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The CIA's Connection with Guatemalan Death Squads Not Newsworthy to Mainstream Media

It is tempting to blame the corruption of the mainstream press for all things that ail the U.S., including the Oklahoma City bombing. However, it is better to heed President Clinton's caution and clamor for responsible journalism in such a way that doesn't spread even more rancor in the public policy discussions.

Still, there is an enormous story out well within the Sun's faculty that they so far have punted on. This is Allan Nairn's readily available commentary in the Nation that the CIA's involvement in the deaths of Guatemalan guerrilla leader Efraín Bamaca Velasquez and the virtual beheading of a U.S. citizen, Michael DeVine is not uncommon; it is in fact, business as usual for this completely out of control intelligence agency.

Before the blast took it off the front page, the big story was Rep. Robert G. Torricelli (D-NJ)'s disclosure that a CIA-paid asset named Col. Julio Roberto Alpírez, a School of the Americas (SOA) graduate, saw to the deaths of DeVine and Velasquez. Newt Gingrich, a first class demagogue and Speaker of the House, threatened to remove Torricelli from his seat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence for whistle-blowing. And while the mainstream press was busy discussing whether Torricelli is a hero or villain for siding against murderers, Nairn was telling us in the Nation (April 17):

North American CIA operatives work inside a Guatemalan Army unit that maintains a network of torture centers and has killed thousands of Guatemalan civilians. The G-2, headquartered on the fourth floor of the Guatemalan National Palace, has, since the 1960s, been advised, trained, armed and equipped by U.S. undercover agents. Working out of the U.S. Embassy and living in safehouses and hotels, these agents work through an elite group of Guatemalan officers who are secretly paid by the CIA and who have been implicated personally in numerous political crimes and assassinations...These crimes are merely examples of a vast, systematic pattern; likewise, these men are only cogs in a large U.S. government apparatus.

The CIA has managed to keep its funding and avoid censure over the years by relying on its many allies in the mainstream press. In the April 24 Nation, Nairn describes how one U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala, Thomas Stroock, was credited by the New York Times in making the CIA a more democratic institution. In fact, Stroock was "actually the on-the-scene supervisor of a broad, multi-agency program of support for the Guatemalan military."

Nairn says that while Stroock was Ambassador in early 1990, Washington used its embassy to coordinate support for the Guatemalan Army in numerous ways:

§ Green Berets openly trained the Kaibil massacre force, the army's self-proclaimed "Messengers of Death."

§ Guatemalan officers made consultation and training trips to the Pentagon and U.S. military bases, where some (e.g., at the SOA) were used as instructors for other Latin American countries' troops.

§ The U.S. openly sold weapons to Guatemala with the support of Democrats in Congress, including 16,000 M-16s, some of which were used by the army in a December 1990 massacre in Santiago Atitlan.

So far the Sun has ignored Nairn's sensational reporting. In fact, they seemed quite sympathetic to CIA assassins in a hatchet piece on Torricelli from which we learned that Torricelli "is one of the least popular members of Congress" and "has a reputation for abrasiveness and for eclectic foreign policy views." Also, this "unlikely hero" "sides with liberals on Central American issues" and "is routinely attacked from both the right and the left (4/18)."

Remember, the CIA is a federal bureaucracy that is conducting programs of terror and murder at this very minute. Also, its roughly $6 billion budget (the exact amount is a secret) would pay for a lot of welfare and public housing that the mainstream press seems to think we can't afford to subsidize. The Sun's apparent picture of the state of the union, one of endless sunny skies and Camden Yards, seems to be escalating tension locally--and let us not too quickly dismiss the possibility that this can to another domestic terrorist car bomb.

Scott Loughrey


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