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The CIA's Death Squad Body Count Continues to Pile Up

By Wayne Madsen
29 March 2002

How about the news media reporting on the real victims of this so-called "War on Terrorism?" The body count continues to pile up. On March 18, 2002, the Archbishop of Cali, Colombia Isaias Duarte was shot and killed in front of a church on March 17. He had previously claimed legislative candidates were receiving drug money.

However, the only "recognized" candidates are those who support the Colombian oligarchy, supported by the right-wing paramilitaries (also involved in cocaine), the US-trained military, the CIA, and CIA front companies like Dyncorp, MPRI, and East, Inc. So Archbishop Duarte became a "target of opportunity" (or a "terrorist" to use the language of our mentally-impaired President Bush).

Apparently, intelligence agencies allied to the United States, like those of India (a new "strategic partner" of the United States in the "War on Terrorism" and the "War to Protect Regional U.S. Oil and Natural Gas Interests"), have decided to take a cue from President Bush's "shoot to kill" order against activists and independence leaders. On February 11, a senior separatist leader of the Tripura (northeast India) independence movement was shot and killed by Indian security forces. The assassinated leader was Benjamin Hrangkhawl, a senior leader of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), a Christian-dominated separatist group. Hrangkhawl had arrived in Tripura from neighboring Bangladesh.

According to the BBC, the state Police Intelligence Chief Kishore Jha, said the killing of Mr Hrangkhawl was "a major success." Indian intelligence is now pressing Bhutan and Bangladesh to arrest and extradite separatist refugees in those countries. The King of Bhutan and Prime Minister of Bangladesh might want to look at what happened to the entire Royal Family of Nepal last June when the late King decided to negotiate with leftist guerrillas rather than fight them. According to unblemished sources in Kathmandu, the king and his family were quickly dispatched by a Nepali army commando unit trained at the time by US Special Operations forces sent by US Pacific Commander in Chief Adm. Dennis Blair (he's the same guy who propped up Gen. Wiranto with special training while the good general was committing genocide in East Timor). What was to become the Pentagon's Office of Strategic Influence (PSYOPs division) prepared a story, with the assistance of India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence agency, that the King and his family were murdered as a result of the Crown Prince going nuts with automatic weapons after being forlorn over his mother's refusal to allow him to marry a commoner. The entire Western media bought that story faster than George Bush nosediving after choking on a pretzel. The media also bought that one.

The Colombian government, of course, blamed "leftist guerrillas" for Duarte's death. The right-wing death squads in El Salvador tried the same line in the 1980s when they, in fact, had killed the Archbishop of El Salvador. Those death squads were aided and abetted at the time by State Department operative Elliott Abrams, now the human rights coordinator for the National Security Council in the American unconstitutional regime of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld.

The same day that the Archbishop was assassinated, Jorge Rosal Zea, the head of operations for Guatemala's Patriot Party in Suchitepequez Province was gunned down by several men waiting in a parked car. The assassination came a few days after Rosal Zea led a 3,000-person demonstration and called for the resignations of President Alfonso Portillo and Vice President Juan Francisco Reyes, both stooges of the CIA and its minions who now control US Latin American policy in the State Department and National Security Council. Portillo, his personal secretary, and Reyes have been accused by opponents of opening secret bank accounts in Panama to embezzle millions of dollars in public funds. It is a familiar pattern for CIA surrogates who have done similar things in the past (Marcos in the Philippines, Noriega in Panama, and Somoza in Nicaragua).

March 10, Sao Paulo, Brazil - Mikael "Mike" Nassar and his wife Marie Noel Nassar were shot to death at a gas station after one their car's tires was punctured. Nassar is a former Lebanese Phalangist leader and associate of Elie Hobeika, who was assassinated on January 24 in Lebanon. Hobeika and Nassar were preparing to testify against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in a Belgian war crimes tribunal for his role in the 1982 massacres at the Palestinian refugee camps in Sabra and Shatila in Beirut.

Angola - Just like the CIA-Mossad team of convenience takes out a second threat to Sharon, the oil oligarchy of Angola removed a second threat to it. Antonio Dembo, the moderate successor to UNITA chief Jonas Savimbi, was reported killed on March 7. Dembo was considered the best choice to lead UNITA into peace talks with the government. The CIA disinformation machine claimed Dembo died from complications of diabetes. And Patrice Lumumba died from lead poisoning!

In Bush's "New World Order of "if you're not with us, you're against us," social activists and progressive political leaders everywhere are now within the crosshairs of the CIA and its local notorious surrogates and warlords. America's traditional concepts of human rights have been relegated to the dustbin of history in post-constitutional corporate statist America. In fact, the National Security Council's point man for human rights is none other than the infamous Reagan era State Department official Elliott Abrams, the mollycoddler of the death squads in El Salvador and the contras in Nicaragua during the 1980s. He is assisted by terrorist supporter Otto Reich, in charge of the Latin American Bureau at the State Department. Reich is the vilest of right-wing Cubans who were brought into the United States by the CIA after Castro took power. Reich supported the release from a Venezuelan jail of Orlando Bosch, a Cuban terrorist who planted a bomb on an Air Cubana plane in 1976. That Boeing passenger jet, owned by Air Canada and leased to Cubana, exploded and crashed in 1976 off the west coast of Barbados. Many of my US Navy colleagues at the US Naval Facility on Barbados, where I arrived for duty in 1977, often recounted the horrible stories of their helping Barbadian police and fishermen haul body parts and the bodies of young children and babies out of the Caribbean that awful October day. And let us not forget U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte, the former US Ambassador to Honduras who had his own dealings with the local death squads.

Today, a former U.S. intelligence asset, Dr. Jonas Savimbi, was killed by Angolan Army units in eastern Angola. His is the sixth major assassination of a political leader since Bush unleashed his CIA death squads. If one includes the late Royal Family of Nepal and the late Congolese President Laurent Desire Kabila (assassinated just 4 days before Bush was sworn in as President), the number of those dispatched climbs even higher.

Savimbi's continued presence in Angola did not suit the interests of U.S. oil companies that are increasing their operations in the country. For that reason, the United States has permitted a number of CIA and Pentagon fronts, like Air Scan, MPRI, and Dyncorp, to provide military assistance to the Angolan Army. It seems that the training and logistics finally paid off with the killing of Savimbi.

For similar reasons, the Colombian oligarchy, armed with US provided aircraft and intelligence, launched a blitzkrieg at the exclusion zone of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The Colombian Army is supported by some of the same CIA and Pentagon fronts operating in Angola. This attack on the FARC occured as Angola's US-backed Army launched its attack on Savimbi's UNITA forces. The US military offensive in Colombia is also tied to oil. The Bush oil clique wants nothing to pose a threat to the oil pipelines in the area, including the Cao Limon pipeline in the north and the Amazon-Esmerldas pipeline in Ecuador. It was not the phony drug war that pushed the Bush regime to declare war on Colombia's opposition -God knows, the Bushes have been both suppliers and demanders for various drugs- but their revivalist fervor in making the developing world safe for oil industry exploitation.

Copyright © 2002 by the News Insider and Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist who writes and comments frequently on civil liberties and human rights issues.

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