Who TRULY is John Dimitri Negroponte? Zack Krasuk
Written on: 14th of April, 2006
One of the most outspoken critics of Venezuelan President Chávez on human rights is John Dimitri Negroponte. At a first glance, this diplomat seems to be just another regular, official mouthpiece of the US Empire. However, after investigating this individual’s antecedents and not-so-distant past, one quickly understands that Negroponte is a criminal that hides his deeds through well-planned and fabricated lies.
Born in 1939, Negroponte was a diplomat for the Foreign US Service (1960-1997), ambassador for the US at the UN (2001-2004), ambassador of the US in Iraq (2004-2005) and today he is the director of the United States National Intelligence.1 From 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was ambassador of the US in Honduras. Amongst his “achievements” in the area of human rights throughout his career, the most prominent ones are:
1) From 1971 to 1973, Negroponte was the official in charge of the National Security Council (NSC) for the Vietnam section. At this time he received direct orders from another war criminal, Henry Kissinger. Negroponte worked for the US embassy in the now defunct South Vietnam. As we all know, during those years the US government waged a neo-colonial war against the people of Vietnam. The NSC worked hand in hand with the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA); the job of these “intelligence” organizations was completely linked one to the other and they collaborated in all of their main proyects. Curiously, when Negroponte entered as head of the CSN for the Vietnam section in 1971, the Phoenix Operation began to reach ever higher levels of brutality and bloodlust. Operation Phoenix was a CIA paramilitary proyect aimed at inflicting terror upon all suspected Vietnamese communist collaborators. Amongst other common tactics used in Operation Phoenix by the US-created paramilitaries was the slow death through dantesque tortures of would-be communist sympathizers, followed by dismemberment of the corpses and hanging what was left of the bodies in public places in order to maximize the horror effect upon anyone thinking about joining the anti-occupation resistance. At one given point, the CIA-trained paramilitary army in South Vietnam assassinated 1800 civilians a month. Information gathered from the pro-US South Vietnam government, it was estimated that over 40 thousand vietnamese civilians were killed overall by the CIA paramilitaries in Operation Phoenix alone. Note: there were many other such operations throughout the war. To the CIA, Vietnam was an experimentation camp where several operations involving diverse methods in torture, genocide and paramilitary warfare were carried out. This experience that Negroponte gained during his Vietnam years in using paramilitary armies to inflict terror upon a population, would later help him further on down the line in Central America as well as present-day Iraq and Colombia. 3, 5, 15
2) Negroponte supervised the creation and maintenance of 3000 hectare base named El Aguacate in Honduras, where CIA forces trained Contra terrorists during the decade of the 1980's. Those same Contras later crossed the border into neighboring Nicaragua where they massacred suspected Sandinista sympathizers. In addition to that, the Contras played a role in inflicting terror and murdering peasants in Honduras itself. Such is the case that the Presidents of America Watch and Helsinki Watch affirmed the following: “based on what we have seen and what we have heard that the Contras are carrying out a well-planned terrorist strategy all along the Honduran border”; in those same declarations, they furthermore said “the US can no longer evade taking responsibility for these atrocities. These declarations were published in the Wall Street Journal in April of 1985. The base of El Aguacate became a concentration camp in Honduras during the 80's where a whole variety of abuses and crimes were committed on a routine basis. The victims of these abuses were student leaders who were active in leftist politics, members of labor unions, farmers and anyone who could remotely be considered a leftist. In 2001 excavations at the El Aguacate base revealed common graves where more than 185 corpses where uncovered. The remains of the victims showed extreme signs of physical abuse. 1, 2, 3, 8
3) During Negroponte’s mandate as ambassador to Honduras, human rights in the region were violated with impunity. Even though the Honduran government was supposed to be democratic, dissapearances of leftist sympathizers occurred constantly. Amongst the paramilitary terrorist groups created by the CIA with the complete approval and knowledge of John Dimitri Negroponte was the death squad named Batallion 3-16 also known as Batallion 316. The leaders of this death squad were Billy Joya and General Luis Alonso Escua Elvir, both involved in the direct and cold-blooded kidnapping, torture and assassination of hundreds of people within Honduras. While this went on, Negroponte chronically lied to the US Congress in Washington saying that no human rights was being violated in Honduras. A clear example of Negroponte’s lies to Congress was the case with Rick Chidester, a young US official at the embassy in Honduras. Chidester was assigned to write the human rights reports regarding Honduras for the US Congress. When the report was finished, he was given a direct order by Negroponte before sending it off to Washington: erase the vast majority of paragraphs containing details about human rights violations from the report, especially those paragraphs involving the US’s covert operations in Honduras. Chidester gave a lengthy and detailed confession of these events to The Sun newspaper. One example of a torture case, ocurred to Rene Velasquez a honduran lawyer. He was arrested on June 1st of 1982 in front of his office in the capital Tegucicalpa and was taken to a torture center. I shall quote Velazquez’s own words on what he went through: “they undressed me, they tied my hands and proceeded to put a mask on my face and humilliated me…then they put on my body some sort of paste that attracted hordes of flies and other insects. They beat me all the time, on the ribs, the stomach…the pain was unbearable.” 2, 4, 7, 10, 18
4) One of the ways in which the death squads in Central America were financed was through drug trafficking. US Senator Kerry demonstrated before the Senate that the State Department had paid 800 thousand Dollars to four cargo plane companies belonging to well known Colombian drug lords. The cargo airplanes carried weapons to the groups that Negroponte organized and supported in Honduras. Under oath, the pilots of said airplanes gave their testimony, confirming Senator Kerry’s statements. The US press itself through its own investigations affirmed that Negroponte had been involved in the weapon and drug traffick from 1981 to 1985. Through the income generated from drug sales, the CIA and the US embassy in Honduras obtained weapons illegally, which in turn would be given to the death squads. 18
Why does Negroponte conveniently forget his own extensive record of human rights violations whenever he accuses Venezuela?
5) Another chronic lie that Negroponte repeatedly said to the US State Department while he was ambassador to Honduras was the following: “in Honduras there is complete liberty of expression for labor union members”. Nothing could be further from the truth since during the 80's in Honduras anyone remotely being associated to the labor movement or the left was kidnapped, tortured and generally assassinated by the CIA paramilitary army. The summit of Negroponte’s hypocrisy came about when in 1989 during the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate he was asked if he knew anything about the abuses comitted by Batallion 316; Negroponte answered: “I have never seen any evidence that they were involved in death squad activities.” That is, the co-founder of Batallion 316 said before the Senate Committee that he knew nothing of the role this group of trained murderers undertook. Negroponte’s lies were so blatant and ludicrous at all levels regarding human rights in Honduras that some US diplomats noted that the human rights reports coming from Honduras looked as though they were from Norway instead. In 1982, Negroponte wrote to The Economist magazine saying yet another lie: “it is simply false that death squads ever existed in Honduras”. It is to be noted that just in 1982, the Honduran press reported over 318 cases of kidnappings, torture and assassination at the hands of the CIA’s paramilitary army and the Honduran army. Numerous US officials have come forth revealing Negroponte’s extensive involvement in the organization and often times unsuccessful cover-ups of these crimes. Just to refresh Mister Negroponte’s memory regarding the existance of death squads in Honduras I shall now cite the case of Florencio Caballero. Caballero was a Honduran, trained by the CIA in US soil and specializing in torture techniques. In an exclusive New York Times interview done years after the actions he describes, Caballero described to the NYT what his job was like in Honduras. In the interview, Caballero describes how he was a member of the CIA paramilitary army and how he tortured to death dozens of political prisoners. Another name that may ring a bell to Negroponte is Inés Murillo, one of the few survivors of a paramilitary concentration camp created by the CIA in Honduras. The torture she endured at that camp included: extreme sexual abuse, bestial beatings, routine electric shocks in diverse areas of her body, amongst others. Mrs. Murillo had to endure this hell for 80 days while she was a prisoner of the CIA’s death squad in Honduras. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11
6) In the summer of 1983 a Jesuit priest named James F. Carney disappeared in Honduras. Carney was known to extensively help the poor while doing his missionary work amongst the peasants. Carney’s family has repeatedly said that Negroponte did everything he could in his power as ambassador to interfere in investigations regarding the priest’s disappearance. It is presumed that the priest disappeared while in the company of guerrillas. In 2003 investigators sent by the local courts found the remains of 10 people in an area of Honduras bordering Nicaragua. All of the skulls at the site had bullet holes. The investigation on whether one of those bodies was that of Carney continues. This is just an example of the many people that disappeared and Negroponte prevented investigations into these dissapearances and actively went out of his way to conceal the truth to the public. 7, 8, 9, 10
7) Sister Laetitia Bordes explains how in May of 1982, 32 women disappeared in Honduras. When she went to the US embassy to ask for help in the investigation to know the whereabouts of these missing women, Negroponte was evasive and gave bogus answers such as: “the US embassy doesn’t get involved in Honduran affairs”. Borders affirms that what Negroponte stated to her was false since she knew of his close work with the Honduran armed forces and its chief commander, General Álvarez. Bordes furthermore states that Negroponte was a pioneer in introducing new elements of psychological warfare and torture into the Honduran army. The Sister’s testimony is also corroborated with the fact that the US’s “aid” to the Honduran military increased from 4 million to 77.4 million dollars, almost all of it directed to the creation of the new paramilitary armies. In 1994 the Commission for Human Rights of Honduras found John Dimitri Negroponte guilty of hiding information to the public about the disappearances that were done by paramilitaries and the Honduran army. The Commission also found Negroponte guilty of violating human rights for having helped in the organization of the paramilitary armies in Honduras. 7, 10, 12, 18
8) In September of 2001, Bush named Negroponte as ambassador of the US to the UN. His term lasted until March of 2003 when the invasion of Iraq occurred. Indeed, Negroponte was the most outspoken mouthpiece in favor of a military aggression against Iraq. The US ambassador before the UN affirmed time and time again the now well-known lie that Saddam represented a menace and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Such weapons were never found and Saddams supposed links to terrorist groups were equally false. Through intimidation and open threats against other countries, Negroponte achieved the diplomatic objectives that Bush needed. In addition, Negroponte was the only representative at the UN who boycotted in a rude manner the speech given by the ex_ambassador of Iraq to the UN, by walking impulsively out of the hall where the speech was taking place. Once his mission at the UN was complete and the fake justification for war was bought by a lot of bullied nations, Negroponte was ambassador of the US for Iraq from June 2004 until april 2005. It is during this time period that sectarian violence increased exponentially to what we have today, an all out civil war. The paramilitary organization called Badr Brigade are the main perpetrators of such violence. This terrorist group is characterized by a decidedly pro-US stance and their practice includes kidnapping, torture and assassination of anyone that is an outspoken critic of the puppet Iraqui government or the US. Sunni Muslims, homosexuals and those who have criticized the occupation have also been victims of the Badr Brigade. “Curiously”, the torture techniques used by the Badr Brigade have been the same as those used used by Batallion 316 in Honduras-this is known from the signs of torture found on the victims’ bodies. In January of 2005 the US began in Iraq an operation named “The El Salvador Option”. Said operation was the training of “squads that would act in favor of US interests”, as stated by US military public relations bureau. Members of such squads were chosen from fanatical elements of the Badr Brigade and the Kurdish Peshmerga (a group with strong ties to the Central Intelligence Agency). In today’s Iraq, these paramiitary terrorist organizations working in US black operations are literally the law: they do what they want, when they want, and to whomever they want. Amongst their proud achievements are the placing of bombs in public places and killing of dozens of innocent civilians with such bombs and quickly afterwards make media campaigns in their radios blaming such attacks on the Iraqui Resistance in order to wear out its support amongst the population. For example the case of the Mosque of the Golden Dome bombing. In that incident, religious leaders, some even friendly to the US have blamed the US’s local paramilitary lackeys for that terrorist attack. The head of Human Rights of the UN, John Pace, publicly denounced these pro-US paramilitary organizations as well as the US government itself for supplying intelligence, training, organization and weapons to these terrorist groups. John Pace’s declarations were given to Amy Goodman in the public TV program called Democracy Now. Amongst the highlights of the program where when Amy Goodman asked Pace if there were paramilitary death squads in Iraq. Pace replied: “They do exist. My observations have led me to the conclusion that the massacres perpetrated by these groups bear the same resemblances as those that occurred in countries such as El Salvador.” El Salvador, like Honduras, was another country where the CIA installed hundreds of political persecution centers throughout the 80's. 6, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Note: I would include a point 9) regarding Negroponte’s connections to the Colombian death squads (the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia) but such a work would be beyond the scope of this article. Let it simply be known that since Negroponte became chief of US National Intelligence in April of 2005, Venezuela has struggled to contain the influx of AUC terrorists backed by the Uribe-ruled Colombian state and the current US regime. Thousands of peasants have been massacred by the AUC in the last year alone both in Colombia and Venezuela, this being the tip of the iceberg. The AUC may have existed long before Negroponte came along, but never before had it undergone a resurgence like now. The entire campaign by the Uribe regime to stage a “disarmament” was the joke of the year and a well-polished public relations move rivaled by few in history. The simple fact of the “disarmament”: AUC paramilitaries gave in their old weapons and traded them for modern and brand new ones, all made in USA. Again, like in Central America and modern-day Iraq, Negroponte has made emphasis in expanding Colombian death squads to further present-day US interests.
Still we find that Negroponte dares to speak out against Venezuela in the area of human rights. In February of 2006 Negroponte stated that Venezuela was involved in actions that destabilized other governments in Latin America through terrorist groups. The US diplomat also affirmed that Venezuela violated human rights and that it wasn’t cooperating with the war on drugs. One wonders what new dizzying height of hypocrisy Negroponte will reach next. After having understood the facts behind this international criminal’s life achievements one can only conclude that Negroponte should be one of the last people on the face of the planet with the moral authority to speak of human rights. The creation of paramilitary death squads, having chronically lied about their activities, having actively meddled in the internal affairs of numerous countries and having been behind the murder of thousands of people across the world isn’t enough for Negroponte: his new compulsion is to chronically lie and to attack Venezuela, accusing that country of the same crimes he is guilty of. Let the facts be known: Negroponte is a professional criminal by career whose cynicism and bloodthirsty mind will not rest until Venezuela is once again a pawn of US political and economic policies. One of the worst things that could happen to Latin America in recent times just materialized: this war criminal has now at his fingertips the entire US intelligence apparatus with the full support of the US State Department, thus being a direct threat to Venezuela’s sovereignty. Venezuela’s government has based the bulk of its income in drastically improving the education, health care, and standard of life of its citizens. Venezuela has a mixed market economy based on social justice with a completely democratic system where elections and referendums to impeach the President occur at the will of the people when they deem it appropriate; such a country inevitably seems to be a problem for the Bush administration which aspires to have complete dominion in what used to be the US’s backyard and thus acquire new oil reserves close to home. Only through a strong investment in defence and counter-intelligence will Venezuela be able to survive the relentless interferences of US imperialism and the state terrorism that Negroponte continues to unleash upon this South American country. 18, 19, 20
1) John Negroponte, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Negroponte, Wikipedia, accedido el 30 de Marzo del 2006.