Ambassador to Death Squads: Who is John Negroponte?

New Iraqi Ambassador boasts a record stained with blood

| July 1, 2004

The Bush administration would have us believe that peace and prosperity for Iraq are just around the corner now that L. Paul Bremer has 'officially' handed over the reigns of power to the Iraqi Governing Council, clicked his ruby slippers, and flown back to the homeland. But the horrific resume of John Negroponte, the occupying empire's new ambassador to Baghdad, suggests that Iraq's nightmare is just beginning. Stains on his record include the U.S.-backed death squads in Honduras where he was ambassador in the early '80s, covering up Israel's embarrassing treatment of Palestinians as U.S Ambassador to the U.N., and his tenure as Executive Vice President for Global Markets of The McGraw-Hill Companies, which stands to make a pretty penny on rebuilding Iraq.

Calling Negroponte 'merciless commander' of Iraq would be more apt. As Ghali Hassen writes in CounterPunch, 'He will be protected by high concrete walls, barbed wires and an occupation force of more than 150,000, including several thousand foreign mercenaries armed to the teeth with the most violent tools.' And his legacy of bringing peace to a war-torn region isn't very salivating. During Negroponte's tenure in Honduras, U.S. military aid increased from $5 to $100 million, turning the 'banana republic' into a virtual American puppet state, from which Washington launched its scorched earth 'war on terror' to suppress workers' rights uprisings all over Central America. According to Hassen, kidnapping, rape, torture, and executions of dissidents were rampant under Negroponte's watch, as the Honduran military's top and middle ranks were all trained at the infamous School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.

'In 1995 Gary Cohn and Ginger Thompson of The Baltimore Sun unearthed massive and substantiated evidence from various sources pointing the finger at Mr. Negroponte's knowledge of the crimes.' Hassen continues with an awful foreshadowing of what we can expect over the months to come in Iraq: 'During his years in Honduras, Negroponte acquired a reputation, justified, as an old-fashioned imperialist, and devoted to Realpolitik. Mr. Negroponte will bring to Iraq his version of 'democracy' a la Latin America, where the people vote for one of two candidates every half decade, in which civilian leaders have to obey U.S-controlled militaries or face dismissal by military force. Mr. Negroponte will find the Iraqi soil fertile for his version of democracy and human rights.'
-- Jacob Wheeler

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