US Still Training Honduran Military Against Own Stated Policy

Clearly the imperial establishment are happy with the coup and how sincere the Whitehouse is… well imagine a politician lying, who’d a thunk it? Or the establishment are fighting a Whitehouse they see as no longer ‘theirs’ (a non-white corporate centrist, why not just hand over Washington to Castro!!!!).

Lee Rials (for it is he) in an article by James Hodge & Linda Cooper (National Catholic Reporter) in Presente!

A controversial facility at Ft. Benning, Ga. —formerly known as the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas — is still training Honduran officers despite claims by the Obama administration that it cut military ties to Honduras after its president was overthrown June 28, NCR has learned.

A day after an SOA-trained army general ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya at gunpoint, President Barack Obama stated that “the coup was not legal” and that Zelaya remained “the democratically elected president.”

The Foreign Operations Appropriations Act requires that U.S. military aid and training be suspended when a country undergoes a military coup, and the Obama administration has indicated those steps have been taken.

However, Lee Rials, public affairs officer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the successor of SOA, confirmed Monday that Honduran officers are still being trained at the school.

“Yes, they’re in class now.” Rials said

Asked about the Obama administration’s suspension of aid and training to Honduras, Rials said, “Well, all I know is they’re here, and they’re in class.”

The decision to continue training the Hondurans is “purely government policy,” he said, adding that it’s possible that other U.S. military schools are training them too. “We’re not the only place.”

Rials did not know exactly how many Hondurans were currently enrolled, but he said at least two officers are currently in the school’s Command and General Staff course, its premier year-long program.

The general who overthrew Zelaya — Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez — is a two-time graduate of SOA, which critics have nicknamed the “School of Coups” because it trained so many coup leaders, including two other Honduran graduates, General Juan Melgar Castro and General Policarpo Paz Garcia.

Vasquez is not the only SOA graduate linked to the current coup or employed by the de facto government. Others are:

  • Gen. Luis Javier Prince Suazo, the head of the Honduran air force, who arranged to have Zelaya flown into exile in Costa Rica;
  • Gen. Nelson Willy Mejia Mejia, the newly appointed director of immigration, who is not only an SOA graduate, but a former SOA instructor. One year after he was awarded the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal, he faced charges in connection with the infamous death squad, Battalion 3-16, for which he was an intelligence officer.
  • Col. Herberth Bayardo Inestroza Membreño, the Honduran army’s top lawyer who admitted that flying Zelaya into exile was a crime, telling the Miama Herald that ”In the moment that we took him out of the country, in the way that he was taken out, there is a crime,” but it will be justified.
  • Lt. Col. Ramiro Archaga Paz,the army’s director of public relations, who has denied harassment of protesters and maintained that the army is not involved in internal security.
  • Col. Jorge Rodas Gamero, a two-time SOA graduate, who is the minister of security, a post he also held in Zelaya’s government.

The Uniforms in Honduras

You can’t do better than Inca Kola News coverage [label Honduras] from which these stills are taken-

Oh and guess where the coup leader Gen. Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez went to school…Yep.

Latin America Solidarity Coalition- Petition Presidential Candidates To Commit To Closing SOA/WHINSEC

lascheader.jpg

Given the way the primaries have been going, we are currently having more leverage with the U.S. presidential candidates than at any other time. Let’s use it! Committing one or more of them to come out publicly for the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) is a realistic and attainable goal. Once the candidate is elected president, we can hold him or her accountable to follow through and to close the school by executive order.

The Latin America Solidarity Coalition (LASC) is circulating this petition to the Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. Urge them to take a public stand for the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) and to commit to close this notorious institution by executive order if they will be elected as the next President of the United States.

Sign the petition here

Text of petition below

Read the rest of this entry »

Dirty War Scumbag To Face Trial

Spain has agreed to extradite a former Argentine navy officer accused of torturing and killing thousands of dissidents during Argentina’s so-called Dirty War. Ricardo Miguel Cavallo was arrested in Mexico in 2000 and extradited to Spain in 2003 on genocide and terrorism charges.

Now then Cavallo, what a lovely man he is, let’s count the ways-

The former naval officer was known as “Serpico” (for his resemblance to Al Pacino) when he worked at the Navy Mechanics School–often called the “Argentine Auschwitz” or the “Harvard of Death” — where he was famous both for executing and teaching the art of torture.

According to the indictment issued by the Spanish Court, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, also known by the pseudonyms “Miguel Angel Cavallo,” “Serpico,” or “Marcelo,” was part of ESMA’s Task Group 3.3.2. The procedures used by ESMA Task Group 3.3.2 included, among others, kidnapping specific targets, torture, murder, disappearances, servitude, and selection of prisoners for “recovery,” a practice designed to recruit persons thought to have betrayed their former friends. These recruits were intended to form the base of a political party to launch Admiral Massera’s political ambitions. Cavallo served in the intelligence sector of ESMA from 1976 until early 1979, when he became responsible for kidnapped people who were in the process of “recovery.” According to the indictment and survivors, Cavallo was a “Capitan de Corbeta,” a relatively high-ranking position in ESMA, ultimately under Massera’s command. Cavallo, in addition to committing torture himself, made operational decisions such as identifying targets for torture. He also contributed to the decisions of his superiors regarding the final disposition of the victims.

According to Judge Garzón, Ricardo Miguel Cavallo is accused of having participated in 227 kidnappings and acts of torture concerning 110 people, as well as in the kidnapping of 16 babies who had been removed from their mothers who were in prison. The Judge’s investigation also mentions the cases of 248 individuals who had been arrested, detained and finally freed.

Now then about that Al Pacino thing:-

20030630elpepipor_1.jpg47ba16ec9cdd3.jpg

Um, not seeing it myself, maybe when he was younger he was not such a pasty, pig-eyed, sack of -torturing- shit. And in case you forget let Chalmers Johnson remind you of US involvement and support of the torture regimes.

It is said that dead men tell no tales, but in Latin America they are speaking with exceptional clarity– revealing the sordid details of U.S. Cold War foreign policy toward the area. In 1992, in AsunciÑn, Paraguay, a survivor of the regime of former dictator Gen. Alfredo Stroessner stumbled on five tons of reports and photographs left over from Operation Condor. This was the cooperative effort from 1975 on among military and police officials of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia to identify, torture, and kill as many representatives of workers and advocates of democracy as they could find.

The “methods” that the CIA contends are too delicate to reveal to the American public are its routine practice of turning over the names of people it wants executed to military and police authorities that it has trained and helped put in power. It can then pretend that it had nothing to do with their subsequent deaths, even expressing shock and disappointment at the excesses of its former pupils. This was the pattern of American operations in Indonesia from Gen. Suharto’s rise to power in 1965 to the American refusal in the autumn of 1999 to get involved in rescuing the victims of Indonesian army terror in East Timor.34 The CIA employed these same methods in bringing Pinochet to power and in its relations with Operation Condor.

Nulabour’s Union Murdering Allies

“It is bad enough that the UK is aiding Colombian military units that violate human rights, but for a British minister to be photographed posing with the very unit that has tortured and assassinated trade unionists is shameful.”

kimhowells460x276.jpg

Surrounding the smiling face of the Foreign Office minister Kim Howells in a picture taken in the Colombian region of Sumapaz are a general linked to paramilitary death squads and soldiers of a notorious unit of the Colombian army accused, including by Amnesty International, of torturing and killing trade unionists.

The photograph, taken in a military base and posted on the Foreign Office website, was yesterday greeted with outrage by Labour parliamentarians and trade union leaders. Howells is pictured with the High Mountain Brigades, a unit held responsible for the killing of trade union activists, peasants and anti-narcotics police during the past three years.

Behind him stand the Colombian defence minister, Juan Santos, and General Mario Montoya, head of the Colombian army, reports of whose collaboration with paramilitary death squads and drug traffickers and links with disappearances and killings – including leaked CIA reports – were cited last year by US congressional leaders as part of the reason for the suspension of tens of millions of dollars of US military aid to the south American regime. The Colombian government denies the accusations.

Of course this is not new for nulabour, hey there ‘Sir’ Mark Malloch-Brown.

PS. As Korova reminds me, General Mario Montoya is a SOA/WHINSEC  alumnus. It’s a small world.

Prisoners Of Empire

  • Joan Anderson, 65, Casper, WY – 30 days and a $500 fine
  • Ozone Bhaguan, 33, Duluth, MN – 90 days and no fine
  • Le Anne Clausen, 29, Chicago, IL. – 30 days and no fine
  • Art Landis, 74, Perkasie, PA – 30 days and no fine
  • Ed Lewinson, 78, Newark NJ – 90 days and a $500 fine
  • Chris Lieberman, 54, Albuquerque, NM – 60 days and no fine
  • Diane Lopez Hughes, 58, Springfield, IL – 45 days and a $500 fine
  • Tiel Rainelli, 25, Canton, OH. – 90 days and a $500 fine
  • Gus Roddy, 45, Chicago, IL – 30 days and a $500 fine
  • Stephen Schweitzer, 45, Binghamtom, NY – 60 days and a $500 fine
  • Michelle Yipé, 45, of Argonia, KS – 30 days and a $500 fine

The Eleven courageous souls that willingly put their freedom and bodies at risk to stand in witness against the SOA/WHINSEC during the November 2007 Vigil have been sentenced to federal prison on charges of “trespassing on a military base”.

The trial, which began at 9:00 AM this morning in Columbus, Georgia, took place in a courthouse located just a few miles from Fort Benning, the current site of the SOA/WHINSEC. An institute known around the world for its ties to brutal dictatorships and human rights abuses, which continues to operate, unchallenged by our government but not by the people.

Take action to close SOA/WHINSEC: Legislative Action Index

War On Democracy: SOA Involved In False Flag Attacks In Colombian ’06 Elections

From SOA watch-

A director of Colombian military intelligence and another officer implicated in a series of false attacks and a bombing that killed a civilian and injured 19 soldiers in Bogotá in 2006, attended the US Army School of the Americas, an examination of records shows.

The Colombian Public Ministry is investigating Colonel Horacio Arbelaez, former director of the Army’s Joint Intelligence Center; Major Javier Efrén Hermida Benavides; and Captain Luis Eduardo Barrero for orchestrating placement of bombs in a Bogota shopping mall and other sites in July 2006, on the eve of President Uribe’s inauguration for his second term. At the time of the bombing and false attacks, they were attributed to guerrillas of the FARC. In most cases, the bombs were not detonated, but were denounced by the accused officers and deactivated to demonstrate the FARC threat and show military intelligence was doing its work.

Hermida took two courses at the School of the Americas, including a three-month military intelligence intensive in 2000, while Arbelaez took an infantry course at the School in 1981. A statistical study by sociologist Katherine McCoy found that the more courses Latin American officers took at the School, the more likely they were to commit abuses. (Latin American Perspectives, 2005, http://lap.sagepub.com )

In addition, the Army Joint Intelligence Center that Arbelaez directed receives US aid, according to a State Department list of units vetted to receive assistance.

The officers reportedly collaborated with a FARC deserter on placing the bombs, according to tapes, videos and documents. Hermida, who claims his innocence, told a Colombian radio station that the operation at the shopping mall was carried out with knowledge of high military officials.

Hermida and Barrero also face criminal charges for the false attacks, five of which had been united into one case by the Prosecutor General’s office.

Arbelaez, who is now Colombia’s defense attaché in Israel, was previously head of intelligence for the Army’s 18th Brigade. That brigade, based in oil-rich Arauca state, has received extensive assistance and in-country training from US Special Forces.

Press reports identified Hermida and Barrero as belonging to the Army’s 13th Brigade part of which receives US assistance, as well as to a regional military intelligence center that also receives US aid.

I could try really, really hard and be surprised but…America training people to fake terror attacks to help the election of a right wing client leader, it’s all so Gladio darling! Not to mention all the labour organisers who keep turning up dead, the corporate backing of paramilitary terror gangs and the support from both main parties in America & Britain for Uribe’s terrorist regime (with some notable and brave exceptions).