Torture developments:

Ex-Bush admin official: Many at Gitmo are innocent

Judge: Abu Ghraib detainees can sue Va. contractor

And also, new developments in the historical record regarding Guatemala in the 1980s.

Recall that the Reagan administration engaged in multiple terrorist wars in central America in the 1980s. The program was to support — often with active US participation and involvement — murderous and repressive right-wing governments across the region. Perhaps the most notorious is Nicaragua, where the US fought against the democratically elected Sandinista government, both directly, and through the “Contras”, using terrorist methods; for this, the US government was condemned by the International Court of Justice. Similar stories in Uruguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Grenada, Panama, El Salvador, and more.

But also in Guatemala. In 1954, Guatemala was the CIA’s second great success (the first was overthrowing democracy in Iran) in the overthrow of the democratically-elected reformist Arbenz government. Policies of supporting brutal repressive governments continued into the 1990s. The Reagan administration, in its first two years, sent $13 million in military aid — and these were the overt shipments. Covertly, the CIA used Cuban exiles to train security forces in Guatemala, including training in assassination techniques. Green Berets trained the Guatemalan Army. Guatemalan officers were trained at the School of the Americas in Panama. In March 1982, General Rios Montt took power in a coup, and Reagan responded by increasing military aid. In Montt’s first 6 months in power, 2600 peasants were massacred; in his 17-month reign, 400 villages were wiped off the map. Reagan visited Montt in December 1982 and declared Montt was getting “a bad deal”. In 1988, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs reported Guatemala still has the worst human rights record in Latin America.

The recent revelation regards abductions of students and labor leaders in the mid-1980s. Newly declassified documents show the US embassy was well aware that the Guatemalan government was behind them. Note these appear to be official diplomatic cables. The CIA station would presumably have been much more actively involved: it was standard CIA practice to have at least liaisons, if not paid agents, within all national security forces.

Historical Archives Lead to Arrest of Police Officers in Guatemalan Disappearance
Declassified documents show U.S. Embassy knew that Guatemalan security forces were behind wave of abductions of students and labor leaders

Torture developments
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