Hands Off Venezuela coordinator Cort Greene writes: Current US ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte has been nominated by President Bush to be chief advisor and the first National Intelligence Director, with authority over 15 formerly independent intelligence agencies.
So just who is he?
For starters, John Negroponte is a multi-millionaire who has made a lot of money off of owning stock in companies that benefit directly from the war and occupation of Iraq. In Iraq, he has been linked to a proposal where US-funded Central American-style death squads or the so called "Salvador option" has been put forward as a way to quell the Iraqi insurgency against the US occupation.
Negroponte has denied this, but his record indicates that his support for such a plan is not at all far-fetched. During his 41-year career with the US State Department, or as some have called it "Death Squads Inc.," he and his cronies shepherded a murder machine from Vietnam to Iraq. Negroponte worked as a political officer at the US embassy in Vietnam from 1964-1968 ... a period during which there was increased involvement of the government in the war and thousands of executions of civilians and human rights abuses, including the massacres by the infamous "Tiger Force" of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division.
As US ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985, he was in charge of the Command Center set-up to stop and overthrow all the emerging national liberation movements taking place in Central America. Military budgets grew in Honduras alone from US$4 million to $77 million dollars and the CIA agents stationed there increased tenfold. Money was no object legality or illegality to fight the insurgencies. He lied to Congress about the CIA-created "Battalion 316" Honduran death squad and covert operations that occurred. He supervised the building of the "El Aguacate" air base and other regional military training centers for the Central American Forces, the Contras, and the Salvadorean military. These bases were also secret detention and torture centers and were used to launch the covert war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua and the mining of their harbors.
But we must remember that Negroponte did not act alone, he got his marching orders from Ronald Reagan and William Casey and all the U.S. embassies in the region worked together to put down these revolutionary movements. In El Salvador, one player stands out from the rest, the current ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield. He played a decisive role along with John Negroponte as a political officer in the embassy cover-up of US involvement in the assassination Archbishop Oscar Romero. He also worked to cover up the murder of the four American Maryknoll nuns and other nuns escaping the violence there. Brownfield also played a key role in directing the death squads and El Salvadorean military, who butchered tens of thousands of trade unionists and members of the FMLN. The death squads did not just kill these people, but in a lot of cases they dismembered them and placed their heads on poles as a warning to the rest of the population.
In Venezuela, US ambassador Brownfield has been brought in as a relief pitcher to former ambassador Robert Shapiro, himself no stranger to coups. Shapiro helped in the staging of the April 2002 coup against President Chavez and the destabilization programs that followed. He was also involved in the CIA-backed murderous overthrow of Chilean President Salvador Allende in September of 1973, and death of thousands of people under a military dictatorship that lasted a decade.
In fact, William Brownfield, as US ambassador to Chile on the anniversary of the overthrow of that government in 2003, stated publicly in a memorial service that "people who hate the United States must be controlled, arrested or eliminated."
Brownfield's game plan for Venezuela is to unite the opposition, the 400 US corporations, and the fifth-columnists and create an atmosphere for the overthrow of the Bolivarian Revolution. He along with Negroponte will be at the forefront in trying to stop the flowering of the Latin American and World revolutions that we find ourselves in this epoch.
These are the types of people the US government makes responsible for carrying out US policy around the world -- under both Republican and the Democratic administrations.
- The interests of the US imperialists are defended, while the revolutionary aspirations of working people are drowned in blood.
Our task is to build a new society in which death squads, the Brownfields, Negropontes and the capitalist system that creates and nurtures them are consigned to the dust bin of history.