George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Information

Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

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Old Nazis and the New Right: The Republican Party and Fascists
by Russ Bellant*
Winter 1990

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It is May 17, 1985: Ronald Reagan has been back in the nation's capital less than two weeks after his much criticized trip to the Bitburg cemetery in West Germany. Now, floodlights and television cameras that are part of a President's entourage are waiting at the Shoreham Hotel, as are 400 luncheon guests.

Ronald Reagan had recently characterized the Nazi Waffen SS as "victims" and these comments held special meaning for some of his afternoon luncheon guests. Although it was a Republican Party affair, it was not the usual GOP set, but a special ethnic outreach unit, the National Republican Heritage Groups (Nationalities) Council (RHGC).

The RHGC is an umbrella for various ethnic Republican clubs and operates under the auspices of the Republican National Committee. It has a special type of outreach and appears to have consciously recruited some of its members - and some of its leaders-from an Eastern European emigre network which includes anti-Semites, racists, authoritarians, and fascists, including sympathizers and collaborators of Hitler's Third Reich, former Nazis, and even possible war criminals. The persons in this network are a part of the radical right faction of the ethnic communities they claim to represent.

These anti-democratic and racialist components of the RHGC use anticommunist sentiments as a cover for their views while they operate as a defacto emigre fascist network within the Republican Party. Some of the unsavory personalities who were present in that 1985 luncheon audience would later join the 1988 election campaign of President George Bush.

This fascist network within the Republican Party represents a small but significant element of the coalition which brought Ronald Reagan into the White House. It is from this network that the George Bush presidential campaign assembled its ethnic outreach unit in 1988 - a unit that saw eight resignations by persons charged with anti-Semitism, racism, and even Nazi collaboration.

Axis Allies and Apologists

This network organizes support for its ideological agenda through national and international coalitions of like-minded constituencies which often work with other pro-fascist forces. This broader coalition ranges from Axis allies and their apologists to friends and allies of contemporary dictatorships and authoritarian regimes.

In the case of the Republican Heritage Groups Council, the nature of this network can be illustrated by briefly reviewing the backgrounds of some of the past and current leadership:

• Laszlo Pasztor: The founding chair and a key figure in the Council, Pasztor began his political career in a Hungarian pro-Nazi party and served in Berlin at the end of World War II. He continues to be involved in ultra-rightist groups and fascist networks while working with the GOP.

• Radi Slavoff: The RHGC's executive director is a member of a Bulgarian fascist group and leader of the Bulgarian GOP unit of the Council. He was able to get the leader of his Bulgarian nationalist group an invitation to the White House even though that leader was being investigated for concealing alleged World War II war crimes. He is also active in other emigre fascist groups.

• Nicolas Nazarenko: A former World War II officer in the German SS Cossack Division, Nazarenko heads the Cossack GOP unit of the Republican Heritage Groups Council and has declared that Jews are his "ideological enemy." He is still active with pro-Nazi elements in the U.S.

• Florian Galdau: He is a close associate and defender of Valerian Trifa - the Romanian archbishop prosecuted for concealing his involvement in war crimes of the pro-Nazi Romanian Iron Guard. Charged by former Iron Guardists and others with being the East Coast recruiter for the Iron Guard in the U.S., Galdau heads the Romanian Republican unit of the RHGC.

• Philip A. Guarino: He is a honorary American member of the conspiratorial P-2 Masonic Lodge of Italy, which plotted in the early 1970s to overthrow the Italian government in order to install a dictatorship. Guarino, an Italian Heritage Council member and Republican National Committee advisor, offered aid to those P-2 members being investigated.

• Anna Chennault: The newly-elected Republican Heritage Groups Council chairperson and fonder of the Chinese Republican affiliate, which for years has been closely linked to the authoritarian Taiwan regime.

The founding chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council was Laszlo Pasztor, an activist in various Hungarian rightist and Nazi-linked groups.


The names of all but one of the persons listed above appeared on the invitational literature for the October 1987 meeting of the National Republican Heritage Groups (Nationalities) Council in Washington, D.C.

History of the Republican Heritage Groups Council

Many of the RHGC leaders of Central and Eastern European nationalities were part of the post- World War II immigration from displaced persons camps. It would be unfair to suggest that all or even a majority of Eastern and Central Europeans were anti-Semites or fascists. Most displaced persons were victims of the war who played no role in collaborating with Nazism. Yet quite a few persons in the displaced persons camps were there as political escapees to avoid the consequences of their collaboration with the German occupation of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

The Displaced Persons Commission, which worked from 1948 to 1952, arranged for approximately 400,000 persons to come to the U.S. [1] Initially it sought to bar members of pro-Nazi groups, but in 1950 a dramatic reversal took place. The Commission declared" ... the Baltic Legion not to be a movement hostile to the Government of the United States." [2] The Baltic Legion was also known as the Baltic Waffen (armed) SS.

The final report of the Commission noted that the decision "was the subject of considerable controversy,,,3 as well it should have been. The Waffen SS participated in the liquidation of Jews in the Baltic region because the SS units were comprised of Hitler's loyal henchmen, recruited from fascist political groups long tied to the German Nazi Party. Anyone opposed to the German occupation of the Baltic region (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia) was likely to meet a cruel death at their hands. They were now considered qualified to come to the United States, to become American citizens. Further, pro-Nazi elements from other parts of Europe came to the U.S. through nominally private groups associated with the Commission.

In 1952, the Commission completed its work. The Eisenhower- Nixon presidential campaign was on and the Republicans were charging the Democrats with being "soft on Communism." Talk of "liberating" Eastern Europe became part of the GOP message. That year, the Republican National Committee formed an Ethnic Division. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon "liberation" policy, were among those who signed on. This would become the embryo for the formation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council in 1969.

In a sense, however, the foundation of the Republican Heritage Groups Council lay in Hitler's networks in Eastern Europe before World War II. In many Eastern European countries the German SS set up or funded political action organizations that helped form SS militias during the war.

In Hungary, for example, the Arrow Cross was the Hungarian SS affiliate; in Romania, the Iron Guard. The Bulgarian Legion, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Latvian Legion, and the Byelorussian (White Russian) Belarus Brigade were all SS-linked. In each of their respective countries, they were expected to serve the interests of the German Nazi Party before and during the war.

This should not be taken to suggest that all Eastern and Central Europeans were Nazi collaborators who participated in atrocities, but it is a historical fact that some rightwing elements from virtually every Eastern European nationality tied their nationalistic goals to the rising star of fascism and Hitler's racialist Nazism.

The Council's Leadership

The founding chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council was Laszlo Pasztor, an activist in various Hungarian rightist and Nazi-linked groups. In World War II Pasztor was a member of the youth group of the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian equivalent of the German Nazi Party. [4]

When Pasztor came to the U.S. in the 1950s, he joined the GOP's Ethnic Division. One of the leaders of the 1968 Nixon-Agnew campaign's ethnic unit, Pasztor says that Nixon promised him that if he won the election, he would form a permanent ethnic council within the GOP, as the Ethnic Division was only active during presidential campaigns.

Pasztor was made the organizer of the Council after Nixon's victory. Pasztor claims, "It was my job to identify about 25 ethnic groups" to bring into the Republican Heritage Groups Council. "In 1972 we used the Council as the skeleton to build the Heritage Groups for the re-election of the President." [5]

Pasztor's choices for filling emigre slots as the Council was being formed included various Nazi-collaborationist organizations mentioned above. Each formed a Republican federation, with local clubs around the country. The local clubs of the various federations then formed state multi-ethnic councils. Today there are 34 nationality federations and 25 state councils that constitute the National Republican Heritage Groups Council.

According to RHGC delegates interviewed during the May 1985 conference, in setting up the Council, Pasztor went to various collaborationist and fascist-minded emigre groups and asked them to form GOP federations. It eventually became clear that it was not an accident or a fluke that people with Nazi associations were in the Republican Heritage Groups Council. In some cases more mainstream ethnic organizations were passed over in favor of smaller but more extremist groups. And it seems clear that the Republican National Committee knows with whom they are dealing. A review of the federations will illustrate this point.

Bulgarians

One of the organizations which Pasztor approached to help form the RHGC was the Bulgarian National Front, headed by Ivan Docheff. As early as 1971, the GOP was warned that the National Front was beyond the pale. A Jack Anderson column quoted another Bulgarian-American organization, the conservative Bulgarian National Committee, which labeled Docheff's National Front as "fascist." [6] Neither the GOP nor the Nixon campaign took action. Professor Spas T. Raikin, a former official of the National Front, says the group grew out of an organization in Bulgaria that in the 1930s and 1940s was "pro-Nazi and pro-fascist." [7]

Docheff, age 83, is semi-retired from GOP activity, and the National Front is now represented by Radi Slavoff, Republican Heritage Groups Council executive director and head of the Bulgarian GOP federation. Slavoff also represents the National Front in several other Washington, D.C. area coalitions, including one that is Nazi-linked. [8]

While Docheff was representing the National Front, the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) was investigating him for possible war crimes he was suspected of committing while the mayor of a German-occupied city in Bulgaria. Docheff denies he ever committed war crimes, and the OSI never brought charges.

Docheff's political history, however, is not in dispute. Founder of a Bulgarian youth group in the early 1930s, Docheff met with Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement's leading philosopher, Alfred Rosenberg, in 1934, shortly after the Nazis came to power. [9] Docheff then established the Bulgarian Legion, a pro-Hitler group that agitated for government action against Bulgarian Jews.

Romanians

Romanian-American Republicanism is led by a retired priest who, in 1984, said that the most important issue for Romanian Republicans is stopping " ... the deportation of our beloved spiritual leader, Archbishop Valerian Trifa." [10] Faced with charges by the OSI that he participated in the murder of Jews as part of a coup plot in Bucharest, Romania in 1941, Trifa left the U.S. in 1984. But his political network stayed behind. The Romanian Republican priest, Florian Galdau, is part of that network.

After the war, Trifa was able to come to the U.S. and take over the Romanian Orthodox Church by means of physical coercion and with some help from the U.S. government. In 1952, Trifa became an Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church. [11]

FBI documents from 1954 and 1955 (which were used in the prosecution of Trifa) show that Trifa "is bringing Iron Guard members into the U.S. and installing them as priests." One of those priests, according to a document dated October 5, 1955, was Florian Galdau, whom an FBI source described as "a Romanian Iron Guard member and who at Trifa's instructions was elected Pastor of St. Dumitru," a Manhattan parish. [12]

Image
Credit: Russ BeHant.
George Bush stands next to Bohdan Fedorak at the 1988 Captive Nations banquet in Warren, Michigan.


Friends of Dictatorships

Certain Republican Heritage Groups Council members have close allies in Italy who have plotted to overthrow the government and re-install fascism in Rome. Italy's problems with fascism have been much more recent than World War II. In 1981, Italian authorities uncovered a conspiracy in which a group of business, political, Mafia, military, and Vatican-connected figures planned to overthrow Italian parliamentary democracy and install a dictatorship. The group, called the P- 2 Masonic Lodge, had nearly a thousand members. The prestige of P-2 members (heads of the intelligence agencies, 38 generals and admirals, and 3 cabinet officers, for example), plus revelations of financial scandals, brought extensive European press coverage, the collapse of the Italian government, and a parliamentary inquiry. [13]

One American involved in this intrigue was Philip A. Guarino, 79, an adviser on senior citizens' affairs to the Republican National Committee, who was long active in Italian GOP politics. A theology student in Mussolini's Italy in the late 1920s and much of the 1930s, Guarino helped establish the ethnic division of the GOP in 1952. He was vice-chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council from 1971-75. [14] He attended the 1985 Council convention to ensure that his friend, Frank Stella, won the chairmanship of the Council in a tight race with former Cleveland mayor Ralph Perk.

Guarino was also described in St. Peter's Banker, a book about activities involving P-2, as an "honorary member of P- 2.,,15 Foreign members of P-2 were rare. Another member of the select group was Jose L6pez Riga, founder of the Latin American death squad group known as the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance (AAA).

Image
Credit: Coalitions for America
Laszlo Pasztor, founding chair of the Republican Heritage Groups Council.


Guarino was also involved in John Connally's Committee for the Defense of the Mediterranean, which disseminated propaganda on the Italian Communist Party (PCI) supposed threat to the West. [16] Connally was Richard Nixon's Secretary of the Treasury and member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Nixon and Gerald Ford. [17] In 1978, Guarino's friend and ally, Frank Stella, became National Chair of the "Heritage National Committee of Connally for President," when Connally sought the 1980 GOP nomination for president. [18]

Later Stella got on track with Ronald Reagan. Mark Valente, a Stella protege and suburban Detroit City Council member now serving as a Republican National Committee Ethnic Liaison staffer, says, "Everyone at the White House knows Frank." Stella's name has gone through the White House appointment process on several occasions. In 1981 he was nominated for the little-known Intelligence Oversight Board, which is supposed to monitor the legalities of covert operations of the intelligence agencies. [19] He withdrew his name after it had been publicly released. Stella was being considered for the post of Ambassador to Italy in 1985, but withdrew his name again, according to Valente. In 1983 he was made a White House Fellow.

Taiwan's Input

The Chinese-American and Asian-American Republican federations are led by Anna Chennault, who gained fame in the 19505 and 1960s as an ardent advocate of Chiang Kai-Shek's dictatorship of Taiwan. Both federations appear to be little more than adjuncts to Taiwan government activities in the U.S. This fact was highlighted at the 1985 RHGC convention when an official Taiwan Republican Heritage Groups Council delegation arrived at the meeting as part of a nationwide tour belatedly celebrating Reagan's second inauguration four months earlier. While the foremost visitor from Taiwan was the Deputy Minister for National Defense, the honorary president of the delegation was Ben John Chen, who also chairs the Asian-American Republican Federation.20 Other Chinese and Asian GOP federation members are part of trade groups linked to Taiwan.

The Republican Heritage Groups Council agenda was interrupted at the Chinese federation's request so that the delegation could present awards from the Taiwan government to Michael Sotirhos, the outgoing Republican Heritage Groups Council chair (who later became Reagan's ambassador to Jamaica). Also receiving an award from the Taiwan regime was Anna Chennault, who funds the Asian-American GOP federation, according to Chen. Chennault became RHCG chair in 1987.

Ethnic Realignment

The Republican Heritage Groups Council's ethnicity is broad, ranging from Albanians to Vietnamese. But two groups are missing at the RHGC. There are no African-American or Jewish Republican federations. Remarks by a number of delegates at the 1986 RHGC meeting made it clear that there was no desire to have either community represented on the Council. [21] Republican leaders say that African-American and Jewish relations are "special" and are dealt with in separate units of the GOP.

The key issues for every one of the Eastern European Heritage Council leaders interviewed were foreign policy issues. All of them called for more support for Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Most called for the abandonment of the Yalta agreement, the major treaty that set the post-war features of Europe, and all want a far more aggressive foreign policy against the Soviet Union. The most public activity the RHGC participates in is the annual "Captive Nations" rallies held in cities across the U.S. "Captive Nations" is the term used to describe countries which have communist governments.

The Republican National Committee seems to identify the RHGC as one of its keys to past electoral success and future opportunities. Republican Chairman Frank Fahrenkopf told the 1985 Council meeting, "On behalf of the Republican Party I want to express thanks for all of you in this room who were such a vital, integral part of the great victory we achieved on November 6 last year. We couldn't have done it without you, and I want you to know that." [22]

A few minutes later, President Reagan told the meeting, "The work of all of you has meant a very great deal to me personally, to the Party, and to our cause .... I can't think of any others who have made a more vital contribution to the effort than those of you who are in this room today ....I want to encourage you to keep building the Party. Believe me, bringing more ethnic Americans into the fold is the key to the positive realignment that we are beginning to see take shape."

Former RHGC chair Michael Sotirhos said in an interview that "The Council was the linchpin of the Reagan-Bush ethnic campaign .... The decision to use the Republican Heritage Groups was made at a campaign strategy meeting that included Paul Laxalt, Frank Fahrenkopf, Ed Rollins, and others." He claims that 86,000 volunteers for Reagan-Bush were recruited through the Council. [23]

Forgive and Forget

The GOP cannot be ignorant of the backgrounds of their ethnic leaders. When Nixon was encouraging the growth of the Republican Heritage Groups Council in 1971, Jack Anderson did a series of reports on the pro-Nazi backgrounds of various GOP ethnic advisors. Included in the reports were Ivan Docheff and Laszlo Pasztor. In November of 1971, the Washington Post did a story that elaborated on some of the fascist elements coming into the GOP. [24]

On August 2, 1988, many of the key figures in the RHGC were named as leaders of the George Bush presidential campaign's ethnic outreach arm, the Coalition of American Nationalities (CAN). These included Anna Chennault, Walter Melianovich, Laszlo Pasztor, Frank Stella, Radi Slavoff, Philip Guarino, and Florian Galdau. Other persons on the Bush ethnic panel with questionable views or pasts were Bohdan Fedorak and Akselis Mangulis.

In September 1988, Pasztor, Slavoff, Guarino, Galdau, Fedorak, Brentar, and Ignatius Billinsky resigned from the Bush panel following revelations about their pasts or views appearing in the Washington Jewish Week, Philadelphia Inquirer, and the extended version of this article which was published by Political Research Associates.

Bush adviser Fred Malek resigned from the Bush campaign after the Washington Post identified him as having compiled lists of Jews working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics on orders from the Nixon White House.

In early November, the Philadelphia Inquirer raised questions about a Latvian member of CAN, which prompted the final resignation, that of Akselis Mangulis, charged with having belonged to the pro-Nazi Latvian Legion which had connections to the SS.

Image
Credit: RHGC
Frank. Stella and Florian Galdau at RHGC Convention.


While Bush campaign spokespersons pledged there would be an investigation into the backgrounds and views of the CAN members whose resignations it had announced, no serious investigation ever took place, and the campaign repeatedly referred to the charges as unsubstantiated politically-motivated smears. Several of the persons who had been reported as resigning told journalists they had never been asked to resign and considered themselves still active with the Bush campaign. Furthermore, Guarino, Slavoff, Galdau, and Pasztor are still active with the Republican Heritage Groups Council.

As a candidate, President Bush defended Galdau, Pasztor, Guarino, and Slavoff as innocent of all accusations of collaboration, and insisted they are all honorable men. But the historical record belies his assertions.

The GOP for decades has misread ethnic America's concerns about crime, employment, anti-ethnic discrimination and the future of its youth. It has offered instead the fascism and ethnic prejudices of the Heritage Council, which focuses primarily on funding Radio Free Europe and stopping Justice Department prosecutions of Nazi-era war criminals who illegally entered the country.

_______________

Notes:

* Russ Bellant is a researcher who has written extensively on the rise of the New Right in the U.S. This article is an edited version of a monograph by Political Research Associates. The monograph entitled, "Old Nazis, The New Right and the Reagan Administration," is available for $5 from: Political Research Associates, 678 Massachusetts Ave., Suite 205, Cambridge, MA 02139.

1. U.S. Displaced Persons Commission, Memo to America, The DP Story, The Final Report of the Displaced Persons Commission (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1952), p. V.

2. Ibid., p. 10l.

3. Ibid.

4. Jack Anderson, "Nixon Appears a Little Soft on Nazis," Washington Post, November 10,1971, p. B17; Nora Levin, The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry 1933-1945 (New York: T.Y. Crowell, 1963; Schocken Books, 1973), pp. 610-11, 644, 653-55, 662-64.

5. Interview with Laszlo Pasztor, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1985.

6. Anderson, op. cit., n. 4, p. B17.

7. Interview with Spas T. Raikin, by telephone, August 1986.

8. Interview with Ivan Docheff, by telephone, September 1984.

9. Interview with Professor Frederic Chary, Detroit, MI, August 1984. Chary is author of Bulgarian Jews and the Final Solution (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1972).

10. Interview with Florian Galdau, by telephone, September 1984.

11. Howard Blum, Wanted: The Search for Nazis in America (New York: Quadrangle/New York Times Book Co., 1977), pp. 109-11, 114-16. Trifa offered an opening prayer for the U.S. Senate on May 10, 1955, at the request of Richard Nixon, who presided over the Senate as part of his vice-presidential duties.

12. "Viorel Donise Trifa," FBI Memo (April 6, 1954), p. 1; on Galdau, "Viorel Donise Trifa," FBI Memo (October 5, 1955), p. 2. Copies of these memos are in the possession of the author.

13. New York Times, May 25-June 10, 1981; Thomas Sheehan, "Italy: Terror on the Right," New York Review of Books, January 22,1981, pp. 23- 26. Also, Luifi Di Fonzo, St. Peter's Banker (New York and London: Franklin Watts, I983); Larry Gurwin, The Calvi Affair (London: MacMillan, 1983).

14. Who's Who in American Politics: 1987-1988, 11th ed. (New York and London: RR Bowker Co., 1987), p. 258.

15. Di Fonzo, op. cit., n. 13, p. 229.

16. Gurwin, op. cit., n. 13, p. 189.

17. Who's Who in America: 1984-1985, 43rd ed. (Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1984); Gurwin, op. cit., n. 13, pp. 12, 189-190.

18. Stella's curriculum vitae, 1986, p. 2.

19. Op. cit., n. 14, p. 767. The announcement was made October 20, 1981, according to an undated White House letter received by the author in February 1984.

20. The delegation's membership, their backgrounds and planned itinerary were described in a booklet distributed at the Republican Heritage Groups Council meeting, "President Reagan's (sic) Reinauguration Celebration Delegation" (Room 8, 11F, 150, Chi Lin Road, Taipei, Taiwan: Chinese Times, 1985).

21. A proposal to create such affiliates was roundly denounced by delegates at the June 1986 convention.

22. Quotations from the 1985 Republican Heritage Groups Council convention are from the author's own notes of the event.

23. Interview with Michael Sotirhos, Washington, D.C., September 1984.

24. Peter Braestrup, "GOP's 'Open Door': Who's Coming In?," Washington Post, November 21, 1971, p. A1.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:28 am

NED Overt Action: Intervention in the Nicaraguan Election
by William Robinson and David MacMichael*
Winter 1990

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


A great deal of attention is being paid to the Nicaraguan election, to be held on February 25, 1990. While most outside observers see the elections as a contest between the governing FSLN (the Sandinistas) and their political opposition within the country, the Sandinistas view the elections as another stage of the struggle between the Nicaraguan Revolution and the government of the United States.

Although current U.S. strategy does not rule out a military element, its thrust is to transfer the anti-Sandinista struggle from the battlefield to the political arena. This strategy dates from the August 1987 Esquipulas Accords where the Central American presidents signed an agreement that sealed the defeat of Reagan's armed counterrevolutionary project. Even though the Republican right wing denounced the Esquipulas agreement and did their worst to undermine it, many Democrats and the more pragmatic Republicans accepted the contras' military defeat and made plans to exploit the political openings within Nicaragua. The slogan in Washington changed from "support the freedom fighters" to "democratization in Nicaragua."

The U.S. Embassy in Managua declared it was going to strengthen ties and gain increased influence with the "civic opposition." [1] The State Department put out a call for "other governments, foreign political organizations and private U.S. foundations ... to fund the Nicaraguan opposition." [2]

Soon after, the U.S. government began sending money, supplies, and political specialists to Managua in support of the anti-Sandinista opposition. This was the beginning of the all-out U.S. effort to create an anti-Sandinista political opposition.

The U.S. strategists faced a difficult task. For years the opposition believed that a contra military victory or a U.S. invasion would oust the Sandinistas. This left the internal political opposition fragmented and lacking any real grassroots political support. Splintered into some two dozen parties and factions, the opposition wasted its time on internal bickering. The U.S. largesse exacerbated divisions because it made money available for any professed opposition group. For many, anti-Sandinista activity was more business than politics.

In addition, many of the brightest potential opposition leaders left the country to join the constantly reshuffled ranks of CIA-organized contra political fronts. A Bush State Department official described the situation as, "Reagan's policy was to take the political protagonists out of Nicaragua; ours is to put [them] back in."

Thus, the first task for the U.S. was to bring the internal and external political fronts together: "Unification is the single most important ingredient for the success of the opposition." [3]

The U.S. needed to provide the opposition with a political definition that went beyond vague anti-Sandinista rhetoric. Next would come intensive training for "civic activists" and political instruction in building party infrastructures, youth and women's organizations. All these would then form the framework for the U.S. anti-Sandinista strategy.

As one Bush official explained, "The 1990 elections figure prominently in the administration's strategy toward Nicaragua. They give us a chance to test the Nicaraguans, to mobilize all international pressure possible against [the Sandinistas] ... ,to transfer the conflict in Nicaragua to the political terrain." [4]

The "Democracy Network"

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was set up by the Reagan administration in 1983 as an instrument to promote U.S. foreign policy objectives through direct political intervention in other countries. At the time of its inception, NED's founders explained that the public nature of NED activities would provide an important tactical alternative to clandestine CIA intervention. [5]

NED is funded wholly by Congress and its main purpose is to provide grants - in close consultation with the State Department - to U.S. organizations working to create and support the growth of pliant political institutions abroad. Although its charter defines it as "promoting democracy abroad," the NED 1985 annual report outlines its work as such: "planning, coordinating and implementing international political activities in support of U.S. policies and interests relative to national security."

There are four "core" groups which receive most of their funding from NED and which are tied to different facets of the U.S. political and foreign policy structure.6 These groups are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NOI) and its Republican counterpart, the National Republican Institute (NRI) (the international affairs departments of the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively), the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) (the operational part of the American Institute for Free Labor Development [AIFLD], whose ties to the CIA are well documented and which acts to generate moderate, pro-U.S. labor movements in Latin America), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center on International Private Enterprise (CIPE).

The logic behind this so-called "democracy network" is that the first two groups (NDI and NRI) form the bridge with political parties and organizations, the third (FTUI) forms ties with labor, and the fourth (CIPE) with private enterprise. The U.S. is using this intervention strategy throughout the world.

Beyond the "core" groups are a host of secondary organizations directly tied to U.S. foreign policy and intervention. These groups include Freedom House, the Center for Democracy, as well as many others who have received NED funding to begin election projects in Nicaragua. Among more "shadowy" groups receiving funding from NED for programs in Nicaragua are the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) , Delphi International, the Simon Bolivar Fund, and the Centro para las Asesoria Democratica (CAD).

In Fiscal Years 1989 and 1990, Congress appropriated $12.5 million for NED to use in the Nicaraguan electoral process. [7] If we just consider the $12.5 million of U.S. political aid this averages to about $10 per voter. It is the equivalent of a foreign power injecting $2 billion into a U.S. electoral campaign.

On August 4, 1988 NED held a major meeting in Washington, DC to map out "a more broadranging strategy" for developing the opposition. Present at the meeting were NED officials, core group representatives, and Richard Melton, the then recently-expelled U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua. The record of the meeting speaks of:

• " ... enlisting the support of the Central Americans generally.

• ... in preliminary phases - create lines of vertical command.

• ... continue to organize seminars and workshops, focusing on imparting group dynamics, styles of leadership, hypothetical situations.

• ... encourage more outside visitors to Nicaragua; visitors can provide moral and political support.

• .... try to establish a permanent [U.S.] presence in the country." [8]

In expectation of future funding the August 1988 meeting was used to map out a plan for expanding organizing activities in labor, the communications media, business, women and youth. A month later Congress approved $2 million which would go through NED to fund these programs. New contracting groups were brought in to administer the projects.

U.S. Parties Get Involved

NDI and NRI act as major conduits for NED funding of the Nicaraguan opposition and have received NED money for work on a "democratic development program" [9] in Nicaragua. The initial phase of this program called for formalized and systematic contacts with the opposition. An internal NDI document describes the initial efforts:

NDI and NRI, following conversations in Washington with visiting [Nicaraguan] party representatives and meeting with the other core institutes of the NED, visited Caracas, Panama, and Nicaragua to hold exploratory talks with civic opposition leaders .... Follow-up talks have also taken place and FTUI and CIPE have agreed to pursue opportunities for strengthening the civic opposition. [10]


NDI President Brian Atwood explained, "We have set about to unify the opposition and orient its anti-Sandinista activities." [11]

In 1987, NDI and NRI began organizing seminars with opposition leaders in Managua and abroad. According to an NDI official, these seminars "generate international support and attention for the opposition leaders, put the Sandinistas on notice, and explore the possibilities for the civic opposition to take major advantage of the Esquipulas opening." [12]

The seminars, funded with $600,000 in NED grants, "provide[d] training, in how to formulate organizational strategy and tactical planning, to the civic opposition ... designed around three core themes: party planning and organizational strategies, constituency building, and coalition formation .... U.S. and international experts will be brought in." [13]

These initial efforts also involved U.S. political consultants who analyzed the opposition groups' strengths and weaknesses. One NDI team went to Managua and reported:

The purpose of the mission was to find the answers to the following questions: 1) what are the prospects of democratization in Nicaragua? 2) what are the capabilities and needs of the democratic opposition? 3) what program(s) could be developed by NDI to assist the democratic opposition in presenting a unified, effective challenge to Sandinista rule?

On the surface, the overall environment for change in Nicaragua appears to favor the opposition. The economy is in shambles .... Poverty and despair are evident everywhere ... . It is hard to know where the Sandinista mismanagement ends and the country being bled white by the contra war begins. This should not be a problem for the democratic opposition; incumbents are almost always blamed for the mess at hand ....

But, the various political parties which are included in the opposition have been unable or unwilling to forge an effective coalition due to personal or ideological rivalries .... [14]


Delphi International Group

Another private organization central to the U.S. government's plan to influence the Nicaraguan electoral process is the Delphi International Group. In 1988, Delphi was the largest single recipient of NED funds.

Image
Credit: Delphi International Group
Paul Von Ward, President of Delphi.


In 1988 Henry R. Quintero directed Delphi's Nicaraguan operations. [15] Quintero is an intelligence community veteran. Since World War II, he has served as an intelligence analyst with the Department of Defense, State, and U.S. Information Agency (USIA). He helped run the Institute for North-South Issues (INSI), which was exposed in the Iran/contra scandal as an Oliver North front group which had laundered illegal contra funds, while at the same time holding a $493,000 NED contract. [16]

Delphi's president is Paul Von Ward, a former government official who has held several delicate State Department posts in the U.S. and overseas between 1966-79. These positions included special personnel adviser to the Director General of the Foreign Service and U.S. coordinator of a special NATO committee on the "Challenges of Modern Society."

One of Delphi's projects is the "Nicaraguan Independent Media Program." This program is designed to strengthen the opposition media, including La Prensa. In 1984-85, La Prensa received $150,000 in NED funds. [17] Beginning with 1986, Delphi has acted as the conduit for NED funds to La Prensa, and more recently the amount of funding has jumped to almost $1 million. [18]

Delphi has also established the "Independent Radios Project" which equips and advises opposition radio stations in Nicaragua. It was begun with initial grants from NED totaling $150,000. In a memo from Delphi to NED the group stated that "Radio remains the best means for reaching the masses of Nicaragua ...." [19]

In August 1989, the Bush administration suspended the United States Information Agency funded contra radio station, "Radio Liberacion," operating from Honduras, and redirected its propaganda efforts to creating "Radio Democracia," a new outlet inside Nicaragua.

An October 19, 1989 letter from opposition leader Roger Guevara Mena to NED reported that the Board of Directors for "Radio Democracia" had been formed. The board was comprised exclusively of anti-Sandinista opposition leaders. "Radio Democracia," the letter explained, would serve as an "instrument of democratization and the formation of a civic consciousness, functioning both in the pre and post-election period, in order to offset the FSLN's instruments for consciousness formation."

Two of Delphi's Nicaraguan operations targeted youth and women, these groups were identified by NED strategists as special constituencies critical to the elections. Early in 1988, NED awarded Delphi $33,000 to create the Centro de Formacion Juvenil (CEFOJ) [20] and in 1989 another $118,000 to consolidate this new "civic youth organization." [21]

According to internal Delphi documents, their plan was to hold seminars throughout 1988 for a core group of youth leaders from rightwing political parties. As a paid national leadership, this group would identify regional leaders. These regional leaders would oversee local activists who would work in the nation's secondary schools, communities, and recreational centers to organize an anti-Sandinista political youth movement. [22]

This system of "multiplier" political training is standard in most NED-funded programs in Nicaragua. This method of political organizing is recommended in CIA, AID, and Department of Defense political operations manuals. [23] In fact, some of the language of the Delphi documents is remarkably similar to that of the CIA's 1984 contra "assassination manual" -Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare. One major difference is that the old reference to the "freedom struggle" against "communist dictatorship" has been updated to refer to the "civic struggle" for "democratic objectives."

Delphi's ''women's project" focuses on organizing efforts in the marketplace. "Nicaraguan women have begun to speak of the decisive role they must play in organizing rallies and protests." The document prescribes "seminars and workshops tailored to train 'multipliers' to train and motivate their peers to participate." [24]

Meanwhile, the Free Trade Union Institute (FTUI) worked to bring labor into the program. Like their political counterparts, the non-Sandinista trade union movement was splintered into small groups of diverse ideologies.

These groups include the Confederation of Trade Union Unity (CUS), two opposing Christian Democratic labor factions - both of whom call themselves the Nicaraguan Workers' Confederation (CTN), the General Confederation of Labor-Independent (CGTI), and the Communist party's Federation of Trade Union Action and Unity (CAUS). It was the U.S. government's strategy to unify the union movement. Thus, FTUI used $992,000 in NED money [25] to bring together the factions, at least nominally, in the Permanent Workers Congress (CPT). U.S. second secretary of the Embassy, David Nolan worked directly in this process. [26]

According to U.S. analysis, labor was especially critical to the election project. Although the Sandinistas had strong worker support, the U.S. strategy was to exploit Nicaragua's economic crisis in an attempt to turn the workers against the FSLN. From 1984 to 1989, FTUI received just under $2 million in NED grants for its labor programs; [27] this however does not include covert funding.

An FTUI internal document dated August 22, 1989 expressed satisfaction with its progress and described plans to spend $1 million more for mobilizing workers and their families. FTUI planned to organize 4,000 activists "to mount an effective, nation-wide effort to register workers and their families and then see that they vote." FTUI's training, supervision and direction of the effort was considered "crucial." The plan involved using a trained Managua headquarters staff to supervise an elaborate network reaching down to ten-member voter teams in towns and villages.

The United Nicaraguan Opposition

After months of negotiations, it was announced in June 1988 that the Union Opositora Nicaraguense (UNO) would be the formal coalition to represent the opposition in the upcoming elections. Their presidential candidate is La Prensa director, Violeta Chamorro.

Congress has stipulated that NED and its funding should only be used to "bolster democratic political systems ... [and] to support democratic activities in Nicaragua .... " [28] However, the majority of NED funding is going to specifically support UNO. In 1989, the CIA provided $5 million in covert funding for UNO "house-keeping," [29] and it is estimated that the CIA gave $10-12 million in the previous year. [30]

According to the independent research group, Hemisphere Initiatives, U.S. covert and overt support to anti-Sandinista political groups in Nicaragua totaled $26.1 million over the last five years. Added to this money is substantial funding provided by European, principally West German conservative foundations. [31]

In April 1989, the five Central American presidents signed the Costa del Sol agreement in which Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega agreed to call early elections. The U.S. took this as a signal to begin intensive efforts to organize the anti-Sandinista election campaign.

In an April 1989 meeting at the U.S. Embassy, NED representatives and charge d'affaires John Leonard planned the creation of the formal coalition which was later to become UNO. An internal NED document states that their primary strategy was to "organize the opposition around a single candidate. It should include as many parties as possible, COSEP and the labor movement, women and youth. The CDN [Coordinadora Democratica Nicaraguense] would form the core ... " [32]

NED had earlier given Delphi International $22,000 to consolidate CDN as the core group and to carry the unity process forward. [33] After the Costa del Sol agreement advanced the elections, a flood of visitors raced to Managua from Washington, DC to take part in the unity negotiations, including the president of NED, Carl Gershman. It was made clear to opposition figures that failure to get on-board meant no U.S. money. One top opposition leader confessed to a friend, "The pressures on me from the Embassy to join are really intense. They distributed a lot of cash; it's difficult for some to resist."

U.S. participants in the April meeting stated: " ... first [we must] successfully negotiate the conditions for the elections, the rules, and then they can squabble amongst themselves over the candidates." [34]

Late in April, representatives of the opposition were brought to Washington. In intensive consultations at the State Department, with members of Congress, and NED officials, the importance of unity was driven home. In June 1989, UNO was formally announced.

Via Civica

Another important component of NED's strategy was a non-partisan "civic group." An internal NED document of June 1989 stated:

There are three main centers of activity in this election. One is the political parties grouped in UNO. Another is the labor group in CPT. Each of these has come together fairly well and there is a good working relationship between them .... The third group is a civic group which has yet to solidify. Conceptually, this is a vital part of the democratic process .... The civic group needs to be independent and non-partisan, but it should also coordinate with the other two main groups and avoid duplication of effort.


On July 7, 1989, U.S. organizers and opposition representatives met in Managua. At a press conference shortly afterwards, they announced the formation of Via Civica, proclaiming it would press its cause "through ballots, not bullets." It was quickly dubbed "CIA Civica." Although Via Civica was announced as a "non-partisan grouping of notables," all ten members of its national executive committee were vocal anti-Sandinista activists. Three were UNO politicians, five were COSEP leaders, and two represented CPT unions. Olga Maria Taboada, named as head of Via Civica women's affairs, was a national coordinator of UNO's Nicaraguan Conservative Party.

In 1987 Taboada received $22,000 from NED to form a mothers of political prisoners group.35 The group considered all captured contras political prisoners, including the imprisoned former Somocista Guardsmen. Via Civica formed a youth organization which was headed by Fanor Avendano, also a leader of the Conservative Party and the director of CEFOJ.

With Via Civica established, the three separate components of the NED strategy were in place. As one NED document concluded, all three, UNO (political), CPT (labor), and Via Civica ( civic), were expected "to function during the election as a single unit." [36]

In 1989 NED allocated $540,000 - in three successive grants - to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to administer Via Civica. [37] On the IFES board of directors sit many Reagan-era contra supporters. The Chair of IFES is F. Clifton White (also on the board of NRI), who helped the CIA develop covert propaganda used to encourage the U.S. public support for the contras.

The IFES treasurer is Richard Stone, a rightwing Republican and former Senator from Florida. In the early 1980s, Stone was Reagan's roving ambassador to Central America where he played a key role in supporting the contras. Stone is currently the chief operating officer of the Miami and Washington-based Capital Bank, which houses the accounts of UNO and IFES. [38]

Robert Walker is another IFES official. He was a White House aide to President Reagan and is currently vice president of Coors Brewing Company, which provided millions of dollars in private contra assistance. Walker is a close personal friend of contra political director Adolfo Calero.

In June 1989, Henry Quintero, having launched Delphi's media, youth, and women's projects, transferred to IFES to oversee its Nicaragua program, Via Civica. [39]

The Flow of Funds

As in countless other interventions, the U.S. is attempting to buy the Nicaraguan elections. In pursuit of this goal, the U.S. is flooding the country with money during a time of general economic hardship. One observer calls this the "strategy of gringo dollars." In violation of Nicaraguan law, millions of NED dollars marked for political use have entered the country without being registered with the Central Bank.

As late as November 1989, UNO still claimed to have not received funding from the U.S. Yet, a Barricada report explains how U.S. payments to opposition groups are laundered. [40] The article reports that hundreds of thousands of dollars which IFES provided for UNO use in voter registration was laundered through a Nicaraguan company, Construcciones y Proyectos, SA (CYPSA). CYPSA is the local subsidiary of Inversiones Martinez Lopez (IML). IML was founded by a one-time Somoza minister of finance who moved to Miami after the overthrow of the regime. IML recently opened an office in San Jose, Costa Rica.

CYPSA's president is Jeronimo Sequiera, a COSEP and Via Civica leader. Via CEvica's president, Carlos Quinonez, acknowledges that he sent Sequiera to San Jose to meet with Henry Quintero and IFES president Richard Soudriette on August 1, 1989. [41] On August 28, Quintero entered Managua and registered with immigration officials as a "consultant for CYPSA."

On each of the four registration Sundays in October 1989, UNO party workers set up refreshment stands at registration centers, and gave out thousands of sandwiches, coffee, and cold drinks. The UNO teams were transported in flashy new Toyota jeeps. For many, these scenes recalled the days of Somoza elections when peasants were trucked to the polls and rewarded for their vote with a meal and cheap liquor.

Although UNO denies receiving any money from the U.S. government, it has requested plenty. Its campaign budget, drawn up by the U.S. Embassy in Managua, and made available by a UNO delegation which visited Washington, DC in September, totalled $5.67 million. This included $1.24 million in salaries for campaign staff: $2,000 a month for the national campaign manager; $1,000 for administrators and publicity directors; and $500 a month for sixteen regional administrators. There is also $337,000 in vacation pay budgeted, $525,000 to run rallies and meetings, $600,000 for poll watchers, and $50,000 for international travel.

Image
Credit: CPAC
F. Clifton White, Chair of IFES.


Via Civica is also able to spend openly. It has budgeted $55,000 for salaries, but many observers regard this as money to be spent for buying votes. Henry Quintero has acknowledged that IFES is paying 1,500 Via Civica ''volunteers'' a dollar a day, a considerable inducement in today's Nicaragua.42 High school students at one registration center in Managua told reporters the CEFOJ activists were giving out free T-shirts and offering students 20,000 cordobas (about one-half days' wages at the time) to sign up with UNO. [43]

Centro para las Asesoria Democratica

The U.S. is also coordinating the opposition's campaign from three key offshore centers. They are Miami, Caracas, and San Jose, Costa Rica. The U.S. has also established opposition centers in every Central American capital and their activities are coordinated regionally from San Jose through an NED conduit, Centro para las Asesoria Democratica (CAD).

CAD began under the name "Asociacion Pro-Democratica" (APD). Between 1986-87, it received at least $250,000 from NED for the "training and civic education" of the Nicaraguan opposition.44 In 1988, NED decided to expand APD's role, and changed its name to Centro para las Asesoria Democratica. NED then gave CAD $247,000 to "improve the communications within and among the organizations of the Nicaraguan democratic opposition and promote regional solidarity with the non-violent struggle for democracy in Nicaragua." [45]

With the beginning of the electoral process in April 1989, NED decided to link CAD more directly to the specific NED electoral projects. CAD would reinforce the already existing programs run by Delphi, the IFES, the FTUI, and the NDI and NRI. The plan called for CAD to inject clandestine and overt support to bolster these projects. [46]

The range of CAD activities included sending "reporters" from Costa Rica to reinforce the La Prensa staff in Managua. It also purchased Toyota vehicles in Costa Rica for UNO and then drove them into Nicaragua in order to avoid paying Nicaraguan import taxes. [47]

The Miami Connection

The city of Miami, where there is a large Nicaraguan exile community, has been transformed from a contra rearguard to a base for the electoral effort. A number of new Nicaraguan "civic opposition" groups have been formed there. The largest is the "Committee for Free Elections and Democracy in Nicaragua," headed by Jose Antonio Alvarado. In September and October 1989, Alvarado, with help from NRI, raised approximately $30,000 to produce UNO T-shirts and baseball caps which were sent to Nicaragua for distribution during the registration period. Alvarado also confirmed that the committee was receiving private donations from "wealthy Americans." [48]

La Prensa has recently opened a post office box in Miami for all its international correspondence. La Prensa will send a courier three times per week to pick-up its mail and bring it to Managua.

An important element in the Miami operation is the television station "Channel 23," owned by the Spanish-language UNIVISION network. In early 1989, the State Department contracted Channel 23's Carlos Briceno to develop a television production facility in Managua. On September 15, 1989 NED approved a grant for $200,000 to begin the project. In October, NED authorized NRI and NDI to rechannel some $300,000 into the television project.

In a letter from Briceno to the anti-Sandinista opposition, Briceno states:

This production facility, in addition to producing commercials for the political campaign, will also prepare reports in English and Spanish on the electoral process, aimed at abroad, in order to keep the world informed on the Sandinistas' compliance or non-compliance ....

... If you participate in the elections and there are anomilies [sic], the opposition needs to have the capacity to almost instantly transmit an international condemnation of this fraud through the use of satellite signals ....


In early May 1989, Briceno met with Jeb Bush, son of the president and a close friend of contra leader, Adolfo Calero. A few days after the meeting, Bush sent Briceno a letter which strongly endorsed the television project and wished him "every success in generating political and financial support."

Briceno also received help from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) whose president, Edward O. Fritts, sent letters to NAB affiliates soliciting "broadcast equipment which would be used to establish a facility to produce TV programming on behalf of groups opposing the Sandinistas."

Briceno also has stated that he intends to violate Nicaraguan law by trying to avoid import duty on the broadcasting equipment. In a letter to Barbara Haig, program director at NED (and daughter of Alexander Haig), Briceno wrote, " ... According to Luis Sanchez (UNO's 'Communications Director'), I won't have any trouble introducing the equipment. In the worst case I would have to pay a 15 percent import duty on it, which would not be substantial since purchase receipts could be fudged down."

The Contra Role

The Bush administration has opted for the electoral route in Nicaragua yet it has refused to forsake the contras as a bargaining chip. Moreover, the old guard of the contra leadership retains a certain degree of clout because of its ties to Nicaragua's right wing opposition and the U.S. far Right.

Meanwhile, in Congress, the Democratic leadership entered into a bipartisan compromise which sent $47 million in "humanitarian aid" to the contras. It was understood that the contras were to remain in their camps and undertake no offensive actions inside Nicaragua.

However, there appears to have been some rethinking of this strategy after the 10th anniversary celebration of the Sandinista Revolution. This event produced a groundswell of support for the FSLN which greatly troubled the U.S. government. On August 8, 1989, the Central American Presidents signed the Tela Accords, calling for the demobilization of the contras by December 5th. This sent shock waves through the U.S. government as policy makers scrambled to find a way to stop the demobilization.

In August 1989, the contras announced that there would be a large increase in the level of contra infiltration from Honduras. The rationale behind this move was to avoid detection by the U.N. monitoring troops sent as a condition of the Tela Accords. By September, Nicaraguan intelligence found that this number had reached 1,000 a month.

It was clear that the reappearance of the contras was not separate from the electoral activity. Nicaraguan government officials believed the contra infiltrations would recreate fear in the rural areas after months of relative peace; thus the Sandinistas could not maintain their claim to have militarily defeated the contras. The lesson would be drawn that unless the Sandinistas were voted out, there would never be peace.

The contras also hoped to provoke government reactions such as a reintroduction of the military draft which would alienate voters or that could be denounced by the opposition as interfering with the electoral process.

Nicaraguan government reports and independent investigators (including the North American church group, Witness for Peace) state that the contras have both openly and covertly acted for UNO. In one case in the town of La Gateada in Chontales, in September, numerous witnesses testified that the contras, trying to pass themselves off as state security officers, murdered a local resident who had been accused of being a Sandinista infiltrator of UNO.

Elsewhere the contras carry and distribute UNO leaflets. Peasants have reported being threatened at gunpoint by contras who tell them they must vote for UNO. During most of 1988, contra military actions averaged about 50 per month. That figure jumped to 100 in the first half of 1989 and by October, it had risen to 300 actions per month. [49] Sandinista electoral officials have been threatened and murdered and during the October 1989 registration period at least 37 registration places had to closed because of contra military actions. [50]

In November 1989, Barricada caused a controversy by reprinting a letter allegedly from Alfredo Cesar to Enrique Bermudez that had appeared in El Tiempo, the independent newspaper of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In it Cesar tells Bermudez not to demobilize because the existence of the contras is necessary for a UNO victory.

Cesar denounced it as a forgery and former President Jimmy Carter, at an Atlanta conference, criticized the Sandinistas for dirty politics in reprinting the letter. However, until a few months ago Cesar, as a political director of the contra movement, routinely made such statements publicly.

As for Bermudez, in October 1989, he signed the following communique:

We want to express all our backing and unconditional support for the UNO candidates .... We are not going to put down our arms, we are not going to accept demobilization .... We will carry on in the mountains with our weapons loaded against Sandinismo. So as to avoid fraud, we are going to prevent Sandinista accomplices and collaborators from registering. We are going to assure the triumph of UNO. [51]


After a contra ambush killed 18 young reservists in route to their hometowns to register for the elections, President Daniel Ortega angrily announced the end of the government's unilateral cease-fire. UNO denounced Ortega's action as detrimental to the holding of free elections. The U.S. media and Congress reacted by condemning the Sandinista revocation of the cease-fire, not the killing of the reservists.

Conclusion

Whether the U.S. effort to oust the Sandinistas pays off in February 1990 remains to be seen. However, the long-term intervention strategy should not be lost sight of. University of Southern California professor, and executive director of Inter-American Dialogue, Abraham Lowenthal writes, "Even if [the opposition] does not win - and defeat is probable - the [electoral] effort opens the way .. .. In the long run, their best chance of countering the Sandinistas is by building national support step by step. Sustained internal opposition can eventually pay off." [32]

Image
Credit: NDI
NDI President, Brian Atwood (second from left).


In its attempt to defeat the Sandinistas, the U.S. government has organized an astonishing array of resources and has expended huge sums of money. Even though NED claims to be a legitimate, above-board institution, it is in reality, a quasi-official conduit for U.S. covert and overt activities in Nicaragua and in dozens of other countries. [53]

NED claims it is building a framework for democracy in Nicaragua. However, a close examination of NED documents clearly shows it is attempting to manipulate the electoral process to U.S. government ends. Through NED's "legitimate" activities, the U.S. government obfuscates its true intentions for Nicaragua.

U.S. actions toward Nicaragua have a strange and disturbing Orwellian character. Intervention is defined as non-intervention. Non-partisan bodies are made up of highly partisan figures. Those who champion democracy in Nicaragua have shown contempt for democracy in the rest of the world.

This is the new covert action. Kinder, gentler and open to view - if you only know where to look and what to look for.

_______________

Notes:

* William Robinson is the ANN (Nicaragua News Agency) correspondent in Washington, DC and co-author of David and Goliath; The U.S. War Against Nicaragua. David MacMichael, a former CIA analyst, is an outspoken critic of U.S. intervention who researches and writes on V .S. foreign policy.

1. See Central American Information Bulletin, February 24, 1989, special report, ''The Chileanization of the Nicaraguan Counterrevolution," William Robinson. See also, New York Times, August 26, 1987, October 15, 1987.

2. State Department briefing, August 10, 1987.

3. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), internal memorandum, "Nicaragua, Municipal Elections," the report is of an NDI survey mission, October 31, 1987, prepared by Martin Anderson and Willard Dupree.

4. Peter Rodman, National Security Council (NSC) representative, in testimony to the "Bipartisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua," May 10, 1989, Washington, DC. Rodman is Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs at the NSC. He opened his statement confirming he was speaking on behalf of the administration.

5. Memorandum prepared by David MacMichael for the Institute for Media Analysis' "Nicaragua Election Monitoring Project," November 1989.

6. Carl Gershman, president of NED, public testimony before the International Operations Subcommittee, House Committee on Foreign Affairs, September 28, 1989.

7. Congress approved $1.5 million in a special Nicaragua appropriation in September 1988, then another S2 million in June 1989. In October it approved $9 million, allocated specifically for the electoral process.

8. Internal NED document, August 1988.

9. Op. cit., n. 3.

10. Ibid.

11. Central America Information Bulletin, op. cit., n. 1.

12. NDI Program Assistant Michael Stoddard, in testimony before the "Bipartisan Commission on Free and Fair Elections in Nicaragua," May 10, 1989, Washington, DC.

13. NED's executive summary on Nicaragua projects, "Programs of the Endowment and its Institutions in Nicaragua," 1988; updated version, Fall 1989.

14. Op. cit., n. 3.

15. Phone interview with Delphi President Paul Von Ward.

16. Ben Bradlee, Jr., Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1988), pp. 233-36.

17. NED Annual Reports, 1985-87; op. cit., n. 13.

18. La Prensa began to receive covert CIA subsidies as early as 1979 to enable it to play the counter-revolutionary role that El Mercurio had done during the Allende years in Chile and that The Daily Gleaner performed in Jamaica in 1976-1980 in the anti-Manley effort. In Nicaragua, the result was that the incorruptible managing editor, Xavier Chamorro, resigned along with 80 percent of the staff to found the pro-Sandinista El Nuevo Diario. The new editor, Violeta's son, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, later went into self-exile in Costa Rica where, on a CIA salary supposed to have been several thousand a month, he published an exile edition of La Prensa and served on the contra political directorate.

19. "Support for Nicaraguan Independent Radios," internal Delphi document, June 1989; op. cit., n. 13.

20. Op. cit., n. 13.

21. Op. cit., n. 13.

22. ''Youth voter education project in Nicaragua," NED summary of the Delphi programs, June 1989; "CEFOJ Evaluation," internal Delphi evaluation of the first year of the program.

23. Department of the Army, "U.S. Army Guide for the Planning of Counter-insurgency" (Washington, DC, 1975); William Robinson and Kent Norsworthy, David and Goliath (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1987), p. 216.

24. ''Women's voter education and training project in Nicaragua," internal Delphi document presented to NED, June 1989.

25. Ned Annual Reports, op. cit., n. 17.

26. See William Robinson, "Special Report: The Melton Plan - Chronicle or a Destabilization Plot Foretold," Central America Information Bulletin, August 10, 1988.

27. Op. cit., n. 13.

28. AID Report to Congress on Public Law 101-119, November 1989.

29. Newsweek, September 25, 1989.

30. UPI Dispatch, August 1, 1988.

31. West German foundations which support UNO include the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the Friederick Naumann Foundation. The West German donations alone are in the several million dollar range. For more information see, Ralph Fine, David Kruse, Jack Spence, and George Vickers, "Hemisphere Initiatives: Nicaragua Election Update Number 2-Foreign Funding of the Internal Opposition," Boston, October 16, 1989.

32. Internal NED document, April 1989.

33. Op. cit., n. 13.

34. op. cit., n. 32.

35. Robinson, op. cit., n. 1; op. cit., n. 13.

36. Op. cit., n. 32.

37. Op. cit., n. 13.

38. Holly Sklar, "Washington Wants to Buy Nicaragua's Elections - Again," Zeta Magazine, December 1989, p. 46.

39. Telephone interview with IFES Director. Richard Soudriette.

40. Barricada, October 10-11, 1989.

41. Ibid.

42. From a source close to IFES.

43. Barricada, October 9, 1989.

44. op. cit., n. 13.

45. Op. cit., n. 13.

46. ADF document, "Modified Programmatic Structure and Contents for NED Grant 89-08.0 (Elections Nicaragua-90)," July 1989. One of the U.S. conduits that NED used to fund CAD is the America's Development Foundation (ADF). This Alexandria, Virginia-based organization is headed by Michael Miller.

47. Internal CAD document, "CAD-Centroamerica, Participation Through Media and Civic Organizations," November 2, 1989.

48. Phone interview with Jose Antonio Alvarado, October 1989.

49. Nicaraguan Ministry of Defense bulletin, October 1989.

50. Official report on the registration process, Nicaraguan Supreme Electoral Council, October 1989.

51. Barricada, November 2, 1989.

52. Abraham Lowenthal, "Even Loss in Nicaragua Vote Can Be Gain," Los Angeles Times, September 20, 1989, Op/Ed page.

53. A policy report by the Resource Center provides good background material on NED activities. The report is due to come out in February 1990. For more information write, The Resource Center, P.O. Box 4506, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87196.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:31 am

The "Melton Plan"
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

In April 1988, Ronald Reagan appointed Richard Melton as U.S. Ambassador to Nicaragua. Melton was in the Dominican Republic at the time of the 1965 U.S. invasion, in Portugal in 1975, and as the former head of the Central American desk at the State Department, worked closely with Elliott Abrams in Iran/contra operations. Immediately on his arrival in Managua, he declared his "militant anti-Sandinismo" and announced he would "go all out" to bolster the opposition. In May 1988, NED President Carl Gershman, a rightwing militant who had served as aide to Jeane Kirkpatrick at the United Nations, visited Nicaragua to synchronize NED activities with those of the Embassy.

In July 1988, an opposition rally in the town of Nandaime ended in a violent confrontation between police and opposition rioters. A number of opposition leaders were arrested, and eventually convicted on charges of incitement to riot.

The Nicaraguan government charged that the demonstration was organized by the CIA as a deliberate provocation. Authorities presented strong circumstantial evidence, and claimed that U.S. agents based in Costa Rica had done the footwork. Melton and six other Embassy officials were expelled from Nicaragua and in retaliation, the U.S. sent the Nicaraguan Ambassador, Carlos Tunnerman, and six of his staff members back to Managua.

At the time of the riot, the U.S. mainstream media belittled the charges of U.S. complicity in the riot. However, several weeks later, then-House Speaker Jim Wright (Dem. - Tex.) confirmed the Nicaraguan government's charges. At a press conference on September 20, 1988, Wright stated publicly that the CIA had admitted to Congress that they were manipulating the internal opposition in Nicaragua in order to "provoke an overreaction" by the Sandinistas.

Melton himself had appeared at an opposition meeting in Estell one week before the Nandaime provocation. At this meeting, the opposition called for the dissolution of the Nicaraguan government and its replacement by a "Government of National Salvation." Melton addressed the gathering, expressing U.S. support for the call and urging the opposition to unite around it. It is no coincidence that one year later, the UNO electoral platform states that if it wins the elections, the "united opposition" will form a "Government of National Salvation."

The U.S. government described the Nandaime incident as a Sandinista "crackdown" on civil liberties and an outpouring of anti-Sandinista propaganda followed in the media. The Right Wing called for renewed contra aid, but Congress instead opted for a special $2 million appropriation for NED activities in Nicaragua. The congressional vote showed that the choice had been made for the "political alternative" of creating and then directing an internal political opposition to oust the Sandinistas.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:40 am

We Need Your Help
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

We recently sent a letter to all our subscribers asking for their help in funding our work. To all those people who responded, we want to express our deepest thanks.

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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 4:41 am

Book Review: Cults and Christian Warriors
by Fred Clarkson *
Winter 1990

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right by Sara Diamond, South End Press, 116 St. Botolph Street, Boston, MA 02115; Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan. Park Street Press, One Park Street, Rochester, VT 05767.

It is rare when a book comes along that takes the wind out of the sails of the conventional wisdom. Rarer still when there are two. It could leave the conventional wisdom rudderless. This wisdom has told us that the Religious Right is dead or dying. We've also been told that "cults" are not a problem anymore, and that criticism of "new religions" is simply religious and/or racial intolerance. For anyone who has heard and not known how to respond, or believes these notions, Spiritual Warfare: The Politics of the Christian Right by Sara Diamond, and Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan may help the convention-bound jump ship.

Much has been written about low-intensity conflict in recent years. But on the critical intersection between LIC and the activities of the Christian Right, reporting has been piecemeal and there has been little analysis. Spiritual Warfare establishes Sara Diamond as the foremost writer in this emerging field of investigative reporting and scholarship.

Much has also been written about "cults" and "mind control," as complex and controversial a subject as there is. Thus Steven Hassan's book is a guide for the perplexed, offering practical advice on how to view and what to do about unethical techniques of recruitment and indoctrination used by "cults." Hassan is an ex-Moonie leader, with a Master's Degree in counseling psychology, and ten years' experience as an "exit counselor" (as distinct from a "deprogrammer").

Hassan defines a cult as a group that practices "mind control;" he explains what it is, how it works, and suggests sensible, humane ways for friends and family to regain contact with a loved one, and perhaps help them find an "exit" from a group that seems to have them locked in.

The significant political implications of this are only touched on in the book itself. Many of the right -wing or fascist groups discussed in Spiritual Warfare are cults. The political utility of cult-controlled individuals to intelligence agencies and national security states is well documented in Spiritual Warfare. Tactics for community leaders, families and societies for dealing with cults are the subject of Combatting Cult Mind Control.

Spiritual Warfare

While the U.S. media were obsessed with the sexual peccadillos of Jimmy Swaggart, and the outrageous criminal frauds (and, of course, sexual escapades) of Jim Bakker, Sara Diamond was investigating the political activities of the Christian Right. She reveals, among other significant, and generally unreported, activities, Swaggart's assistance to dictators Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, and the white minority regime in South Africa.

Spiritual Warfare is a primer on the history, ideology, factions, and plans of the Christian Right, focusing on the 1970s and 1980s when it emerged as a political force. Though there is much noteworthy reporting on U.S. politics, some of the most original and remarkable reporting is on international operations. One may find many of the roots of contemporary Christian broadcasting in the international radio broadcasts of the Cold War. " ... [O]ne can point to a dramatic shift in the role of missionary radio when," writes Diamond, "after World War II, evangelicals decided to broadcast into countries that were closing its [sic] borders to U.S. missionaries." For example, after Mao's victory in China, the Far East Broadcasting Company was established, and according to Sig Mickelson, the former head of Radio Free Europe (RFE) and Radio Liberty (RL) it was a "U.S. government operation with intelligence ties similar to RFE and RL."

The message articulated the Manichean Cold War vision of good Christian vs. evil atheistic communists who persecute Christians for their faith. These themes played domestically as well, and continue today. Diamond details how these themes were used during the Reagan administration's war on Nicaragua - and even exposes a phony persecutee, who was popular on evangelical Christian talk shows.

There are many such stories of the recent foreign adventures of the U.S.-based Christian Right. For example - the extensive support provided by evangelicals (especially Pat Robertson), to the genocidal Gen. Rios Montt of Guatemala, during 1982-83. This support for Montt (a member of a U.S. based Pentecostal sect) had the blessing, if not partnership, of the Reagan administration. For many evangelicals, it was also a political epiphany: "The Guatemalan experience, however vicarious, of a born again Christian shepherding an entire nation reinforced a mentality ... that they could seize the reigns of power and install - by force if necessary - a 'kingdom of God on earth.'''

Diamond persuasively argues that in order to understand the strategy of "total war" employed by the U.S. and other governments, it is necessary to study the role of religion. "It is doubtful," she insists, "that counterinsurgency could be effective without the use of religion. Because the conduct of 'psychological operations' relies on the successful interpretation and manipulation of a target population's deeply held beliefs and cultural practices, the functional use of religion simply must be addressed .... "

There are discussions of such operations in the Philippines, Central America, Southern Africa, and the Middle East, including an updated report on the Christian Right's collusion with South African government propaganda and political operations and its peculiar relationship to the government of Israel. The Christian Right's role in Oliver North's supply lines to the contras is further explored - as is the report that it is still intact, untouched by the Iran/contra scandal.

"Humanitarian aid, and psychological operations are the two areas of total war where the Christian Right serves U.S. foreign policy best," she continues. The Christian Right as "promoters of anti-communist ideology use religion to mask the aggressive, cynical use of 'humanitarian' projects. Cloaked as missionary evangelism, the 'spiritual warfare' component of counter-insurgency escapes serious attention by anti-intervention activists ... " and most everyone else. One brief example: The head of Pat Robertson's Operation Blessing relief arm, Robert Warren, is a retired U.S. Navy Captain and a veteran of counterinsurgency programs in the Philippines. In 1984, Warren and Harry "Heinie" Aderholt of the Air Commando Association established a medical clinic in Guatemala as part of "then president Gen. Mejia Victores's counter-insurgency 'model village program.' The model villages where civilians are 'protected' by the military, have frequently been declared by human rights observers as de facto concentration camps."

One of the critical discussions in Spiritual Warfare is the relationship between cults and the national security state. Diamond describes, for example, how fanatical cultic groups are being organized and armed into vigilante death squads in the Philippines. What's more, Diamond reveals the CIA's long term interest in cults: "At least as early as 1964, the CIA was aware of the political potency of such groups. In a 1964 'National Intelligence Survey,' the CIA analyzed a pseudo-Catholic Filipino cult called 'Iglesia Ni Kristo' (Church of Christ), which then represented an estimated one percent of the population and which, the CIA noted, was distinguished by its intense authoritarianism, its multi-tiered cell group structure, and the fact that members were required to vote for 'church designated political candidates.' In other words, the CIA analysts understood the political utility of the kind of 'shepherding' groups described in Chapter 4."

Indeed, in Chapter 4, Diamond documents the role of shepherding cults in American politics, and other countries. In shepherding cults, one "submits" to a "shepherd" influence, who may not control just religious, but all aspects of life; personal relationships, finances and politics. Many in Pat Robertson's "hidden army" of activists in the 1988 presidential campaign were members of shepherding cults, notably Maranatha Campus Ministries.

Of tremendous significance is the covert cooperation between Protestant and Catholic shepherding leaders, who have worked secretly together since 1968, orchestrating much of the "charismatic revival" in mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches. In fact, mainstream Christianity has been systematically infiltrated by charismatic shepherding cells which peel away members, or influence, even take over congregations. Mainstream Christianity has not fully come to grips with its cult problems. Nor has the secular Left, which not only faces off politically with such groups, but has cults of its own. Several cults of the Left wreak havoc in coalitions and in the broader progressive movement, notably the New Alliance Party led by Lenore Fulani, and (former Lyndon LaRouche associate) Fred Newman.

Combatting Cult Mind Control

The attack of cultic groups on communities can be profoundly disorienting, leaving people feeling helpless before strange, even fearsome entities. Hassan demystifies the cult phenomenon, providing clear definitions, and guidance for how to distinguish between what is a cult, and what is just an unconventional group. Hassan says that mind control, or "thought reform," is not to be confused with ''brainwashing,'' which best describes methods used on political prisoners, to extract false confessions, etc. Mind control is more subtle, not usually involving physical force. It does involve deceptions intended to place people in vulnerable positions for purposes of indoctrination, which Hassan says usually involves forms of hypnosis and sophisticated manipulations of group dynamics.

Hassan stresses that he believes in religious freedom, recalling the random abuses he suffered as a "Moonie." His is a case study in how to distinguish between fair criticism and bigotry. It is important to note that cults are not just religious, but may be political, commercial, or psychotherapy groups. Thus the use of "mind control" is what distinguishes a cult.

Ultimately, this book is about empowerment - how individuals and societies can defend themselves against these unethical applications of behavioral sciences. The reader is provided with resource lists, usable definitions, and simple communication and investigative strategies for when a loved one falls under cultic influences -- as well as strategies for intervention. Hassan teaches for example about how to use one's history and strengths of family, community, beliefs, and individual identity to reach and rescue people from false, cultic identities: " ... cult mind control never fully succeeds in erasing a person's core self. It does impose a dominating cult identity ... As a Unification Church member, I thought that the old Steve Hassan was dead. Yet the core 'me' woke back up during my deprogramming. He had been there all along."

"I have discovered," he writes, "that when someone in slavery is given a free choice, he or she does not choose to be enslaved." It is not unlike people in company towns who form unions to stand up to a domineering industry, or societies that rise up against unjust political or economic elites.

Spiritual Warfare makes clear that cults are being deployed by powerful interests to further their political agendas. But whether a cult is connected to power or not, Combatting Cult Mind Control warns: "People who know how mind control operates will have a distinct advantage over those who do not." Similarly, those who need to understand the Christian Right, and read Spiritual Warfare, will have a distinct advantage over those who do not.

_______________

Notes:

* Fred Clarkson is a Washington, D.C. based freelance journalist. He has written extensively about the Religious Right.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:26 am

El Salvador 1989: Elections Under State Terror
by Terry Allen and Edward S. Herman*
Winter 1990

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


On March 19, 1989, in an election in which two thirds of the eligible voters did not vote, the ARENA party won full control of the government of El Salvador. Chile's General Augusto Pinochet was the first to congratulate the President-elect, Alfredo Cristiani. It was a fitting conclusion to a U.S. investment of $4 billion, in the interest of "democracy," that power should fall into the hands of a party founded and still strongly influenced by the death squad organizer and "pathological killer" Roberto D' Aubuisson. [1] It was also predictable that the U.S. mass media and leading liberal Democrats would still find this election, as they had its predecessors, a legitimating exercise in democracy.

We will review here the background of the March 1989 election and the reasons why it was democratic in form but not in substance.

The 1982 and 1984 Elections

The 1982 and 1984 elections in El Salvador were classic examples of "demonstration elections" and effectively served their purpose: they induced the U.S. mass media and the Congress to find El Salvador a "democracy" worthy of material and moral support, and money flowed there to sustain administration policy. That policy was exclusively military, aiming at the defeat of the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) by a counterinsurgency (CI) war of attrition; the elections were simply a public relations (PR) arm of this military effort.

The U.S. mass media helped make the 1982 and 1984 demonstration elections successful by failing to acknowledge and discuss the primacy of the CI war and the role of elections in clearing the ground for intensified warfare. Reporters at the 1982 election almost universally observed that "peace" was the first objective of the voters. The electoral slogan formulated in the United States to encourage voting by the war-weary people of El Salvador was "Ballots versus Bullets," suggesting that the election was a route to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. But neither the Salvadoran army, the Reagan administration, nor any party represented in the elections favored a negotiated settlement of the war. When the 1984 elections approached, the media avoided discussing the anomaly of the public having desired peace above all in 1982, and the obvious failure of the earlier allegedly democratic election to bring about - or even to elicit attempts to negotiate - peace.

In order to perpetuate the myth that democracy was a goal of the Salvadoran elites, the army, and the U.S. government, it was also incumbent on the mass media covering the 1982 and 1984 elections to avert their eyes from history. The Salvadoran elite had been fighting furiously against political, social and economic democracy for decades before 1982. So had the army, which was its ally and instrument. The U.S. government showed no concern over the lack of democracy in El Salvador until rebellion threatened the status quo. Could these parties be taken seriously as sponsors of democracy? The question doesn't arise for a patriotic media. Client state leaders who have murdered thousands are assumed to have "changed course" and must be "given a chance." By contrast, spokespersons for states being destabilized "cannot be trusted," and their word is not accepted on their claimed beneficent plans.

Above all, the mass media do not discuss the fundamental conditions of a free election. Is there freedom of speech and assembly? Is there a free press? Are organizations like unions, peasant leagues, and student groups allowed to organize and operate openly? Can parties and candidates qualify and campaign without fear, irrespective of their political position? Is the public subject to any threats of violence? None of these conditions was met in El Salvador in 1982 and 1984. [2]

The 1982 election was held in the midst of an ongoing reign of terror in which 700-800 unarmed civilians were murdered per month during the preceding 30 months by official and officially sponsored paramilitary forces. Many of the victims were raped, tortured, and mutilated; their bodies often left on public display. More than two dozen journalists were murdered in El Salvador between 1979 and 1984 and the two independent newspapers were eliminated by violence in 1980 and 1981. A large number of organizations were destroyed and their leaders killed or driven underground.

The "main opposition," the guerrilla movement and the Democratic Revolutionary Front (FOR), could not participate in any election for fear of assassination. Their five top leaders had been tortured and murdered in November 1980, and the remaining leadership was on army death lists. Furthermore, they were not intended to run. The U.S. plan was to clear the ground by systematic terror, then to pretend that the guerrillas wouldn't join in the election because they feared losing in a fair contest! The guerrillas were also portrayed as trying to disrupt the election, and voter turnout was used as a measure of support for the army - which was "protecting the election" - and by implication, U.S. policy and the CI war.

The mass media also failed to report in 1982 that voting was required by law, ID cards had to be stamped, and the head of the army had warned the public that a failure to vote was treasonous. In an environment of mass killing, these characteristics of the voting process were clearly relevant to explaining voter turnout.

In the 1984 election, the presence and victory of Jose Napoleon Duarte gave the election credibility as a genuine exercise in democracy. As an alleged reformer, running against D' Aubuisson, he provided an appearance of choice. Duarte was also a charismatic man, spoke excellent English, and was able to convince many members of Congress that he was really going to improve human rights and bring peace to El Salvador. The reality, however, is that Duarte joined the Salvadoran junta in March 1980, just as the real reformers resigned in recognition of their inability to stop an army reign of terror. Duarte then served as a fig leaf for the organized violence that followed, engaging in steady apologetics for the army's mass murder. [3]

Most important, in order to be able to take power, survive in office, and maintain the vital flow of U.S. aid, Duarte had to accept the army's and Reagan administration's pursuit of a war to the finish, and engage in no compromise with "the subversives" (a phrase used regularly by the army and by Duarte himself). At no time, therefore, did Duarte offer the peace option of a negotiated settlement, although he was vague and duplicitous enough to convince some that he was a peacemaker. [4] During his tenure in office no state or para-military murderer was prosecuted for killing or torturing Salvadorans, despite the huge civilian toll and the fact that in many cases eyewitnesses presented official depositions identifying the perpetrators and presenting ironclad evidence of their guilt. Duarte was the perfect front man for a regime of terror.

The Rise of ARENA

The decline of the Christian Democrats was inevitable. Their base of popular support gradually eroded as a result of regressive economic policies, failure to make progress toward ending the war, exposure of their massive corruption, increasing party divisions, and resentment at their subservience to U.S. interests. The Christian Democrats had split apart in 1980, when Duarte and his faction decided to align itself with the army against the guerrillas (who Duarte admitted at the time had the support of the general populace ). [5] It split apart again in 1988, partially over the choice of Duarte's successor, but also because of attempts by the faction led by Rey Prendes to distance itself from the increasingly obvious corruption, ineptitude and dwindling support of the ruling group.

ARENA, on the other hand, prospered under the conditions created by the U.S.-sponsored CI war, which fostered the growth of the army and anticommunist ideology, and concentrated on weakening and destroying the left and its popular support base. There was little "center" to begin with, and the luke-warm liberal-left support of Duarte and the Christian Democrats eroded as they revealed themselves to be corrupt, powerless, and agents of the army and a foreign government.

ARENA almost won the 1982 election. It lost in 1984 only because of a massive foreign (i.e., U.S.) intervention in support of Duarte and a last gasp of electoral hope by an important segment of the public that Duarte and the Christian Democratic Party might do something constructive. Following the 1984 election, ARENA embarked on a systematic organizational effort that positioned it well for future politicking. [6] By the end of 1988, ARENA had gained control of the legislature, the judiciary, and a good portion of the electoral apparatus. In 1989, with its new organizational structures in place, and backed by the wealth of the army and oligarchy, it presented itself as a unified party standing for peace, prosperity, and incorruptible patriotism.

Organized by Roberto D' Aubuisson, ARENA is the party of the oligarchy, the army officer corps, and the death squads. D' Aubuisson is the best known leader of the Salvadoran death squads? Trained in Taiwan and the United States, and a close ally of Guatemalan leader and death squad organizer Mario Sandoval Alarcon, D' Aubuisson was a participant in the murder of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and has close links to the fascist international. [8] In 1982, he told several Western European correspondents that Hitler had treated the Jews appropriately. [9]

D' Aubuisson and ARENA were always acceptable to the Reaganites - they were merely less desirable than Duarte and the Christian Democrats. The latter provided a better facade for the alleged democracy, and had the additional advantage of being more subservient to U.S. demands than ARENA. Historically, the Salvadoran oligarchy has been relatively independent and not eager to share its power and profits with foreign capital. As the party of the oligarchy, ARENA represents a rightwing nationalist movement that resents U.S. intervention, even while accepting it out of necessity. Its leaders do not kiss the American flag and do not accept orders as readily as the "reformers."

But ARENA is anticommunist and hostile to radical change in El Salvador, and it is therefore ''within the ballpark" for U.S. leaders and bureaucrats, just as Stroessner, Pinochet, and Somoza were quite acceptable for most of their lengthy tenures in power. When ARENA came close to full power in 1982, the U.S. Embassy quietly began to rationalize D'Aubuisson, [10] setting the stage for his becoming a Free World leader. The press did likewise, suppressing his statement on Hitler and the Jews and treating him in a tone quite different from that accorded enemy terrorists like Abu Nidal or Carlos. [11]

Table 1. Human Rights Violations Against Civilians in El Salvador in 1988*
Number of Incidents
Captures of Civilians by Uniformed Soldiers or "Heavily Armed Men in Civilian Clothes": 1,556
Assassinations: 412
Attempted Assassinations: 30
Reported Disappearances: 36
Members of Cooperatives Killed or Disappeared: 20
Civilians and Unidentified Persons Killed During Military Operations: 167
Incidents of Violence Against Internationals (Captures, Deportations, Injuries, Assassinations): 87
Violations Attributable to FMLN:
Kidnappings: 56
Executions: 21

* Source: El Rescate Human Rights Department, Chronology of Human Rights, Violations in El Salvador, January-December 1988, pp. vi-vii.


Despite these sanitation efforts, ARENA remains the party of terrorism. D'Aubuisson, its founder and continuing leader, is a "terrorist" by any western definition of the word. Voted ARENA's Honorary President for Life in 1988, he retains his power in the party and still gets the loudest applause at ARENA gatherings. Before the 1989 election it was widely known in El Salvador that D' Aubuisson dominated the party, set policy, and did most of the talking at planning meetings. Cristiani contributed little and nodded often, according to a source who was present. [12] D' Aubuisson also maintains his charismatic influence with a portion of the middle class, small business people and peasants who are fiercely nationalistic. These groups see ARENA as the only party capable of standing up to the United States. They are tired of war, but believe the rightwing line that the FMLN is part of an international communist conspiracy, and that it can be defeated by a burst of intensified warfare.

The ARENA support base overlaps with the membership of the earlier terrorist organization ORDEN, a paramilitary structure from which the death squads were partly drawn (along with the army and police). With D'Aubuisson a death squad organizer, many other death squads supported by oligarchs who joined ARENA, and the remnants of ORDEN supplying many death squad cadres, the death squads may be said to be institutional affiliates of the ARENA party.

ARENA has long had strong representation in the El Salvador judiciary, and its entrenched position has been a major factor rendering the law inoperative as regards state and rightwing terror. A steady stream of Supreme Court decisions in 1988 and 1989 exonerated the murderers of Archbishop Romero, the assassins of two American labor advisers, the mass killers at La Hoya and San Sebastian, and others. It is evident that ARENA's taking control of the executive, as well as the legislative and judicial apparatus of the state, will eliminate all internal legal protections against unrestrained state terrorism.13 This series of court decisions received little coverage in the U.S. media, and their implications for the meaning of the election have also been ignored.

The Brief Opening - And Then Escalated Terror

Following the 1984 election, a small amount of space opened up in El Salvador. [14] The press and TV stations were able to criticize, and unions and other groups could organize and engage in protest without assured violent retribution. The media were still under conservative ownership and control, and outright espousal of the guerrilla cause was not possible above ground. A newspaper with a level of dissent equal to that of La Prensa in Nicaragua would not have been able to operate, even in the "thaw" years. Leaders of the FDR, Reuben Zamora and Guillermo Ungo, returned to El Salvador and initiated a campaign, thus reintroducing a left presence into the electoral process.

From 1987 on, however, as the army made little progress in the CI war, and elections loomed on the horizon, the space opened up in 1984 began to shrink. Death squad activity increased, army violence against ordinary citizens escalated, and systematic attacks on dissident unions and other revived groups and their leaders rose sharply. Death squad killings increased 138 percent between 1987 and 1988, Tutela Legal, with four new groups coming into existence and threatening "subversives."

Table 1 shows the number and type of attacks on civilians for the year 1988, derived from the El Rescate Chronology and list of abuses for that year. The vast majority of these incidents were carried out by members of the army and security forces. It should be noted that the largest item, 1,556 "Captures of Civilians by Uniformed Soldiers or 'Heavily Armed Men in Civilian Clothes'," is almost entirely the result of operations of state agents, to whom we may also allocate virtually all of the large total for "Assassinations." The flavor of the reality that lies behind these numbers is hinted at in the tiny sample of El Rescate entries given in Box 1, taken from their Chronology which is 291 pages for 1988 alone.

One of the most notable features of the growing state terror in El Salvador has been the return to systematic attacks on popular organizations and the arrest, torture, disappearance and murder of their leaders. Americas Watch published two volumes which described in detail the recent onslaught against organized labor in El Salvador: Labor Rights in El Salvador (March 1988) and Petition Before the U.S. Trade Representative on Labor Rights in El Salvador (March 1989). In the former document, which notes 13 murders and disappearances of labor activists in a 12 month period, it is stressed that the security forces have been systematically attacking organized labor as an important part of their overall service; that "recurrent military involvement in detentions of, and attacks against, union and peasant cooperative activists suggests that such measures remain a component of government policy" (p. 14). The Petition submitted in 1989 summarizes case after case of police and army intervention in labor disputes, with frequent arrests, torture, sexual abuse, and sometimes murder. These two documents by Americas Watch were not reported on in the New York Times and mass media in general.

Box 2 shows a small sample of the record of increasing and systematic attacks on organizations, which encompassed virtually all the major trade union groups, peasant organizations, the University of San Salvador, refugee groups, and even day care centers. The murders and raids are not on the scale of 1980-1981, but they are numerous, destructive, and traumatizing.

Freedom of the Press and the Murder of Journalists

As in the earlier period, open media support for the guerrillas is impossible in El Salvador. Broadcast stations interviewing guerrilla leaders were sent a "quiet message" of warning by the army. [15] The two largest newspapers in El Salvador not only supported ARENA, they blacked out news of the activities and statements of moderate and left opposition groups and even refused to take their paid advertisements. [16]

Box 1. How Security Forces Treat Civilians in "Free" El Salvador, 1988*

January 6: Jose Victor Manuel Gomez de Leon, 25 years old, a member of ANT A (the National Association of Agricultural Workers), in Las Marias, Chinameca, San Miguel, is captured by soldiers from the ARCE Battalion on the Las Zelayas Farm, Plan Grande. Days later, his body is found with the feet and legs burned, and the head and left arm missing. (Tutela Legal)

January 11: Jose Angel Alas Gomez, 27 years old, is captured by the Treasury Police. The Police announce that Alas dies from a "cardiac arrest" in a Treasury Police vehicle. According to investigations by the CDHES (Non-Governmental), the body shows lacerations, swelling, burns on one shoulder and on the legs, and blows and pokes on the testicles. (CDHES)

January 25: Nelson Rivas, 16, is abducted from his house in Cuesta Blanca by men in civilian clothes at 9:00 p.m. According to neighbors from the area, there were many soldiers on the highway that day. The next day Rivas's body is found with his hands tied, his shirt in his mouth, his throat slashed, and with signs of torture. (IDHUCA and North American churchworkers)

January 29: Bodies of eight persons are found in La Libertad, six in Sacoyo and two in San Pablo Tacachico: all tortured including two young women found hanging from a tree, breasts cut off, faces painted red. (El Mundo, January 30, 1988)

January 31: Six uniformed soldiers abduct Juan Alberto Guevara Monge and his son Jose Adelmo Deras Guevara, 9 years old, who is mentally handicapped, from Platanillo, La Libertad. Guevara Monge's body is found in the Agua Caliente River, with the legs broken, the head mutilated, the shirt and pants burned, an ear split, and a bullet in one cheek. (Tutela Legal)

*Source: A tiny sample taken from the almost 5,000 incidents reported in the El Rescate, Human Rights Department, Chronology Of Human Rights Violations in El Salvador, January-December 1988.


In the pre-election period, also, the Salvadoran Attorney General officially warned the press against allowing any statements "inciting" the public not to vote. [17] This was not mentioned in the U.S. mass media, to our knowledge.

Box 2. Attacks on Organizations by the Armed Forces*

December 28, 1988: A bomb explodes in the Lutheran Church, causing extensive damage to the sanctuary and the pastor's office. A group of men entered the church at 3 a.m. and after throwing religious ornaments on the floor, placed an explosive. Bishop Medardo Gomez had received death threats in recent weeks. (El Mundo December 28, 1988)

December 29: ANTA offices in Santa Ana are searched and ransacked by soldiers of the Second Brigade; two workers are captured and almost $6,000 in equipment stolen. Later the two workers are released. (San Salvador Television, Channel 12, December 30, 1988)

June 1, 1989: The Bracamonte Battalion enters San Jose Las Flores, Chalatenango, destroys the day care center and holds people captive in the church for more than two hours; gunfire damages a home, the clinic and the convent, and soldiers threaten to rape the nuos. (El Mundo, June 19, 1989)

June 6: Soldiers of the Atlacatl Battalion raid and rob the SOICES union offices in San Jose Las Fiores, Chalatenango. (El Mundo, June 17, 1989)

July 17: Twenty thousand rounds of ammunition fired by soldiers and security forces into the National University campus in San Salvador, injuring 11 people. Fourteen students and professors have been captured by authorities in the past two weeks; two from Santa Ana campus are thought to be "disappeared."

July 18: Treasury Police invade UNADES office (Office of Earthquake Victims) to search. They rip the office apart. According to Carmen Rivera, at midnight they took ten workers to the police headquarters. "There the interrogator pulled my hair and chased me around the cell .... More than anything else they asked me about my children. Then they asked me about my husband. This was the hardest thing for me. Every time I would answer he would say I was lying, and that the next interrogator would kill me. The entire time I was not allowed to use the bathroom, given no food or water. I was denied sleep and forced to stand for 72 hours. They kept touching my breasts; I feared they would rape me. I had been told that they would put me in the electric chair." [She was transferred to the women's prison on July 21].

*Sources: El Rescate, Human Rights Department, Chronology for 1988; updates for June and July 1989.


During the 1989 election the Salvadoran state continued its practice of murdering journalists, and the U.S. mass media continued their role of protecting a client state election by looking the other way. On election day, two reporters from Reuters were shot by Air Force personnel, one of whom died, the other severely wounded. A Dutch journalist was shot in a cross-fire, and died while his fellow reporters were unable to get him to a hospital because military helicopters kept firing at their trucks, plainly marked with press insignia. Another reporter, from the local San Salvador TV Channel 12, was shot dead by military personnel. The western reporters assembled in El Salvador were perturbed at these murders, and asked sharp questions of Defense Minister Vides Casanova at a press conference. He claimed these were regrettable accidents, that he would investigate, and that anyone guilty of misbehavior would surely be punished. [18]

But once again, the U.S. mass media down-played these murders. None of them featured this story, and few provided the background information that there had been several dozen prior journalist killings. None of them called attention to the fact that Channel 12 had angered the security establishment by its reporting on human rights abuses and that other staff from the station had been captured, tortured and released the previous year as a warning. They did not mention that the two Reuters reporters had been shot in the back after having been allowed to pass through a check point. None of the papers followed up the press conference with a report on whether or not guilty parties were found and punished.

The Democratic Convergence and Its Role

Among the factors differentiating the 1989 election from those held in 1982 and 1984, the most striking was the presence of the Democratic Convergence, a coalition of three left parties which was openly aligned with the FMLN.

According to its officials, the Convergence chose to participate in order to create political space, widen the frame of debate, obtain a seat on the Central Election Council (CCE), [19] and serve as a bridge between the FMLN and the government and United States in future negotiations. It remains to be seen whether this strategy was effective. What is certain, however, is that the participation of a leftist group gave the U.S. press another reason for declaring the 1989 election open (although the absence of such an electoral option in earlier years hadn't prevented the media from finding those also triumphs of democracy). The press failed, however, to provide the context that would explain why the Convergence was not able to mount a serious electoral bid.

In 1980, opposition parties had been forced underground by systematic murder. It was not until 1987 that Zamora and Ungo felt able to return from exile abroad. However, they had neither the necessary time nor the money to develop an organization that could span the country. With a budget of only $200,000 - compared with an estimated $6 million and $8 million for the Christian Democrats and ARENA, respectively. [20] The Convergence was not able to hire U.S. public relations firms, organize many rallies or pay for extensive advertising. [21]

These "legal" disadvantages were exacerbated by a pattern of illegal tactics used against the leftist party. In violation of the electoral code, a propaganda campaign was mounted against the Convergence by the army and others. In Santa Ana, army personnel passed out leaflets proclaiming that Zamora and Ungo were traitors. At one rally, the army distributed leaflets featuring Zamora enveloped in a hammer and sickle. Posters also appeared throughout the country with "enemies of the people" superimposed over photos of Zamora and his running mate Reni Roldan. So many violations were recorded that the president of the Central Election Committee (CCE) told a delegation from the International Human Rights Law Group (IHRLG) that he had "formally requested the armed forces to cease interfering with the Convergencia's campaign." [22] This request, and the numerous incidents of army partisanship in the election, were not reported in the mainstream U.S. press.

Because of the personal risks and lack of money, the Convergence's campaign was limited largely to San Salvador. Only once did Zamora travel outside the city to campaign. Even within the capital the danger was substantial. Their major rally, held in front of the National Cathedral on the last campaign day before the election, was broken up as it started to grow dark by the approaching sound of machine gun and heavy weapons fire. The candidates were rushed to cars and the crowd melted away. [23]

Another source of problems for the Convergence was the opposition of the FMLN to their participation in the electoral process. The FMLN claimed that "elections at the point of a gun" could not lead to a democratic outcome, and it called for a boycott. This split over tactics on the left cost the Convergence a great many votes.

As noted, the U.S. media cited the Convergence's participation as evidence of the openness of the election. In this connection, Lindsey Gruson observed in the New York Times that "In 1981... the armed forces put a bounty on the heads of 138 leftists by publishing a list of their names and describing them as wanted traitors." [24] This important fact, which tells us so much about the integrity of the 1982 election, was not reported by the New York Times in 1982. Now, with this fact mere "history," with the social democrats running in 1989, it can be mentioned! The suppressions now move to the factors that make the left appearance merely nominal and that worked in favor of ARENA, sometimes outside the law.

From Mandatory to Restricted Voting

Another major difference between the elections of the early 1980s and that of March 1989 was the government's policy on obligatory voting. In the elections of 1982 and 1984 voting was mandatory and citizens without a stamp on their national identity card (ID, cedula) certifying that they had voted risked fines, accusations of FMLN collaboration, harassment and even death. After their legislative victories in 1988, ARENA introduced a series of electoral "reforms." Among these, the legal requirement to vote was eliminated. Instead of having his/her voting record on the ID, which citizens are required to carry at all times, a new card (carnet) was issued specifically for voting.

At the same time, however, confusing and often arbitrary and costly restrictions were placed on obtaining these cards. The ID was required for obtaining a voting carnet, and this could only be gotten in one's home town or by paying more than $60 (approximately half the annual income of a rural worker) for alternative documentation. This discriminated heavily against refugees, migrant workers, and the poor. According to the IHRLG, "Fully 20 percent of those applying for a new carnet were rejected by the computer" because of technical "discrepancies," leading the IHRLG to conclude that the "procedure may eliminate more eligible voters than ineligible ones." [25] Local boards, often controlled by ARENA, also had discretionary authority to rule on the validity of documentation presented to obtain a carnet. In addition, the registration period was shortened.

Many Salvadorans did not even try to get the new cards. Publicity about the changes in the law was poor and travel in El Salvador is dangerous, especially without proper papers. As of 1985, over half the 285 municipalities in the country reported that their town halls (where birth certificates and records are kept) had been destroyed. The number is undoubtedly higher today.

Between 20 and 30 percent of the Salvadoran population is either internal or external refugees. The IHRLG estimated that there were 450,000-700,000 internal refugees and displaced persons, who had great difficulty voting under the new restrictions. A large fraction of these were effectively disqualified from voting. All of the estimated 600,000-1,000,000 external refugees were ineligible to vote by law. This adds up to between 1-1.7 million Salvadorans excluded from the vote (a million actually voted in the election). The excluded Salvadorans were mainly rural and urban peasants and workers, many of whom had been victimized by the army and paramilitary forces, and would tend to oppose ARENA.

Not all the exclusions were legal, even by Salvadoran standards. "[Jose Ricardo] Perdomo [president of the CCE] announced that the records of an estimated 290,000 voters in the election registry have been tampered with." [26] Charges of double and even triple voting were made in some districts. "It's like sneaking into a fair," joked one multiple voter to an international observer (who told this story to Terry Allen). The Convergence charged that fraud had robbed them of the third place standing which would have given them a place on the election review board.

By eliminating mandatory voting and instituting restrictive registration requirements and control over documentation, ARENA gained not only a public relations victory, but also a tactical advantage over both the Convergence and the Christian Democrats. With its large campaign fund and extensive organization, ARENA was able to ensure that its supporters registered and turned out. The Christian Democrats went into the election disorganized, dispirited, and outvoted on the electoral boards. The Convergence was unable to compete in organizational reach and communications effort.

Image
Credit: Terry Allen
Figure 1: Clear plastic balloting boxes used in Salvadoran elections.


The extremely effective transportation strike called by the FMLN, which brought most traffic to a halt throughout the country on election day, undoubtedly helped ARENA. It had planned for an Operacion Rescale, and mobilized thousands of private vehicles that brought its supporters to voting stations. 27 The army also helped bring voters to the voting stations in trucks, bedecked with banners "In the service of the public." Ordinary citizens might not be keen on riding to vote in army trucks. For the Convergence, the strike emphasized the split with the FMLN over participation in the tainted electoral process, and like the Christian Democrats it was unable to provide private transportation to get its supporters to the polls.

Of 3.1 million eligible voters (i.e., excluding external refugees), only 2.2 million actually registered; and of these only 1.8 million eventually received cards allowing them to vote. Of those, 1 million actually voted. Another 56,000 ballots were unmarked or annulled [28] (a strategy supported by the FMLN for those who were afraid to stay away from the polls, but did not wish to support the electoral process). Thus while almost 54 percent of those who voted cast their ballots for ARENA, this represented only 16.5 percent of the number of eligible voters and under 14 percent of the potential electorate (including external refugees). Thus while ARENA may be said to have won by a "landslide," [29] it was of a shrunken and minority electorate. The number of eligible voters participating in the election fell from 68.5 percent in 1984 to 32.5 percent in March 1989.

Although the low turnout was partially the result of the elimination of compulsory voting, the transportation strike, and the exclusion of many potential voters by the new registration procedures, another important factor was the loss of credibility of elections as a means of achieving any useful ends. This attitude also biased the election in favor of the right. Its constituency could hope to achieve power and implement their preferred agenda. Those who had thought that elections might bring peace, human rights improvements, and progressive reform, had reason for disillusionment and justification for the search for other tactics.

The Non-Privacy of the Vote

If an election is held in an environment of potential coercion, it is important to examine possible abuses in the basic mechanics of voting. Despite the Salvadoran constitutional guarantee of voter privacy, the ballot boxes used in the 1982, 1984 and 1989 elections were made of clear plastic. Figure 1 is a photograph taken by one of the authors (Allen) at the March 19 election. The ballots, which are numbered, are printed on translucent paper and can easily be seen after they are deposited by the voter in the plastic bags. The brightly colored party logos and the voters mark (an official felt tip pen is provided) bleed through and are readable on the reverse side of the paper, even when the ballot is carefully folded.

Figure 2 shows numerous members of the armed forces standing near the polling stations. The government announced in early March that 75 per cent of its 56,000 man force would be deployed on election day to ensure "security." ARENA poll watchers were also present at every one of the 7,000 voting booths in the country, sometimes in numbers greater than the single watcher permissible by law (ARENA mobilized an army of 23,000 poll watchers, 30 who were provided with fancy box lunches, decorated with the party logo).

We cannot be certain what effect these violations of voter secrecy had on the election result. In the past, however, voting for the ''wrong'' faction was sometimes punished by such sanctions as harassment, loss of employment, beating, rape, imprisonment, and even murder. As these punishments were commonly meted out by death squads closely linked to both ARENA and the army, voters contemplating dissent were not likely to be put at ease when members of these two groups were present and able to observe their votes. Although the U.S. media are very alert to the intimidating threats of security forces in the case of enemy elections, friendly security forces only "protect elections," whatever their actual record. [31] In accord with this patriotic rule, the threats to the most basic requirements of privacy in El Salvador that we have just described were not reported by the mainstream media in 1989, just as they were not in the two prior elections.

After the 1988 elections, a Permanent Committee of the National Debate, a broad-based coalition of 59 social, political and religious institutions and organizations, was formed under the leadership of the centrist Archbishop of San Salvador, to assess electoral politics. Meeting in September 1988, a large majority of the participants agreed that elections under existing conditions, which excluded a large fraction of the population from participation, and were closely tied to the aims of the war party, were neither very helpful in solving the nation's problems nor an expression of democracy. [32]

Although the National Debate was organized under respectable auspices and included a wide range of Salvadoran groups, its activities and findings were blacked out in the U.S. mass media (which did the same to the powerful critique of the Guatemalan elections of 1984-1985 by its Catholic Bishops). [33] The press sticks to sources that will confirm the official view, such as the official observer delegations, which always find client state election turnouts impressive and public enthusiasm for the new army-sponsored "democracies" inspiring. [34]

The FMLN Proposal

On January 24, 1989, two months before the election, the FMLN put forward a proposal "To Convert the Election Into a Contribution Toward Peace," which offered FMLN acceptance of and participation in the electoral process in exchange for concessions by the government. The proposal called for postponement of the election from March 19 to September 15; guarantees by the government to end repression of the popular movement; confinement of the army to the barracks on election day (and the substitution of less threatening observers and "protectors"); participation of the Democratic Convergence in the Central Electoral Commission; a revised electoral code; arrangements to allow the huge external refugee population to vote; and U.S. withdrawal from the election process.

Image
Credit: Terry Allen
Figure 2: Soldiers watch over Salvadoran voters.


This proposal shocked the Salvadoran establishment and U.S. government, and they spent a month hemming and hawing and working out the best way of rejecting the proposal. There were some elements of the establishment who were interested, and the Church and popular groups urged serious consideration. They pointed out that the FMLN proposals added up to the conditions for making the election democratic. The United States, however, was still committed to winning the war, and the dominant elements of the army and ARENA were adamantly opposed to doing business with "delinquent terrorists." Thus an important peace option was rejected, and a public still claiming peace as a foremost objective was allowed an election that would consolidate the power of the extreme war party. This irony escaped the western media.

Conclusions

The March 19, 1989 election in El Salvador was neither free, fair, nor democratic. The level of state-sponsored terror was too high to allow the basic conditions of a free election to be met. Among other limitations, journalists continued to be murdered, unions, peasant groups, and other popular organizations and their leaders were under steady threat and attack by the army and paramilitary groups, and transparent voting boxes that compromised the secrecy of the vote remained in use. We believe that if these electoral characteristics existed in Nicaragua, the U.S. media would find that election a farce. As it is, they remained discreetly silent on the negatives and, as in the past, saw to it that an election sponsored by their government was a triumph of democracy.

The victory of the ARENA party was an ironic but logical consequence of U.S. intervention and policy. The United States supported the systematic attack on and decimation of popular organizations, while trying to shore up Duarte and a largely mythical center. But U.S. policy assured that Duarte could not fulfill any reformist or peace-making campaign promises, and his support base disintegrated. With the collapse of the Christian Democrats, only the nationalist right remained as a viable force in electoral politics. The Convergence Party and other progressive forces could make only a nominal showing in the face of the earlier destruction of its leaders and organizational support base, and the continuing attacks from the army and right. Only the party of D'Aubuisson, the death squads, the army and the oligarchy had the enthusiasm, money, organization and military force to win an election under the conditions of economic crisis and in the midst of an ongoing counterinsurgency war.

Image
Credit: Terry Allen
This banner, displayed in front of bombed-out labor union office, reads "ARENA ASSASSINS."


As we stressed earlier, an important feature of the electoral environment of El Salvador has been the shift from mandatory to restricted voting. This reflects the growing legislative muscle of ARENA. In 1982 and 1984, when the United States viewed "turnout" as crucial to the success of the election (reflecting its PR role), voting was legally required in El Salvador. For ARENA, a distinctly minority party, restricted voting was desirable because it would tend to keep off the voting rolls the support base of the left. ARENA would do best with a small but "select" voter turnout. Its legislators used their legislative power to eliminate mandatory voting and put in its place laws which made registration more difficult. A million or more potentially eligible voters therefore did not register. Many more didn't bother to vote, and ARENA won with the vote of only 16.5 percent of the eligible electorate and under 14 percent of potentially eligible voters. But just as the U.S. press failed to report and discuss the significance of mandatory voting in 1982 and 1984, the next phase of undemocratic and manipulative adjustment of the vote - by the deliberate shrinkage of the electorate - also escaped their notice in 1989.

Following the March 1989 election, and helped by the fact that the U.S. mass media simply refused to publish information on the escalating state terror in El Salvador, the Senate Democrats joined forces with the Bush administration and voted $90 million in unconditional military aid to the Salvadoran government on September 20, 1989, to show that "we appreciate and support what he [Cristiani] is doing and we stand behind him" (Christopher Dodd). There are two fallacies in this position. One is that, even on the assumption that Crisitiani is a moderate who means well, and is not merely a powerless front man for D' Aubuisson and the security forces, unconditional aid would weaken his ability to restrain the hardliners. It would signal them that any barriers to kill imposed by the United States are down. Second, apart from the matter of incentives, there is a question of what Cristiani is actually doing? Under considerable pressure, he was talking to the rebels, although no agreement has been reached, and in our view, no useful compromise is likely to come out of negotiations reluctantly engaged in by the Salvadoran extreme right. We believe these talks are necessary to ARENA for political and PR purposes, but that they will only clear the ground for an intensified war, just as demonstration elections did earlier.

On the other hand, Cristiani has escalated state terror against popular groups in El Salvador since he took office. The National Union of Salvadoran Workers (UNTS) reports that in the first three months after ARENA took over executive power, there were 317 civilians assassinated, 62 disappeared, over 400 captured by the security forces, and more than 100 women sexually assaulted while in detention. According to this same group, over 140 of its members were seized by the military and police in the period during and immediately after the September 13-15 peace talks in Mexico City. Eight of the 11 members of the executive board of the National Trade Union Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRAS) have been arrested under ARENA rule, and their protests and demonstrations have been broken up violently. In a press conference in late September, members of FENASTRAS claimed that of 64 people detained by the National Police during their protest march on September 18, eight were raped while in custody. The National University has been periodically attacked by gunfire which has wounded significant numbers, and over a dozen faculty and students have been arrested, with several murdered or disappeared. The office of the Union of Earthquake Victims (UNADES) has been ransacked and its officials arrested and abused. [35]

These are a sample of Cristiani's material actions, but as the mainstream press is not featuring - or even mentioning them, for the Democrats these events do not occur. Just as the election of Duarte - a front man for the army and the Reagan administration - neutralized the Democrats in 1984; five years later they have embraced Cristiani - a front man for Roberto D' Aubuisson, the death squads, and the oligarchy.

El Salvador 1989: Epilogue on the Collapse of the Democratic Facade

Shortly after the completion of our article, on October 31, the San Salvador office of FENASTRAS was bombed, killing nine senior labor leaders and wounding 40 other people. On the same day the office of COMADRES (Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners) was bombed, wounding six. These events were given low-key coverage in the U.S. media, just as the escalating state terrorism of the preceding year (summarized in our text above) was hardly noticed.

Thus, when the FMLN began a major offensive on November 11-12, this was portrayed by the political establishment and in the media as perverse behavior coming out of the blue, not as an almost inevitable result of a growing state violence which showed that the Cristiani/ARENA participation in peace talks was a meaningless gesture. Another fact that would have put the FMLN offensive in meaningful context was the Salvadoran (and U.S.) government's refusal to take seriously the FMLN pre-election proposed accord that would have ended the war, eliminated state terrorism, and provided the basis for genuinely free elections. That refusal, the escalating attacks on popular groups, and the increased and unconditional military aid by the U.S. government, suggested that it was the Salvadoran establishment and U.S. government, not the rebels, who understand only the language of force.

It was the cold-blooded murder and mutilation - following torture - of six distinguished Jesuit clerics and their two housekeepers, on November 16, 1989, that weakened the liberal establishment's post-election complaisance regarding the "new" ARENA. The Salvadoran army and police had been torturing and killing ordinary citizens week after week without being called to task, and were even given accolades for their moderation. Killing and torturing notables, however, resulted in publicity and focused attention, and although nothing changed, suddenly there was the "perception" of a human rights problem! The line that resurfaced in the establishment was that Cristiani might be "unable to control" the army and death squads, just as the junta of 1980-84 and Duarte allegedly couldn't control them. The fact that not one soldier or officer has yet to be punished for murdering any Salvadoran in nine years, and that the party of death squad killer D'Aubuisson now runs the government and judiciary, is still not seen as making the "inability to control" argument a foolish apologetic.

The nature of the Salvadoran regime revealed itself once again during the renewed warfare of November 11 and after. During the stepped up fighting the Air Force used rockets, 500 pound bombs and gatling guns capable of firing 8,000 rounds per minute on heavily populated areas. The army and death squads moved more aggressively against members and leaders of the popular movements, the murder of the six clerics and two women providing only the most dramatic and "newsworthy" episode of a wide-ranging assault. Despite offers from the FMLN, ARENA also refused to negotiate a truce or to respect the neutrality of the Red Cross and the press corps. Civil liberties such as the rights of due process, assembly, and the press were totally suspended. A draconian "anti-terrorism" package is in its last stages of movement through the ARENA-controlled legislature, a bill which even the New York Times describes as involving "sweeping new restrictions on individual freedoms, including virtually unhindered government power to ban dissent and peaceful protest" (November 25). Leaders of the Christian Democratic Party describe this legislation as a "fascist project." This is entirely compatible with the long-standing agenda and aims of the leaders of the ARENA party.

Image
Credit: Terry Allen
Firebombed office of Jesuit priests murdered by Salvadoran Army.


In light of the main focus of the present article, on the March 1989 Salvadoran election, it is notable that President Bush himself, questioned on U.S. support of the Salvadoran government, relied heavily on the legitimation by election. And on CNN's "Crossfire" on November 21, Michael Kinsley of the New Republic, relying entirely on the cliches of state propaganda, sharply criticized an FMLN representative for the military offensive against a government duly accredited by an election. As we have described in the main text, however, this was an election held after an extended period of extreme state terror which dismantled the left opposition and its organized base, and under conditions of ongoing state terror. Like its predecessors, the March 1989 election failed to meet the basic conditions of a fair and free election.

It is interesting to note that the United States gave unconditional support to the terror regime of January 1980-March 1982, which was unelected. The elections of 1982 and 1984 then consolidated the power of an army and political establishment that had previously run the killing machine without elections. Nevertheless, these elections legitimized the government according to U.S. official observers and the mass media. Official observers, however, always find U.S.-sponsored elections meritorious, and no matter how biased they may be and how superficial their observations, they are always cited as credible sources by the mainstream media. We believe that the establishment press will find any election carried out under their government's imprimatur to be legitimizing, no matter how distant it may be from fairness and freedom. The legitimized government may also kill its citizens freely, if it avoids murdering and mutilating notables, in which case the press may raise questions about whether the "elected government" real-

[PIECE MISSING?!]

_______________

Notes:

* Terry Allen, a journalist and writer, was in El Salvador during the March 1989 election. Edward Herman is the author of the forthcoming book, with Gerry O'Sullivan, The "Terrorism" Industry, to be published by Pantheon in January.

1. The quoted phrase was applied to D'Aubuisson by former U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Robert White.

2. For a full discussion, see Edward S. Herman and Frank Brodhead, Demonstration Elections: U.S. Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, and El Salvador (Boston: South End Press, 1984), pp. 119-26.

3. Dennis Hans, "Duarte: Man and Myth," CovertAction Information Bulletin, No. 26, Summer 1986.

4. See Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent (New York: Pantheon, 1988), pp. 101-102.

5. See Edward Schumacher, New York Times, February 21, 1981.

6. On this organizational program, see Sara Miles and Bob Ostertag, "The Rise of the Reebok Right," NACLA Report on the Americas, July 1989.

7. Michael McClintock, The American Connection Volume One: State Terror and Popular Resistance in El Salvador (London: Zed, 1985), pp. 260- 74; Craig Pyes, "Dirty War in the Name of Freedom," Albuquerque Journal, December 18, 1983.

8. Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, Inside the League (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986), pp. 136-7, 147-48, 191-213.

9. Op. cit., n. 4, p. 58.

10. Op. cit., n. 2, pp. 140-142.

11. Op. cit., n.4, p.58.

12. This information was given to Terry Allen by an official of the ARENA Party.

13. The constitution and laws of El Salvador do provide the trappings of democratic process and legal guarantees of civil rights. Although these are selectively enforced at best, they provide a basis for public protest and are often cited at demonstrations and in paid public advertisements in El Mundo, the one daily newspaper which occasionally prints them, as evidence of the hypocrisy and lawlessness of the Duarte and ARENA regimes. Rather than bring actual policy in line with the law, ARENA has proposed a draconian "anti-terrorism law" which eliminates most civil rights and would bring the law into line with policy.

14. This was partly a result of the fact that after 30,000 killings and organizational disruption of the popular forces, mass killing was no longer needed. It was also a result of pressures and demands from Duarte's voting constituency, which could be met within limits and for a period without excessive cost to the war project. The U.S. antiwar movement had also been pressuring Congress to cut off funds, so that unrestrained killing threatened the flow of dollars. Until such time as a new wave of mass terror might become politically necessary. assassination and imprisonment could be more selective and the body count kept at a level that could be easily ignored by the U.S. press and Congress and more acceptable to pressure groups.

15. International Human Rights Law Group (IHRLG), Report on the 1989 Salvadoran Electoral Process (Washington, D.C.: March 1989), p. 131.

16. Ibid., p. 125.

17. "Attorney General Restricts Media Activities," U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), March 17, 1989.

18. Michael Massing, "When More Means Less," Columbia Journalism Review, July-August 1989, p. 44.

19. The Democratic Convergence failed to attain this objective, as it came in fourth in the vote, losing third place by a very tiny margin. Only the first three parties in voter popularity obtained a seat on the CEC.

20. Linda Garrett, "Salvadoran Election: A Victory For the Right or For Peace?" El Rescate: E1 Salvador, March 22, 1989, p. 8.

21. Both the Christian Democrats and ARENA hired U.S. PR firms to handle their campaigns. ARENA worked with political consultant Roger Ailes, who was George Bush's media advisor. "With Ailes's help, the party has succeeded in conveying a populist image through television advertisements employing to a great effect humor and upbeat jingles (one of which is strikingly similar to the song used in the 'No' campaign in Chile's plebiscite)," Op. cit., n. 15, p. 85.

22. Op. cit., n. 15, p. 122.

23. This scene was observed by one of the authors, Terry Allen.

24. "A Fingerhold for Dissent in Salvador," March 17, 1989. This statement is in error: many of those on the list were centrists, not leftists.

25. Op. cit., n. 15, p. 52.

26. Washington Center for Central American Studies, El Salvador On Line, July-August 1989.

27. Sara Miles and Bob Ostertag, "Marching Orders," NACLA Report on the Americas, July 1989, p. 25.

28. Arnon Hadar, ed., Central American Bulletin, May 1989, p. 3.

29. Michael Massing was one of many reporters who called the ARENA victory "a landslide." Michael Massing, "Sad New El Salvador," New York Review of Books, May 18, 1989, pp. 53-6).

30. Op. cit., n. 27, p. 25.

31. Op. cit., n. 2, pp. 157, 173-80.

32. Catholic Archdiocese of San Salvador, Final Document, National Debate, San Salvador, September 1988, p. 11.

33. Op. cit., n. 4, pp. 113, 116.

34. For a humorous case, see Appendix 1, "The U.S. Official Observers in Guatemala, July 1-2, 1984," op. cit., n. 4. Senator Mitch McConnell, head of the U.S. delegation to El Salvador in March 1989, commented that "Our turnouts aren't this good in the United States." Newly-elected President Cristiani concurred shortly after on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, "The turnout equaled or surpassed the voter participation rate in the 1988 [U.S.] presidential election."

These remarks are inaccurate, as the U.S. voter participation rate in the 1988 election substantially exceeded 325 percent. Furthermore, as we noted the Salvadoran turnout declined precipitously from that in 1984. It was also drastically below the turnout for the Nicaraguan election of 1984. None of these points was featured, or even mentioned, in the mainstream media.

35. See El Rescate's Human Rights Chronology for June through September; Washington Center on Central American Studies, On Line, October 2, 1989; Kate Thompson, "Repression Targets Popular Movement," Alert', Oct. 1989.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:18 am

News Notes
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

Washington's War on Nicaragua, written by Holly Sklar and published by South End Press, is without question one of the most important books on U.S. intervention in Nicaragua. She has presented this material with singular, easy-to-follow scholarship and with straight-forward prose.

A brief introduction places the subject within a historical context and then digs into current U.S. policy. She traces the roots of the Reagan-Bush Nicaraguan intervention to Jimmy Carter's presidency. Sklar demonstrates that Washington's current policy towards Nicaragua began in the months before the July 19, 1979 Sandinista triumph.

Holly Sklar provides a gold mine of information, documentation, analysis, and dozens of revealing quotes by key actors in the war. Examples include:

• Reagan's roving ambassador, Richard Stone, told Foreign Minister Miguel d'Escoto in June 1983, "You should do as we say. You will see how almost by magic the problem [of the contras] will disappear."

• John Hull, contra supporter and alleged drug smuggler, said, "If it were within my power people like [liberal Senators] Kennedy and Kerry would be lined up against a wall and shot tomorrow at sunrise."

• An anonymous U.S. government official proclaimed, ''We were going to knock off these little brown people on the cheap."

• Finally, a U.S. Ambassador in Central America acknowledged, "If they do it, it's terrorism, if we do it, it's fighting for freedom."

We highly recommend Washington's War on Nicaragua to everyone interested, not only in Central America, but in how U.S. policy is conceived and implemented throughout the world.

***

Political Research Associates recently released a topical report called "The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism." The Coors family made its fortune brewing beer in Colorado and, particularly with the rise of Ronald Reagan, became important funders of the extreme rightwing movement in the U.S.

The Coors report was written by Russ Bellant who also authored "Old Nazis, The New Right, and the Reagan Administration." The preface of "The Coors Connection" states that "Those who have benefited, directly and indirectly, from Coors family generosity include persons whose views reflect not only traditional conservatism, but also nativism, xenophobia, theories of racial superiority, sexism, homophobia, authoritarianism, militarism, reaction and in some cases outright neo-fascism."

We strongly recommend this report to anyone interested in learning about how the extreme Right uses its profits to promote the rightwing agenda in this country. It is available for $5 from Political Research Associates, 678 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 205, Cambridge, MA 02139.

***

In CAIB issue number 31, we wrote about the "Resistance Conspiracy" case in which seven anti-imperialist activists were charged by the U.S. government with conspiracy and with a number of bombings of military and government buildings.

On the eve of their trial, supporters of the "Resistance Conspiracy" defendants have written an open letter to the progressive community asking for support in their efforts to combat this political persecution. Their letter states that "The defendants in this case, like the other political prisoners in this country, need to be returned to our communities and not disappear into the prison system. We must lend our voices and support to ensure their rights - and our own."

We would encourage all our readers to support the "Resistancy Conspiracy" defendants in their struggle for justice and to contribute to the defense of these political prisoners. For more information or to make a contribution, write: Emergency Committee for Political Prisoners, P.O. Box 28191, Washington, DC 20038-8191.

***

Also in issue 31 we announced "Campus Watch," a newsletter writing about CIA campus recruiting, officer-in-residence programs, and special CIA campus operations.

We want to report that "Campus Watch" is alive and well and still available. A must for anyone who wants to keep informed about CIA activities on university campuses. It is also a great resource for student activists organizing to end CIA operations at their universities. Published four times during the academic year; $10 individual; $20 institutions; $3 for current issue. Order your subscription from: Campus Watch, P.O. Box 9623, Warwick, RI 02889.

***

We also want to bring your attention to a speaker's bureau which features lecturers who are experts on intelligence issues. Becker Lectures can arrange for your group to host David MacMichael (former CIA analyst), William Schaap (co-editor of CAIB), Edgar Chamorro (former contra leader turned outspoken critic), Daniel Ellsberg, Jack Ryan (former FBI agent turned critic), and many others.

Contact Becker Lectures at:

P.O. Box 1094, Northampton, MA 01061; (413) 585-0708.

***

Finally, we would like to call your attention to a new publication entitled "CIA Off Campus: An Organizing Handbook for Student Activities." This edition combines the accumulated knowledge of more than a dozen anti-CIA organizers and activists from campuses across the country.

Chapter topics include: CIA-sponsored student and faculty recruiting; CIA-sponsored research funding; how to organize using university and community resources; taking action - how to expose CIA campus activity.

Available from: Bill of Rights Foundation, 220 S. State St., Suite 1430, Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 939-0675; $5.00/copy plus $1.00 for postage and handling.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:48 am

FEMA and the NSC: The Rise of the National Security State
by Diana Reynolds*
Winter 1990

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Since the advent of changes which took place during the Reagan regime, America has been a presidential directive away from a civil security state of emergency which, if ever enacted, could create a constitutional crisis equal in severity to the American Civil War.

A national state of emergency can be declared by a concurrent resolution of both houses of Congress or by the President in the case of natural disasters, nuclear war, a massive mobilization in anticipation of an enemy attack on U.S. territory, or domestic civil unrest.

A disturbing shift in policy occurred during the Reagan years which could have profound consequences with respect to civil liberties. Whereas civil defense planning in the past had focused on disaster relief, the national security focus of the Reagan administration meant implementing new ways to expand police powers in times of nuclear war, domestic unrest, or civil disorder. [1] Bending under pressure brought by the Reagan Administration, Congress gave the president and his executive agencies sweeping emergency powers. This article will examine how those powers came to be, and will explore a possible scenario-the U.S. government's war on drugs-in which these powers might be used.

Civil Security Planning

Since WWII, the U.S. government has had contingency plans in preparation for a large scale disaster or attack. However, during the last twenty-five years - beginning with civil unrest at the height of the Vietnam War-the government's plans have increasingly on focused ways of controlling political dissent.

On October 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon issued Executive Order 11490, "Assigning Emergency Preparedness Functions to Federal Departments and Agencies," which consolidated some 21 operative Executive Orders and two Defense Mobilization Orders issued between 1951 and 1966 on a variety of emergency preparedness matters.

In 1976 President Gerald Ford ordered the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency (FEPA) to develop plans to establish government control of the mechanisms of productions and distribution, of energy sources, wages and salaries, credit and the flow of money in American financial institutions in any (heretofore undefined) "national emergency." This Executive Order (EO 11921) also indicated that, when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress could not review the matter for a period of six months. [2]

Even arch-conservative activist Howard J. Ruff was quick to point out that, since the enactment of EO 11490, "The only thing standing between us and a dictatorship is the good character of the President and the lack of a crisis severe enough that the public would stand still for it. ... " [3]

While Ruff thought a national emergency might be used to destroy the free markets in the U.S. and take away the C.B. radios and guns of Americans, The Washington Afro-American was alarmed for more rational and obvious reasons. In an editorial, the paper repeated Ruffs warning:

Executive Order No. 11490 is real, and only the lack of a crisis big enough, a president willing enough, and a public aroused enough to permit it to be invoked, separates us from a possible dictatorship, brought about under current law, waiting to be implemented in the event of circumstances which can be construed as a "national emergency." [4]


President Carter evidently did not share this concern and, in 1977, he signed Executive Order 12148 which created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to replace the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency. This Presidential Directive mandated an interface between the Department of Defense (DOD) and FEMA for civil defense planning and funding. [5]

When Ronald Reagan came to power he gave FEMA vast- 1y expanded executive emergency powers and appointed retired National Guard General Louis O. Giuffrida as his "emergency czar." Giuffrida's creation of contingency emergency plans to round up "militant negroes" while he was at the Naval War College caught the attention of then-Governor of California Reagan and his executive secretary Edwin Meese III.

As Governor, Reagan called on Giuffrida to design Operation Cable Splicer. Cable Splicer I, II and III were martial law plans to legitimize the arrest and detention of anti-Vietnam war activists and other political dissidents. [6] In 1971, Governor Reagan, with a $425,000 grant from the Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, established a counterterrorism training center - the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) - and made Giuffrida its commandant. [7]

Image
Credit: White House Photo
Louis Giuffrida and George Bush discuss disasters.


Shortly after he assumed the directorship of FEMA in 1981, Giuffrida had flooded high-level FEMA posts with friends from CSTI and the military police, [8] had created a Civil Security Division of FEMA, and had established a Civil Defense Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland - based on the CSTI model. By 1984, the Center had trained one thousand civil defense personnel in survival techniques, counterterrorism and military police methods. [9]

From February to July of 1982, President Reagan signed a series of National Security Decision Directives (NSDD) -- presidential decisions on national security objectives - on civil defense policy and emergency mobilization preparedness. While Reagan's real U.S. civil defense policy is contained in the classified NSDD 26, some of the law enforcement and public safety provisions of the policy are made public in NSDD 47. This National Security Decision Directive provides for an intensified counterintelligence effort at home and the maintenance of law and order in a variety of emergencies, particularly terrorist incidents, civil disturbances, and nuclear emergencies. [10]

Reagan gave the National Security Council (NSC) authority over the planning for civil defense policy with its expanded civil security powers. He mandated the creation of a senior-level interdepartmental board, the Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board (EMPB) and charged it with responsibilities for policy and planning guidance, coordination of planning, resolution of issues, and monitoring progress. [11]

The members of the EMPB were the Assistant for National Security Affairs (as its Chair), the DOD's Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and representatives from 10 other federal agencies. FEMA provided the staff, support secretariat and operational supervision for the EMPB and their working group on civil defense. According to then Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger, by February 1983, the EMPB had prepared - and the President had approved - a national policy statement on emergency mobilization preparedness. [12]

Oliver North served on the EMPB, having been assigned there from 1982 to 1984 by former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane. General Giuffrida was there too, providing operational supervision. By forming the EMPB, Ronald Reagan made it possible for a small group of people under the authority of the NSC, to wield enormous power. [13] They, in turn, used this executive authority to change civil defense planning into a military/police version of civil security.

Military Rule

In January of 1982, FEMA and the Department of Defense issued a joint paper entitled, "The Civil/Military Alliance in Emergency Management" which specified many of the provisions of Reagan's policy on emergency mobilization preparedness. This document indicates that FEMA had been given cane blanche emergency powers to acquire resources from federal and state agencies (including National Guard personnel) and the private sector (banking, communications, transportation, etc.) "for use in civil disturbance operations." [14]

Apparently General Frank S. Salcedo, Chief of FEMA's Civil Security Division and Giuffrida's former colleague at CSTI, wanted more. In 1983, in a workshop at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Salcedo recommended expanding FEMA's power further in the areas of survivability training, research on imposing martial law, and the potential threat posed by foreign and domestic adversaries. As he saw it at least 100,000 U.S. citizens, from survivalists to tax protesters, were serious threats to civil security.

Salcedo saw FEMA's new frontier in the protection of industrial and government leaders from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage and/or attack, as well as the prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion or a global audience in times of crisis. [15]

"This Is Only A Test, Repeat ... "

It came to light that while FEMA has been expending the lion's share of its energy and funding on building a civil security infrastructure, it had neglected its authorized civil defense role.


While improving capabilities to respond to civil security emergencies was for the most part a planning activity with the Reagan Administration, FEMA was also active in exercises to test these plans. In 1981, FEMA and DOD began a continuing tradition of biannual joint exercises to test civilian mobilization, civil security emergency and counterterrorism plans using such names as "Proud Saber/Rex-82," "Pre-Nest," and "Rex-84/Night Train." [16]

The Rex-84 Alpha Explan (Readiness Exercise 1984, Exercise Plan), indicates that FEMA in association with 34 other federal civil departments and agencies conducted a civil readiness exercise during April 5-13, 1984. It was conducted in coordination and simultaneously with a Joint Chiefs exercise, Night Train 84, a worldwide military command post exercise (including Continental U.S. Forces or CONUS) based on multi-emergency scenarios operating both abroad and at home. In the combined exercise, Rex-84 Bravo, FEMA and DOD led the other federal agencies and departments, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Secret Service, the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Veterans Administration through a gaming exercise to test military assistance in civil defense. [17]

The exercise anticipated civil disturbances, major demonstrations and strikes that would affect continuity of government and/or resource mobilization. To fight subversive activities, there was authorization for the military to implement government ordered movements of civilian populations at state and regional levels, the arrest of certain unidentified segments of the population, and the imposition of martial rule. [18]

Attorney General William French Smith finally became aware of the abuses of the Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board operating under the NSC. He admonished McFarlane, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, who theoretically chaired the planning group. In a letter dated August 2, 1984, Smith responded to a request by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review, for form and legality, a draft Executive Order revising the powerful EO 11490, assigning emergency preparedness functions to federal departments and agencies. The Attorney General said that apart from the legal review by the Office of Legal Counsel,

... I believe that the draft Executive Order raises serious substantive and public policy issues that should be further addressed before this proposal is submitted to the President. In short I believe that the role assigned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on the revised Executive Order exceeds its proper function as a coordinating agency for emergency preparedness.

This Department and others have repeatedly raised serious policy and legal objections to the creation of an 'emergency czar' role for FEMA. Specific policy concerns regarding recent FEMA initiatives include the abandonment of the principle of 'several' agency responsibility and the expansion of the definition of severe emergencies to encompass 'routine' domestic law enforcement emergencies. Legal objections relate to the absence of Presidential or Congressional authorization for unilateral FEMA directives which seek to establish new Federal Government management structures or otherwise task Cabinet departments and other federal agencies. [19]

The Fall of FEMA

Smith's letter signaled what seemed to be the beginning of the end for FEMA and Reagan's Emergency Mobilization Preparedness Board. Federal Bureau of Investigation Director William Webster had previously complained when FEMA's Director of Civil Security, General Salcedo, had intruded into the FBI's domestic intelligence jurisdiction under the rubric of counter terrorism. Salcedo was forced to turn over to Webster some 12,000 names he had been compiling on a list of potential threats to civil security. [20]

Furthermore, it came to light that while FEMA had been expending the lion's share of its energy and funding on building a civil security infrastructure, it had neglected its authorized civil defense role. On June 15, 1984, barely a month after Giuffrida filed his glowing accomplishment report with Meese, Robert Guffus, Inspector General of FEMA, wrote a draft report on FEMA's Comprehensive Cooperative Agreements (CCA) (with states) in civil defense preparedness.

He concluded that management actions were needed to improve the effectiveness of programs with state and local governments. In his review of the CCAs he found inadequate FEMA management control, imprecise program guidelines and a lack of personnel resources. Programmatic and financial weaknesses were a result of fiscal mis-management, unclear assignment of responsibilities, overlapping job descriptions, inflated training figures, and lack of written procedures. [21]

McFarlane removed North from the EMPB and assigned him to help with conducting unconventional warfare in Nicaragua. Giuffrida resigned in 1985 after a House subcommittee charged that FEMA was being mismanaged, and it was publicized that Giuffrida had staffed FEMA with his military/police cronies and had allowed $170,000 of agency funds to be used to outfit a deluxe bachelor pad at the Civil Defense Training Academy at Emmitsburg. [22] He now operates a security consulting firm in Washington, D.C. General Salcedo has moved on to be Presidential Liaison to Veterans Organizations at the Veterans Administration.

There is some debate about what happened to the plans for a civil security emergency.· There was a rumored joint investigation conducted by the Defense Department and the CIA into the unconstitutionality of planning for a civil security emergency by several government agencies. Supposedly, the two investigators, Special Forces Lt. Colonel Kvererdas and the CIA's William Buckley, prior to his fatal Beirut assignment, destroyed the plans and the exercise data.

Some believe that much of the planning was incorporated into Vice President Bush's Report from his Task Force on Combatting Terrorism which has inspired civil security contingency planning at the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service by an Alien Border Control (ABC) Committee. The working group within the INS was designing plans and programs regarding the control and removal of alien terrorists, potential terrorist aliens and those ''who are likely to be supportive of terrorist activity within the U.S." [23]

The most obvious resting place for the material is the National Security Council. In 1987, Reagan signed another NSDD, number 259, which superseded both NSDD 26, the secret civil defense plan of February 25, 1982 and the unclassified version dated March 16, 1982. Even though the 1987 version is shorter and more vague than its predecessors, no significant changes are evident in civil defense planning and programs from the 1984 EMPB scenarios.

Just before he left office, Reagan signed Executive Order 12656 which assigned new emergency preparedness responsibilities. Reagan's final national security legacy to civil defense planning puts the NSC clearly in charge. In Section 104, EO 12656 states that the NSC is the principal forum for consideration of national security emergency preparedness policy and will arrange for Executive branch liaison with, and assistance to, the Congress and the Federal judiciary on national security emergency preparedness matters.

The Director of FEMA has now been promoted to advisor to the NSC on mobilization preparedness, civil defense, continuity of government, technological disasters, "and other issues, as appropriate." The Director of FEMA is also authorized to assist in the implementation of national security emergency preparedness policy by coordinating federal departments and agencies; as well as state and local governments. The exercise program is to continue and plans and procedures ''will be designed and developed to provide maximum flexibility to the President for his implementation of emergency actions." [25]

On the same day that Reagan signed EO 12656 he also signed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 which provided yet another in a series of get-tough-but-do-nothing drug policies produced by the Reagan Administration. If and when the Anti-Drug Abuse Act fails-a victim of underfunding and bureaucratic in-fighting-then Executive Order 12656 could become an historic document in the war on drugs.

The National Security State and the Drug War

The U.S. government's proposed ''war on drugs" is one such case in which the U.S. government will have the authority to use the national security apparatus to suppress civil liberties. It may be the first opportunity to call into action the years of planning and expense used to develop the emergency preparedness network.

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act was passed in the final hours of the 100th Congress, when incumbents were anxious to return to their districts in order to campaign and when public opinion was calling for drastic action in the war on drugs. The Act was quickly drafted by ad hoc congressional committees and private consultants, then passed by Congress without the usual legislative hearings and debate.

The Act broadly defines the programs, goals, guidelines and appropriations for all the 58 federal departments plus the thousands of state and local agencies involved in the national war on drugs. Some provisions were made for drug education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, but much of the text focuses on the punitive measures to be taken by the government.

The Act increases state powers in the areas of government surveillance, intelligence gathering and seizure of private property.


The anti-drug policy authorizes the use of the U.S. military to assist in the drug war at home. If you live in federal housing or if you reside in large urban areas such as New York, Boston, Washington DC, or Los Angeles - where crime and addiction have turned neighborhoods into combat zones -- this Act will authorize the military to fence off your streets, keep track of who comes from and goes to your home, stop and frisk you, your friends and family, and regularly inspect your home and belongings. IT you or anyone who visits you is suspected by the authorities of using, selling or trafficking in any kind of illicit narcotic substance, you can be evicted from your home whether your landlord is the government or a private party. [27]

The Act increases state powers in the areas of government surveillance, intelligence gathering, and seizure of private property. It authorizes regional intelligence sharing centers, which not only compile statistics but provide contracts to states, local criminal justice agencies, and non-profit organizations for purposes of identifying, targeting and removing criminal conspiracies and activities spanning jurisdictional boundaries. [28]

The Justice Department is given the power to confiscate private property and deny state and federal entitlement by decree. Once caught, even casual marijuana users could be subject to the confiscation of their homes, cars, and bank accounts. [29] The government seizure takes place through civil proceedings where the burden is on the defendant to prove his or her innocence, unlike the "innocent until proven guilty" due process guarantee of criminal proceedings. [30]

A National Drug Czar

William Bennett, as the Director of the Office of National Drug Policy, is an adviser to and voting member of the National Security Council. [31] It is here in the NSC that the ultimate drug war could be fought. All it would take is a President determined enough, a Congress pliant enough, and people desperate enough for the drug war in America to be declared a national security emergency. IT and when that happens, the NSC -- as part of civil emergency preparedness - would be in charge of its implementation under the guidance of the President.

A national security emergency would without a doubt decrease drug use in America. The government would be authorized to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens. State security measures would be enhanced by restricting the freedom of movement within the U.S. and granting the government authority to relocate large groups of civilians at will. The U.S. Continental Forces and a federalized National Guard could seal off borders and take control of U.S. airspace, all ports of entry, and interstate highways. [32] It was James Madison's worst nightmare that a righteous faction would some day be strong enough to sweep away the constitutional restraints, designed by the framers to prevent the tyranny of centralized power, executive privilege and arbitrary government authority over the individual. [33] These restraints, the balancing and checking of powers among branches and layers of government and the civil guarantees contained in the Bill of Rights would be the first casualties in a drug-induced national security state with Reagan's civil emergency preparedness unleashed.

Nevertheless, there will be those who will welcome the National Security Council into the drug fray, believing that increasing state police powers to emergency levels is the only way left to fight America's enemy within. In the short run, a national security state would probably be a relief to those whose personal security and quality of life has been diminished by drugs or drug related crime. And as the general public watches the progression of institutional chaos and social decay, they too may be willing to pay the ultimate price: one drug-free America for 200 years of democracy.

_______________

Notes:

* Diana Reynolds is a Research Associate and Program Director at the Edward R Murrow Center, The Fletcher School, Tufts University. She is also an Assistant Professor of Politics, Bradford College and a Lecturer at Northeastern University. Research assistance for this article was provided by Charles Haber.

1. Alfonso Chardy, "Reagan Aides and the 'Secret' Government: ' The Miami Herald, July 5, 1987.

2. Executive Order 11921, "Emergency Preparedness Functions," June 11, 1976: The Federal Register, vol. 41, no. 116 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office (GPO), June 15, 1976), pp. 24294-300.

3. Howard Ruff, How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1979), p. 150.

4. Editorial, "The Implications of Miami!," The Washington Afro-American, May 31, 1980.

5. Executive Order 12148, June 13, 1977, as cited in, '''!be Civil/Military Alliance In Emergency Management," FEMA and DOD (Washington, DC: GPO, 1982); for a comprehensive review of FEMA's activities from 1979 to 1985 see: Keenen Peck, "'!be Take Charge Gang," The Progressive, May 1985, pp. 17-24.

6. Edwin Meese III, Executive Secretary to Governor Reagan, Speech transcript, Law Enforcement and Administration Association meeting, San Francisco, CA, March 5, 1970.

7. Ken Lawrence, "The New State Repression," CovertAction Information Bulletin, Number 24 (Summer 1985), pp. 6-9.

8. Howard Kurtz, "Retired Military Policemen Troop Into Highly Paid Agency Jobs," The Washington Post, February 3, 1985.

9. Louis O. Giuffrida, "Memorandum For Edwin Meese III, Counselor to the President," (Washington, DC: FEMA, May 16, 1984), p. 5.

10. National Security Decision Directive 47, "Emergency Mobilization Preparedness," July 22, 1982, p. 10.

11. Ibid., p. 12. From 1982-1988, a new secret Defense Mobilization Planning Systems Agency under the authority of then Vice President George Bush spent more than $3 billion upgrading command, control, and communications links in FEMA's continuity of government infrastructure. For a more comprehensive discussion of this agency see: Steve Emerson, "America's Doomsday Project," U.S. News and World Report, August 7, 1989, pp. 26- 30.

12. Op. cit., n. 10.; also see Caspar W. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, Annual Report To The Congress, Fiscal Year 1984 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1983), p. 261.

13. Ben Bradlee, Jr., Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (New York, NY: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1988), pp. 132-135; also see Roy Gutman, Banana Diplomacy: The Making of American Policy in Nicaragua 1981- 1987(New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1988); Hedrick Smith, The Power Game (New York, NY: Random House, 1988).

14. FEMA/DOD, '''The Civil Military Alliance in Emergency Management." A background paper to support the Civil/Military Action Officer Planners Conferences on Military Support of Civil Defense and Land Defense of CONUS, San Francisco, CA, January 26-29, 1982; New York, NY February 9-12, 1982.

15. Frank S. Salcedo and Richard Fierman, "The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse: Civil Security During and After the Unthinkable," Speech transcript, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting, March 5, 1983.

16. Caspar W. Weinberger, Secretary of Defense, Annual Report To The Congress, FY 1984 (Washington, DC: GPO, February 1, 1983); also see FEMA, Exercise PRENEST84 (Washington, DC: FEMA, September 1983).

17. FEMA, REX-84 ALPHA: Exercise Plan (Washington, DC: FEMA, February 28, 1984), pp. 24.

18. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Exercise Division, Operations Directorate, in Coordination with Plans and Policy Directorate, Military Support of Civil Defense System Description (Washington, DC: Joint Chiefs of Staff, December 1, 1983), pp. 14.

19. William French Smith, U.S. Attorney General, to The Honorable Robert C. McFarlane, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, August 2, 1984.

20. Deposition of Daniel Sheehan, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey v. John Hull, et. al., 1984.

21. Robert Guffus, Inspector General, FEMA, "Draft Report # H-7-84 - Management Actions are Needed to Improve the Effectiveness of Programs with State and Local Governments," (Washington, DC: FEMA, June 15, 1984). According to FEMA's "Budget in Brief for FY 1990," the net of total agency obligations for 1990 are $1.45 billion. (This is nearly equal to the total budget authority of $15 billion for the Justice Department for 1989). Of this only 1% ($9 million) is allocated for earthquake and other hazards and $280 million for disaster relief.

22. Op. at., n. 8; Pete Earley, "Smith Accuses FEMA of Grab for Power," Washington Post, September 3, 1984.

23. Robert J. Walsh, Assistant Commissioner, Investigations Division, Immigration and Naturalization Service, "Alien Border Control Committee," (Washington, DC: Immigration and Naturalization Service, October 1, 1986).

24. Executive Order 12656, "Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities, November 18, 1988," Federal Register, vol. 53, no. 266 (Washington, DC: GPO, November 23, 1988).

25. Ibid., p. 47492.

26. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Commitment to Drug Treatment is the Law," New York Times, September 17, 1989.

27. Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, November 18, 1988, Public Law 100- 690: 100th Congress, Title I, Section 1005, paragraph (c), p.4186; also see Bernard Weintraub, "Bush Considers Calling Guard To Fight Drug Violence in Capitol [sic]," New York Times, March 21, 1989; Michael Isikoff, "Bennett Plans War On Drugs in D.C. Area," Washington Post, March 19, 1989.

28. Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Ibid., Title I, Section 6101, paragraph (a), p. 4340.

29. Ibid., Title V, "User accountability."

30. For all of its draconian prescriptions, however, the U.S. anti-drug policy is, in effect, a paper tiger. On September 5, 1989, George Bush announced his strategy for carrying out the policies outlined by Reagan's Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. Although the Bush strategy implements only a portion of Reagan's policy for a drug-free America by 1995, professionals in law enforcement, the judiciary, the military, health, and education know that even Bush's piecemeal strategy cannot be funded nor administrated. Low estimates indicate that $50 billion dollars will be required over the next four years to implement Bush's present battle plan. The money is unlikely to come from federal taxes. Overburdened and underfunded state and local governments are expected to come up with the majority of the revenues and personnel needed to implement the federal anti-drug policy. In the long run, according to state and local officials, the policy will be very costly to state and local agencies because of further proposed Congressional cuts in social services and education in order to fund the federal government's drug war.

31. Op. cit., n. 27, Section 1003, paragraph (t), p. 4182; also see Diane Alters, "Bennett's 2 Battles: Drugs and Politics," Boston Globe, January 15, 1989.

32. The Posse Comitatus Act passed by the U.S. Congress in 1879, prohibited the use of federal troops in civilian law enforcement. Legislation passed by Congress from 1981 to 1988 has substantially undermined the Posse Comitatus Act permitting U.S. Continental Forces and active reserves which constitute a portion of each state's National Guard to participate in domestic law enforcement. See: 1982 Department of Defense (DOD) Authorization Act's amendments to title 10 U.S. Code, Sections 371-378 entitled, "Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials"; DOD Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1985 which amends title 10 Code by changing the meaning of "active duty" as it relates to Air Guard Reserve personnel; and National Defense Authorization Act, FY 1989 which amends title 10, section 371-378 and adds Sections 379 and 380 for drug interdiction and law enforcement (public Law 100-456, Section 1105). Also see, Maj. Aleksandra M. Rohde, "Pushing the Limits of Posse Comitatus," National Guard Magazine, August 1989, p. 22.

33. James Madison, "Checks and Balances", The Federalist Papers, No. 51.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:35 am

U.S. Disinformation: Dealing With Drugs In Cuba
by Debra Evenson *
Winter 1990

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"That's a Cuban cigar. You see where it come from? Havana." Reinaldo Ruiz, an imposing man six feet four inches in height and weighing 270 pounds, sat in the Miami office of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informant in mid- 1987 and bragged about transporting cocaine shipments from Colombia through Cuba with the help of "top" Cuban officials. [1] The DEA informant, Hu Chang, was well aware of Ruiz's contacts in Cuba since he himself had flown the first successful transshipment for Ruiz from Colombia to Cuba on May 9, 1987. [2] Nor was Chang new to the drug trade. A former Nationalist Chinese air force pilot who had worked as a contract pilot for the CIA in Southeast Asia, Chang had been arrested on drug smuggling charges shortly after immigrating to the U.S. in 1979. [3] The collaboration between these two men initiated the first proven involvement of Cuban officials in international drug trafficking.

For years the U.S. accused Cuba of trafficking in drugs but never had credible evidence to back its accusations. [4] Reinaldo Ruiz provided that opportunity. When Ruiz persuaded a young relative working for the Cuban Ministry of Interior (MININT) to arrange use of Cuba as a transit point in 1987, U.S. law enforcement officials tracked the operation from its inception, taping the conversations among the participants.

The information DEA obtained was never shared with the Cuban government, which did not uncover the drug-dealing operations on its own until the spring of 1989. Then the Cuban government moved quickly to expose the scandal and to prosecute the officials involved. But rather than praise the Cubans for taking decisive steps to stop drug trafficking, the Bush administration harshened its public repudiation of Cuba and rejected Cuba's offers to cooperate in drug interdiction.

What Did the U.S. Know?

The facts raise many questions about the involvement of U.S. agencies in the Cuba drug operation. They also call into question whether the Bush administration is more concerned with anti-communism than it is with interdicting drug traffic.

Reinaldo Ruiz left Cuba in 1962 at about age 25. By 1986, he was living comfortably in Los Angeles where he owned two homes worth more than $800,000. One apparent source of income was a business he operated out of Panama called Colombian Tours, SA., which arranged travel to and from Cuba. To carry out some of his business arrangements with Cuba, Ruiz contracted for the legal services of Interconsult, a Cuban office in Panama. Coincidentally, Miguel Ruiz Poo, the 34-yearold son of Ruiz's cousin, happened to be a captain in the Cuban Ministry of Interior functioning as manager of the Interconsult office in Panama. In the fall of 1986 Ruiz went to the Interconsult offices to look up his young relative.

After establishing a relationship with Ruiz Poo, Reinaldo began to suggest business deals in which he would acquire various blockaded equipment for the Cubans, proposals which Ruiz Poo passed on to his superior, Amado Padron, who was in charge of Cuban intelligence activities in Panama. As these discussions progressed, Reinaldo introduced the idea of drug shipments through Cuba. He told Ruiz Poo that his girl friend, Ligia Cruz, a Colombian, could obtain cocaine through her connections to Gustavo Gaviria, a cousin of Medellin cartel boss Pablo Escobar Gaviria, and through contacts in Miami, Ruiz could arrange for the drugs to be picked up by speedboats and taken to Florida. Thus, if Miguel Ruiz Poo could arrange a transshipment base in Cuba, Reinaldo Ruiz could take care of getting the drugs to and from Cuba. Ruiz Poo took the proposal to Padron, and the three met in Panama in late 1986 to discuss the scheme.

A few weeks later, Ruiz flew to Cuba to meet with Padron and Tony de la Guardia, the chief of the special MC department set up by the Cuban Ministry of Interior in 1986 to break the U.S. trade blockade by obtaining U.S. goods in Miami and elsewhere and getting them into Cuba. [5] These operations frequently involved receiving clandestine Shipments by plane or by speed boats coming from Miami. On de la Guardia's order alone, the coast and landing strips were cleared for receipt of these shipments which were unloaded only by members of the MC department. So the mechanism by which Cuba could be used as a transit base for drugs without the knowledge of officials outside the MC department was already in place when Ruiz proposed his deal.

Image
Credit: Wide World Photos
Reinaldo Ruiz, convicted drug smuggler.


Arrangements were made for a first operation to take place in January 1987. Ruiz purportedly sent his plane to Colombia for the drugs, the speedboats arrived from Miami, but the plane never came. Perhaps Ruiz was just testing his Cuban counterparts; he told them problems with the airplane caused the operation to be aborted.

A second operation was planned for April 10, 1987. As early as October 1986, Ruiz had established a relationship with Hugo Ceballos, a Colombian living in Miami who was looking for ways to transship cocaine from Colombia to Florida. Ceballos worked with a group of Miami-based speedboat operators. According to U.S. legal documents, Reinaldo's son Ruben Ruiz and an American co-pilot named Richard Zzie flew Ruiz's plane from Florida to Panama on March 28. On April 10, they flew from Panama to Colombia, picked up about 400 kilograms of cocaine and landed the shipment at Cuba's Varadero airport concealed in boxes of Marlboro cigarettes.6 The boxes were then loaded onto speedboats which had arrived from Florida. The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted the boats as they entered U.S. waters.

Later, in a "secretly" recorded videotape, Ruben Ruiz bragged about how the Cubans "tricked" U.S. customs officials in Fort Lauderdale by calling ahead and reporting that Ruiz's plane had had engine difficulty forcing it to land in Varadero. [7] Thus, according to Ruben, U.S. Customs did not give them any trouble for coming in from Cuba. However, given the constant accusations of Cuban complicity with drug trafficking, it is inconceivable that U.S. Customs would not closely scrutinize an unscheduled plane coming from Cuba no matter what the reason given. The most plausible explanation is not that the Cubans were able to give Ruiz cover, but that U.S. officials knew full well where the plane had been and were not going to interfere with the activities of Ruiz.

Only on the third try, in May 1987, did the operation succeed. This time DEA agent Chang co-piloted the plane with Ruben Ruiz. The drugs arrived in Cuba packed in Epson computer boxes, were repacked into cigar boxes and loaded onto waiting speedboats which took the shipment to Florida. The plane flew from Cuba to Merida, Mexico, before returning to Miami. After this operation, the MININT officials involved decided to stop the operation for the rest of the year; Ruiz ceased his dealings with Cuba and moved his operations to Haiti. The four Cuban officials involved had received a total of approximately $400,000 from their deal with Ruiz.

The DEA, and probably the CIA, were both involved in and knowledgeable of these operations as early as the summer of 1986, when a DEA undercover agent infiltrated Ceballos's organization. Coincidentally, in late July Ruben Ruiz purchased a Cessna 401 aircraft which was used to transport the drug shipments. It is not clear from the court documents in the case how Ceballos was put in contact with Ruiz, but according to the documents, U.S. law enforcement officials were aware that Ceballos and Ruiz met at least as early as October 1986, which is about the same time that Ruiz approached his Cuban relative Ruiz Poo. Meetings among the U.S.-based participants were held at Chang's offices in Miami which were recorded on videotape.

In February 1988 Ruiz and his co-conspirators including his son Ruben Ruiz were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in Miami. [8] At the same time, Hugo Ceballos and 10 others were arrested under a separate indictment. [9] In July 1988, Ceballos and his cohort involved in smuggling the drugs into Florida were convicted. [10] Eight months later, in early March 1989, Ruiz and his son pleaded guilty, but were not sentenced until late August, more than a month after the Cuban government had convicted and sentenced the officials involved.

Although the February 1988 indictments in the Ruiz/Ceballos cases alleged use of Cuba as a transshipment point, the Cuban government denied the allegations of official involvement as just so much more U.S. propaganda. There was nothing to distinguish such allegations from the barrage of previous accusations which the Cubans claimed were patent- 1y false. Among the evidence proffered to show the Cuban connection was one of the "secretly" recorded videotapes made at Chang's office.

In the portion of the tape which was played at Reinaldo Ruiz's bond hearing in March 1988, Ruiz says "the drug money went into Fidel's drawer." Though Ruiz admitted afterwards that he had no actual knowledge of Fidel Castro's involvement, the taped statement made headlines in the U.S. press. [11] To the Cuban government, however, the allegation was specious and provided convincing evidence that the charges were unfounded.

Cuban Suspicions Arise

It was not until the trial of Hugo Ceballos in July 1988 that Cuban intelligence began to take interest in the allegations. Ceballos did not have direct contacts with Cuban officials, but evidence presented at his trial suggested use of Cuban territorial waters for drug shipments. Although the testimony regarding Cuban connections was not specific, Cuban diplomats nevertheless approached officials of the DEA to request an exchange of information. DEA officials in Miami were interested in exploring such an exchange and took the proposal to the State Department where it was tacitly rejected. [12] The rejection may have further convinced the Cubans that the U.S. had no concrete evidence to share. In any event, left with nothing more than unsubstantiated general statements in the context of a virulently hostile propaganda campaign, Cuba undertook no further investigation of its own at that time.

According to Granma, the newspaper of the Cuban Communist Party, Cuba began its investigation when it received reliable information from friendly diplomats in March 1989. [13] State Department representatives in Havana have claimed that they had attempted to provide information to the Cuban government in 1988, but that their warnings were ignored. [14] However, in briefing a House Narcotics Subcommittee delegation bound for Cuba to discuss drug-related issues with Fidel Castro, State Department officials in Washington advised in December 1988 that the U.S. was not cooperating with the Cubans on narcotics matters either officially or unofficially. [15] Obviously, if the Bush administration was interested in furthering its purported effort to inform the Cubans, it would have solicited the aid of the House delegation, and at a minimum advised them of the situation.

It is evident that the U.S. did not want to hasten the Cuban probe into drug dealing, and some U.S. law enforcement officials have expressly stated that the Miami investigation did not provide the informational basis for the Cuban investigation. Indeed, only after Cuba completed its own investigation did the DEA admit that although it had the names of the Cuban officials working with Ruiz, these names were never released in public documents nor given to Cuba. DEA's claims that it had uncovered these names by October 1988 are disingenuous. Since its own agents were involved even before Ruiz made contact with the Cubans and a DEA agent participated in landing drugs in Cuba, DEA knew the names of these contacts from the very beginning.

The Arrests in Cuba

In June 1989, the Cuban government arrested 14 military officials including 11 Ministry of Interior officers on charges of corruption and drug trafficking. Among those arrested were the three officers who dealt with Reinaldo Ruiz in 1987. [16] Despite the substantial amount of information compiled by DEA from July 1986 to the present on the Ruiz/Cuba connection, Johnny Phelps, assistant special agent in charge of the DEA office in Miami, told the press after the announcement of the Cuban arrests that "there's nothing at this point to say that there is [a connection between the two operations]." [17] The U.S. continued to conceal the facts it had in its possession.

Image
Credit: Prensa Latina
General Arnaldo Ochoa testifying at the military trial.


An explanation for the Reagan/Bush administrations' refusal to share information with the Cubans surfaced on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal on September 25. According to an Op-Ed piece by David Asman, the CIA sent operatives into Cuba on several occasions after the arrest of Reinaldo Ruiz in attempts to get Tony de la Guardia and Miguel Ruiz Poo out before they were arrested by the Cuban government. Rescuing drug traffickers from trial in their native country is an odd tactic in the "war on drugs," but it is consistent with the objective of preventing Cuba from learning the full facts about the drug operations.

When Cuba arrested 14 officials, the Bush administration had the audacity to insist it had a right to interview the defendants.

Image
Credit: CANF
Then-DEA Director Frances Mullen speaking at the extreme rightwing Cuban American National Foundation.


Not only did Cuba uncover the facts despite the U.S. concealment, the Cuban investigation went much further than the DEA's and uncovered operations involving other Cuban-Americans based in Miami who had engaged the cooperation of the Cuban officials convicted. There are no reports that these Miami dealers have been arrested or indicted in the U.S.

The Trials in Cuba and Miami

In the more than eight days of televised court proceedings, the Cuban population learned in detail how the special MININT division secretly set up to break the U.S. trade blockade became involved in drug smuggling. At the same time evidence described how three members of the Cuban Armed Forces (FAR) assigned to Angola, including popular military hero Division General Arnaldo Ochoa, unsuccessfully tried to arrange a drug deal with Medellin drug cartel boss Pablo Escobar in an escapade which seriously threatened Cuban national security.

Although all the defendants confessed to the charges, under Cuban law, like many other civil law systems, a guilty plea does not obviate a trial. The state must still demonstrate independent evidence of guilt and present argument for sentencing. In this case, the corroborating evidence consisted of the testimony of other defendants and witnesses, stashes of cash, drugs and documentary evidence.

At the end of the trial, the prosecutor requested the death penalty for seven defendants. The three-judge military court sentenced to death the four highest ranking officials who had directed the operations, and with one exception sentenced the others to 25-30 years imprisonment. [18]

In Miami, both Reinaldo and Ruben Ruiz were given reduced sentences for their "cooperation" with the prosecution. For his part, Reinaldo Ruiz, who initiated the operation was sentenced on August 21st to 17 years imprisonment with the possibility of parole in 1993. Under the new sentencing guidelines which went into effect on November 1, 1987, Ruiz should have received life in prison, but government lawyers moved that the guidelines not apply to Ruiz, conceding that his criminal activity ended prior to that date. Interestingly, the indictment alleges criminal activity through mid-February 1988. Ruben Ruiz was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Although Reinaldo Ruiz received leniency on the basis of post-arrest cooperation, the record suggests that the information yielded by Ruiz was available to the DEA throughout the criminal conspiracy in 1986 and 1987. No significant new information emerged after arrest. Could it be that Ruiz's "cooperation" began in 1986 before he contacted his Cuban cousin?

The Disinformation Campaign Continues

In the tradition of spurious allegations and exaggerations which has characterized the U.S. propaganda campaign against Cuba since 1960, some U.S. officials, anti-Castro exile groups, and members of the establishment press launched an attack marked as much by inconsistency as by preposterous lies and speculation. Among the baseless allegations most popularized by the U.S. media were charges that 1) the prosecutions were merely a "show" trial to cover up a political purge; 2) the trafficking was directed or at least condoned by Fidel Castro himself; 3) the Cubans knew of the Cuban involvement in 1988 when the U.S.-based connections were indicted in Miami and did nothing to stop the operations; and 4) Cuba continues to cooperate with drug smuggling operations.

Among the more specious invectives was the charge that the Cuban prosecutions were merely a "show" trial to cover up a political purge. Although the evidence manifestly contradicts such speculation and U.S. intelligence officials were reported by Newsweek International to have rejected such assertions as unfounded, 19 U.S.-funded Radio Marti broadcast daily bulletins to Cuba alleging that the drug charges were groundless and that Ochoa and the others were being pilloried for plotting against Castro. That Radio Marti would broadcast such an obvious lie to the very audience with which it tries to establish credibility is astonishing. But, then, the U.S. national press put forth similar allegations as news reporting. [20]

The proponents of the "purge" theory apparently want it both ways: They chastise Cuba for refusing to acknowledge drug trafficking by its officers, but when Cuba prosecutes drug traffickers, they accuse Cuba of masking a political plot against the government. If Fidel Castro wanted to purge officers, he did not need to risk his credibility by exposing Cuban involvement in drug trafficking which he had long denied. Moreover, much of the evidence in the case against the MININT officers closely paralleled evidence in the Ruiz/Ceballos cases, and prosecution was limited to the MININT officers working for the special MC department and three FAR officers. The evidence of drug trafficking was both detailed and compelling.

A prominent component of the propaganda campaign is the assertion that the trafficking was directed or at least condoned by Fidel Castro himself. According to this theory, the prosecution of high ranking officials was, therefore, just a maneuver to dissociate Castro from the drug activities. No evidence has been offered to substantiate such a claim. Indeed, the facts make such a charge highly implausible and it has been rejected by prominent Castro biographers Gianni Mina and Tad Szulc. [21]

First, the quantity of drug transshipments by way of Cuba even at the height of the operations was relatively insignificant, hardly worth the effort, given the likelihood of detection by the U.S. If Fidel Castro was really engaged in drug trafficking, why wouldn't he make the most of it? Cuba lies directly in the path of Latin American cocaine producers and the primary port of entry into the United States, Florida. Why be involved in penny-ante isolated efforts which could not in the least give the Cuban economy the support the U.S. claimed it was seeking through such illegal activity? The evidence at the recent trial in Cuba suggests that from 1987 to April 1989, Cubans received only $3 million for all their efforts and much of this was taken for the private use of the officials prosecuted. Castro would never have risked his prestige and the prestige of the revolution for so little.

Moreover, it is no secret that where there is drug trafficking the CIA is often close at hand. The CIA was undoubtedly aware of the MC operations to break the blockade. In late 1986 and 1987, contacts in Panama and Miami suggested to the MC officials that the MC initiative could be aided financially by allowing Cuba to be used as a transshipment base for drugs. To permit Cuban territory to be used as a transshipment base invites CIA involvement and infiltration. And indeed, a CIA operative flew one of the first cocaine-laden planes which landed at the military airport at Varadero Beach in 1987.

Further, it appears that Ruiz, if not an agent himself, cooperated with the CIA to send an operative to Cuba to attempt to get Tony de la Guardia and Miguel Ruiz Poo to defect before they were arrested. [22] It is not inconceivable that some of the drug operations were initiated by CIA connections, but it is inconceivable that Castro would willingly compromise Cuban security to such an extent.

Image
Credit: Prensa Latina
Audience listens to testimony at the trial of Cuban military officials.


Second, those involved had a convincing cover which hid their drug activities from higher officials. As director of the special MC department - the mission of which was to bring blockaded goods into Cuba-Tony de la Guardia and other members of the department established operations in Panama to purchase U.S. goods. Since sale of such goods to Cuba violated U.S. Treasury Department regulations, the goods had to be obtained through secret channels. Some of the goods came into Cuba by speedboat from Miami and by air from Panama and Colombia. In order to achieve their objectives in secret, de la Guardia and company had to have authority to permit such boats and planes to enter Cuban territory without interference by the Coast Guard. To further the cover, drugs arrived in boxes marked "Epson Computers" or other blockaded goods. After reviewing the evidence, even U.S. diplomats in Havana gave credence to Cuba's claim that Castro did not know about the operations. [23]

Third, such involvement is contrary to Cuban interests in maintaining international prestige and in improving relations with the United States. Since Cuba is hopeful of loosening the trade embargo to help its economy, it would be irrational to play into U.S. propaganda used to justify the continuation of the blockade.

The latest version of the "Castro connection" asserts that Fidel Castro's brother and Cuban Defense Minister, Raul Castro, took part in the operation. The support for this accusation came from confessed smuggler Reinaldo Ruiz as he was about to be sentenced this past summer. [24] Ruiz, who initiated the first drug operation with the Cubans, was purportedly facing a life sentence for his involvement but after his "cooperation" with prosecutors he received only 17 years with eligibility for parole in 1993 (only four years' time) and a promise from the judge that his sentence could be further reduced if he continued his "cooperation." How coincidental that as he is about to be sentenced months after he pleaded guilty he suddenly remembered that he saw Raul Castro at the airport when one of Ruiz's cocaine shipments was unloaded at a military airfield in 1987. [25]

With Cuba now taking firm measures to prevent any reoccurrences of Cuban nationals cooperating with drug traffickers, the Bush administration will probably stretch spurious charges as far as it can. And with nothing to lose but time in jail, Ruiz will probably come forth with additional revelations which cannot be corroborated.

Is Cuba Now Engaged in Drug Trafficking?

Although there appears to be some evidence that drugs have been transported near or through Cuban territorial waters and over Cuban airspace since June, such facts alone do not implicate Cuban involvement any more than they would implicate the governments of all countries lying along known drug shipment routes. There is no evidence of any Cuban cooperation with these shipments. The harm done to Cuba by the recent scandal was substantial. To risk additional harm to national security and prestige by continuing such operations simply does not make sense. The harsh sentences handed down by the Cuban military court were a clear warning to any others who might engage in such ventures.

Elliott Abrams suggests that if the Cubans are really serious about stopping drug trafficking, they should shoot down planes flying over their territory without authorization. It is not difficult to predict the U.S. reaction here if Cuba shot down an innocent plane.

Cuba persists in its effort to enter into cooperative agreements on drug interdiction with the U.S. The Bush administration has responded by tightening the economic embargo and seeking further restrictions on travel between the two countries. In criticizing the Bush administration for rejecting Cuba's offers, Representative Charles B. Rangel (Dem.-New York), chair of the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control put the issue bluntly: "It's time for the State Department to stop playing anti-Communist politics. It's drugs, not Communists, that are killing our kids."

_______________

Notes:

* Debra Evenson is an Associate Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law and the President of the National Lawyers Guild; copyright © 1989 by Debra Evenson and Covert Action Publications, Inc.

1. The statement was made in a videotape played at Reinaldo Ruiz's pretrial detention hearing in Federal District Court, Southern District of Florida on March 9, 1988; Washington Past, March 10, 1988, p. A18.

2. Chang's involvement is reported both in the indictment of Reinaldo Ruiz and in the Miami Herald, July 9,1989, p. 1A.

3. lbid.

4. U.S. law enforcement officials acknowledged this in a Washington Post story following the trial of drug smugglers with alleged connections to Cuba. Washington Past, July 26, 1988, p. A4. See also, CovertAction Information Bulletin, No. 19 (Spring-Summer 1983), pp. 9-11.

5. The United States imposed a partial trade blockade on Cuba in 1960 which was extended in 1961 to include almost all U.S. goods with the exception of some foodstuffs and medicines. By 1964, the U.S. had pressured the OAS to join the blockade. Most Latin American allies of the U.S. joined with the notable exception of Mexico. Today, most Latin American countries have lifted the blockade and have re-established diplomatic relations with Cuba. The U.S., however, has extended its economic embargo under the Reagan and Bush administrations, including the restriction of travel by U.S. citizens to Cuba.

In order to get needed parts and goods, the Cuban Ministry of Interior (MININT) set up the MC Department within MININT to find ways to obtain blockaded goods.

6. Marlboro cigarettes are one of the primary brands of U.S. cigarettes brought into Cuba to be sold in tourist and diplomat stores.

7. Ruben Ruiz also liked to boast of his terrorist skills. According to the transcript of Reinaldo Ruiz's pre-detention hearing, he had been taped as saying that he was expert in blowing up cars.

8. Indictment No. 88·127, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

9. Indictment No. 88-126, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

10. Ceballos was sentenced to 30 years on each of 5 counts of importing and distributing cocaine, the sentences to run concurrently.

11. Washington Post, March 10, 1988, p. A18; Miami Herald, March 10, 1988, p. 4C.

12. The account of this thwarted attempt at cooperation was reported in the Miami Herald, July 9, 1989, p. 1A. DEA's request was simply shelved by the State Department.

13. The recent trial of former Minister of Interior Jose Abrantes Fernandez revealed that Abrantes had received a report from one of his officers in late February 1989 suggesting that some MININT officials might be involved in drug trafficking. When Abrantes failed to act on the information, it went no further. Since prosecutors could not prove that Abrantes deliberately furthered the drug scheme, he was not charged with involvement in the drug operations and thus not subject to the death sentence. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for abuse of office, negligence in service and unauthorized use of financial resources belonging to the ministry.

14. Washington Post, July 25,1989, p. A17.

15. Jeff Leen, Miami Herald, July 9, 1989, p. 1A.

16. Even after the Cubans arrested the officials and publicized their names, U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen in charge of the Miami cases would not reveal the names of the Cuban officers identified in the U.S. investigations.

17. Miami Herald, July 9, 1989, p. 1A

18. Under Cuban law, a death sentence must be reviewed by the Supreme Court and the Council of State before it can be executed. Both institutions reaffirmed the sentences in this case. Because of the critical significance of the trial and its consequences both domestically and internationally, the 29 members of the Council of State publicly explained their individual reasons for affirming the death sentences.

19. Newsweek International, July 10, 1989.

20. Julia Preston, "Cuba Sentences Officers to Death for Corruption; General's Dealings Circumvented Castro," Washington Post, July 8, 1989, p. A1.

21. "Juicio a Fidel, entrevistas con sus biografos," Proceso, September 18, 1989.

22. Wall Street Journal, September 25, 1989.

23. Washington Post, July 24, 1989, p. A17.

24. Ruiz was Originally scheduled to be sentenced in May. Sentencing was delayed until July. Although the reason for the delay has not been made public, it is probable that it was related to the trial in Cuba. Sentencing was again postponed in early August, purportedly due to Ruiz's health problems. After the sentencing which took place on August 21, enforcement officials disclosed Ruiz's allegation that he saw Raul Castro at the military base where he landed one of the planes. Miami Herald, August 22, 1989, p. 1B.

25. Since Ruiz's account of Raul Castro's possible involvement, another Cuban American indicted in a separate drug trafficking operation has stated that Raul Castro approved the operations. No doubt many more drug smugglers will make such revelations since the payoff in reduced sentences is such an attractive incentive.
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Re: George Bush: The Company's Man, by Covert Action Informa

Postby admin » Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:37 am

Cuba's Policy Against Drug Trafficking
by CovertAction Information Bulletin
Winter 1990

Soon after the triumph of the revolution in 1959, Cuba completely eliminated the U.S.-based Mafia which had made the island a major drug center. Even before taking power, the revolutionary forces issued a proclamation in 1958 stating its objective "to completely eliminate hard drugs and illicit gambling." [1] Making note of the ways in which drug trafficking corrupts social institutions, the revolutionary Cuban government took a very puritanical stance with respect to narcotics. Drug dealing in Cuba today is a rare occurrence and involves almost exclusively small amounts of home grown marijuana. The Cuban criminal justice system has achieved what U.S. law enforcement has not - swift prosecution even for small dealers.

In the area of international drug trafficking, Cuba has played a role in interdicting shipments. Since Cuba lies directly in the path of drug producers and the Florida coast, smugglers frequently use routes through neighboring waters and the country's airspace. According to Cuban reports, its Coast Guard arrested 328 drug smugglers in 83 violations of Cuban airspace and territorial waters between 1970 and March 1986. [2] Most of those captured strayed accidentally onto the Cuban coast, broke down or landed because they were out of fuel.

In 1978 and 1979 the Cuban and U.S. Coast Guard services held two rounds of talks during which they agreed upon cooperative measures in the attempt to interdict drug trafficking. Although no official document was signed, DEA officials have publicly acknowledged the collaboration. Cuba renounced the agreement in 1982 in response to the U.S. federal indictments of four Cuban officials on drug trafficking charges which the Cuban government labelled false. [3] Even so, Cuba continued to arrest drug traffickers caught within its territorial waters or whose planes landed on the island. DEA officials concede that as many as 18 U.S. citizens arrested on drug charges are now in Cuban jails.

The U.S. Propaganda Campaign Against Cuba

More aggressively hostile in its policy toward Cuba than the previous administration, the lies of the Reagan administration were unabashed. Shortly after Reagan's inauguration, U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick told a Washington audience that Soviet submarines were operating out of Cuba. [4] According to Wayne Smith, who was chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana at that time, no Soviet nuclear or missile submarines had docked in a Cuban port since 1974. [5] Similarly, Smith denounced as false Reagan administration accusations that Cuba was arming the Salvadoran rebel forces in 1982. [6] In fact, Smith had informed Washington that Cuba had stopped such shipments in hopes of engaging the U.S. in negotiating an end to the armed conflict. [7]

Accusations of Cuban drug dealing have been part of the U.S. government's claims of Cuban wrongdoing since the 1960s. In 1966, a Senate report charged Castro with smuggling "Red" Chinese heroin into the United States to finance its guerrilla activities. [8] The Reagan administration intensified the accusations of Cuban drug trafficking. In 1982, based on testimony of convicted drug smugglers, four Cuban officials were indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami. The indictment accused the Cubans of making a deal in 1980 with reputed Colombian drug smuggler Jaime Guillot to give safe passage to Guillot's shipments to the U.S. in exchange for the transport of arms to the M-19 guerrillas operating in Colombia. The Cuban government vehemently denied the charges.

Based on the alleged brief arrangement between the then Cuban ambassador to Colombia and Guillot, the Reagan administration along with the extremist anti-Castro Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) began coupling Cuba with both drugs and terrorism. The primary premise of the allegations was that Cuba was engaged in drug trafficking to earn hard currency to support terrorist forces operating in any number of Latin American countries. An even more repugnant allegation repeated ad nauseum in CANF literature was that Cuban officials were given specific orders by Fidel Castro to "penetrate and addict U.S. youths with drugs." [9]

U.S. efforts to prevent drug trafficking through Caribbean air and water routes have failed, in some measure because of its own cooperation with known dealers. When revelations of CIA and contra involvement in drug trafficking surfaced, both Congress and the administration looked the other way and actively removed evidence from public view. Since a substantial portion of V .S.-based drug traffickers and money launderers have been Cuban Americans operating out of Miami, it is advantageous for the CANF and State Department to continue to point the finger at Cuba particularly during election years.

"Is there anything more? I mean ... are we all just running around here shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of having one isolated incident ... "


Further, to avoid some of the embarrassment of the significant involvement of Cuban Americans in illicit drug related activities, rumors were spread in the early 1980s that Castro had infiltrated over 400 agents among the Mariel emigres in order to start U.S.-based drug operations. In response to a Senate subcommittee question regarding such rumors, acting DEA director Francis M. Mullen, Jr. testified in 1983 that no evidence had been uncovered to substantiate such charges. [10] Asked again in 1984, he gave the same reply. [11]

In fact, until 1987 few drug shipments, if any, were reportedly making their way to the United States with the cooperation of Cuban nationals. In hearings before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in February 1984, DEA director Mullen reported two isolated instances of possible drug smuggling allegedly made with Cuban cooperation since 1982. In both instances the evidence was inconclusive as to whether Cuba was in fact involved.

In his testimony, Mullen described two incidents allegedly involving Cuban cooperation. In March 1983, a diary found on a sailboat carrying marijuana showed an itinerary of Florida, the Bahamas, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Cuba, the Bahamas, and finally Florida. The second incident took place six months later in September 1983. According to the DEA, the wreckage of an aircraft which crashed in the Florida Keys indicated that the flight was involved in drug activity. One of the items found was a letdown chart for Varadero, Cuba, and fuel from the wreckage showed it to have a different octane and lead content than aircraft fuels commercially available in the United States and Jamaica. [12]

Searching for more damning evidence, Representative Lawrence Smith (Dem.-Florida) asked "Is there anything more? I mean ... are we all just running around here shooting ourselves in the foot in terms of having one isolated incident here, one isolated incident here, but not enough to really put together something which might be ... some kind of operation to break down?" Mullen replied, 'We are looking for that pattern .... We have not reached that point yet." [13]

Although the harangue of accusations of Cuban drug trafficking continued unabated, drug enforcement officials had no substantial evidence of Cuban involvement until 1987. Investigations leading to the February 1988 indictments of Cuban exile Reinaldo Ruiz and Colombian Hugo Ceballos on charges of smuggling drugs into Florida by way of Cuba, provided the first real evidence that Cuban officials were actually cooperating with drug smugglers. Jack Hook, a spokesperson for the DEA in Miami, was quoted as saying, "This is the first time we've had evidence that Cuba -like other Caribbean countries - is being used as a transshipment base .... Before this, it's only been rumors." [14]

Moreover, statements made by law enforcement officials at the time of the Ceballos trial in Miami in July 1988, suggest that they believed Cuba had not previously been used as a shipment base. Some U.S. officials considered the evidence in the Ceballos case significant because it signalled that cocaine traffickers were turning to Cuba as a transit point as other routes through the Bahamas were choked off. [15]

United States repudiation of Cuban offers of cooperation have hurt efforts to stem the flow of drugs into this country. According to Mullen, only a very small portion of the cocaine, marijuana, and methaqualone coming through the Caribbean was believed to pass through Cuba: "If Cuba were completely neutralized as a transit point, the effect on drug availability would be minimal. On the other hand, if Cuba were to cooperate fully in international drug interdiction efforts, ... a more significant impact could be made on the drug traffic through the Caribbean." [16] The amount of cocaine trafficking in which Cuban MININT officials participated between April 1987 and 1989 was indeed minimal. Now it has been stopped altogether.

_______________

Notes:

1. Provision No. 6 for the Civil Administration of the Free Territory in the Sierra Maestra reads: "It is the responsibility and aim of the Revolutionary Movement and this Administration to completely eliminate hard drugs and illicit gambling, which at present make the real physical, mental and economic development of the Cuban people impossible."

2. These statistics were published by the Cuban government in a document entitled Drug Consumption and Traffic 1986.

3. See CAIB No. 19 (Spring-Summer 1983), pp. 9-11.

4. Introduction by Wayne Smith to Carla Anne Robbins, The Cuban Threat (New York McGraw-Hill, 1983), p. xiii.

5. Ibid.

6. Wayne Smith, The Closest of Enemies (New York:. W.W. Norton, 1987), pp. 258-60.

7. Ibid.

8. See Carla Anne Robbins, The Cuban Threat (New York: McGraw- Hill, 1983), p. 3.

9. The Cuban Monitor. News from the Cuban American National Foundation, Vol. 2, No.3 (August 1989), p. 5 (quoting former Cuban official Manuel de Beunza); see also "The Cuban Government's Involvement in Facilitating International Drug Traffic," Hearings before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, April 30, 1983, p. 389 (testimony of convicted drug smuggler Mario Estevez-Gonzalez in Federal District Court, Southern District of F1orida, February 7, 1983).

10. "The Cuban Government's Involvement in Facilitating International Drug Traffic," Hearings before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, April 30, 1983, p. 76.

11. "United States Response to Cuban Government Involvement in Narcotics Trafficking," Hearings before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, February 21 and 23, 1984, p. 39.

12. These examples which offered only circumstantial evidence, even though the persons involved were taken into custody, were the most concrete the DEA could offer. Ibid., p. 28.

13. Op. cit., p. 40.

14. Washington Past, July 26, 1988, p. A4.

15. Ibid.

16. Op. cit., n. 11, p. 29.
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