• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 19 augustus 2016

Frank Westerman's Provinciale Schrijverij 11


The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everybody is worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there is a really easy way: stop participating in it.
Noam Chomsky

Het sterke van Westerman is dat hij geen oordeel uitspreekt; hij laat zijn presentatie van de feiten hun choquerende werk doen. Zo kregen begin jaren zeventig de terroristen van het Japanse Rode Leger hier al hun eisen ingewilligd; een vliegtuig stond op Schiphol klaar, hun kameraden kwamen vrij, ze kregen een vrijgeleide en een zak geld toe, naar tevredenheid over deze goede afloop van Joop den Uyl. Geweld werd in die tijd breed verheerlijkt zolang het links, of liever: marxistisch-leninistisch van aard was,

aldus de beweringen van Jeroen Vullings, literair criticus van het failliete weekblad Vrij Nederland, dat zichzelf aanprijst vanwege ‘een frisse blik op de actualiteit.’ Hoe ‘fris’ blijkt uit de hierboven herschreven geschiedenis van de jaren zeventig en uit Frank Westerman’s boek over ‘het terrorisme,’ waaruit Vullings opmaakt dat ‘Geweld in die tijd breed [werd] verheerlijkt,’ tenminste ‘zolang het links, of liever: marxistisch-leninistisch van aard was.’ Maar het ‘begin van de jaren zeventig,’ was tevens de tijd van onder andere het massale ‘geweld’ in Vietnam, waarover de betrokken Amerikaanse minister van Defensie, Robert McNamara, ‘chief architect of America's catastrophic war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia,’ in 1995 schreef dat het Amerikaanse ‘geweld’ van ‘de regeringen Kennedy, Johnson en Nixon… verschrikkelijk leed’ had toegebracht aan miljoenen mensen, omdat ‘wij de macht onderschatten van het nationalisme teneinde een volk te motiveren… om te vechten en te sterven voor hun overtuigingen en waarden — en wij blijven dat vandaag de dag nog steeds doen in vele delen van de wereld,’ terwijl ‘wij niet het door God gegeven recht hebben om elke natie naar ons eigen beeld te scheppen.’ Volgens de insider McNamara zijn tijdens de Vietnam-Oorlog 3,4 miljoen Zuidoost-Aziaten gedood, onder wie talloze burgers van Laos, het zwaarst gebombardeerde land in de geschiedenis als we uitgaan van het aantal inwoners. Eenkwart van de bevolking vluchtte naar grotten in de bergen om aan de massale terreur te ontkomen. De Amerikaanse luchtmacht gooide twee keer zoveel bommen op Laos dan tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog op Nazi-Duitsland, tien jaar lang elke 9 minuten een clusterbom. Omdat – aldus USA TODAY — tien tot dertig procent van de in kleine fragmenten uiteenspattende bommen niet explodeerde, komen tot op de dag van vandaag Laotianen om het leven, de meerderheid van hen spelende kinderen. Ook Cambodja leed onder het Amerikaans ‘geweld,’ of juister gesteld: ‘terrorisme,’ een ander woord is er niet voor ‘het bewust geplande gebruik van geweld of dreiging van geweld om doelen te bereiken die politiek, religieus, of ideologisch van aard zijn.’ Meer dan 600.000 Cambodjanen kwamen om bij Amerikaanse bombardementen. En door de totale verwoesting van landbouwgronden werden de overlevenden geconfronteerd met een massale hongersnood. Het waren eveneens de jaren dat ‘the US military’ onverstoorbaar doorging met ‘spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam. It contained the deadly chemical dioxin, which has poisoned an estimated 3 million people throughout that country,’ zo schreef in augustus 2015 de Amerikaanse hoogleraar Marjorie Cohn, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Op de kritische Amerikaanse website Truthout wees professor Cohn, tevens een ‘co-coordinator of the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign’ en lid van ‘the national advisory board of Veterans for Peace’ erop dat:

In addition to the more than 3 million Vietnamese people killed during the Vietnam War, an equivalent number of people suffer serious diseases and children continue to be born with defects from Agent Orange. US veterans of the Vietnam War and their children suffer as well.

Agent Orange caused direct damage to those exposed to dioxin, including cancers, skin disorders, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, defects to reproductive capacity and nervous disorders. It resulted in indirect damage to the children of those exposed to dioxin, including severe physical deformities, mental and physical disabilities, diseases and shortened life spans.

Dan Shea joined the US Marine Corps in 1968 at the age of 19. He served in Vietnam a little more than two months. But he was in Quang Tri, one of the areas where much of the Agent Orange was sprayed. When Shea saw barrels ‘all over’ with orange stripes on them, he had no idea the dioxin they contained would change his life forever. When they ran out of water, he and his fellow Marines would drink out of the river.

In 1977, Shea's son Casey was born with congenital heart disease and a cleft palate. Before his third birthday, Casey underwent heart surgery for the hole in his heart. Ten hours after surgery, Casey went into a coma and died seven weeks later.

Just as the US censored information about the effects of radiation after the atomic bombings, the US government and the chemical companies that manufactured Agent Orange — including Dow and Monsanto — also suppressed the 1965 Bionetics study that demonstrated dioxin caused many birth defects in experimental animals. The spraying of Agent Orange finally stopped when that study was made public.

Shea, who also addressed the Veterans for Peace convention, works with me on the Vietnam Agent Orange Relief and Responsibility Campaign. We seek to obtain relief for the Vietnamese, Vietnamese-American and US victims of Agent Orange through the recently introduced H.R. 2114. US vets have received some compensation, but not nearly enough. Vietnamese people and Vietnamese-Americans have received nothing for their suffering.

This bill would assist with the cleanup of dioxin still present in Vietnam. It would also provide assistance to the public health system in Vietnam directed at the 3 million Vietnamese people affected by Agent Orange. It would extend assistance to the affected children of male US veterans who suffer the same set of birth defects covered for the children of female veterans. It would also lead to research on the extent of Agent Orange-related diseases in the Vietnamese-American community, and provide them with assistance. Finally, it would lead to laboratory and epidemiological research on the effects of Agent Orange.
De lijst van Amerikaanse terreur is oneindig lang, en uitgebreid gedocumenteerd door Amerikaanse onderzoekers, onder wie William Blum in zijn boeken Rogue State. A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2000), in 2006 in het Nederlands verschenen onder de titel Schurkenstaat. De buitenlandse politiek van de enige supermacht ter wereld (2006) en Killing Hope. U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II (2003). Desondanks speelt het Amerikaans/westers terrorisme geen centrale rol bij zowel Westerman als Vullings. De reden is dat het Amerikaans ‘geweld’ door de mainstream nog steeds niet gerekend wordt tot ‘geweld,’ laat staan ‘terrorisme.’ Volgens de herschrijvers van de geschiedenis was terreur in die tijd ‘marxistisch-leninistisch van aard.’ Naar dit niveau is de ‘literaire’ journalistiek gedaald. De pedanterie en zelfgenoegzaamheid waarmee de huidige generatie polder ‘journalisten’ elkaar prijzen is ronduit weerzinwekkend. Zo verklaarde Geert Mak, de in ‘ons’ kikkerlandje nationale historicus, die geen historicus is maar een jurist, dat hij Thomas ‘Friedman altijd wel leuk [vindt] om te lezen, lekker upbeat, hij is zo’n man die altijd wel een gat ziet om een probleem op te lossen.' Een kenmerkend voorbeeld van hoe ‘lekker optimistisch’ Thomas Friedman, de bekendste en best betaalde Amerikaanse columnist van de New York Times, is blijkt uit deze uitspraak van 28 maart 1999 toen hij onder de kop ‘A Manifesto for the Fast World’ in zijn krant schreef:

The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies to flourish is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Amerikaans ‘geweld’ wordt verkocht niet als ‘terrorisme,’ maar als ‘een gat’ om ‘een probleem op te lossen.’ Zelf hebben maar zeer weinig van mijn generatiegenoten de verschrikkingen van een oorlog van nabij meegemaakt, de overgrote meerderheid van de geprivilegieerden hebben hun leven in vrede en welvaart versleten, maar dit leidde niet tot enige realiteitszin. Voor onverschillige outsiders klinkt Friedman zo ‘lekker upbeat’ in de oren. ‘Het sterke van Westerman is dat hij geen oordeel uitspreekt; hij laat zijn presentatie van de feiten hun choquerende werk doen,’ en één van die ‘feiten’ is ondermeer dat ‘Geweld in die tijd breed [werd] verheerlijkt zolang het links, of liever: marxistisch-leninistisch van aard was.’ Een ander mainstream ‘feit’ is dat de VS niet beschikt over ’s werelds grootste terroristische organisatie, de CIA. Dat Westerman door het verzwijgen van ondermeer dit laatste feit een overduidelijk ‘oordeel’ over het onderwerp terrorisme ‘uitspreekt,’ begrijpt Vullings niet. Dit is geenszins vreemd in een land dat geen kritische intelligentsia kent. Als het niet zo bedroevend was zou men in homerisch gelach kunnen uitbarsten na het lezen van de pers-reacties op Westerman’s terrorisme-boek. http://www.frankwesterman.nl/boeken/een-woord-een-woord/ Als ik het goed begrepen heb is Westerman’s boek ook nog eens een handleiding ‘hoe je ten beste kunt communiceren met terroristen.’ Dit wordt beweerd zonder ook maar een greintje ironie. Hier wordt een werkje van ‘de hervormd opgevoed Drent Westerman,’ die ‘geen last heeft’ van ‘ledigheid’ en die zich wil ‘bekwamen in “verbale vechtkunst”’ de hemel in geprezen. Geen van mijn polder-collega’s die beseft dat wanneer ‘wij’ het ‘terrorisme’ een halt willen toeroepen ‘we’ dan het voor hand liggende moeten doen, namelijk, zoals Chomsky stelt, stoppen eraan deel te nemen. ‘Wij’ zijn de grootste terroristen van de geschiedenis, ‘onze’ tegenstanders zijn amateurtjes vergeleken bij de westerse professionals in terreur. Westerman en Vullings zouden er goed aan doen het boek Legacy of Ashes. The History of the CIA (2008) te lezen van de voormalige New York Times-onderzoeksjournalist Tim Weiner, ‘winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.’ Onder de titel Een Spoor van Vernieling. De geschiedenis van de CIA is het boek in 2007 tevens in het Nederlands verschenen. Westerman en Vullings hadden de 720 pagina’s tellende analyse van het bloedspoor dat de CIA door de hele wereld trok, kunnen lezen. De recensent van The Washington Times beschreef het zo:

Een vernietigend rapport van een inlichtingendienst die meestal faalde bij het voorspellen van belangrijke politieke gebeurtenissen op de wereld, mensenrechten schond, Amerikanen bespioneerde, moordaanslagen op buitenlandse regeringsleiders beraamde en geld stak in klungelige doofpotacties dat hij niet toekwam aan zijn eigenlijke werk, het verzamelen en analyseren van informatie.

De titel is afkomstig van president Eisenhower, die

at the end of his two - terms of office… called into his office, the former legendary OSS officer and director of the CIA Allen Dulles, and said to him point- blank. ‘After eight years you have left me, a legacy of ashes.’

Wil een journalist dit alles evenwel weten dan dient hij geïnteresseerd te zijn in de werkelijkheid, en dat zijn Westerman en Vullings kennelijk niet. 

De stijl van de ‘literair criticus’ van VN is die van de petite bourgeois die vergenoegd constateert dat Westerman in zijn terrorisme-boek ‘zelf ook met de billen bloot [gaat],’ in zijn ‘belangrijk boek.’ De boetvaardige auteur vertelt

hoe hij geld inzamelde om wapens te kopen voor de burgeroorlog in El Salvador. Onschuldiger van aard is zijn opkontje aan de Cubaanse revolutie door daar agrarisch werk te verrichten. Hoewel hij toen niet te beroerd was om voor een voortvluchtige Duitse RAF-terroriste met wie hij op Cuba bevriend raakte en aan wie hij ten afscheid zijn camera schonk, brieven in Europa te posten –- iets waar hij nu wroeging over heeft. Het was de tijd, zullen we maar zeggen. Een tijd waarin tienduizenden ‘sympathisanten’ in Nederland de straat op gingen, na de RAF-moord op de bedrijfsman Hans-Martin Schleyer. Niet om tegen dat terrorisme te demonstreren, maar tegen de Duitse ‘politiestaat.’ Ook de Rotterdamse korpschef liep mee, hij was fel tegen repressie als antwoord op terrorisme.

Aangezien ik die tijd als journalist bewust heb meegemaakt, zal ik Vullings' tendentieuze voorstelling van zaken proberen toe te lichten. Ik begin met een fout en een opmerkelijke omissie. Hanns-Martin Schleyer, niet met één n maar met twee, ‘was een Duits manager en econoom.’ Voorts meldt Wikipedia dat hij na zijn middelbareschooltijd ging 

studeren aan de universiteit van Heidelberg. Hij werd er lid van het studentencorps Suevia, waar hij bij het schermen een litteken opliep. Tevens was Schleyer van 1933 tot 1945 lid (nr. 221.714) van de SS. Schleyer bekritiseerde het Corps Suevia in 1935 omdat het joodse oud-leden niet uit de vereniging zette. Daarop stapte hij over naar de nationaalsocialistische studentenbeweging in Heidelberg en vanaf 1941 was hij leider van de nationaalsocialistische studentenbeweging in Praag. In zijn hoedanigheid van ‘Beauftragter des Sicherheitsdienstes (SD) der SS für den Universitätsbereich’ was hij betrokken bij de vervolging van linkse studentenleiders. Vanaf 1943 was hij in het protectoraat Bohemen en Moravië verantwoordelijk voor de controle over en plundering van de industrie in het bezette land ten gunste van nazi-Duitsland.

Dit is informatie die mijn collega-journalist Vullings in precies 0,66 seconde had kunnen vinden. Om dit voormalig lid van de SS, een bij uitstek terroristische organisatie, als volstrekt onschuldig slachtoffer af te schilderen, kon de VN-journalist deze gegevens niet gebruiken en werden dus als irrelevant verzwegen. De vervolging van ‘joodse’Europeanen en ‘linkse studentenleiders’ valt anno 2015 kennelijk in het niet vergeleken bij het ‘geweld’ begin jaren zeventig. Vullings en Westerman willen een beeld oproepen waarbij ‘Geweld in die tijd breed [werd] verheerlijkt zolang het links, of liever: marxistisch-leninistisch van aard was.’ Vandaar ook dat laatst genoemde publiekelijk de eigen 'zonden' belijdt, tot grote tevredenheid van de ‘literair criticus.’ Als een postmoderne dominee oordeelt Vullings dat Westerman’s ‘opkontje’ aan ‘de Cubaanse revolutie’ net nog door de beugel kon, maar dat de bewonderaar van wijlen H.J.A. Hofland destijds ‘geld inzamelde om wapens te kopen voor de burgeroorlog in El Salvador,’ is in de ogen van Jeroen een niet geringe misdaad, zoals impliciet blijkt uit het woord ‘onschuldiger.’Nu, na vier decennia bekent Westerman dat hij ‘wroeging’ heeft  over het feit dat hij als terrorist in spé ‘op Cuba bevriend raakte’ met ‘een voortvluchtige Duitse RAF-terroriste,’ aan ‘wie hij ten afscheid zijn camera schonk,’ en beloofde ‘brieven’ van haar ‘in Europa te posten.’ Het begrip ‘wroeging’ staat voor een ‘knagend schuldgevoel’dat tot ‘gewetensnood’ leidt. Waarom zou Frank Westerman al die jaren ‘gewetensnood’ hebben gehad vanwege het inzamelen van geld ‘om wapens te kopen voor de burgeroorlog in El Salvador?’ Is dit een terroristische daad geweest, zoals Vullings impliceert met ondermeer zijn opmerking dat de schrijver ‘zelf ook met de billen bloot [gaat]’? Wat was er in de jaren tachtig aan de hand in dit Midden-Amerikaanse land? Binnen een seconde meldt de door iedere internetbezoeker te raadplegen Wikipedia het volgende:

In de jaren zeventig ging het volk, dat al decennialang werd bestuurd door de ene junta na de andere, zich meer en meer roeren. Persoonlijke vrijheden waren een illusie en verkiezingen waren schijnvertoningen. Er ontstond rebellie, vooral geïnspireerd door het Marxisme. In 1979 brak een burgeroorlog uit tussen de junta en marxistische rebellen. Een groep jonge officieren wierp het regime omver met steun van de Verenigde Staten. Er kwam een regeringsjunta, waaraan christendemocraten, sociaaldemocraten en zelfs communisten deelnamen. In 1980 stapte de regering echter wegens scheve machtsverhoudingen op. Een bloedige strijd waarin doodseskaders actief waren brak uit. De Amerikaanse overheid, die al vanaf de jaren zeventig 'een dreiging van het communisme' vanuit Zuid-Amerika ervoer, steunde achter de schermen het militaire bewind van El Salvador. Het leger en de politie kregen training in de Verenigde Staten en werden voorzien van wapens om aan de macht te blijven. De Verenigde Staten hadden wel geleerd van Vietnam om achter de schermen te opereren; officieel bleef de Amerikaanse betrokkenheid beperkt tot advies.

Er vielen in totaal 75.000 slachtoffers, van wie in 1980 wellicht de bekendste: de aartsbisschop Óscar Romero. In 1980 werd de christendemocraat Napoléon Duarte, met hulp van de Verenigde Staten, het hoofd van de nieuwe regering. In november 1989 viel de top van de door jezuïeten gestichte Universiteit van Centraal-Amerika als slachtoffer van de doodseskaders: de paters Ignacio Ellacuria, Segundo Montes, Juan Ramón Moreno, Ignacio Martin Baro, Amando López en Joaquín López y López.


US trained 'death squad' victims in San Salvador, 1981 During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads (known in Spanish by the name of Escuadrón de la Muerte, "Squadron of Death") achieved notoriety when a sniper assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero while he was saying Mass in March 1980. In December 1980, three American nuns and a lay worker were gangraped and murdered by a military unit later found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing thousands of peasants and activists. Funding for the squads came primarily from right-wing Salvadoran businessmen and landowners.[24] Because the death squads involved were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military security forces, which were receiving U.S. arms, funding, training and advice during the Carter, Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, these events prompted some outrage in the U.S. Human rights activists criticized U.S. administrations for denying Salvadoran government links to the death squads. Veteran Human Rights Watch researcher Cynthia J. Arnson writes that "particularly during the years 1980–1983 when the killing was at its height (numbers of killings could reach as far as 35,000), assigning responsibility for the violence and human rights abuses was a product of the intense ideological polarization in the United States. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_squad


De officieren van de ‘doodseskaders’ van het extreem-rechtse regime waren opgeleid op ‘The School of the Americas (SOA) a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.’ Dit instituut van het Amerikaanse leger trainde de Latijns Amerikaanse militairen onder andere in de fijne kneepjes van het martelen. Toen hiertegen steeds meer verzet ontstond onder Amerikaanse burgers werd de SOA in ‘2001 renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).’ Wat Westerman en Vullings kennelijk als irrelevant beschouwen is dat:

Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the ‘biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.’ The SOA have left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned. For this reason the School of the Americas has been historically dubbed the ‘School of Assassins.’

Since 1946, the SOA has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, ‘disappeared,’ massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins. 

Waarom heeft de 'hervormd opgevoede Drent' Westerman nu zo’n ‘wroeging,’ dus ‘diep berouw’ over het feit dat hij destijds ‘geld inzamelde om wapens te kopen voor de burgeroorlog in El Salvador,’ dat wil zeggen geld voor de Salvadoraanse bevolking die zich begon te verzetten tegen de ‘destabilisering,’ en het moorden en verkrachten door de ‘doodseskaders’ in dienst van het terroristisch regime in dat land? Die houding lijkt raadselachtig wanneer men de door de VS gesteunde terreur in een breder perspectief beziet. Laat ik daarom in navolging van Westerman ‘de feiten hun choquerende werk doen’:

The School of the Americas and Terror in El Salvador
excerpted from the book
State Terrorism and the United States
From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism
by Frederick H. Gareau
Clarity Press, 2004, paper

p14
Terrorism consists of deliberate acts of a physical and/or psychological nature perpetrated on select groups of victims. Its intent is to mold the thinking and behavior not only of these targeted groups, but more importantly, of larger sections of society that identify or share the views and aspirations of the targeted groups or who might easily be led to do so. The intent of the terrorists is to intimidate or coerce both groups by causing them intense fear, anxiety, apprehension, panic, dread, and/or horror. Obviously, the groups that have been directly targeted experience these emotions to a much higher degree than the larger sections of society that the terrorism is also intended to intimidate and coerce. The overall purpose of terrorism is to intimidate and coerce, not to eliminate a group physically or socially. The latter is called genocide.

p15
Washington publishes an annual list of governments that it alleges terrorists. Typically, this list contains a majority of governments of Arab states — Iran, Cuba, and North Korea. This highlights the importance of how terrorism defined. If state terrorism were included in the definition, Washington would halve to include itself on the list!


The El Mozote Massacre took place in and around the village of El Mozote, in Morazán department, El Salvador, on December 11, 1981, when the Salvadoran Army killed more than 800 civilians... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Mozote_massacre


p16
A guide to terrorism published in 1988 asserted that proving ‘state terrorism is usually more difficult than proving insurgent (private) terrorism.’ The guide went on to explain that except in unusual circumstances such as the Nuremburg and Tokyo trials there are no courts collecting evidence that prove that a regime is guilty of state terror. But the situation has changed. International criminal courts have been set up for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and one with general jurisdiction, the International Criminal Court, has been established as well. More significantly, this evidentiary deficiency has been filled by truth commission reports — extensive studies, each based on thousands of interviews conducted under the auspices of post-terrorist governments, the United Nations, or the Catholic Church.
At least one of these reports has been completed for each of the following countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa.

p18
Archbishop Tutu... winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1984 and Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa... had no difficulty in distinguishing between the moral and legal position of the apartheid regime that ruled South Africa and those who fought against it: those who fought against this unjust apartheid regime clearly were fighting for a just cause while the government was ‘an illegal, oppressive, and inhuman system imposed on the majority without their consent. This moral and legal superiority was interpreted to mean that in principle the state terrorism and other acts of oppression committed by the government were immoral and illegal, whereas the bellicose acts by the guerrillas were not.’

The School of the Americas and Terror in El Salvador

p23
The School of the Americas was opened in 1946 under the name of the Latin American Training Center-Ground Division. It assumed its most persistent name in 1963, and it moved from the Canal Zone to its present location in Fort Benning, Georgia in 1984. The school officially closed on December 15, 2000, perhaps solely in an effort to escape its widely-circulated epithet as the School of Assassins-for it swiftly reopened the next January 17 with a new name: the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation. It is located on the same premises and — according to its critics-teaches essentially the same courses to the same clientele. Its original purpose was to promote closer ties with the militaries of Latin America and to assist the military and police forces in the region better to maintain control of their environment. Over time the main focus of the training became counterinsurgency and low intensity warfare, and its graduates, and others similarly trained, became notorious for their suppression of human rights and worse. More recently, the school has introduced a course in human rights, but the impact of the course is problematical. Indeed, its critics question the motive for its introduction. The school is the most famous of more than 150 facilities in the United States and abroad used to train foreign soldiers. The school has trained upward of 59,000 Latin American military personnel, policemen, and civilians. Ten of the graduates of the school became the president/dictators of their countries, 23 became ministers of defense, and 15 ministers of other departments.

Serving as the head of Guatemalan Intelligence, General Manuel Antonio Callejas y Callejas was responsible for the disappearances and deaths of thousands of Guatemalans. He was not only a graduate of the school, but his portrait hangs on the wall at the school's headquarters along with that of General Banzar and other distinguished alumni who have been selected for the Hall of Fame. Over two-thirds of the more than sixty officers cited for the worst human rights abuses in the United Nations report on the repression in El Salvador graduated from the school. It ‘has graduated over 500 of the worst human rights abusers in the hemisphere, who are implicated in the murder and torture of countless Latin Americans.’ General Hector Gramajo Morales, a graduate of the school and formerly Guatemalan Defense Minister, has been honored in a different way. His term as Defense Minister was up in 1989, and the following year he became a Fellow of the Edward Mason Program at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University. In 1993 he delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of the officers of the Command and General Staff College of the School of the Americas.

p32

THE UN TRUTH COMMISSION ON EL SALVADOR
The Reception of the UN Report

The report of the commission was presented to the Secretary General of the United Nations on March 15, 1993. This gave Boutros Boutros-Ghali the opportunity to express his view of the document, a view vigorously contested by those found to be the chief perpetrators of the crimes described in the report. He declared that in order to put the war behind them, the Salvadorans would have to go through the catharsis of facing the truth. He went on to assert that bringing the truth to light is part and parcel of the process of reconciling Salvadoran society. There can be no reconciliation without the public knowing the truth. Since the armed conflict left no one untouched, all citizens must be made aware of the truth contained in the report. It should become a part of their culture and their history, so that they can better face the future. He concluded that once the truth came to light, they could contemplate forgiveness.

These lofty and noble terms contrast with what another United Nations report characterized as an ‘outcry’ sparked by the release of the report of the truth commission. Immediately after the publication of the report, the Christiani government rushed through the Salvadoran legislature an across the board amnesty for all charged with serious acts of violence. The outcry originated with the High Command of the Armed Forces, the President of the Supreme Court, and other highly placed government officials. Indeed, tension mounted as these political figures, joined by segments of the media, rejected the commission's findings and recommendations. They charged that the commission had exceeded its terms of reference and had arrogated to itself the judicial function. Heightened criticism of the world organization followed, as did threats to the United Nations personnel stationed in the country. In contrast to this, the FMLN, the guerrilla organization, accepted the report, including its recommendations to reform the government.

That the armed forces, the supreme court, and much of the government reacted this way is understandable in view of their indictment by the report. The indictment of the judicial system was such that the commission did not recommend that those found guilty be prosecuted. It found the judicial system compromised beyond the point at which it could conduct fair trials. The commission put the blame for most of the crimes at the door of the armed forces, including those committed by the death squads. Governmental officials were often found to have participated in the work of these squads and their structure was found to be still in place. Indeed, the three members of the Ad Hoc Commission that had drawn up a report critical of the officer corps ‘delivered their report in New York and, fearing or their lives, remained outside El Salvador for some time. The sub-committee report charged over 100 officers, including the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff, with serious violations of human rights and called for their dismissal. This report of the sub-committee was intended to be secret, but was leaked to the press before the publication of the committee's report, From Madness to Hope.

El Playon, Well-Known Location Where Bodies of the “Disappeared” Are Often Found (Sonsonate) Photo: John Hoagland. http://www.interference.cc/tag/el-salvador/


Another outcry, but this for a vastly different reason, came from the Honorable Robert G. Torricelli, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs. The chairman began the hearings on the report of the truth commission in the standard and traditional way, this time by echoing some of the noble and upbeat sentiments voiced by the Secretary General indicated above. He congratulated the parties to the dispute and the peacemakers for having successfully concluded a peace agreement. But then he added that the report of the truth commission was of concern not only to El Salvador, nor would his comments be limited to that country only. Nor would his comments be limited and mild, the usual characteristics of the opening remarks of the chairman of a committee. Mr. Torricelli's ‘outcry’ began with the affirmation that rarely as a member of ‘this institution’ had he been more ‘personally offended or betrayed’ than when he learned of the findings of the truth commission. This was the case because for years he had listened to the testimony of so many witnesses of different administrations informing the committee about what they reputably knew about the crimes committed in El Salvador. He next turned to the process established by the Congress, whereby President Reagan would periodically certify that El Salvador was making progress in respect to human rights. As a reaction to positive certifications, Congress provided military assistance to the government to fight the war there. The chairman gave an example of this, Presidential Determination 82-4, dated January 28, 1982. It was worded as follows:

‘I hereby determine that the government of El Salvador is making a concerted and significant effort to comply with internationally recognized human rights. I hereby determine that the government of El Salvador is achieving substantial control over all elements of its own armed forces. I hereby determine that the government of El Salvador has made a good-faith effort to investigate the murders of the six U.S. citizens in El Salvador in December 1980 and January 1981.’

Mr. Torricelli commented by charging that:

‘It is now abundantly clear that Ronald Reagan made these certifications not only in disregard of the truth but in defiance of it. Members of his administration came forward to this Congress and swore that they had no knowledge of acts of violence. Peace was being restored and rights respected. It was a lie.’

He continued his indictment by arguing that the process of certification ‘has been poisoned’ and concluded that based on what was then known about the credibility of certification, no future Congress could ever establish such a process again. On this point he has not proved to be an accurate forecaster of Congressional behavior. He was back on track when he referred to the ‘deceit and betrayal’ that induced the Congress to invest the nation's fortune and honor in a conflict ‘in the blind belief that we were being told the truth.’ This he found to be ‘a shameful chapter in American foreign policy.’

Congress was not as innocent as Torrcelli's remarks suggest, but it did set up a system that ostensibly was designed to restrain the executive from aiding governments engaged in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. Presidential certification was required under certain conditions. None of this, however, seemed to deter either Reagan or subsequent executives from continuing to aid governments they were determined to help.

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Rape and Killing of Nuns

Shortly after 7 P.M. on December 2,1980 members of the National Guard of El Salvador arrested three American nuns and one American lay missionary as they were leaving the Comalapa International Airport. Two of the nuns, members of the Maryknoll Order, were returning from Nicaragua, and the other two women were picking them up at the airport. The four women were beaten, raped, and murdered. Their bodies were thrown in a ditch. The truth commission concluded that this atrocity was planned ahead of time, that the sergeant in charge of the actual executions was acting on orders from higher up, that the head of the National Guard, then Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, among others, had facilitated the cover up of the crime, and that General Jose Guillermo Garcia, the Minister of Defense, made no serious effort to determine who was responsible for the murders. General Garcia had taken the counterinsurgency course at the School of the Americas in 1962, and Colonel Vides Casanova (later promoted to general) was a guest speaker there five years after the rape and assassination of the religious women.

The report contains several incidents that suggest cover-ups. These included judicial instances of cover-ups and the refusal of a group of forensic doctors to perform autopsies, because they said they had no surgical masks. In this instance, indicative of what would indeed be possible if Washington were to seriously desire to prevent state terrorism or the cover-up in its aftermath, the day after the murders, the Carter administration suspended aid to El Salvador. On April 26 of the following year embassy officials met with Generals Garcia and Vides Casanova to inform them that the failure to investigate the murders was jeopardizing American aid. Just three days after the meeting five enlisted members of the National Guard were arrested, and the following day $25 million in aid was approved.

And then something unique in the history of the country occurred. For the first time, members of the armed forces were convicted by a judge. To be sure, they were enlisted personnel. The higher ups who had ordered the murders were not made to face judicial proceedings, despite the fact that four of the convicted enlisted men later admitted that they were acting under orders. Three have since been freed from custody. The day after the convictions, the U.S. Congress approved $62 million of emergency aid for El Salvador.

Two weeks after the murders, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, who was to serve as the Reagan Administration's Ambassador to the United Nations, offered her opinion about the murders. She exclaimed:

‘I don't think the government (of El Salvador) was responsible. The nuns were not just nuns; the nuns were political activists. We ought to be a little more clear-cut about this than we usually are. They were political activists on behalf of the Frente (the guerrillas) and somebody who is using violence to oppose the Frente killed them.’

Sometime later Secretary of State Alexander Haig declared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee:

‘I would like to suggest to you that some of the investigations would lead one to believe that perhaps the vehicle that the nuns were riding in had tried to run a road block or may have accidentally been perceived to have been doing so, and there may have been an exchange of fire.’

Congressman Torricelli questioned Professor Buergenthal, the American member of the truth commission, about these statements. After having read these statements to him, Torricelli asked if he had received any testimony from anyone suggesting how Haig had come to this conclusion.

Buergenthal answered ‘no.’

Torricelli persisted, ‘Among the hundreds of people you talked to, no one suggested that this was a possibility?’

Buergenthal insisted, ‘No.’ The statement is outrageous. With respect to Kirkpatrick's statement, he advised that one might have concluded that the nuns and the lay missionary were sympathetic to the FMLN, but not that they were involved in the conflict. He went on to say that there was no doubt that there was no basis for Kirkpatrick's statement as a justification for the killing of the churchwomen. They may have been sympathetic to the FMLN, but to Buergenthal and to the commission, this was totally irrelevant. They were unarmed…


Two Young Girls Found Alongside the Highway to Comalapa Airport, El Salvador (August 1980) Photo: John Hoagland. http://www.interference.cc/tag/el-salvador/


Rewards and Punishments

In October 2000 those who read the inside pages of the New York Times were able to keep up with the lives of Generals Vides Casanova and Garcia. They had retired, and they lived in South Florida. They had been living there since 1989, and as the lawyers for the plaintiff alleged in a lawsuit soon to be described, they lived there ‘surrounded by relatives.’ They had been granted ‘green cards,’ permanent residence, by the United States government. In addition, they received awards from the United States military, as well as the United States Legion of Merit award from President Ronald Reagan in 1984 .

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As is usually the case with truth commissions, the one for El Salvador did not focus on Washington's support for the government despite this, the chapter provides sufficient evidence to prove this support for San Salvador along with the other two central questions that the evidence is asked to resolve. That terror was committed in El Salvador is not disputed. Those who doubt this should reread the above and realize that an estimated 75,000 were killed in this small country in the period 1980 to 1991. The truth commission found that the terrorism that was committed in the country was overwhelmingly governmental terrorism, committed by the Salvadoran army, the National Guard, and their death squads and affiliated agencies. They were responsible for 95 percent of the deaths, the guerrillas for only five percent.

These were the same institutions that were the concern and the favorites of Washington-receiving its indoctrination and training and profiting from its largess. El Salvador received six billion dollars in aid from Washington in the period 1979 to 1992. This subsidy to the tiny country during the government repression and terrorism came to average out at $100,000 for each member of its armed forces. This subsidy allowed the government to pay for the terrorist activities committed by the security forces. By virtue of this largess and the military training, notably in counterinsurgency warfare, Washington emerges (In this chapter) as an accessory before and during the fact. By covering up for San Salvador after it had committed terror, Washington was an accessory after the fact. It gave diplomatic support to state terrorism. By training and equipping the Salvadoran security forces in, and for, counterinsurgency warfare, Washington served as an accessory before and during the fact. This may sound like blaming the teacher for what the student does.

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The situation existing in El Salvador in 1980 has now been re-established, complete with massive social injustice and a considerable amount of violence. ARENA won the runoff elections in 1994 and also the 1999 elections. It implemented none of the reforms recommended by the truth commission, nor has it advertised its findings. The government is under the control of ARENA, a party founded by D'Aubuisson, who was supported by the elites, founded many death squads, and was charged by the truth commission with many atrocities, including ordering and planning the assassination of Archbishop Romero. With only 40 percent of the vote, Francisco Flores was victorious in the 1999 election. A strange and contradictory ideological mix and the heir to a cattle ranch, he praises D'Aubuisson, the founder of his party. But he is said to follow a guru who teaches non-violence. The present situation in El Salvador is grim, providing more of the same, perhaps moderated, internal violence without social justice. The future does seem brighter because of the recent electoral gains of the FMLN, now reconstituted as a legitimate political party.

Ik ga er vanuit dat mijn collega’s Frank Westerman en Jeroen Vullings het met mij eens zullen zijn dat de hierboven geciteerde ‘presentatie van de feiten hun choquerende werk doen,’ en dat derhalve de vraag gerechtvaardigd is waarom Westerman zo’n ‘gewetenswroeging’ heeft over het feit dat hij destijds de geterroriseerde bevolking van El Salvador probeerde te helpen? Omdat ik uit ervaring weet dat ik hierop geen antwoord van de betrokkenen krijg, zal ik volgende keer een poging wagen om in kort bestek Westerman’s houding te  verklaren. 


Frank Westerman, een journalist met 'wroeging.'



1 opmerking:

  1. Blijf zitten waar je zit en verroer je niet, hou je adem in maar stik niet.
    Geharde journalisten die rennen op de schaduw van de zweep. Zweep? Schaduw?
    Van wie die schaduw is weten ze vaak niet. Kent u die filmpjes van kleuters die bang zijn van hun eigen schaduw? En zo is het. Wie zwijgt... en anders...

    BeantwoordenVerwijderen