways to restore a closer, cooperative relationship with Guatemala,” said a White House “Situation Room Checklist (http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/sit-room-checklist.pdf)” dated April 8, 1981.
The document added: “State believes a number of changes have occurred which could make Guatemalan leaders more receptive to a new U.S. initiative: the Guatemalans view the new administration as more sympathetic to their problems [and] they are less suspect of the U.S. role in El Salvador,” where the Reagan administration was expanding military aid to another right-wing regime infamous for slaughtering its political opponents, including Catholic clergy.
“State has concluded that any attempt to reestablish a dialogue [with Guatemala] would require some initial, condition-free demonstration of our goodwill. However, this could not include military sales which would provoke serious U.S. public and congressional criticism. State will undertake a series of confidence building measures, free of preconditions, which minimize potential conflict with existing legislation.”
In other words, the Reagan administration was hoping that the U.S. government could get back in the good graces of the Guatemalan dictators, not that the dictators should change their ways to qualify for U.S. government help.
Soliciting the Generals
The “checklist” added that the State Department “has also decided that the administration should engage the Guatemalan government at the highest level in a dialogue on our bilateral relations and the initiatives we can take together to improve them. Secretary [of State Alexander] Haig has designated [retired] General Vernon Walters as his personal emissary to initiate this process with President [Fernando Romeo] Lucas [Garcia].
“If Lucas is prepared to give assurances that he will take steps to halt government involvement in the indiscriminate killing of political opponents and to foster a climate conducive to a viable electoral process, the U.S. will be prepared to approve some military sales immediately.”
But the operative word in that paragraph was “indiscriminate.” The Reagan administration expressed no problem with killing civilians if they were considered supporters of the guerrillas who had been fighting against the country’s ruling oligarchs and generals since the 1950s when the CIA organized the overthrow of Guatemala’s reformist President Jacobo Arbenz.
The distinction was spelled out in “Talking Points (http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/walters-talking-points-dragged.pdf)” for Walters to deliver in a face-to-face meeting with General Lucas. As edited inside the White House in April 1981, the “Talking Points” read: “The President and Secretary Haig have designated me [Walters] as [their] personal emissary to discuss bilateral relations on an urgent basis.
“Both the President and the Secretary recognize that your country is engaged in a war with Marxist guerrillas. We are deeply concerned about externally supported Marxist subversion in Guatemala and other countries in the region. As you are aware, we have already taken steps to assist Honduras and El Salvador resist this aggression.
“The Secretary has sent me here to see if we can work out a way to provide material assistance to your government. … We have minimized negative public statements by US officials on the situation in Guatemala. … We have arranged for the Commerce Department to take steps that will permit the sale of $3 million worth of military trucks and Jeeps to the Guatemalan army. …
“With your concurrence, we propose to provide you and any officers you might designate an intelligence briefing on regional developments from our perspective. Our desire, however, is to go substantially beyond the steps I have just outlined. We wish to reestablish our traditional military supply and training relationship as soon as possible.
“As we are both aware, this has not yet been feasible because of our internal political and legal constraints relating to the use by some elements of your security forces of deliberate and indiscriminate killing of persons not involved with the guerrilla forces or their civilian support mechanisms. I am not referring here to the regrettable but inevitable death of innocents though error in combat situations, but to what appears to us a calculated use of terror to immobilize non politicized people or potential opponents. …
“If you could give me your assurance that you will take steps to halt official involvement in the killing of persons not involved with the guerrilla forces or their civilian support mechanism … we would be in a much stronger position to defend successfully with the Congress a decision to begin to resume our military supply relationship with your government.”
In other words, though the “talking points” were framed as an appeal to reduce the “indiscriminate” slaughter of “non politicized people,” they embraced scorched-earth tactics against people involved with the guerrillas and “their civilian support mechanisms.” The way that played out in Guatemala – as in nearby El Salvador – was the massacring of peasants in regions considered sympathetic to leftist insurgents.
Reporting the Truth
U.S. intelligence officers in the region also kept the Reagan administration abreast of the expanding slaughter. For instance, according to one “secret” cable from April 1981 — and declassified in the 1990s — the CIA was confirming Guatemalan government massacres even as Reagan was moving to loosen the military aid ban.
On April 17, 1981, a CIA cable described an army massacre at Cocob, near Nebaj in the Ixil Indian territory, because the population was believed to support leftist guerrillas. A CIA source reported that “the social population appeared to fully support the guerrillas” and “the soldiers were forced to fire at anything that moved.”
The CIA cable added that “the Guatemalan authorities admitted that ‘many civilians’ were killed in Cocob, many of whom undoubtedly were non-combatants.” [Many of the Guatemalan documents declassified in the 1990s can be found at the National Security Archive (http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB32/vol2.html)’s Web site.]
Despite these atrocities, Reagan dispatched Walters in May 1981 to tell the Guatemalan leaders that the new U.S. administration wanted to lift the human rights embargoes on military equipment that Carter and Congress had imposed.
According to a State Department cable on Oct. 5, 1981, when Guatemalan leaders met again with Walters, they left no doubt about their plans. The cable said Gen. Lucas “made clear that his government will continue as before — that the repression will continue. He reiterated his belief that the repression is working and that the guerrilla threat will be successfully routed.”
Human rights groups saw the same picture, albeit from a less sympathetic angle. The Inter-American Human Rights Commission released a report on Oct. 15, 1981, blaming the Guatemalan government for “thousands of illegal executions.” [Washington Post, Oct. 16, 1981]
But the Reagan administration was set on whitewashing the horrific scene. A State Department “white paper,” released in December 1981, blamed the violence on leftist “extremist groups” and their “terrorist methods” prompted and supported by Cuba’s Fidel Castro.
Fully Onboard
What the documents from the Reagan Library make clear is that the administration was not simply struggling ineffectively to rein in these massacres – as the U.S. press corps typically reported – but was fully onboard with the slaughter of people who were part of the guerrillas’ “civilian support mechanisms.”
U.S. intelligence agencies continued to pick up evidence of these government-sponsored massacres. One CIA report in February 1982 described an army sweep through the so-called Ixil Triangle in central El Quiche province.
“The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor [the EGP] and eliminate all sources of resistance,” the report said. “Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground, and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed.”
The CIA report explained the army’s modus operandi: “When an army patrol meets resistance and takes fire from a town or village, it is assumed that the entire town is hostile and it is subsequently destroyed.” When the army encountered an empty village, it was “assumed to have been supporting the EGP, and it is destroyed. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of refugees in the hills with no homes to return to. …
“The army high command is highly pleased with the initial results of the sweep operation, and believes that it will be successful in destroying the major EGP support area and will be able to drive the EGP out of the Ixil Triangle. … The well documented belief by the army that the entire Ixil Indian population is pro-EGP has created a situation in which the army can be expected to give no quarter to combatants and non-combatants alike.”
The reality was so grotesque that it prompted protests even from some staunch anticommunists inside the Reagan administration. On Feb. 2, 1982, Richard Childress, one of Reagan’s national security aides, wrote a “secret” memo (http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/childress-guatemala.pdf) to his colleagues summing up this reality on the ground:
“As we move ahead on our approach to Latin America, we need to consciously address the unique problems posed by Guatemala. Possessed of some of the worst human rights records in the region, … it presents a policy dilemma for us. The abysmal human rights record makes it, in its present form, unworthy of USG [U.S. government] support. …
“Beset by a continuous insurgency for at least 15 years, the current leadership is completely committed to a ruthless and unyielding program of suppression. Hardly a soldier could be found that has not killed a ‘guerrilla.’”
Rios Montt’s Arrival
But Reagan was unmoved. He continued to insist on expanding U.S. support for these brutal campaigns, while his administration sought to cover up the facts and deflect criticism. Reagan’s team insisted that Gen. Efrain Rios Montt’s overthrow of Gen. Lucas in March 1982 represented a sunny new day in Guatemala.
An avowed fundamentalist Christian, Rios Montt impressed Official Washington where the Reagan administration immediately revved up its propaganda machinery to hype the new dictator’s “born-again” status as proof of his deep respect for human life. Reagan hailed Rios Montt as “a man of great personal integrity.”
By July 1982, however, Rios Montt had begun a new scorched-earth campaign called his “rifles and beans” policy. The slogan meant that pacified Indians would get “beans,” while all others could expect to be the target of army “rifles.” In October, Rios Montt secretly gave carte blanche to the feared “Archivos” intelligence unit to expand “death squad” operations in the cities. Based at the Presidential Palace, the “Archivos” masterminded many of Guatemala’s most notorious assassinations.
The U.S. embassy was soon hearing more accounts of the army conducting Indian massacres, but ideologically driven U.S. diplomats fed the Reagan administration the propaganda spin that would be best for their careers. On Oct. 22, 1982, embassy staff dismissed the massacre reports as a communist-inspired “disinformation campaign.”
Reagan personally joined this P.R. spin seeking to discredit human rights investigators and others who were reporting accurately about massacres that the administration knew were true. On Dec. 4, 1982, after meeting with Rios Montt, Reagan hailed the general as “totally dedicated to democracy” and added that Rios Montt’s government had been “getting a bum rap” on human rights. Reagan discounted the mounting reports of hundreds of Mayan villages being eradicated.
In February 1983, however, a secret CIA cable noted a rise in “suspect right-wing violence” with kidnappings of students and teachers. Bodies of victims were appearing in ditches and gullies. CIA sources traced these political murders to Rios Montt’s order to the “Archivos” in October to “apprehend, hold, interrogate and dispose of suspected guerrillas as they saw fit.”
Despite these facts on the ground, the annual State Department human rights survey praised the supposedly improved human rights situation in Guatemala. “The overall conduct of the armed forces had improved by late in the year” 1982, the report stated.
Indiscriminate Murder
A different picture — far closer to the secret information held by the U.S. government — was coming from independent human rights investigators. On March 17, 1983, Americas Watch condemned the Guatemalan army for human rights atrocities against the Indian population.
New York attorney Stephen L. Kass said these findings included proof that the government carried out “virtually indiscriminate murder of men, women and children of any farm regarded by the army as possibly supportive of guerrilla insurgents.”
Rural women suspected of guerrilla sympathies were raped before execution, Kass said, adding that children were “thrown into burning homes. They are thrown in the air and speared with bayonets. We heard many, many stories of children being picked up by the ankles and swung against poles so their heads are destroyed.” [AP, March 17, 1983]
Publicly, senior Reagan officials continued to put on a happy face. In June 1983, special envoy Richard B. Stone praised “positive changes” in Rios Montt’s government, and Rios Montt pressed the United States for 10 UH-1H helicopters and six naval patrol boats, all the better to hunt guerrillas and their sympathizers.
Since Guatemala lacked the U.S. Foreign Military Sales credits or the cash to buy the helicopters, Reagan’s national security team looked for unconventional ways to arrange the delivery of the equipment that would give the Guatemalan army greater access to mountainous areas where guerrillas and their civilian supporters were hiding.
On Aug. 1, 1983, National Security Council aides Oliver North and Alfonso Sapia-Bosch reported (http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/north-guat-israel1.pdf) to National Security Advisor William P. Clark that his deputy Robert “Bud” McFarlane was planning to exploit his Israeli channels to secure the helicopters for Guatemala. [For more on McFarlanes's Israeli channels, see Consortiumnews.com's "How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast (http://consortiumnews.com/2013/02/15/how-neocons-messed-up-the-mideast/)."]
“With regard to the loan of ten helicopters, it is [our] understanding that Bud will take this up with the Israelis,” wrote North and Sapia-Bosch. “There are expectations that they would be forthcoming. Another possibility is to have an exercise with the Guatemalans. We would then use US mechanics and Guatemalan parts to bring their helicopters up to snuff.”
Hunting Children
What it meant to provide these upgrades to the Guatemalan killing machine was clarified during the trial of Rios Montt with much of the testimony coming from survivors who, as children, escaped to mountain forests as their families and other Mayan villagers were butchered.
As the New York Times reported (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/15/world/americas/in-rios-montt-trial-guatemalans-give-account-of-suffering.html?ref=guatemala&_r=0), “Pedro Chávez Brito told the court that he was only six or seven years old when soldiers killed his mother. He hid in the chicken coop with his older sister, her newborn and his younger brother, but soldiers found them and dragged them out, forcing them back into their house and setting it on fire.
“Mr. Chávez says he was the only one to escape. ‘I got under a tree trunk and I was like an animal,’ Mr. Chávez told the court. ‘After eight days I went to live in the mountains. In the mountain we ate only roots and grass.’”
The Times reported that “prosecution witnesses said the military considered Ixil civilians, including children, as legitimate targets. … Jacinto Lupamac Gómez said he was eight when soldiers killed his parents and older siblings and hustled him and his two younger brothers into a helicopter. Like some of the children whose lives were spared, they were adopted by Spanish-speaking families and forgot how to speak Ixil.”
Elena de Paz Santiago, now 42, “testified that she was 12 when she and her mother were taken by soldiers to an army base and raped. The soldiers let her go, but she never saw her mother again,” the Times reported.
Even by Guatemalan standards, Rios Montt’s vengeful Christian fundamentalism had hurtled out of control. On Aug. 8, 1983, another coup overthrew Rios Montt and brought Gen. Oscar Mejia Victores to power.
Despite the power shift, Guatemalan security forces continued to murder with impunity, finally going so far that even the U.S. Embassy objected. When three Guatemalans working for the U.S. Agency for International Development were slain in November 1983, U.S. Ambassador Frederic Chapin suspected that “Archivos” hit squads were sending a message to the United States to back off even mild pressure for human rights.
In late November, in a brief show of displeasure, the administration postponed the sale of $2 million in helicopter spare parts. The next month, however, Reagan sent the spare parts anyway. In 1984, Reagan succeeded, too, in pressuring Congress to approve $300,000 in military training for the Guatemalan army.
By mid-1984, Chapin, who had grown bitter about the army’s stubborn brutality, was gone, replaced by a far-right political appointee named Alberto Piedra, who favored increased military assistance to Guatemala. In January 1985, Americas Watch issued a report observing that Reagan’s State Department “is apparently more concerned with improving Guatemala’s image than in improving its human rights.”
Reagan’s Dark Side
Despite his outwardly congenial style, Reagan – as revealed in the documentary record – was a cold and ruthless anticommunist who endorsed whatever “death squad” strategies were deployed against leftists in Central America. As Walters’s “Talking Points” demonstrate, Reagan and his team accepted the idea of liquidating not only armed guerrillas but civilians who were judged sympathetic to left-wing causes – people who were deemed part of the guerrillas’ “civilian support mechanisms.”
Across Central America in the 1980s, the death toll was staggering — an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the Contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political “disappearances” in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during the resurgence of political violence in Guatemala. The one consistent element in these slaughters was the overarching Cold War rationalization emanating from Ronald Reagan’s White House.
It was not until 1999, a decade after Ronald Reagan left office, that the shocking scope of the atrocities in Guatemala was comprehensively detailed by a truth commission that drew heavily on U.S. government documents declassified by President Bill Clinton. On Feb. 25, 1999, the Historical Clarification Commission estimated that the 34-year civil war had claimed the lives of some 200,000 people with the most savage bloodletting occurring in the 1980s. The panel estimated that the army was responsible for 93 percent of the killings and leftist guerrillas for three percent. Four percent were listed as unresolved.
The report documented that in the 1980s, the army committed 626 massacres against Mayan villages. “The massacres that eliminated entire Mayan villages … are neither perfidious allegations nor figments of the imagination, but an authentic chapter in Guatemala’s history,” the commission concluded. The army “completely exterminated Mayan communities, destroyed their livestock and crops,” the report said. In the northern highlands, the report termed the slaughter “genocide.” [Washington Post, Feb. 26, 1999]
Besides carrying out murder and “disappearances,” the army routinely engaged in torture and rape. “The rape of women, during torture or before being murdered, was a common practice” by the military and paramilitary forces, the report found. The report added that the “government of the United States, through various agencies including the CIA, provided direct and indirect support for some [of these] state operations.” The report concluded that the U.S. government also gave money and training to a Guatemalan military that committed “acts of genocide” against the Mayans. [NYT, Feb. 26, 1999]
During a visit to Central America, on March 10, 1999, President Clinton apologized for the past U.S. support of right-wing regimes in Guatemala dating back to 1954. “For the United States, it is important that I state clearly that support for military forces and intelligence units which engaged in violence and widespread repression was wrong, and the United States must not repeat that mistake,” Clinton said.
Despite the damning documentary evidence and now the shocking judgment of genocide against Rios Montt, there has been no interest in Washington to hold any U.S. official accountable, not even a thought that the cornucopia of honors bestowed on Ronald Reagan should cease or be rescinded.
It remains unlikely that the genocide conviction of Rios Montt will change the warm and fuzzy glow that surrounds Ronald Reagan in the eyes of many Americans. The story of the Guatemalan butchery and the Reagan administration’s complicity has long since been relegated to the great American memory hole.
But Americans of conscience will have to reconcile what it means when a country sees nothing wrong in honoring a man who made genocide happen.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1868/t/12126/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=1037) or as an e-book (from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Stolen-Narrative-Washington-ebook/dp/B009RXXOIG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350755575&sr=8-1&keywords=americas+stolen+narrative) and barnesandnoble.com (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/americas-stolen-narrative?keyword=americas+stolen+narrative&store=ebook&iehack=%E2%98%A0)).
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34910.htm

Peter Lemkin
05-13-2013, 03:37 AM
Great article and point by Parry, but reports such as: "One CIA report in February 1982 described an army sweep through the so-called Ixil Triangle in central El Quiche province. “The commanding officers of the units involved have been instructed to destroy all towns and villages which are cooperating with the Guerrilla Army of the Poor [the EGP] and eliminate all sources of resistance,” the report said. “Since the operation began, several villages have been burned to the ground, and a large number of guerrillas and collaborators have been killed.” were routine in Vietnam describing American forces alone - and many, many other places we have operated before and since. America was one of the very last nations to sign the Convention on Genocide Treaty at the United Nations - I know - my uncle Raphael Lemkin wrote it, and my father and he [and a small troop of others] spent many years and much energy talking to Senators and others, trying to get it passed by the Congress. Of all the major nations we were the last to sign and almost the last nation of any description of size/stature. I can name a number of other Presidents, Advisers, Cabinet Members, Congresspersons, and tons of Officers up to top US Generals who deserve their own little 'Nuremberg Trials'......not just Ray-Gun, but, yes, him too.

Peter Lemkin
05-19-2013, 04:33 AM
Trial on Guatemalan Civil War Carnage Leaves Out U.S. Role http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/05/17/world/guatemala/guatemala-articleLarge.jpgAssociated Press
Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, center, announcing the formation of a junta in 1982.

By ELISABETH MALKINPublished: May 16, 2013 A photo of General Ríos Montt with President Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s, displayed in the general’s living room in 2003.

Mr. Clinton’s apology (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=57227) was an admission that the Guatemalan military had not acted alone. American support for Guatemalan security forces that had engaged in “violent and widespread repression,” the president said, “was wrong.”
But that long history of United States support for Guatemala’s military, which began with a coup engineered by the Central Intelligence Agency (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in 1954, went unacknowledged during the genocide trial and conviction of the man most closely identified with the war’s brutality, the former dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt.
During a month of testimony before the three-judge panel that found General Ríos Montt guilty (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/world/americas/gen-efrain-rios-montt-of-guatemala-guilty-of-genocide.html) last Friday, the prosecution never raised the issue of American military backing in the army’s war against leftist guerrillas. The 86-year-old former dictator barely mentioned the United States when he argued in his own defense that he had no operational command over the troops that massacred and terrorized the Maya-Ixil population during his rule in 1982 and 1983.
“This was a trial about Guatemala, about the structure of the country, about racism,” said Kate Doyle, a Guatemala expert at the National Security Archive in Washington, an independent research organization that seeks the release of classified government documents.
Adrián Zapata, a former guerrilla who is now a professor of social sciences at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, said that to prove a genocide charge, “it was not pertinent to point out the international context or the external actors.”
But Washington’s cold war alliance with General Ríos Montt three decades ago was not forgotten in the giant vaulted courtroom, where the current American ambassador, Arnold A. Chacon, sat as a spectator in a show of support for the trial.
“Part of the burden of that historical responsibility was that the United States tried to use Guatemala as a bulwark against Communism,” Ms. Doyle said. “The U.S. played a very powerful and direct role in the life of this institution, the army, that went on to commit genocide.”
Back in 1983, Elliott Abrams, the assistant secretary of state for human rights under President Ronald Reagan, once suggested that General Ríos Montt’s rule had “brought considerable progress” on human rights.
Mr. Abrams was defending the Reagan administration’s request to lift a five-year embargo on military aid to Guatemala. Brushing off concern from human rights groups about the rising scale of the massacres in Mayan villages, Mr. Abrams declared that “the amount of killing of innocent civilians is being reduced step by step.”
Speaking on “The MacNeil-Lehrer Report,” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4MHKbuALbA) he argued, “We think that kind of progress needs to be rewarded and encouraged.”
After the 1954 coup deposed the reformist President Jacobo Arbenz, the United States supported a series of military dictators, particularly after the victory of the Cuban revolution in 1959.
But an emphasis on human rights by President Jimmy Carter (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/jimmy_carter/index.html?inline=nyt-per)’s administration led to the cutoff of military aid in 1977. Even though after 1981 the Reagan administration became intensely involved in supporting El Salvador’s government against leftist guerrillas, and contra rebels against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua, the Guatemalan government was so brutal that Washington kept it at arm’s length for a time.
When General Ríos Montt was installed in a coup in March 1982, Reagan administration officials were eager to embrace him as an ally. Embassy officials trekked up to the scene of massacres and reported back the army’s line that the guerrillas were doing the killing, according to documents uncovered by Ms. Doyle.
Over the next two years, about $15 million in spare parts and vehicles from the United States reached the Guatemalan military, said Prof. Michael E. Allison, a political scientist at the University of Scranton who studies Central America. More aid came from American allies like Israel, Taiwan, Argentina and Chile. In the 1990s, the American government revealed that the C.I.A. had been paying top military officers throughout the period.
“It was like a monster that we created over which we had little leverage,” Professor Allison said.
During a hearing on reparations for the Ixil on Monday, the tribunal that convicted General Ríos Montt ordered the Guatemalan government to apologize in the main Ixil communities. President Otto Pérez Molina, a former general who served in the region but denies any role in atrocities, said he was willing to make the apologies.
Meanwhile, Guatemala’s highest court has postponed rulings on a dozen procedural challenges from the defense that some experts say could ultimately annul the trial. The country’s conservative leaders, represented by a business association known as Cacif, called on the constitutional court to “amend the anomalies” in the trial and complained that the world now viewed all Guatemalans as similar to Nazis.
For some in Guatemala, the virtual invisibility of the American role in the trial was disturbing.
“Who trained them?” asked Raquel Zelaya, a former peace negotiator for the government who now runs a research institute, referring to American support for the military. The trial seemed to be removed from all historical context, she said.

Magda Hassan
05-19-2013, 05:27 AM
Mr. Clinton’s apology (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=57227) was an admission that the Guatemalan military had not acted alone.
But that long history of United States support for Guatemala’s military, which began with a coup engineered by the Central Intelligence Agency (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/c/central_intelligence_agency/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in 1954, went unacknowledged during the genocide trial and conviction of the man most closely identified with the war’s brutality, the former dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt.
It always goes unacknowledged like so many thing the US has had a hand in.


Back in 1983, Elliott Abrams, the assistant secretary of state for human rights under President Ronald Reagan, once suggested that General Ríos Montt’s rule had “brought considerable progress” on human rights.
With human rights advocates like Abrams who needs death squads?

Elliott Abrams from Source Watch (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Elliott_Abrams):
Abrams was heavily involved in the Iran-Contra scandal (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Iran-Contra_scandal). In 1991, Abrams was indicted by the Iran-Contra (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Iran-Contra) special prosecutor for giving false testimony before Congress in 1987 about his role in illicitly raising money for the Nicaraguan Contras. He pleaded guilty to two lesser offenses of withholding information to Congress in order to avoid a trial and a possible jail term.
And more here (http://original.antiwar.com/hacohen/2011/09/15/was-elliott-abrams-hitlers-senior-advisor/) and here (http://thinkprogress.org/report/the-architects-where-are-they-now/).



More aid came from American allies like Israel, Taiwan, Argentina and Chile.
The usual suspects.


In the 1990s, the American government revealed that the C.I.A. had been paying top military officers throughout the period.
They pay most of the top military people and also other key people in government and institutions in many countries not just in Guatemala. They are not working for the people of their country, which ever one it might be, they are working for US interests. And if they don't or if they start to work for their own people's interests they are removed, some times with extreme prejudice as they say, so that some one more complaint can carry out US policy.



The trial seemed to be removed from all historical context, she said.
Indeed. A one off unique event unrelated to any thing else...not.

Jan Klimkowski
05-19-2013, 11:05 AM
Magda - precisely.

The lying and doublethink continues.

More examples of Big Lies and Big Cop Outs:


“Part of the burden of that historical responsibility was that the United States tried to use Guatemala as a bulwark against Communism,” Ms. Doyle said. “The U.S. played a very powerful and direct role in the life of this institution, the army, that went on to commit genocide.”

The "bulwark against Communism" Big Lie.

This policy was about protecting and furthering an economic model based on exploitation of the ordinary people and the natural resources of central and south America to make massive profits for foreign, primarily US, corporations.

What could be called The United Fruit Company Agenda.


Over the next two years, about $15 million in spare parts and vehicles from the United States reached the Guatemalan military, said Prof. Michael E. Allison, a political scientist at the University of Scranton who studies Central America. More aid came from American allies like Israel, Taiwan, Argentina and Chile. In the 1990s, the American government revealed that the C.I.A. had been paying top military officers throughout the period.
“It was like a monster that we created over which we had little leverage,” Professor Allison said.



"We can't control these people" Big Cop Out.

First, They deny crimes against humanity.

When proof emerges, They deny involvement.

When evidence establishes that crimes against humanity were committed by monsters trained, funded and armed by the US, They deny responsibiliity and control.

And MSM holds each of these lines for as long as it can, until complicity is proven and it's time for the Chant of the War Criminals to fill the airwaves signalling the end of the discussion.

The slimy, noxious, weaseling Chorus of the War Criminals:

WE MOVE ON.

Keith Millea
05-21-2013, 05:10 PM
Published on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org)

Court Overturns Genocide Conviction for Guatemalan Dictator

General Efrain Rios Montt wins appeal as nation's high court orders retrial for man guilty of massacres during civil war

- Common Dreams staff

Former leader of Guatemala, General Efrain Rios Montt, who was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity earlier this month has won a legal appeal in the nation's high court and a new trial has been ordered.


http://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imagecache/headline_image/article_images/montt.jpg Jose Efrain Rios Montt wears headphones as he listens to the verdict in his genocide trial in Guatemala City (AP/Luis Soto)

The ruling comes less than two weeks after Montt's conviction by a criminal tribunal which declared that Montt was responsible for the massacre of nearly 2,000 Ixil Mayans during the civil war that gripped the nation in the 1980s.


The decision will be seen as a setback for human rights advocates who welcomed Montt's conviction, though it remains unclear if new proceedings are likely to change the ultimate verdict in the case.


From (http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-guatemala-dictator-rios-montt-retrial-20130520,0,4159350.story) the Los Angeles Times:
The Constitutional Court said the landmark trial of Rios Montt should have been halted and rewound to an earlier date because of a jurisdictional dispute, Guatemala’s Prensa Libre reported on its website. The ruling suggested that Rios Montt would be retried or that parts of the trial, which contained graphic and chilling testimony from victims, would be redone.

A three-judge panel convicted Rios Montt, 86, on May 10 of genocide in the slaughter of more than 1,700 Ixil Maya in the early 1980s, some of the bloodiest years of Guatemala’s long civil war and the period during which he served as de facto president of the country.


Rios Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison, but that sentence was vacated in the Monday ruling. The conviction had represented a rare prosecution of a former leader on human rights atrocities by a court of his own nation.

Peter Lemkin
05-21-2013, 05:43 PM
Published on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org)

Court Overturns Genocide Conviction for Guatemalan Dictator

General Efrain Rios Montt wins appeal as nation's high court orders retrial for man guilty of massacres during civil war

- Common Dreams staff

Former leader of Guatemala, General Efrain Rios Montt, who was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity earlier this month has won a legal appeal in the nation's high court and a new trial has been ordered.


http://www.commondreams.org/sites/commondreams.org/files/imagecache/headline_image/article_images/montt.jpg Jose Efrain Rios Montt wears headphones as he listens to the verdict in his genocide trial in Guatemala City (AP/Luis Soto)

The ruling comes less than two weeks after Montt's conviction by a criminal tribunal which declared that Montt was responsible for the massacre of nearly 2,000 Ixil Mayans during the civil war that gripped the nation in the 1980s.


The decision will be seen as a setback for human rights advocates who welcomed Montt's conviction, though it remains unclear if new proceedings are likely to change the ultimate verdict in the case.


From (http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-guatemala-dictator-rios-montt-retrial-20130520,0,4159350.story) the Los Angeles Times:
The Constitutional Court said the landmark trial of Rios Montt should have been halted and rewound to an earlier date because of a jurisdictional dispute, Guatemala’s Prensa Libre reported on its website. The ruling suggested that Rios Montt would be retried or that parts of the trial, which contained graphic and chilling testimony from victims, would be redone.

A three-judge panel convicted Rios Montt, 86, on May 10 of genocide in the slaughter of more than 1,700 Ixil Maya in the early 1980s, some of the bloodiest years of Guatemala’s long civil war and the period during which he served as de facto president of the country.


Rios Montt was sentenced to 80 years in prison, but that sentence was vacated in the Monday ruling. The conviction had represented a rare prosecution of a former leader on human rights atrocities by a court of his own nation.




Apparently, pressure came from the Guatemalan Business Council [not its Spanish name] of the wealthy businessmen. I wonder what role the USA played in pressuring the Court, as well...as eventually people were starting [as this thread does] seeing that Montt was Washington's man.

Magda Hassan
05-21-2013, 09:58 PM
Published on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 by Common Dreams (http://www.commondreams.org)

Court Overturns Genocide Conviction for Guatemalan Dictator

General Efrain Rios Montt wins appeal as nation's high court orders retrial for man guilty of massacres during civil war

- Common Dreams staff

Former leader of Guatemala, General Efrain Rios Montt, who was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity earlier this month has won a legal appeal in the nation's high court and a new trial has been ordered.


I hope this too can be appealed. Clearly the evidence is overwhelming.

Magda Hassan
05-24-2013, 12:10 AM
Israel’s Hand in Guatemala’s Genocide May 23, 2013

Exclusive: The Guatemalan genocide of the 1980s does not just implicate President Ronald Reagan and his senior aides but the Israeli government which secretly supplied helicopters, guns and computers that were used to hunt down and exterminate Ixil Indians and other perceived enemies of the state, reports Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
At the height of Guatemala’s mass slaughters in the 1980s, including genocide against the Ixil Indians, the Reagan administration worked with Israeli officials to provide helicopters that the Guatemalan army used to hunt down fleeing villagers, according to documentary and eyewitness evidence.
During testimony at the recent genocide trial of former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt, one surprise was how often massacre survivors cited the Army’s use of helicopters in the scorched-earth offensives.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (Photo credit: Jim Wallace of the Smithsonian Institution)

Journalist Allan Nairn, who covered the war in Guatemala and attended the Rios Montt trial, said in an interview (http://consortiumnews.com/2013/05/20/justice-at-a-guatemalan-crossroads/), “one interesting thing that came out in the trial, as witness after witness testified, was a very substantial number of them talked about fleeing into the mountains and being bombed, attacked and machine gunned from U.S. planes and helicopters.
“At the time this was going on, I was aware this was happening in some cases, but from the testimony of the witnesses, it sounded like these attacks from U.S. planes and helicopters were more frequent than we realized at the time. That’s an example of how we don’t know the whole story yet – how extensive the U.S. complicity was in these crimes.”
Part of the mystery was where did Guatemala’s UH-1H “Huey” helicopters come from, since the U.S. Congress continued to resist military sales to Guatemala because of its wretched human rights record. The answer appears to be that some helicopters were arranged secretly by President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff through Israeli intelligence networks.
Rios Montt began pressing the United States for 10 UH-1H helicopters in June 1983, as his military campaign was ramping up. Since Guatemala lacked the U.S. Foreign Military Sales credits or the cash to buy the helicopters, Reagan’s national security team looked for unconventional ways to arrange the delivery of the equipment.
On Aug. 1, 1983, NSC aides Oliver North and Alfonso Sapia-Bosch reported (http://consortiumnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/north-guat-israel1.pdf) to National Security Advisor William P. Clark that his deputy Robert “Bud” McFarlane was planning to exploit his Israeli channels to secure the helicopters for Guatemala, according to a document that I discovered at Reagan’s presidential library.
“With regard to the loan of ten helicopters, it is [our] understanding that Bud will take this up with the Israelis,” wrote North and Sapia-Bosch. “There are expectations that they would be forthcoming. Another possibility is to have an exercise with the Guatemalans. We would then use US mechanics and Guatemalan parts to bring their helicopters up to snuff.”
By then, McFarlane had a long and intimate relationship with Israeli intelligence involving various backdoor deals. [For more on McFarlane's Israeli channels, see Consortiumnews.com's "How Neocons Messed Up the Mideast (http://consortiumnews.com/2013/02/15/how-neocons-messed-up-the-mideast/)."]
Israeli Channel
McFarlane’s approach to Israel for the helicopters was successful, according to former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe, who described some of the history behind Israel’s activities in Guatemala in his 1992 memoir, Profits of War.
Ben-Menashe traced the Israeli arms sales to Guatemala back to a private network established in the 1970s by Gen. Ariel Sharon during a gap when he was out of the government. Sharon’s key representative in Guatemala was a businessman named Pesach Ben-Or, and through that channel, Israel supplied military gear to Guatemala’s security services in the 1980s, Ben-Menashe wrote.
In an interview on Thursday, Ben-Menashe said the Israelis supplied a total of six helicopters to the Guatemalans along with computers and software to keep track of alleged subversives who could then be identified and executed. Ben-Menashe said he learned of the mass slaughters during his travels to Guatemala and reported back to his Israeli superiors about the atrocities involving the equipment that they had authorized. The response, he said, was concern but inaction.
“They weren’t for killing these people, not at all,” Ben-Menashe said. “But they thought their interest was to help the Reagan people. If the Reagan people wanted it [the equipment sent to Guatemala], they would do it. [They thought,] ‘this is bad, but is it any of our business? Our American friends are asking for our help, so we should help them.’”
After our phone interview had ended, Ben-Menashe called me back to stress that the Israelis were unaware of the genocidal nature of the Guatemalan military campaigns against the Ixil Indians, although the Israelis did recognize that they were assisting in mass murders of dark-skinned Guatemalans.
“As we saw it, they [Guatemalan military authorities] were targeting all non-white villagers who were sitting on fertile lands that the white Guatemalans wanted,” he said, adding that when he reported this information to his superiors, “the Israelis rolled their eyes but said, ‘this is what our friends in the Reagan administration want.’” [For more on Ben-Menashe's work for Israeli intelligence, see Robert Parry's [I]Secrecy & Privilege (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1868/t/12126/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=1037) and America's Stolen Narrative (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1868/t/12126/shop/shop.jsp?storefront_KEY=1037).]
Besides the helicopters for hunting down villagers who fled into the jungles, the computer equipment and the sophisticated software made the Guatemalan killing machine vastly more efficient in the towns and cities. A former U.S. Green Beret operating in Guatemala once told me that he witnessed Guatemalan security forces stopping buses and inputting identification numbers of the passengers into a computer to select those who would be dragged off to the side of the road and summarily shot.
Death Lists
From first-hand reporting in Guatemala, journalist Nairn also observed the security advantages gained from detailed death lists. Nairn said soldiers under Gen. Otto Perez Molina, the current president, “described how they would go into town armed with death lists provided them by G2 military intelligence, death lists of people who were suspected of being collaborators of the guerrillas or critics of the army.
“They told how they would strangle people with lassos, slit women open with machetes, shoot people in the head in front of the neighbors, use U.S. planes, helicopters and 50 gram bombs to attack people if they fled into the hills.”
Nairn said, “The U.S. had also arranged for Israel to step in and become the principal supplier of hardware to the Guatemalan army, in particular assault rifles, the Galil automatic rifle. This was because the administration was running into problems with Congress, which wouldn’t go along with a lot of their plans to aid the Guatemalan military, so they did an end run by using the government of Israel.”
Though the focus of the case against Rios Montt has been the genocide inflicted on Ixil villages in the northern highlands – where some 626 villages were eradicated by the Guatemalan military – those massacres were only part of the estimated 200,000 killings perpetrated by right-wing Guatemalan regimes since a CIA-sponsored coup ousted an elected government in 1954.
The bloodbath was at its worst in the 1980s during Ronald Reagan’s presidency as he encouraged the anti-leftist slaughters that claimed the lives of some 100,000 Guatemalans. Reagan expanded his support for the Guatemalan security forces even though the CIA was keeping his administration informed of the systematic killings underway.
Another document that I discovered in the archives of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, revealed that Reagan and his national security team in 1981 agreed to supply military aid to Guatemala’s dictators so they could pursue the goal of exterminating not only “Marxist guerrillas” but people associated with their “civilian support mechanisms.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ronald Reagan: Accessory to Genocide (http://consortiumnews.com/2013/05/11/ronaldreagan-accessory-to-genocide/).”]
As for Rios Montt, who ruled Guatemala for 17 especially bloody months in 1982-83, the 86-year-old ex-general was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity by a criminal court on May 10 and was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
But that conviction was overturned on Monday on a 3-2 vote by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court which is still dominated by allies of the military and the oligarchy. As for the Reagan administration officials and the Israelis who aided and abetted Rios Montt and his fellow generals, there is no indication that any accountability will be exacted.
http://consortiumnews.com/2013/05/23/israels-hand-in-guatemalas-genocide/