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Posts Tagged ‘School of the Americas’

The US Military Is Training Third World Coup Leaders Again

Posted by M. C. on April 19, 2022

by Ted Galen Carpenter

Fear regarding the strength of Islamic extremism in Africa now appears to have reached the point that AFRICOM leaders are content to do the same. A willingness to work with graduates of the SOA who orchestrated coups and committed human rights abuses in Latin America disgraced the US military. The apparent indifference of the US military hierarchy to similar behavior by African alumni of US training programs creates the prospect of a similar disgrace.

antiwar.com

Americans should be experiencing an uneasy sense of déjà vu. In the last two years, U.S.-trained officers have overthrown West African governments at least four times.  There are indications that other graduates have undermined civilian governments in other portions of the continent. But U.S. military officials have been less than informative. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) can’t explain why there has been a surge in coups. Indeed, AFRICOM insists that it doesn’t even know how often they’ve happened. That position reflects convenient ignorance, at best.

Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, the commander of US Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, insists that the Pentagon’s objective is to “showcase a way, the American way, that we train and build leaders not only in their tactical tasks, but in the ethos of the United States Army.” But as analyst Nick Turse, a fellow at The Nation Institute, observes, those values have been lacking in Africa, especially in West Africa, “where U.S.-trained officers have attempted at least nine coups (and succeeded in at least eight) across five West African countries, including Burkina Faso (three times), Guinea, Mali (three times), Mauritania, and the Gambia. The four most recent coups by US trainees have occurred in Burkina Faso (2022), Guinea (2021) and twice in Mali (2020 and 2021).”

The latest cases of officers who had received US military training going on to stage an epidemic of coups in Africa is reminiscent of the long, odious history of the School of the Americas (SOA). The US Army established that training center in 1946 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The curriculum emphasized the most up-to-date military tactics, especially in counterinsurgency warfare. But that was not the sole mission of the school. In addition to core military training, the goal supposedly was to educate officers from allied countries in Latin America about the importance of democratic values and civilian control of the military. During the next 54 years, the SOA trained more than 63,000 soldiers from 21 countries,

It is not certain whether US officials were sincere about promoting a commitment to democracy, or whether that stated objective was merely cynical propaganda. In any case, the results were appallingly bad. A December 2000 ABC News story by investigative reporter Barbara Starr noted that “The list of graduates from the School of the Americas is a who’s who of Latin American despots. Students have included Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri of Argentina, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia.”

In addition to the School of the Americas being an incubator for future coup leaders, graduates amassed a horrid record on human rights. Critics derided the institution as a school for dictators, torturers, and assassins. The track record seemed to support that assessment. According to Starr, “graduates cut a swath through El Salvador during its civil war, being involved in the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the El Mozote massacre in which 900 peasants were killed, and the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests.”

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Regime Change through the Drug War – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 3, 2020

U.S. officials knew that it would look bad to simply invade the country and effect a regime-change operation through force of arms. Undoubtedly, they considered a state-sponsored assassination through the CIA, which specialized in that form of regime change, but for whatever reason that regime-method wasn’t employed.

https://www.fff.org/2020/04/01/regime-change-through-the-drug-war/

by

The Justice Department’s securing of a criminal indictment of Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro reminds us that when it comes to the U.S. government’s regime-change operations, coups, invasions, sanctions, embargoes, and state-sponsored assassinations are not the only ways to achieve regime change. Another way is through a criminal indictment issued by a federal grand jury that deferentially accedes to the wishes of federal prosecutors.

The best example of this regime change method involved the president of Panama, Manuel Noriega.

Like many corrupt and brutal dictators around the world, Noriega was a partner and ally of the U.S. government. In fact, he was actually trained at the Pentagon’s School of the Americas, which is referred to in Latin America as the School of Assassins. He later served as a paid asset of the CIA. He also served as a conduit for the U.S. government’s illegal war in Nicaragua, where U.S. officials were using the Contra rebels to effect a regime change in that country.

But like other loyal pro-U.S. dictators, Noriega fell out of favor with U.S. officials, who decided they wanted him out of office and replaced with someone more to their liking.

The big problem, of course, is the one that always afflicts U.S. regime-change aspirations: Noriega refused to go voluntarily.

U.S. officials knew that it would look bad to simply invade the country and effect a regime-change operation through force of arms. Undoubtedly, they considered a state-sponsored assassination through the CIA, which specialized in that form of regime change, but for whatever reason that regime-method wasn’t employed.

So, the regime-changers turned to the U.S. Justice Department, which secured a criminal indictment against Noriega for supposedly violating America’s drug laws. The U.S. rationale was that the U.S. government, as the world’s international policeman, has jurisdiction to enforce its drug laws against everyone in the world.

On December 20,  1989, the U.S. military invaded Panama to bring Noriega back to the United States to stand trial on the drug charges. One might consider the invasion to be one gigantic no-knock raid on an entire country as part of U.S. drug-war enforcement.

An estimated 23-60 U.S. soldiers were killed in the operation while some 300 were wounded. An estimated 300-800 Panamanian soldiers were killed. Estimates of civilian deaths ranged from 200 to 3,000. Property damage ranged in the billions of dollars.

But it was all considered worth it. By capturing Noriega and bringing him back for trial, U.S. officials felt that they had made big progress in finally winning the war on drugs. Equally important, they had secured the regime change that had been their original goal. At the same time, they sent a message to other rulers around the world: Leave office when we say or we’ll do this to you.

Noriega was convicted and received a 40-year jail sentence. When his lawyers tried to introduce evidence at trial of his close working relationship with the CIA and other elements of the U.S. national security state, not surprisingly federal prosecutors objected and the judge sustained their objections. Better to keep those types of things as secret as possible.

Alas, Noriega’s conviction and incarceration did not bring an end to the war on drugs, as this crooked, corrupt, failed, and racially bigoted government program continues to this day. Moreover, as Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro might soon find out., the drug war continues to provide an effective way for U.S. officials to effect regime change.

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Bolivia’s U.S.-backed Coup Government Has Given The Military A License To Kill Protestors

Posted by M. C. on November 20, 2019

http://infobrics.org/post/29786/

Paul Antonopoulos

The de facto and unelected president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, signed a decree that exempts all military personnel from being criminally responsible, even in the cases of murder, in the midst of demonstrations against the coup d’etat that ousted democratically elected first Indigenous President of Bolivia, Evo Morales. Effectively, Bolivian security forces have a license to kill now.

Since the decree was signed last Thursday, it has inevitably caused controversy with demonstrators and social media users alike. And it very well should – it is a blatant U.S.-orchestrated coup against Morales who helped his country reduce unemployment, poverty and illiteracy by at least 50% from 2006 to 2018, and liberated his country from strangling neoliberal policies of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The decree was immediately denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), by Morales, and by regional leaders such as the newly elected president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández.

Although the decree is dated November 14, it was only made public on Saturday, a day after an anti-government march of coca growers in the department of Cochabamba left at least nine dead and 115 injured, according to the Office of the Ombudsman. For its part, the United Nations High Commissioner, Michel Bachelet, has expressed concern about the growing violence in the Andean country and the actions taken by the unelected government.

There is “information that at least seventeen people have died in the context of the protests, including fourteen only in the last six days,” Bachelet said in a statement from Geneva, adding that “while the first deaths occurred as a result of violent clashes between rival protesters, the most recent seem to derive from an unnecessary or disproportionate use of force by police or military personnel.”

However, this should not even be the least bit surprising for the UN commissioner since the U.S. has a long history of violent regime change in Latin America. It was revealed in a report by the Gray Zone that at least six of the main coup plotters were alumni of the infamous School of the Americas (SOA) at Fort Benning, a notorious training center that since the times of the Cold War has orchestrated regime operations against anti-U.S. Latin American leaders.  The report explained that “brutal regime change and reprisal operations from Haiti to Honduras have been carried out by SOA graduates, and some of the most bloodstained juntas in the region’s history have been run by the school’s alumni.” While U.S. President Donald Trump cheered on a “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere,” the U.S.-trained Bolivian military have now killed at least 23 people, mostly Indigenous…

Although Bolsonaro dreams of a Brazil that is purged of most of its native population, like what was achieved in the U.S., Áñez has begun her own U.S.-backed campaign against the Indigenous populations by already greenlighting the murder of Morales supporters, who are overwhelmingly Indigenous just as the population of Bolivia is.

Her license to kill has not just seen many Indigenous murdered, but it will mean we will continue to see the Indigenous being murdered by the Bolivian military as they continue their peaceful mass demonstrations in support of the exiled Morales.

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Marco Rubio's Coup d'Etat is America's Coup de Grace ...

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Five Men Sentenced to Life for Operation Condor Killings Trained at School of the Americas – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 18, 2019

You have to break a few eggs to make an empire omelet.

https://original.antiwar.com/brett_wilkins/2019/07/17/five-men-sentenced-to-life-for-operation-condor-killings-trained-at-school-of-the-americas/

Five of the 24 men sentenced last week by an Italian court to life in prison for their roles in a brutal and bloody US-backed Cold War campaign against South American dissidents graduated from a notorious US Army school once known for teaching torture, assassination and democracy suppression.

On July 8 judges in Rome’s Court of Appeals sentenced the former Bolivian, Chilean, Peruvian and Uruguayan government and military officials after they were found guilty of kidnapping and murdering 23 Italian nationals in the 1970s and 1980s during Operation Condor, a coordinated effort by right-wing military dictatorships in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and, later, Peru and Ecuador, against perceived leftist threats. The campaign, which was characterized by kidnappings, torture, disappearances and murder, claimed an estimated 60,000 lives, according to human rights groups. Victims included leftists and other dissidents, clergy, intellectuals, academics, students, peasant and trade union leaders and indigenous peoples.

The United States government, military and intelligence agencies supported Operation Condor with military aid, planning and technical support, as well as surveillance and torture training during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan administrations. Much of this support, which the US attempted to justify within the context of the global Cold War struggle against communism, was based at US military installations in Panama. It was there that the US Army opened the School of the Americas in 1946, which would graduate 11 Latin American heads of state over the following decades. None of them became their country’s leader by democratic means, leading critics to dub the SOA “School of Assassins” and “School of Coups” because it produced so many of both.

SOA’s most notorious graduates include narco-trafficking Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, the genocidal Guatemalan military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, Bolivian despot Hugo Banzer (known for sheltering Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie), Haitian death squad commander and military dictator Raoul Cédras and Argentine strongman Leopoldo Galtieri, who presided during a period of his country’s “Dirty War” in which tens of thousands of innocent men and women were disappeared. Countless other war criminals have studied at the SOA, sometimes using US manuals that taught kidnapping, torture, assassination and democracy suppression techniques.

Some of the worst massacres and other atrocities perpetrated by US-backed forces during the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala during the 1980s, including the slaughter of 900 villagers – mostly women and children – at El Mozote, the assassination of Salvadoran archbishop Óscar Romero and the rape and murder of four US churchwomen who worked with him, were planned, committed or covered up by SOA graduates. So were a series of chainsaw massacres in Colombia, the murder of four Dutch journalists in El Salvador, the assassination of a former Chilean official and his US aide in a 1976 car bombing in Washington, DC and many other atrocities.

It can now be revealed that several men sentenced to life in prison in Rome last week are also SOA graduates…

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The Rising Tide: The CIA and British intelligence and the ...

 

 

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Billion-year’ Gambian President Was Installed by the CIA

Posted by M. C. on January 24, 2017

Another state department, CIA, School of the Americas success story.

By Wayne Madsen
Strategic Culture

January 24, 2017

Gambian President and dictator Yahya Jammeh, facing a combined military force composed of Senegalese army troops, the Nigerian air force, and troops from Mali, Ghana, and Togo, has agreed to relinquish the presidency of Gambia. On December 1, 2016, Jammeh was defeated for re-election in a surprise upset by his little-known rival Adama Barrow. Jammeh received only 45 percent of the vote.

During the election campaign, Jammeh vowed in an interview with the BBC to «rule for one billion years». After initially conceding defeat to Barrow, Jammeh reneged on his promise to step down and announced he would remain as president.

The Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) decided that Jammeh had to go, a stance ironically supported by the United States, which had assisted Jammeh in overthrowing Gambia’s democratically-elected president, Sir Dauda K. Jawara, in 1994. Read the rest of this entry »

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