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John Dimitri Negroponte: From Man Behind Central American Death Squads To Emperor Of Iraq
by sources
Monday Apr 19th, 2004 12:49 PM
1981-1985 US ambassador to Honduras ... 2001-2004 US ambassador to the United Nations ...2004-US ambassador to Iraq (and replacement to Paul Bremer as American in charge of US actions in the country)
negroponte.jpg
April 19 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said he will nominate John D. Negroponte, the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations, as ambassador to Iraq when sovereignty is turned over to a Baghdad-based government on June 30.
...
The administration has said the embassy in Iraq will be its largest, employing about 3,000 people.
``He'll hold the title of ambassador but he's really being appointed de facto governor-general of Iraq because the U.S. is going to retain a lot of authority,'' said Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for foreign policy and defense at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based policy research organization.

http://quote.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=azlh317Qc5j0&refer=top_world_news

The Washington Post has a fluff piece on Negroponte but
after pointing out that "Negroponte will head the largest embassy established by any nation, with a staff of at least 3,000 Americans and Iraqis", it goes on to mention that "he doesn't have any real experience in the area and doesn't speak Arabic"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A25448-2004Apr19.html

What are Negroponte's qualifications?

------
From 1981 to 1985 Negroponte was US ambassador to Honduras. During his tenure, he oversaw the growth of military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77.4 million a year. According to The New York Times, Negroponte was responsible for "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua." Critics say that during his ambassadorship, human rights violations in Honduras became systematic.
Negroponte supervised the creation of the El Aguacate air base, where the US trained Nicaraguan Contras and which critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s. In August 2001, excavations at the base discovered 185 corpses, including two Americans, who are thought to have been killed and buried at the site.
Records also show that a special intelligence unit (i.e. a fascist death squad) of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, trained by the CIA and Argentine military, kidnaped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, including US missionaries. Critics charge that Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with the Honduran military while lying to Congress.
In May 1982, a nun, Sister Laetitia Bordes, who had worked for ten years in El Salvador, went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras to investigate the whereabouts of thirty Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing. But in a 1996 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Negroponte's predecessor, Jack Binns, said that a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women Bordes had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, and then later thrown out of helicopters alive.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Negroponte

The New York Times credits John Negroponte with "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua" during his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 and 1985. He oversaw the growth of military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77.4 million a year. In early 1984, two U.S. mercenaries, Thomas Posey and Dana Parker, contacted Negroponte, stating they wanted to supply arms to the Contra army after the U.S. Congress had banned governmental add. Documents show that Negroponte connected the two with a contact in the Honduran military. The operation was exposed nine months later, at which point the Reagan administration denied any U.S. government involvement, despite Negroponte’s contact earlier that year. Other documents uncovered a scheme of Negroponte and then-Vice President George Bush to funnel Contra aid money through the Honduran government.
In addition to his work with the Nicaraguan Contra army, Negroponte helped conceal from Congress the murder, kidnapping and torture abuses of a CIA-equipped and -trained Honduran military unit, Battalion 3-16. No mention of these human rights violations ever appeared in State Department Human Rights reports for Honduras. The Baltimore Sun reports that Efrain Diaz Arrivillaga, then a delegate in the Honduran Congress and a voice of dissent, told the Sun that he complained to Negroponte on numerous occasions about the Honduran military’s human rights abuses. Rick Chidester, a junior embassy official under Negroponte, reported to the Sun that he was forced to omit an exhaustive gathering of human rights violations from his 1982 State Department report. Sister Laetitia Bordes went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras in May 1982 to investigate the whereabouts of 32 Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop Oscar Romero’s assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing, but in 1996, Negroponte’s predecessor Jack Binns reported that the women had been captured, tortured, and then crammed into helicopters from which they were tossed to their deaths.
According to the Los Angeles Times, shortly after Negroponte’s nomination was decided, the U.S. government revoked the visa of General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, who was Honduras’ deputy ambassador to the UN. General Discua was the commander of the Battalion during Negroponte’s tenure as ambassador. He has publicly claimed to have information linking Negroponte with the battalion’s activities. His testimony would be invaluable in illuminating Negroponte’s collusion with Honduran opponents on Capitol Hill. In 1994, the Honduran Human Rights Commission charged Negroponte personally with several human rights abuses.
On August 27, 1997, CIA Inspector General Frederick P. Hitz released a 211-page classified report entitled "Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980s." This report was partly declassified on October 22, 1998, in response to persistent demands by the Honduran human rights ombudsman. You can read parts of the document on the National Security Archives website( http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/latin_america/honduras/ ). Only senators and their staff who have security clearance can read the report in its entirety. It is absolutely critical that every senator read and consider the entire report before approving Negroponte’s nomination. Negroponte is highly respected in diplomatic circles as "a man who speaks five languages but knows when to keep silent." Due to his urbane temperament and broad support in the professional diplomatic field, it will be very tempting for senators to whisk his nomination through.
http://www.maryknoll.org/GLOBAL/ALERTS/no_negroponte.htm

Eyewitness accounts have allowed us, with the passage of time, to understand the horrors that occurred in Honduras because of the direct actions of the Reagan administration. Eyewitness accounts tell us what Negroponte and Abrams surely knew at the time.
One such eyewitness is Sister Laetitia Bordes, a nun who worked in Central America during the 1980s and the 1990s. She has written a book entitled Our Hearts Were Broken. Sister Bordes describes Honduras and Ambassador Negroponte in words we all need to hear:
"My mind went back to May 1982 and I saw myself facing Negroponte in his office at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. I had gone to Honduras on a fact-finding delegation. We were looking for answers. Thirty-two women had fled the death squads of El Salvador after the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980 to take refuge in Honduras. One of them had been Romero's secretary.
"Some months after their arrival, these women were forcibly taken from their living quarters in Tegucigalpa, pushed into a van and disappeared. Our delegation was in Honduras to find out what had happened to these women. John Negroponte listened to us as we exposed the facts. There had been eyewitnesses to the capture and we were well-read on the documentation that previous delegations had gathered.
"Negroponte denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of these women. He insisted that the U.S. Embassy did not interfere in the affairs of the Honduran government and it would be to our advantage to discuss the matter with the latter.
"Facts, however, reveal quite the contrary. During Negroponte's tenure, U.S. military aid to Honduras grew from $4 million to $77.4 million; the U.S. launched a covert war against Nicaragua and mined its harbors, and the U.S. trained Honduran military to support the Contras.
"John Negroponte worked closely with General Alvarez, Chief of the Armed Forces in Honduras, to enable the training of Honduran soldiers in psychological warfare, sabotage, and many types of human rights violations, including torture and kidnapping. Honduran and Salvadoran military were sent to the School of the Americas to receive training in counter-insurgency directed against people of their own country.
"The CIA created the infamous Honduran Intelligence Battalion 3-16 that was responsible for the murder of many Sandinistas. General Luis Alonso Discua Elvir, a graduate of the School of the Americas, was a founder and commander of Battalion 3-16.
In 1982, the U.S. negotiated access to airfields in Honduras and established a regional military training center for Central American forces, principally directed at improving fighting forces of the Salvadoran military.
"In 1994, the Honduran Human Rights Commission outlined the torture and disappearance of at least 184 political opponents. It also specifically accused John Negroponte of a number of human rights violations. Yet, back in his office that day in 1982, John Negroponte assured us that he had no idea what had happened to the women we were looking for.
"I had to wait 13 years to find out. In an interview with The Baltimore Sun in 1996, Jack Binns, Negroponte's predecessor as U.S. ambassador in Honduras, told how a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women we had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, before being placed in helicopters of the Salvadoran military. After takeoff from the airport in Tegucigalpa, the victims were thrown out of the helicopters. Four children had been captured with the women.
"They were turned over to the Salvadoran military and their whereabouts are unknown. Binns told The Baltimore Sun that the North American authorities were well aware of what had happened and that it was a grave violation of human rights. But it was seen as part of Ronald Reagan's counterinsurgency policy."
There are still many threads from Iran-contra waving in the wind. To be sure, a vital area of interest is the sudden and irreversible incapacitation of CIA Head William Casey. Casey knew where the bodies were buried, and who knew what, and when. But Casey was delivered insensate to his Maker without ever having "The Questions" put to him under oath.
Someday, perhaps, we will know the whole ugly truth. We will finally understand what Reagan meant to America.
http://www.pww.org/past-weeks-2001/We%20must%20remember%20Negroponte.htm

See Also
Honduras Documentation Project
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/latin_america/honduras/

----

Negroponte either ignored or took part in some of the US's worst human rights violations of the Cold War. He was an ambassador to a nation propped up by US military support with no legitimacy among the people. It should be of no surprise that in Bush's eyes this makes him the perfect choice for the job of ambassador to Iraq.
§Bush Appoints Negroponte Iraq Ambassador
by Democracy New (repost) Tuesday Apr 20th, 2004 7:59 AM
George Bush has appointed a diplomat infamous for supporting right-wing death squads in Central America during the 1980s to succeed Paul Bremer as the top US official in Iraq. UN Ambassador John Negroponte is set to take over what will be the largest US embassy in the world, that in Baghdad.
Negroponte currently serves as US ambassador to the United Nations. But it is his reputation as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 that earned him a reputation for supporting widespread human rights abuses and campaigns of terror. As ambassador to Honduras, Negroponte played a key role in US aid to the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and shoring up the brutal military dictatorship of General Gustavo Alvarez Martínez in Honduras. During his term as ambassador there, diplomats alleged that the embassy’s annual human rights reports made Honduras sound more like Norway than Argentina.

According to a four-part series in the Baltimore Sun, in 1982 alone the Honduran press ran 318 stories of murders and kidnappings by the Honduran military. In a 1995 series, Sun reporters Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson detailed the activities of a secret CIA-trained Honduran army unit, Battalion 316, that used "shock and suffocation devices in interrogations. Prisoners often were kept naked and, when no longer useful, killed and buried in unmarked graves." In 1994, Honduras's National Commission for the Protection of Human Rights reported that it was officially admitted that 179 civilians were still missing.

Former official Rick Chidester, who served under Negroponte, says he was ordered to remove all mention of torture and executions from the draft of his 1982 report on the human rights situation in Honduras. During Negroponte's tenure, US military aid to Honduras skyrocketed from $3.9 million to over $77 million. Much of this went to ensure the Honduran army's loyalty in the battle against popular movements throughout Central America.

Negroponte’s nomination for the UN post he currently holds was confirmed by the Senate in September 2001, but that confirmation didn’t come easily. It was delayed a half-year mostly because of criticism of his record in Central America. Negroponte was questioned by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on whether he had acquiesced to human rights abuses by Honduran death squads funded and partly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency. Negroponte testified that he did not believe the abuses were part of a deliberate Honduran government policy. “To this day,” he said, “I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras.”

Concern over his nomination was coupled with Bush's decision to downgrade the United Nations ambassadorship position by depriving it of Cabinet rank. This decision raised concerns that Bush would be hostile to the UN. If confirmed by the Senate, Negroponte will head a US embassy in Baghdad that will be temporarily housed in a palace that belonged to Saddam Hussein. At a White House ceremony to announce the appointment, President Bush praised Negroponte as “a man of enormous experience and skill” who has “done a really good job of speaking for the United States to the world about our intentions to spread freedom and peace.”

Listen To Audio
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/20/1411203
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Negroponte Was Part Of Scandal Gary Web Was Investigating??Monday Dec 13th, 2004 9:57 AM
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