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Ambassador to Death Squads

Who is John Negroponte?

by GHALI HASSAN

The White House has appointed Mr. John Dimitris Negroponte to be United States ambassador to Iraq. He will preside over the largest embassy in the world, and housed in the Republic Palace (misleadingly named Saddam’s Palace by the U.S. occupation). He will be protected by high concrete walls, barbed wires and more than 150,000 occupation force, including several thousands of foreign mercenaries armed to the teeth with the most violent tools. Mr. Negroponte is Greek-American diplomat. He is currently leading the diplomatic war against the people of Iraq as the U.S. envoy at the United Nations (UN) in New York. Negroponte is Jewish. A friend in Spain expressed his deep concern to me recently: " to appoint a Jew as ambassador to the Arab country that has been devastated because of the will of a cabal of Jewish neocons headed by Wolfowitz ­ Bush is just an accessory -, is like trying to put off a fire using buckets of gasoline".

Mr. Negroponte has served as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985; a period during which the U.S. military aid to Honduras grew from $5 million to nearly $100 million, and more than $200 million in economic aid, making Honduras the largest aid recipient in the region. Honduras was the launching pad from which the Reagan administration runs its violent "war on terror" in Central American. The U.S-backed atrocities and terror were condemned by the International World Court in the Hague (1). Like most of his colleagues in the Bush administration, Mr. Negroponte is a "recycled reaganites".

At the time Mr. Negroponte was in Honduras, Honduras was a military dictatorship. Kidnapping, rape, torture and executions of dissidents was rampant. The military top and middle ranks were U.S-trained at the School of the Americas (SOA), the Harvard version of the CIA, based in Fort Benning, Georgia. According to Human Rights Watch, graduates of the SOA are responsible for the worst human rights abuses and torture of dissidents in Latin America. Some of its 60,000 graduates are notorious Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia and Gustavo Álvarez Martínez, Honduras security police chief and later Honduran top military commander.

In Honduras the army intelligence unit, Battalion 3-16, which was involved in kidnappings, rape, torture and killing of suspected dissidents. In 1995 Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson of The Baltimore Sun unearthed massive and substantiated evidence from various sources pointing the finger at Mr. Negroponte knowledge of the crimes. The reporters also found that hundreds of Hondurans "were kidnapped, tortured and killed in the 1980s by a secret army unit trained and supported by the CIA"(2). Reliable evidence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Honduras alleged that Negroponte oversaw the expansion of U.S training camp and military base on Honduran territory, where US-trained Contras terrorists, and where the military secretly detained, tortured and executed Honduran suspected dissidents.

During his years in Honduras, Negroponte acquired a reputation, justified, as an old-fashioned imperialist, and devoted to Realpolitik (3). Mr. Negroponte will bring to Iraq his version of "democracy" à la Latin America, where the people vote for one of two candidates every half decade, in which civilian leaders have to obey U.S-controlled militaries or face dismissal by military force. Mr. Negroponte will find the Iraqi soil fertile for his version of democracy and human rights. The U.S. administration turn blind eye to violations of human rights by their own troops and mercenaries. Nazi’s methods of torture, sexual abuses and murder of Iraqi prisoners by the racist soldiers of the occupying forces are in use immediately after the invasion and occupation of the Iraq.

The occupying powers also ignores the criminal activities of four militia thugs, which according to exile Iraqis have murdered many Iraqi academics and intellectuals. The Iraqi-born novelist and artist Haifa Zangana wrote in the Guardian of London: "the peshmergas of the two Kurdish parties; the Badr brigade of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq; Ahmed Chalabi’s troops; and the ex-Ba’athist Mukhabarats under Iyad Alawi’s national accord. These militias are run by members of the IGC and no one can touch them"(4). The occupying powers have not put an end to these violent crimes.

Recently, Mr. Negroponte talked about: "real dialogue between our military commanders, the new Iraqi government and, I think, the United States mission as well". He said: "the American military is going to have the freedom to act in their self-defence, and they are going to be free to operate in Iraq as they best see fit". Negroponte stint at the UN was to shield Israel crimes against the Palestinians, and to coerce smaller nations at the Security Council exercising the threat of U.S. power.

Negroponte diplomatic responsibilities were appalling. Democracy and human rights are not on Negroponte preferred menu. Negroponte will be serving the interests of U.S. tyranny and U.S. Corporations in Iraq. Negroponte will bring to Iraq the economic disasters inflicted on the people of Latin America by the U.S. and U.S-backed corporations. Negroponte is not suitable to serve in the current political environment of Iraq.

[1]. Noam Chomsky, Terror and Just Response, www.chomsky.info/articles/20020702.

[2]. Gary Cohn & Ginger Thompson, Former envoy to Honduras says he did what he could, The Baltimore Sun, December 15, 1995.

[3]. Stephen Kinzer, Our Man in Honduras, The New York Review of Books, 48(14), September 2001.

[4]. Haifa Zangana, The Enemy within, The Guardian, 10 April 2004.

GHALI HASSAN is in the Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia. Hassan@exchange.curtin.edu.au