Archive for the ‘Ronald Reagan’ Category
Posted by Charles II on April 19, 2013
This is a government which the United States proudly supported when it was a dictatorship killing two hundred thousand Guatemalans–and still proudly supports.
ALLAN NAIRN: [In the 1980s] The [Guatemalan] army swept through the northwest highlands. And according to soldiers who I interviewed at the time, as they were carrying out the sweeps, they would go into villages, surround them, pull people out of their homes, line them up, execute them. A forensic witness testified in the trial that 80 percent of the remains they’ve recovered had gunshot wounds to the head. Witnesses have—witnesses and survivors have described Ríos Montt’s troops beheading people. One talked about an old woman who was beheaded, and then they kicked her head around the floor. They ripped the hearts out of children as their bodies were still warm, and they piled them on a table for their parents to see.’
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: An historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina.
So, the guy who was actually ripping children’s hearts is now president and shut down the trial of the guy who was ordering him to rip children’s hearts out of their bodies.
There’s a lot more in the interviews. For example:
at the end of his testimony, the prosecution read to this general an excerpt from a Guatemalan military training document. And the document said it is often difficult for soldiers to accept the fact that they may be required to execute repressive actions against civilian women, children and sick people, but with proper training, they can be made to do so. So, the prosecutor asked the Ríos Montt general, “Well, General, what is your response to this document?” And the general responded by saying, “Well, that training document which we use is an almost literal translation of a U.S. training document.”
And the fact that a guy who is Dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts now:
was involved in the supply of arms to terrorists, in this case the Guatemalan military… Hillary Clinton chose him as the special envoy to North Korea.
Guatemala is a respected ally of the U.S. today–a paragon of “democracy.” Even though the president can shut down a trial because he doesn’t like what is being said about him. The Constitutional Court will rule within ten days on whether the trial will proceed.
Wonder how they’ll handle these legal arguments:
ALLAN NAIRN: In one case, one of—one of the lawyers involved in pushing the case forward was approached by a man who offered him a million dollars if he would kill the case against Ríos Montt, a million U.S. dollars. He also said he would help him launder the money, set up offshore bank accounts. The lawyer rejected that. The man then took out a pistol, put the pistol on the table and said, “I know where your children are.” Another was approached on the street with a—with a direct death threat.
Posted in crimes, impunity, Latin America, Ronald Reagan | 1 Comment »
Posted by Charles II on January 22, 2012
Bryan Bender, Boston Globe:
When Charles G. Taylor tied bed sheets together to escape from a second-floor window at the Plymouth House of Correction on Sept. 15, 1985, he was more than a fugitive trying to avoid extradition. He was a sought-after source for American intelligence.
After a quarter-century of silence, the US government has confirmed what has long been rumored: Taylor, who would become president of Liberia and the first African leader tried for war crimes, worked with US spy agencies during his rise as one of the world’s most notorious dictators.
Former intelligence officials, who agreed to discuss the covert ties only on the condition of anonymity, and specialists including Farah believe Taylor probably was considered useful for gathering intelligence about the activities of Moammar Khadafy.
Bryan Bender, Boston Globe:
Breaking two and a half decades of silence, former Liberian president and accused war criminal Charles G. Taylor said today that his infamous prison break from the Plymouth County Correctional Facility in 1985 was aided by the US government…
In the second day of his testimony in his war crimes trial that could settle the long-standing mystery, Taylor said that on the night of Sept. 15, 1985, his maximum-security prison cell was unlocked by a guard and he was escorted to the minimum-security part of the facility.
According to news reports from The Hague, he said he then escaped by tying sheets together and climbing out a window and over a prison fence where he said a car with two men he assumed were agents of the US government drove him to New York, where his wife was waiting with money to get him out of the country.
Robtel Neajai Pailey, AllAfrica:
The bombshell news that he was indeed a CIA informant in the early years of his rise to notoriety calls into question America’s complicity in Taylor’s destruction of Liberia.
America’s facilitation of Taylor’s escape from a maximum security prison in Boston in 1985 – while he was facing extradition to Liberia for allegedly stealing US$1 million from the General Services Agency, which he headed during President Samuel Kanyon Doe’s regime – was always rumored but never corroborated. …
The Taylor-CIA connection has re-inscribed for Liberians an age-old dilemma, what to do with our so-called historical relationship with the United States, which has been fraught with betrayal after betrayal. Liberians who have been commenting on various notice boards are justifiably angry, upset and disappointed, but not surprised.
It’s no wonder that the U.S. didn’t intervene in the Liberian civil war, though Liberians begged and pleaded for its “father/mother” to stop us from killing each other. One U.S. diplomat at the time even said that “Liberia is of no strategic interest to the United States.” …
This should send a strong signal to Liberians and Liberia once and for all that America cannot be trusted. From Noriega, to Osama, to Saddam, to Samuel Doe, authoritarian leaders who end up in the U.S.’s good graces are never there for long.
Taylor presided over genocide and looting that garnered him hundreds of millions or billions of dollars while costing the lives of 250,000 human beings, including many child soldiers.
1985 would be Reagan. But the “intelligence community” that facilitated Taylor’s release is eternal and non-partisan. The same unelected government which released a man who had robbed the American people of a million dollars so that he could prey on descendants of Americans who chose to return to the country of their ethnic origin very likely participated in the kidnapping of the lawfully elected president of Honduras–indeed, probably presided over a host of criminal actions performed in the name of national security, but ending in innocent blood, public dishonor and the world’s distrust of us.
Apparently it’s just the way we do business.
Posted in Africa, international, Osama bin Laden, Ronald Reagan, totalitarianism | Tagged: Africa, betrayal, CIA, extremism, Reagan, Terrorism | 6 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 6, 2011
On this his hundredth birthday, here’s a little history lesson for those young enough not to know that Ronald Reagan, the man the corporate media likes to pretend was worshiped as a god when he most definitely was not, and for whom said corporate media is currently whipping itself into a frenzy to hagiograph, was decidedly not worth the admiration they want us to give him:
3.Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, “roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether.” Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.
3. Unemployment soared after Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts. Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980′s did little help them. “Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled,” the New York Times’ David Leonhardt noted.
Salon has more in their series “The Real Reagan,” including how he cared more about UFOs than AIDS and how Reagan destroyed respect for the social compact that rebuilt America after World War II.
Oh yeah: He also illegally sold weapons to Iran. (You know, the nation that the Republicans and their neocon pals tell us we must hate more than any other?) Why? So he could get money to illegally fund the far-right-wing “Contras” in their bid to topple the leftist government of Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. The whole business became known as the Iran-Contra Affair, and the only reason many members of what would later be George W. Bush’s Cabinet were free to serve in that regard, and not serving prison terms instead, was because the first George Bush made sure they were all pardoned in one of his last official acts in office during Christmas week of 1992. (If Mr. Ortega’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s back in power again. Seems the Nicaraguans liked him a whole lot better than the murderous death-squadding bozos Reagan and his successors kept trying to force on them.)
(Crossposted at Renaissance Post.)
Posted in Republicans, Republicans acting badly, Republicans as cancer, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | 2 Comments »
Posted by Charles II on March 17, 2009
On another thread, there was some discussion of American involvement with death squads. Evidence has now surfaced that the US was aware of coordination of death squads at the top levels of the Guatemalan government in the 1980s. From the NSArchive newsletter:
Following a stunning breakthrough in a 25-year-old case of political terror in Guatemala, the National Security Archive today is posting declassified U.S. documents about the disappearance of Edgar Fernando García, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984. The documents show that García’s capture was an organized political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government.
And in the detail on the website, this:
Declassified U.S. records obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the United States was well-aware of the government campaign to kidnap, torture and kill Guatemalan labor leaders at the time of García’s abduction. “Government security services have employed assassination to eliminate persons suspected of involvement with the guerrillas or who are otherwise left-wing in orientation,” wrote the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research four days after García disappeared, pointing in particular to the Army’s “notorious presidential intelligence service (archivos)” and the National Police, “who have traditionally considered labor activists to be communists.”
1. We were providing large amounts of aid to Guatemala
2. We knew they conducting assassination, kidnapping, and mass murder on a mass scale. Forty thousand people were disappeared, two hundred thousand were killed.
3. Obviously, we had nothing to do with any of it. Weren’t even in town on that day.
Posted in Latin America, Ronald Reagan | 2 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 15, 2008
He makes the Iran-Contra scandal disappear!
“Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain,’’ Mr. McCain told reporters on his campaign bus after a speech in Columbus, Ohio. “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’
Of course, that is a big fat lie, as anyone who was around for the Iran-Contra scandal — not to mention the earlier October Surprise — knows full well.
Posted in 2008, abuse of power, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Iran, Iran Contra, Iraq war, John McCain, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | 5 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 29, 2007
I see that the “let’s use the death of Benazir Bhutto as an excuse to see all Muslims as subhuman” folks have started to arrive on cue in various places online.
As coathangrrr says, compare the death tolls of Islam versus The West over the last hundred years; nobody on the Muslim side comes close to (the decidedly non-Muslim) Uncle Adolf.
Let’s say you choose to count the secular Ba’athist Saddam as a full-blown Osama-style Islamofascist — which is wrong as Saddam, as did and do all the other Middle Eastern dictators we’ve propped up, hated and feared Osama and his Caliphate dreams — and thus count all the people he’s killed, even those killed in the course of the Iran-Iraq War (which Reagan and Cheney and Rummy encouraged, by the way, just as they turned a blind eye when Saddam was “gassing his own people”, i.e. the Iraqi Kurds). Saddam’s death toll, using the highest estimates known, those of Human Rights Watch, was 290,000 over the quarter-century he was in power (and there are indications that HRW inflated this figure). Meanwhile, over a million people have died in the last four years as a direct result of Bush’s invading and occupying Iraq.
I’m actually being nice to The (Non-Islamic) West here: I’m not counting the regimes of China under (the secular Communist) Mao and Stalin’s (secular Communist) Soviet Union, which together may well have offed far more people than Hitler, if you go by the highest estimates (but which are, to be sure, themselves subject to debate at the very least).
Posted in anti-Muslim, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Iran, Iraq war, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, Ronald Reagan, totalitarianism, wrong way to go about it | 3 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 17, 2007
Remember the Cox Report? The Republican Congress of 1999 used it to claim that Evil Bill Clinton had sold off our nuclear secrets to the Chinese.
Except that 1) the report itself, according to nuclear scientist Sam Cohen, was a big fat leak (Curt Weldon tried to show that it wasn’t and blamed Hazel O’Leary, but that was quickly debunked), and 2) it turns out that the secrets they were so freaked out about Clinton leaking were in fact leaked during the presidency of their demigod Republican Ronald Reagan:
The envelope, please. And this month’s winner in the category of best supporting demon in service of a bloated military-industrial complex is … China. It seems that the Chinese have stolen the secret missile plans. The barn door’s open and the cows are gone. Heck, those steaks were snarfed and forgotten a long time ago. The U.S. intelligence community acquired a 1988 Chinese document in 1995 that basically confirmed the theft. …
Well, now to the facts. Note the date on the intercepted Chinese document – 1988. That’s right – smack dab in the middle of the Bush-Gipper years. The theft of the original documents took place during the Reagan administration and the majority of the testing of the resulting weapons during the Bush years. One wonders how Clinton could possibly be responsible for something that started at least 8 years before he even ran for office. …
And speaking of lax security, let’s take a closer look at just what was happening at the national weapons labs in the 1980s. To begin with, security was gradually privatized at both Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore during the 1980s. That’s right, security concerning the most destructive weapons in the history of the world was treated not much differently than requisitioning toilet paper. A former FBI Assistant Direct for Counter-Intelligence was recently asked if the privatization had significantly and negatively affected security. He agreed. Taking the privatization obsession even further, an executive order was issued in 1987 to loosen controls so scientific advances could be more easily exploited by the private sector.
So the leak happened during the Reagan administration and was at the *very least* indirectly due to the privatization binge that was one of the key policy issues pushed by that administration. So you’d think that even the dimmest Republican would be smart enough to shut up about it. No, they’re also whining about how Clinton delayed notifying them about it since it was discovered in 1995. Well, while the spooks did indeed know about it in 1995 they didn’t bother fully briefing the executive branch until two years later in 1997. That briefing was timed just well enough to sink a planned summit between Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin. In other words, rogue elements within the intelligence community delayed notification and then used the information to push their own anti-China policy agenda. So their contribution was first letting the Reagan adminstration replace them with rent-a-cops, and then using the consequences of that foul-up to undermine the foreign policy of another administration. The only blame I can possibly put on Clinton – who’s regularly accused of treason – is for not ferreting out those responsible, convicting *them* of treason, and having them executed on a national TV special hosted by Jerry Springer. Now *that* would be entertainment.
Sure enough, the folks over at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation wound up giving a scathing review of the Cox Committee report.
Posted in 'starving the beast', Bill Clinton, mythmaking, Occam's Razor, privatization, projection, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | 3 Comments »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 7, 2007
Posted in abuse of power, big money, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, capitalism as cancer, madness of King George, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | 1 Comment »
Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 1, 2007
Jane Hamsher reminds us that Bush’s contempt for and corruption of government follows in the footsteps of none other than Old Granpa Ron-Ron — hence his appointing of people like Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown to head FEMA. The agency that under Clinton appointee James Lee Witt was recognized for its excellent rapid response and proactivity has under Bush been made a laughingstock, just as with everything else Bush and the Republicans have touched together over the past six years.
Posted in abuse of power, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, madness of King George, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | Comments Off on Reagan, The Precursor To Bush (Drowning In The Bathtub Edition)
Posted by Phoenix Woman on April 29, 2007
As Dean Baker so very ably shows, the “cuddly ol’ grandpa Ronnie” figure is a media myth created largely after the man left office. In fact, Reagan was every bit as vile as Bush and his cronies are today — and many of Bush’s oldest and most trusted advisors are Reaganites and/or Nixonites.
Posted in abuse of power, Republicans, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, Ronald Reagan | Comments Off on Reagan: The Precursor To Bush