Inter Press Network

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Looking for an Iraq precedent? Try Honduras


The report last week that Iraq's recently installed prime minister, Iyad Allawi, was setting up a new security service, the General Security Directorate, to "annihilate" terrorists, rang a bell. It was a very loud bell -- and it needed to be, in order to be heard over all the other alarms competing for attention.

Allawi's new initiative followed on the heels of his earlier announcement of granting himself emergency powers, such as banning groups considered seditious, imposing curfews and detaining anyone he chooses.

What Allawi's new measures brought to mind was the career of John Negroponte, the diplomat who replaced Paul Bremer as our man in Baghdad.

Both Bremer and Negroponte have had Henry Kissinger in their backgrounds -- in Negroponte's case, during his early service in Vietnam, which included time at the Paris Peace talks. Negroponte shows up wherever America is intervening: After Vietnam, it was to Central America, most notably an ambassadorship in Honduras.

And it is in Negroponte's time there that Iraq's new security service has its notorious precedent. The chief of the Honduran national police force, Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, ran an infamous death squad, Battalion 316. Alvarez and Negroponte were great buddies, many claim. Negroponte's job was to make sure Honduras was a stable supply depot for the Reagan administration's support of the contras, the CIA-backed movement opposing the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

Negroponte became the target of a number of human rights groups back then but, unlike, say, Oliver North, Negroponte managed to stay afloat in the world of diplomacy. He did so well the Reagan administration presented him with an award, the Legion of Merit.

Negroponte told the Washington Post recently he was proud of his service in Honduras. "It was certainly my job to be concerned with the Honduran march toward democracy'' -- from being a ''military government to a civilian government.'' Sound familiar?

Iraq's new prime minister, like Negroponte, is well connected to the CIA, and Allawi's new policies are following a script Negroponte could have written. Iraq isn't a small country in Central America, but our role in Iraq and our presence there is duplicating our policies in Central America. And if you think Central America is an American success story, you can have hopes for Iraq.

Negroponte is yet another member of the Bush administration with a long history with the Bush family and -- like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld -- Negroponte's familiarity is more with the father than the son. Negroponte became the U.S. representative to the United Nations a week after 9/11, which muted the criticism to his appointment. The Bushes do not like to go very far afield when they do their most sensitive business -- be it arms for hostages in the Iran-contra case, or overseeing Iraq's transition from a military government headed now by Allawi to its ''march toward democracy.''

Negroponte's specialty in Honduras was setting one rebel group against another, getting them to eliminate one another. Whether he can do that on a much larger scale in Iraq -- setting tribe against tribe, sect against sect -- remains to be seen.

But, if Prime Minister Allawi, our former CIA asset, wants to know how to turn his General Security Directorate into an effective death squad, he knows where to go for advice and information. But Negroponte still claims ignorance about all that, just as Ken Lay claims he didn't know anything about what was going on at Enron, despite being praised and amply rewarded for his time there running it.

First published in the Chicago Sun-Times on July 25, 2004


Official on Iran's nuclear policy


Tehran, Aug 3 - A top security official said here on Monday that Iran will never accept 'discriminatory' implementation of international accords, stressing that this could provide a pretext to pressure Iran on similar issues in the future.

"If we budge on this issue, it will result in a new behavior for other accords, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which will not be acceptable to us," said Hossein Mousavian, the chairman of foreign policy committee of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).

"We will not let them tell Iran to sign an accord but that Iran can not benefit from some articles of that accord."

Mousavian said signing an accord must in turn guarantee its full benefits. "The Islamic Republic will accept both the good and bad aspects of an accord. This is a new strategic policy for continuing talks on Iran's nuclear energy activities," he added.

The SNSC official said Iran is currently accused of resisting international pressure on its nuclear energy plans to maintain uraniume enrichment plans and the recycling of nuclear fuel.

"However, we are saying that we will do anything to win the international confidence," Mousavian said.

"Since Iran is a member of various treaties, including the NPT, it is trying to use the peaceful technology of all treaties. Iran will at the same time support those treaties and strive to make the world free of weapons of mass destruction."

Mousavian said avoiding tensions and building confidence form the cornerstones of Iran's nuclear policy.

"Iran could have rejected all the resolutions of the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from the very beginning and thus enter a serious challenge. But this is not acceptable to the Iranian people nor the officials," he said.

"Our people want tranquility and stability and have no interest in tensions. They want progress and economic welfare."

Mousavian recalled Iran's efforts to accept to sign the NPT Additional Protocol, to voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment plans and to allow IAEA inspectors visit its nuclear sites.

He added that the Iranian people can now judge on Iran's performance toward the IAEA by considering those measures.

"If the world fails to recognize Iran's nuclear policy and tries to deprive Iran of its rights, and if Iranian officials in response decide to change that policy, the Iranian people will know that the establishment is acting to defend their rights," the SNSC official said.

Mousavian said Iran understands world's concerns regarding its nuclear energy plans, stressing that the only way to remove those concerns is building confidence.

"Building confidence needs time. All should adopt patience, tolerance and wisdom to pass this stage," he said.

"We can not deny that there are concerns. We want to use uranium enrichment and recycling of nuclear fuel. At the same time, we are ready to fully assure the international community that the nuclear fuel recycling plans will have no deviation toward the production of nuclear bombs."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mousavian said the West used to voice opposition against Iran's nuclear energy plans before the signing of Tehran Declaration last October.

He added Iran's determination to persist of its positions after signing the declaration has led to making the West recognize Iran's right to develop a nuclear project.

Iraqi Muslims Did Not Blow Up Christian Churches

By Sam Hamod

[At this point, there is no telling what the U.S. or the Israeli Mossad will do in Iraq in order to foment civil war among the Iraqis and to justify the continuation of an American occupation in Iraq]

Having discussed the matter in detail with other experts on the Middle East, Christianity in Iraq and on Islam in Iraq, we have all concluded this is not the work of any Muslim group. There has never been any animosity between the Christian and Muslim communities in Iraq, in fact, they have stood toe-to-toe against the American occupation and they have resisted efforts by the Israeli office in Baghdad to become allied with Israel.

With these matters in mind, it appears as if this new "attack on the Christian churches is just another attempt either by the American CIA or its operatives, or the Mossad of Israel, to paint Islam with terrorism and to split the Muslim and Christian communities in Iraq. They tried to do the same thing in Palestine, but the Palestinians wouldn't buy it. As you may remember, the Israelis shelled the holy churches of the Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Both events were condemned by Christian and Muslim alike. Even today in Iraq, all Iraqis interviewed said they knew no Iraqi or Muslim would do such a thing. But, in America, where we are fed the news as it is planned by Bush and by Zionist influence, the story plays big to the evangelical group and to Christians who believe the U.S. propaganda media.

This is another sad chapter in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Since the early days of the war, the Iraqis complained about the treatment of prisoners taken by the Americans. Unfortunately, no one would listen to the Iraqis or those of us who reported these atrocities. You all know the truth by now, how we were lied to by our government and by the U.S. media; so much for truth and "embedding." So, once again, we have to report to you, this is just another American cover-up to create more chaos in Iraq, just as America did in Viet Nam to keep us in that war, and to justify more attacks on Muslims groups in Iraq. This will also help justify the continuing immoral and unjust shelling of Fallujah to allegedly kill Zarqawi. The townspeople keep saying, "There is no Zarqawi here, and there never was ;yet our U.S. military keeps lying in order to justify the bombings of civilians in order to punish the Fallujahns for having kept the American forces out of their city.!

At this point, there is no telling what the U.S. or the Israeli Mossad will do in Iraq in order to foment civil war among the Iraqis and to justify the continuation of an American occupation in Iraq. Some of you may remember that JFK felt he had to go into Viet Nam in order to protect the Christian Catholic leadership in the south. We have a replay of this today in Iraq, with this "news."

As for me, I've just about given up on believing anything the Bush administration or the major American media tells us; they've lied to us too often. We think this is just another self-serving lie by the Bush or Mossad team.
Sam Hamod is a former advisor to the US State Department and an expert on the Middle East; he is also the former founder and editor of 3rd World News in Washington, DC.
He may be reached at

Those who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never was and
never will be --Thomas Jefferson

...most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all.

--Michael Rivera,