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Tag: genocide

Declassified US State Dept Docs, US Knew of Abuses by Guatemalan Leaders it Supported

The U.S. government knew that top Guatemalan officials it supported with arms and cash were behind the disappearance of thousands of people during a 36-year civil war, declassified documents obtained by a U.S. research institute show.

The National Security Archive, a Washington D.C.-based institute that requests and publishes declassified government documents, obtained diplomatic and intelligence reports from the U.S. State Department under the Freedom of Information Act and posted them on its Web site on Wednesday.

“Government security services have employed assassination to eliminate persons suspected of involvement with the guerrillas or who are otherwise left-wing in orientation,” one 1984 State Department report said.

State Department spokesman Fred Lash said he was unaware of the declassified documents and could not immediately comment.

Guatemala’s U.S.-backed army battled leftist guerrillas in a 1960-1996 civil war that left more than 200,000 people dead or missing. Most were Mayan Indians.

“The government is obviously rounding up people connected with the extreme left-wing labor movement for interrogation,” then-U.S. Ambassador Frederic Chapin said in a 1984 cable.

Chapin also said he was optimistic that missing union activist Fernando Garcia was alive and would be released. But Garcia has never been found, and two police officers were arrested in his case last week based on information found in Guatemalan police documents discovered in 2005.

The U.S. and local police files show that disappearances and executions were part of a deliberate strategy to crush leftist rebels, said Jesse Franzblau, a researcher at the Archive.

Note: The link to the National Security Archive posted on the AP story above is incorrect. The correct link is below. Just go to the GWU archive and start digging. You’ll be shocked.

Read more at the George Washington University National Security Archive

Iran Shows its True Colors

There has not been much news coverage of the plight of the Baha’is in Iran but it did get some coverage in a recent New York Times blog.

The leaders of Iran like to portray themselves as the right people to lead Iran into the future. A future of what? Gestapo-like oppression? Wars? Kangaroo courts convicting people of phony crimes against the state and sentencing them to death? Is that the future that the leaders of Iran want for their country? Is that what the Iranian people want from their leaders?

The leaders of Iran like to badmouth the U.S., and while the behavior of the U.S. has been less than exemplary for quite a few years, the Iranian government is really showing us what they are about and what sort of people they really are by their oppression of a peaceful religious group called the Baha’i.

What’s next? Concentration camps?

Why is the West putting up with this? Is it because the West desperately needs Iran’s oil? Well now with the worldwide economic crisis, the demand for oil has dropped steeply. Oil reserves and storage facilities in the United States are completely full and brimming over, and this condition is predicted to last for at least a couple of years and more likely longer. It’s my opinion that now would be a good time for the West to put its foot down because, for the time being, Iran has lost its only bargaining chip: oil. We don’t need it so we don’t have to put up with the Iranian regime’s behavior. Do we?

Read the NY Times blog entry here.

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