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Special Report: A newly discovered document reveals that President Reagan and his national security team in 1981 approved Guatemala’s extermination of both leftist guerrillas and their “civilian support mechanisms,” a green light that opened a path to genocide against hundreds of Mayan villages, reports Robert Parry
By Robert Parry
Soon after taking office in 1981, President Ronald Reagan’s national security team agreed to supply military aid to the brutal right-wing regime in Guatemala to pursue the goal of exterminating not only “Marxist guerrillas” but their “civilian support mechanisms,” according to a newly disclosed document from the National Archives.
Over the next several years, the military assistance from the Reagan administration helped the Guatemalan army do just that, engaging in the slaughter of some 100,000 people, including what a truth commission deemed genocide against the Mayan Indians in the northern highlands.
Recently discovered documents at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, also reveal that Reagan’s White House was reaching out to Israel in a scheme to circumvent congressional restrictions on military equipment for the Guatemalan military.
In 1983, national security aide Oliver North (who later became a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal) reported in a memo that Reagan’s Deputy National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane (another key Iran-Contra figure) was approaching Israel over how to deliver 10 UH-1H helicopters to Guatemala to give the army greater mobility in its counterinsurgency war.
At the Intersection of Main & Church Street in Thurmont, Maryland, a few hundred Ethiopians gathered from around the country and the world. Six miles from the GB summit at Camp David, the entrance to the heart of the downtown area was blocked from vehicle entry by local police. The intersection where protestors had gathered was controlled by various police officers and a couple of dozen riot police in full gear. The protest rally was being attended by a few dozen other people who lined the sidewalks, some were gathered to observe the protestors, others were there as protestors and occupiers from the region, carrying signs for their own political causes and standing in solidarity.
Ethiopians organized collectively to protest Prime Minister Zenawi's attendance at the G8 summit. Zenawi has ruled in Ethiopia since 1991, and is on lists at Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Genocide Watch, for possible crimes against humanity and human rights abuses.