appointed john negroponte as director of national intelligence, the man who 15 spy agencies (like the CIA) will have to report to.
less than an hour after the announcement, media matters reports, Fox News Live anchor Brigette Quinn said, “I really haven’t heard anything negative about John Negroponte for the hour that I’ve been sitting here.” to which Morty Zuckerman, EIC of U.S. News & World Report said, “Well, I doubt if you will.”
apparently both of these geniuses keep their heads in the sand and don’t wish to bother themselves too much with history, newspapers, or the web.
You may remember him best as one of the key figures in the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration. John Negroponte was the ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. While there, he directed the secret arming of the Contra rebels in Nicaragua to help them overthrow the Sandinista government.
At the time, he also was “cozy” with the chief of the Honduran national police force, Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez. Martinez ran the infamous Battalion 316 death squad. Battalion 316 “kidnapped, tortured and murdered” dozens of people while Negroponte was ambassador. Negroponte, however, turned a blind eye to the death squad and ignored the gross human rights abuses so Honduras would allow bases for U.S.-backed Contras.
Negroponte maintained he knew nothing about them, leading to his nickname, “the ostrich ambassador.” The abuses, however, were widely chronicled in local papers. That means he either willfully ignored the mass murders and torturing of citizens or he was so out of touch that he didn’t see the atrocities going on beneath his very nose. Neither of these scenarios is what the United States needs in a National Director of Intelligence.
Critics say Negroponte is the wrong person for the job in Iraq. He doesn’t speak Arabic and or have a background in Middle East or Islamic countries, but he does have a history of turning a blind eye to allegations of serious human rights abuses. And in light of the Iraq prison abuse scandal, many are concerned about the message the Bush administration is sending — to enemies and allies alike — by installing Negroponte in this position, where he will oversee one of the largest U.S. embassies and possibly the largest CIA station in the world. If U.S.-sanctioned abuses in Iraq continue, will Negroponte attempt to suppress that information for fear of creating “an unwarranted human rights problem,” as he did in Honduras?
During the recent nomination hearing, Sen. Harkin said: “We need someone in Iraq who has a sterling record, an unassailable record in terms of his or her support for fundamental human rights and for the rule of law, someone who has no blot on their career record of having been involved in the kind of abuses that have come to light recently in Iraq under our military jurisdiction. After the terrible revelations of the abuses under our watch at the prison at Abu Ghraib … I believe nominating Ambassador Negroponte to this vital post would send entirely the wrong message.”
Negroponte supervised the construction of the El Aguacate air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US, and which some critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s. Allegedly, in August 2001, excavations at the base discovered 185 corpses, including two Americans, who are thought to have been killed and buried at the site.
Records also suggest that a special intelligence unit (commonly referred to as a “death squad”) of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, possibly trained by the CIA and the Argentine military, may have kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, allegedly including US missionaries. Critics charge that Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with the Honduran military while lying to Congress.
In May 1982, a nun, Sister Laetitia Bordes, who had worked for ten years in El Salvador, went on a fact-finding delegation to Honduras to investigate the whereabouts of thirty Salvadoran nuns and women of faith who fled to Honduras in 1981 after Archbishop Óscar Romero’s assassination. Negroponte claimed the embassy knew nothing. However, in a 1996 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Negroponte’s predecessor, Jack Binns, said that a group of Salvadorans, among whom were the women Bordes had been looking for, were captured on April 22, 1981, and savagely tortured by the DNI, the Honduran Secret Police, and then later thrown out of helicopters alive. It is unclear when or how Mr. Binns received this information and when it was known at the embassy.
and of course theres more that brigette and mortie is ignoring, perhaps they should read a little before they get on tv and pretend that everythings cool with this fool.