Friday, March 03, 2006

Themes, Few Variations

The "drama of collective denial"over the CIA manuals [on "Implicit and Explicit Terror"] was one act in the national drama of Ronald Reagan's reelection. As Newsweek explained in a special issue on the 1984 election, "It was the conscious intent of [Reagan's] managers to paint him as a kind of nation icon."

"Paint RR as the personification of all that is right with, or heroized by, America," a Reagan campaign strategy memo advised. "Leave Mondale in a position where an attack on Reagan is tantamount to an attack on America's idealized image of itself - where a vote against Reagan is, in some subliminal sense, a vote against a mythic AMERICA." [talics in the original]


Newsweek's special issue [after the election] led off with a piece titled "America: Reagan Country": "It was the night that Ronald Reagan became Mr. America. In a star-spangled blowout, the American people reaffirmed their identification with his can-do-confidecne, his patriotic pride, and their vote transcended party and ideology: It was more than 52 million Americans roaring "Thank you!" to a president who had made the country feel good about itself..."


Buried in the coverage of mythic America's mythic election was Newsweek's own observation that "the president remained, as he always had been, a polarizing figure dividing the nation by sex, class, race and ideological persuasion; his America was lopsidedly white, male, conservative and well-to-do." What Reagan personifies, in other words, is the American logic of the minority.

Only July 7, 1987, a 24 year old Salvadoran refugee support worker named Yanira Corea was abducted outside the Los Anegles CIPES office. She was tortured and raped by three men. They interrogated her about the activities of coworkers, burnt her with cigarettes and carved the initials EM into her hands, which stand for escuardon de la muerte, death squad. They raped her with a wooden stick. One man said they should kill her., Another said, "No, this way we are going to let them know we are here."

Before releasing Corea, they cut her tongue and wrapped her underwear about her mouth, and they threatened to harm her three year old son if she did not give up her work. A few days before her abduction, Corea had received a letter with a stolen photo of her son. It contained petals of dried flowers with the note "Flowers in the desert die," a Salvadoran death squad warning. In El Salvador, Corea's father received a letter warning that he would be punished if she persisted in her political activities. In November, when Corea was in the New York office of MADRE while on a speaking tour, a paper was slipped under the door. It was the torn half of a poster announcing Corea's appearance. There was a handwritten threat "Do you know where your son is?" A crude drawing showed the torso of a decapitated child with the head lying nearby.

Another [George H. W] Bush-contra connetion is his son, Jeb. In February, John Ellis "Jeb"Bush, then the Dade County Republican Chairman and now Florida's secretary of commernce [now Governor], gave his father a letter from Doctor Mario Castejon, a Guatemalan politician seeking support for an international medical brigade to treat contra combattants in the field. In a March 3 letter responding to Castejon, the vice president suggested that he meet with North. This was at a time when the US government was prohibited from supplying the contras directly or indirectly with any aid, lethal or nonlethal.

Jeb Bush has been a key White House emissary to the Miami Nicaraguan community and a champion of the contra cause. He has appeared at numerous contra fundraising events. According to Nairn, US Customs agents from Miami reportedly told Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh that Jeb Bush may have been linked to contra arms shipments. Jeb Bush has acknowledged helping to raise funds for "humanitarian" aid, but strongly denies any involvement in arms shipments. "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped," he told Nairn, "but does that break any law? I'm not sure its illegal. The Neutrality Act is a completely untested notion, established in the 1800s."

As for George [H. W.] Bush, he agrees with Reagan that Oliver North is a hero.

[Father James] Fetlz said, "It's like death swooping down, it's like Attila's hordes."

Feltz described how the contras "headed for the region around El Guayabo. On the way they ran into a man named...'Chico' Sotelo. Chico had livestock and was not much for the revolution. Certainly he was no Sandanista. He had his money and his private property. But he made the mistake of pulling out his UNAG passbook. Well, all that had to do was see he belonged to the [National Union of Farmers and Ranchers] and they shot him on the spot, right there on the road....And they kept burning houses. The death march got as far as El Guayabo. There there's a little hamlet called San Francisco, and they killed several people there; they killed people if they were members of defense committees or shopkeepers or maybe members of the militia. But nobody was armed. They raped a fourteen year old girl. Thn they slit her throat and cut her head off. They hung the head on a pole along the road...

There was another special case of cruelty on that same contra operation. An eleven year old girl, Cristina Borge Diaz, as visiting her uncle. The uncle was on the contras'list, and they came and killed him. When they saw the little girl, they decided to have a little fun, so they used her for target practise. The first one took a shot at her from a galloping horse. He missed. 'Kill her,' he told a companion. And the other shot her in the back. The bullet came out her chest. Another bullet grazed her scalp, another hit her in the right hand, and another in the left hip. Then they left. The little girl lay there until a worker coming back from the fields found her that way, more dead than alive." Miraculously, said Fetlz, she recovered after treatment in Managua. She told her story to a meeting of Nicaraguan-based US missionaries and visiting US bishops in 1985.


Few in Congress took up the challenge of Respresentative Berkely Bedell (D-IA) and Robert Toricelli (D-NJ) upon their return from Honduras and Nicaragua. Declared Bedell in a speech to the House, "If the American people could have talked with the common people of Nicaragua, whose women and children are being indiscriminately kidnapped, tortured and killed by terrorists financed by the American taxpayers, they would rise up in legitimate anger and demand that support for the criminal activity be ended at once."

Holly Sklar, Washington's War On Nicaragua

Negroponte, An Experienced Professional.

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