patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, anti-Americanism
is currently the first. The Bush regime uses it to
deceive the United States people while enriching its
corporate buddies. Spreading fear, anxiety, and hatred
under the pretext of fighting terrorism, Bush and
his team tear up the US constitution and pawn the
country's future. The McCarthyite suggestion that
a menace exists called "anti-Americanism"
is a potent weapon in the Bush plutocrats' disinformation
armoury. It makes it much harder for rational criticism
of US government policy to be heard - let alone accepted.
The sleight of hand is to pretend that the regime
installed in the White House represents the United
throughout the Americas know better. After such long
experience of US government aggression, opportunism
and duplicity, maybe they are harder to dupe. As Bolivia
tries to remake itself and the peoples of Venezuela
and Colombia gear up to resist yet more White House
sponsored terrorism, now
may be a good time to remember some United States
citizens who had a very different vision from that
of their government. In Central America thousands
of communities have been victims of terrorist aggression
by the US government or its open support for genocidal
military-dominated regimes in the region. Yet it is
in those places that a more authentic voice of the
United States people has been taken to heart. This
truth counteracts the mindless racism encouraged by
the neo-cons' beloved cop out, "anti-americanism".
assassination of Ben Linder 
Ben Linder was murdered by US government trained and
funded Contra terrorists in 1987 in northern Nicaragua,
he was installing electricity for impoverished rural
communities. At his funeral in Matagalpa, that northern
Nicaraguan city overflowed with mourners for the young
man from Portland, Oregon who came to work for them
and finished by dying for them. Writing about what
was needed in order to resist the US terrorist war
against Nicaragua, Linder wrote once "everything
you can do should be done". So, apart from fixing
up electrical generating plant, he also helped with
vaccination programs, dressing up as a clown to amuse
parents and children waiting in line, riding his unicycle,
exceptional was Ben Linder? Perhaps it was his murder
that made him an icon for those people determined
to show solidarity with Central American victims of
US government aggression. Tens of thousands of US
citizens worked for longer or shorter periods in Central
American countries before and after Ben Linder. The
great majority stayed for brief lengths of time with
poor rural and urban communities in Nicaragua during
the Sandinista revolution. But many others worked
long term on human rights and grass roots community
development throughout the region.
the racist colonialism practiced by their governments
since the interventions in Cuba and the Philippines
during the war with Spain, these United States citizens
shared an authentically American vision. That vision
embraces as equals and as teachers the diverse peoples
of all the Americas. It is the vision of Simon Bolivar
to the sound of the Demajagua bell 
that day when Carlos Manuel de Cespedes declared an
end to slavery in Cuba and called on all free people
to rise up and resist an earlier vicious, corrupt,
people in the United States that vision has travelled
through many diverse filters. But the essential elements
are in common and derive from the ideals that inspired
the French and American revolutions. Successive US
governments have betrayed those ideals around the
world, from Central America to Asia, in Palestine
and now in Venezuela. As heroic Rachel Corrie tragically
found out in Palestine, should US citizens defy their
government's policy and defend the most basic humanitarian
norms, so much the worse for them.
nuns murdered in El Salvador 
1981, a couple of decades before Rachel Corrie was
murdered, the bodies of four women were found in a
shallow grave in a rural district not far from San
Salvador, El Salvador's capital. They had been raped
and shot dead by members of the Salvadoran army on
the orders of senior officers. In the context of the
time, the atrocity would hardly have merited reporting.
But the women were United States citizens. Two were
religious sisters of the New York based Maryknoll
order, Ita Ford and Maureen Clarke. One was an Ursuline
Sister, Dorothy Kazel, the fourth a lay missioner,
Jean Donovan. By virtue of their nationality, the
story did make the news, just - the back page of the
New York Times, to that paper's eternal shame.
four women had helped defend Salvadorans from the
terror unleashed against their own people by the Salvadoran
government with support from the United States administrations
of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. They gave their
lives working alongside vulnerable people and communities
in El Salvador. The murders followed the assassination
in 1980 of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero. The
women's deaths were manipulated by the US government
and its ever-pliant news media. The full facts took
years to emerge. US ambassador to the UN, Jean Kirkpatrick,
falsely accused the women of having supported the
Salvadoran armed opposition, the FMLN. In fact, the
four women were passionate advocates of non-violence,
accompanying the rural villagers they served while
caught up in a violent civil war.
Kirkpatrick's statements on the case of the four women
were to be expected from an unrepetant supporter of
the bloodthirsty Argentinian military dictatorship.
Her successor at the UN was Vernon Walters, former
deputy director of the CIA, co-organiser of the continent
wide terrorist blueprint Plan Condor and promoter
of Ronald Reagan's terrorist war against Nicaragua.
In 1986 Vernon Walters threw in the face of the UN
his government's rejection of the International Court
of Justice verdict convicting the US of terrorism
and Walters' apologetics for mass murder helped John
Negroponte, then US ambassador to Honduras, cover
up his support for the systematic forced disappearances
used to destroy Honduran civilian opposition to the
presence of Contra bases in their country. Thomas
Pickering, US ambassador to El Salvador at the time,
also gave misleading information on local army and
paramilitary murders, probably an essential qualification
for his subsequent posting in 1989 as US ambassador
to the UN, taking over from Vernon Walters.
Kirkpatrick, Vernon Walters, Thomas Pickering, John
Negroponte and other US government representatives
sent clear signals that the local military in El Salvador,
Honduras and Guatemala were to be allowed a free hand
by the United States government to murder tens of
thousands of civilians and anyone who spoke out against
the slaughter. Perhaps the defining climax to the
sickening murder campaign came in 1989 when the Salvadoran
army killed six Jesuit academics and two of their
domestic staff at the University of Central America
in San Salvador. These crimes were made possible because
the United States government consistently tried to
conceal its institutional role in funding, training
and supporting the military and paramilitary perpetrators.
The Iran-Contra scandal was the culmination of that
sustained program of regional deceit.
"Guadelupe" Carney - the dilemma of a socially
committed priest 
with the murderous onslaught of their own governments,
plenty of people in Central America believed the only
practical response was armed resistance. Many others
took the path of non-violent opposition. The tension
between the two responses at a time of widespread
savage violence raised painful moral dilemmas. Someone
whose life epitomised those dilemmas was a US Jesuit
priest called James Carney. Carney was known by his
Honduran parishioners as Padre Guadelupe, after the
Mexican indigenous Virgin Mary.
a World War Two combat veteran, was forcibly disappeared
by the Honduran military in September 1983. Remains
exhumed at a former US-Contra military base in January
this year may have been those of the missing priest.
The discovery came after many years of efforts to
find out how he died from the US authorities by Carney's
family, the Honduran government, relatives of other
Honduran disappeared victims and by some US journalists,
principally the Baltimore Sun in the mid-1990s. The
US government is involved because senior US embassy
personnel may have authorised Carney's murder.
in Honduras not long after the epoch-making Honduran
general strike in 1954, Carney worked for over 20
years in northern Honduras and had taken Honduran
nationality. In 1979 the Honduran government expelled
him for his determined and outspoken support for the
Honduran rural poor. He was especially incensed at
CIA intervention in the internal elections of the
most successful ever agricultural cooperative in Honduras,
Las Isletas, subsequently sold to the Standard Fruit
Nicaragua, he met a group of other Honduran exiles
determined to return home and start a campaign of
armed resistance to the military presence in their
country of the Nicaraguan Contra backed by the United
States army. Carney felt he had no choice but to accompany
them as their chaplain. Twenty years ago, he resigned
from the Jesuit order and went back to the country
he loved carrying his Bible in his pack.
armed group crossed into Honduras, reaching the remote
Patuca district in Olancho. Right then the United
States army was on a series of manoeuvres with the
Honduran army known as Big Pine. Following desertions,
the small guerilla column was located. Of its 93 members,
over 70 were killed. Most were captured, interrogated
under torture and then murdered.
and cover up
that was James Carney's fate too. As Carney's friend
Fr. Joe Mulligan is quoted as saying, "If James
Carney was captured by Honduran troops, before killing
him I think the Honduran officials would have looked
for a wink or a nod of approval from someone in the
U.S. government or from the CIA." That
suspicion is supported by the January 1998 report
of the Honduran government's Human Rights Commission.
The Commission, under Leo Valladares, reported in
detail on its efforts to obtain information from various
offices of the United States government.
March and August of 1997, after years of prevarication
and disingenuous manoeuvring, US government officials
made available some of the documentation. Over 50%
of it was blacked out. Valladares and his team found
themselves examining page after page of erasures.
The insulting farce Valladares was subjected to confirms
the US government and John Negroponte have plenty
to hide. Honduran government requests for information
from the Argentinian government, whose military trained
the Contra in Honduras, also drew a blank.
report by Valladares records various accounts by witnesses
indicating the presence of US army and CIA personnel
during Carney's capture and interrogation. It is inconceivable
that Carney would have been murdered without the knowledge
of senior embassy officials back in the Honduran capital
Tegucigalpa. No wonder so much of the evidence was
erased and put beyond perusal.
high in the embassy hierarchy does the cover up reach?
Given the circumstances of the time, suspicion points
firmly to John Negroponte himself. Valladares' report
cites testimony from a witness taken seriously by
the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in a test
case judgement in 1989 condemning the Honduran government
for four crimes of forced disappearance. The witness,
a member of the Battalion 3-16 death squad, alleged
that General Alvarez Martinez, then head of the Honduran
armed forces, personally interrogated James Carney.
and Negroponte worked closely together through 1982
and 1983 consolidating a national security state in
Honduras so as to provide a secure base for the Contra
war against Nicaragua. If the information in Valladares
report is true, Negroponte certainly was aware that
Carney had been captured. Did he turn a blind eye
while a United States citizen was tortured and murdered?
Or did he actually authorize it?
really represents the United States?
this history, it is fitting that the Bush regime's
ambassador to the UN should be John Negroponte. Few
are better qualified than he to dissemble and justify
current policies of murder, terror and torture by
the current US government and its proxies around the
world. Apart from the many thousands of murdered civilians
in Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of innocent immigrants
are in detention in the US itself, victims of racist
propaganda and political expediency. The inmates of
Guantanamo Camp X-Ray suffer a worse fate, along with
an unknown number of detainees in US bases in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Diego Garcia and elsewhere.
now, few expect Bush regime representatives to be
anything but morally dishonest and intellectually
shifty. It is appropriate that the US government rejects
the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court
given the record of so many of its functionaries.
The recent rebuke by the International Red Cross for
US government treatment of the prisoners in Guantanamo
was timely and salutary. The Bush regime is practically
an international pariah.
the United States people are not their government.
They have offered repeated examples from which everyone
can take heart. Innumerable individuals like Ita Ford,
Maureen Clarke, Dorothy Kazel, Jean Donovan and James
Carney have already helped build another America,
influenced by the Unuted States' labor traditions,
civil rights history and anti-war movements. Millions
of United States citizens actively continue building
a vision that rejects exploitation and intimidation
masquerading as "free trade" and dismisses
with contempt support for murderous military and paramilitary
forces under cover of false campaigns against drugs
new generation is defending the authentic American
ideals exemplified often enough from Chicago and La
Demajagua to present day Chiapas and Bolivia. It is
unlikely that Ben Linder and Rachel Corrie will be
the last United States citizens to give their lives
out of goodness for the sake of a better world. Their
enduring presence and boundless charity renders alien
and lilliputian the dysfunctional, psychotic regime
John Negroponte represents at the UN.
Solo ia an activist based in Central America.
US terrorism against Venezuela
- 'Chavez Accuses CIA as Bombings Rock Venezuela'
Agence France-Presse.Saturday 11 October 2003 (in
-'Waiting for a response to U.S.-based terrorists'
by Dozthor Zurlent, October 13, 2003 www.yellowtimes.org
Ben Linder among many sites:
3. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes owned a sugar
plantation at La Demajagua near the town of Manzanillo
in Cuba's south east. On October 10th in 1868, he
rang the sugar mill's bell and assembled his slaves.
Céspedes announced he was freeing them, and
called on them to join him in a fight to win Cuba's
independence from Spain. The bell subsequently became
a symbol of defiance to the US-dominated Batista
4. For the case of the four murdered US women religious:-
- Chapter Two of "Manufacturing Consent"
by Edward S. Herman & Noam Chomsky. Pantheon
- Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (www.lchr.org/lac/nuns/nuns.htm)
- "WHO IS THOMAS PICKERING?", Democracy
NOW!, July 13, 1998 (www.pacifica.org)
- United States Institute of Peace Library. Item:-
"UN Security Council, Annex, From Madness to
Hope: the 12-year war in El Salvaldor: Report of
the Commission on the Truth for El Salvador, S/25500,
1993, 62-75." (www.usip.org)
For James Carney:-
- EN BUSQUEDA DE LA VERDAD QUE SE NOS OCULTA. Un
informe preliminar del Comisionado Nacional de los
Derechos Humanos sobre el Proceso de Desclasificación.
Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza and Susan C. Peacock. January
- "Friends reflect on life of radical priest
who disappeared 20 years ago" Shawnee News
Star February 8th 2003 (www.news-star.com)
- "EMBASSY VIGIL FOR FATHER CARNEY", EPICA
News Release. Tegucigalpa, Honduras Dec. 3, 1997
"U.S. embassy throws out Catholics demanding
truth about Carney", Paul Jeffrey. National
Catholic Reporter. November 3rd 1997
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