Thursday, March 20, 2008


Deterring Democracy Copyright © 1991, 1992 by Noam Chomsky. Published by South End Press.
Chapter 9: The Mortal Sin of Self-Defense Segment 5/7
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In the days immediately before the meeting of the Presidents, Cristiani's ARENA government denounced the FMLN peace proposal because it called for the removal of military officers involved in the massive atrocities of the 1980s. The entire military command met with journalists and termed this demand "absurd, ridiculous and impossible," as did the notorious killer Roberto D'Aubuisson, Honorary ARENA President-for-Life. Cristiani also publicly denounced this proposal as "ridiculous"; doubtless it is ridiculous to expect the country's effective rulers to purge themselves. The New York Times evidently agreed. Lindsey Gruson reported that neither the government nor the FMLN was attempting to "advance the nascent peace process." Both intended only to score debating points. The proof is that the government demanded complete surrender by the FMLN but "offered almost no concessions to the rebels and did not address the underlying social and economic issues that led the guerrillas to take up arms," while the rebels called for the dismissal of senior commanders who were linked to human rights abuses -- two equally outlandish proposals.22

The coordinator of the Permanent Committee of the Church-initiated National Debate for Peace did not agree, however. Rather, he said, the "self-cleansing and transformation" of the Armed Forces is necessary to put an end to abuses and to contribute to the achievement of peace.23 The problem of controlling the military is the familiar one that arises in all the Latin American terror states that the U.S. has established or supported for many years. It is irresoluble as long as their institutional structures remain unchanged, as Washington demands, with the general concurrence of domestic elites.

On October 26, as Cristiani was on his way to San José, a fragmentation grenade was hurled into a crowd of students at the public University of El Salvador (UES) preparing for a march to commemorate the assassination of human rights activist Herbert Anaya. It wounded 15 students, 5 seriously. The perpetrators departed through a university gate guarded by First Infantry Brigade troops. The same day, 3 UES students were abducted by security forces. The UES rector stated that the government, which had attacked and partially destroyed the university in 1980 with many killed and kept it closed for 4 years, now intends "to eliminate the university...through terror tactics." Other atrocities were reported in the following days. The director of the human rights office of the Jesuit university UCA attributed the continuing atrocities against civilians to "an entire strategy of war and repression." In the weeks before, there had been a rash of abductions, rapes, torture, and other abuses aimed at the unions and other popular organizations. Human rights activists described the wave of repression as "an Army campaign to instill terror in the populace."24

UES was under the control of the First Brigade, which conducted regular atrocities there with the usual impunity. Thus on July 17, troops guarding the university entrances fired on students, leaving ten wounded. They were protesting the military presence and pressing for the release of 14 students and professors who had been detained by the security forces in recent weeks. President Cristiani claimed that the soldiers opened fire only after they were attacked by students, but the university chancellor denied this charge, calling the army attack an "act of aggression" against the university and pointing out that soldiers suffered no injuries. Five days later, the print shop at the Jesuit university UCA, which publishes several journals that analyze and criticize government policies, was dynamited. UCA authorities blamed the military, observing that the attackers had broken through the university walls when the city was under "strict military vigil" and movement was difficult, and that the bombing was "part of a series of attacks and accusations against the Jesuits." There was no interest here.25

In late September, Senator Christopher Dodd, the leader of the congressional doves, lauded the ARENA government's new respect for human rights as he co-sponsored a resolution with Jesse Helms to increase military aid to El Salvador. Two days before, the army had attacked a church to which protestors had fled from riot police, flushing them out with tear gas and beating and arresting 61 labor activists, 39 of whom appeared in court bruised and beaten, some barely able to walk, several charging rape. Congress approved the Dodd-Helms military aid increase, rejecting any human rights conditions. Archbishop Rivera y Damas condemned the decision, urging that aid "go toward rehabilitating the thousands of Salvadorans maimed in the war and not for weapons."26 The Newspaper of Record again ignored all of this, choosing instead to remind its readers of the events at Nandaime in July 1988, with appropriate dismay and horror over the atrocious acts of the animal who was now disturbing the garden party.

One will search in vain for a suggestion that El Salvador -- or Guatemala, where the situation is even worse -- should rein in its military to enhance the prospects for democracy and the peace process. Their leadership are not skunks at picnics, but estimable (if somewhat ineffectual) democrats, and the military rulers are "reforming" and overcoming past harsh practices under benign U.S. influence -- a permanent process, untroubled by annoying fact.

Go to the next segment.

22 AP, Oct. 20; ESOL, Oct. 30; Gruson, NYT, Oct. 18, 1989.

23 ESOL, Oct. 30, 1989. On the National Dialogue, see p. 268 f., above.

24 ESOL, Oct. 30; Frank Smyth, Austin American-Statesman, Sept. 28, 1989.

25 Central American Report, Guatemala, July 28, 1989. The press and Congress remained uninterested until six leading Jesuit intellectuals had their brains blown out a few weeks later, after this article went to press.

26 COHA's Washington Report on the Hemisphere, Oct. 10; BG, Sept. 20; El Rescate Human Rights Chronology, September 1989. KEYWORDS terrorist democracy elections cia mossad bnd nsa covert operation 911 mi6 inside job what really happened wtc pentagon joint chiefs of staff jcs centcom laser hologram usa mi5 undercover agent female sex exploitation perception deception power anarchy green social democratic participation japanese spy black-op false flag gladio terror.

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