Wall Street Journal Upholds Rios Montt, Denies Crimes against Humanity (see Guatemala annuls Rios Montt’s genocide conviction, on BBCnews, May 21, 2013) – Published on Global Research.ca, by Stephen Lendman, May 21, 2013.
History reinventors support despots. Social democrats are vilified. Crimes of war, against humanity and genocide are sanitized. They’re whitewashed. They disappear in plain sight. Washington tolerates no independent governments. Left of center democratic ones are most vulnerable.
In 1953, the CIA’s first coup deposed Iran’s Mohammad Mosaddegh. At the time, The New York Times called him “the most popular politician in the country.” Reza Shah Pahlavi replaced him. A generation-long reign of terror followed.
In 1954, Washington ousted Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz Guzman. In 1952, Truman authorized CIA action. Eisenhower followed through.
Paramilitary subversion and psychological warfare forced him out. Carlos Castillo Armas replaced him. Death squad justice followed. So did decades of genocide. More on that below.
On May 10, a three-judge Guatemalan panel found former dictator/General Efrain Rios Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
From March 23, 1982 – August 8, 1983, he was Guatemala’s president. He seized power the old-fashioned way. Coup d’etat force installed him.
Less than 17 months later, Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores replaced him. He did it the same way. In 2003 presidential elections, Montt ran unsuccessfully. In 2007, he returned to public office in Congress.
Until January 14, 2012, he remained immune from prosecution. Eight days later, he was indicted for genocide and crimes against humanity. His record is well documented. It’s indisputable. More on that below.
He’s now aged 86. Judge Yasmin Barrios said “(w)e are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic groups” … //
… Massacres were politically motivated. “Believing that the ends justified everything, the military and state security forces blindly pursued the anti-Communist struggle, without respect for any legal principles or the most elemental ethical and religious values, and in this way completely lost any semblance of human morals.”
The worst atrocities occurred on Montt’s watch. In 1982, he launched Operation Sofia. Military and security forces committed hundreds of massacres.
Around 600 Mayan villages were destroyed. Systematic genocide was policy. During his short tenure, around 70,000 civilians were murdered or disappeared. Hundreds of thousands were internally displaced.
Over half of those slaughtered were in El Quiche. Ixil Mayans lost from 70 – 90% of their villages. Washington provided generous support. Reagan was president. General Alexander Haig was Secretary of State.
From 1981 – 1983, International/European Law Professor Emeritus Christian Tomuschat called Guatemalan policy “acts of genocide against groups of the Mayan people.”
For over two decades, Washington supported it. “Up until the mid-1980s, there was strong pressure from the US government and US companies to maintain the country’s archaic and unjust economic structure,” he said.
US administrations knew about genocide, torture and other atrocities. They encouraged them.
During the 1960s, Washington equipped and trained Guatemalan security forces. Declassified US intelligence documents revealed CIA and Pentagon involvement. Montt was trained at the School of the Americas (SOA).
Instruction then and now includes ways to kill, maim, torture, oppress, exterminate poor and indigenous people, overthrow democratically elected governments, assassinate targeted leaders, suppress popular resistance, and solidify hard-right rule cooperatively with Washington.
Throughout the 1980s, close US-Guatemalan ties remained. Scorched earth dirty war targeted indigenous Mayan, resistance guerrillas, and suspected allies.
The region was embroiled in conflict. Death squad justice was policy. Washington-backed Contras battled Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. El Salvadoran fascists were supported.
Throughout the decade, weapons, munitions, training, and destabilizing covert operations supported despots over freedom. Resistance fighters and indigenous populations were targeted.
Guatemala’s conflict lasted longest. Washington fueled and supported it. All US administrations have blood on their hands. It reflects imperialism’s dark side.
State-sponsored terror is policy. It’s war without mercy. It’s longstanding. It rages globally. It targets humanity. It takes no prisoners.
(Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached here. His new book is titled Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity. Visit his blog site at SteveLendmanBlog. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening).
Reinventing Guatemalan History, on Daily Censored, May 20, 2013.
Stephen Lendman: Western Hypocrisy on Iran’s Nuclear Rights, on Progressive Radio Network, June 22, 2012;
Stephen Lendman, USA, on World People’s Blog;