U.S. has a 45-year
history of torture
by A.J. Langguth, L.A. Times
May 5, 2009
It is, no doubt, very difficult
for most Americans to believe that their country is looked
upon by millions and millions of people outside its borders
– mostly the poor of the earth – as an OPPRESSOR
nation; nonetheless, that's the truth of the matter – AND
THERE ARE VERY GOOD REASONS FOR THIS, reasons which are
well known outside the borders of our country, as attested
to by Sean MacBride, the former Foreign Minister of Ireland
and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient:
"I came to understand that all the values
that made me admire the American people were being eroded by the covert
operations of the CIA and kindred secret bodies ... The survival of this
great (nation) ... is now being gravely threatened by the covert criminal
actions of the Central Intelligence Agency and its associate services
... Democracy and the rule of law cannot survive side by side with a state
agency that engages in covert operations ranging from assassinations to
levying mercenary armies to directing lethal biological weapons experiments
and public health policies ... The whole concept of a secret government
and army within a government is a menace to the democratic system."
That such sentiments are common OUTSIDE America's
borders have been very carefully concealed from the American people by the
elite media INSIDE our borders.
BUT WHAT IS EVEN MORE HORRIFYING
IS THE PARTICIPATION OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH IN THE ATROCITIES
THE UNITED STATES IS VISITING ON THE POOR OF THE EARTH.
We URGE you to read our articles, "The
Death Squads: Bringing In The Kingdom Of God Through Terror,
Torture And Death," "The
Horror Of John Dimitri Negroponte And Everything He Represents"
and, finally, "The American
Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."
As President Obama grapples with accusations of torture
by U.S. agents, I suggest he consult the former Senate majority leader, Tom
I first contacted Daschle in 1975, when he was an
aide to Sen. James Abourezk of South Dakota, who was leading a somewhat lonely
campaign against CIA abuses.
At the time, I was researching a book on the United
States' role in the spread of military dictatorships throughout Latin America.
Daschle arranged for me to inspect the senator's files, and I spent an evening
reading accounts of U.S. complicity in torture. The stories came from Iran,
Taiwan, Greece and, for the preceding 10 years, from Brazil and the rest of
the continent's Southern Cone.
James Abourezk (left); Tom Daschle (right)
Despite my past reporting from South Vietnam, I had
been naive enough to be at first surprised and then appalled by the degree
to which our country had helped to overthrow elected governments in Latin
Our interference, which [has gone] … on for decades, has not been limited
to one political party. For example, the meddling in Brazil
began in earnest during the early 1960s under a Democratic administration.
At that time, Washington's alarm over Cuba was much like the
more recent panic after 9/11. The White House was determined
to prevent another communist regime in the hemisphere and was
taking a strong interest in several anti-communist approaches,
including the Office of Public Safety (OPS). [Please see our
article on the overthrow of the Goulert government in Brazil,
"Colombia: America's New
NOTE FROM ANTIPAS:
The Office of Public Safety (OPS) was a US government agency, established
in 1957 by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower ostensibly to train foreign
police forces. Officially it was affiliated to USAID (US Agency for International
Development). It was dissolved in 1974 after its connections to the CIA
were revealed by the Church Committee and was linked to cases of torture,
murder and "disappearances" in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay;
its work continues today under the auspices of the Drug Enforcement Agency
(DEA) and the School of the Americas (SOA) which has now been renamed the
"Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation."
When OPS was launched under President Eisenhower,
its mission sounded benign enough, but from the very beginning it was nothing
more than a CIA "front" organization. Indeed, its seemingly genial director,
Byron Engle, was a CIA agent, as was Dan Mitrione, its chief agent in Latin
America. When Brazil seemed to tilt leftward after President Joao Goulart
assumed power in 1961, the White House grew increasingly troubled … and OPS
took the lead to destabilize the Goulart's government.
Dan Mitrione (above left); also shown a finger crushing device, an
electric shock device, and dental devices - all smuggled
into Brazil and Uruguay by "diplomatic pouch" from the
United States. Mitrione is the man who made torture
a routine part of the CIA's operations throughout Latin
America. He is quoted as having said: "The precise pain,
in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the
desired effect." He used homeless people for training
purposes, who were executed once they had served their
purpose. On July 31, 1970, the left-wing Tupamaros in
Uruguay kidnapped Mitrione and an Agency for International
Development associate, Claude L. Fry. Although the Tupamaros
released Fry they proceeded to interrogate Mitrione
about his past and the intervention of the U.S. government
in Latin American. Mitrione was later found dead in
a car. He had been shot twice in the head.
On March 31, 1964, encouraged by U.S. military attache Vernon
Walters, Brazilian Gen. Humberto Castelo Branco rose up against
Goulart. Rather than set off a civil war, Goulart chose exile
in Montevideo. [Please see our article on Vernon Walters, "The
Catholic / Evangelical Rapprochement" – and we speak
here more of the so-called "conservative wing" of the Catholic
Church than we do of its so-called "liberal wing" – please see
our article, "Liberation
Theology, the Vatican, and the CIA: Ghosts and Phantoms."]
Walters later told Nixon, "Too bad he didn't
follow the advice we gave him when we were down there" – by which he
meant that Goulert should have "knuckled under" to U.S. demands.
Walters with Nixon in Brazil
The Brazilian people did not deserve what they got.
The military cracked down harshly on labor unions, newspapers and student
associations. The newly efficient police, drawing on training provided by
the U.S., began routinely torturing political prisoners and even opened a
torture school on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro to teach police sergeants
how to inflict the maximum pain without killing their victims.
One torture victim was Fernando Gabeira, a young
reporter for Jornal do Brasil who was recruited by a resistance movement
and later arrested for his role in the 1969 kidnapping of Charles Burke Elbrick,
the U.S. ambassador (Elbrick was released after four days). Gabeira told me,
he was tortured with electric shocks to his testicles; a fellow prisoner
had his testicles nailed to a table. Still others were beaten bloody or waterboarded.
When Gabeira's captors said anything at all, they sometimes boasted about
having been trained in the United States.
During the first seven years after Castelo Branco's
coup, the OPS trained 100,000 Brazilian police, including 600 who were brought
to the United States.
expose of American complicity in Brazilian torture prepared
by the Archdiocese of Sao Paulo.
Students from all over the world were trained by
OPS. One student from South Vietnam, Le Van An, later described what his instructors
told him: "Despite the fact that brutal interrogation is strongly criticized
by moralists, its importance must not be denied if we want to have order and
security in daily life."
Brazil's political prisoners never doubted that Americans
were involved in the torture that proliferated in their country. On their
release, they reported that they frequently had heard English-speaking men
around them, foreigners who left the room while the actual torture took place.
As the years passed, those torture victims say, the men with American accents
became less careful and sometimes stayed on during interrogations.
One student dissident, Angela Camargo Seixas, described
to me how she was beaten and had electric wires inserted into her vagina after
her arrest. During her interrogations, she found that her hatred was directed
less toward her countrymen than toward the North Americans. She vowed never
to forgive the United States for training and equipping the Brazilian police.
Flavio Tavares Freitas, a journalist and Christian
nationalist, shared that sense of outrage. When he had wires jammed in his
ears, between his teeth and into his anus, he saw that the small gray generator
producing the shocks had on its side the red, white and blue shield of the
NOTE FROM ANTIPAS:
USAID (US Agency for International Development) has long been one of several
government organizations used by the CIA as a "front" organization for its
operations. CIA agents working with USAID have been involved in anti-democratic
activities throughout the world, most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan and
Still another student leader, Jean Marc Von der Weid,
told of having his penis wrapped in wires and connected to a battery-operated
field telephone. Von der Weid, who had been in Brazil's marine reserve, said
he recognized the telephone as one supplied by the United States through its
military assistance program.
CIA Director Richard Helms once tried to rebut accusations
against his agency by asserting that the nation must take it on faith that
the CIA was made up of "honorable men." That was before Sen. Frank
Church's 1975 Senate hearings brought to light CIA behavior that was deeply
Senators Frank Church (left) shown brandishing
a weapon designed by the CIA to facilitate assassinations
during the CIA oversight hearings which later became
known as the "Church Committee Hearings." CIA Director
Richard Helms (right), who claimed that the CIA was
an "honorable" institution, was proved to be nothing
more than a LIAR by the hearings.
Before Brazil restored civilian government in 1985,
Senator Abourezk had managed to shut down a Texas training base notorious
for teaching subversive techniques, including the making of bombs. When OPS
came under attack during another flurry of bad publicity, the CIA did not
fight to save it, and its funding was cut off.
Looking back, what has changed since 1975? A Brazilian truth and reconciliation
commission was convened, and it documented 339 cases of government-sanctioned
political assassinations. In 2002, a former labor leader and
political prisoner, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was elected president
of Brazil. He's serving his second term. [Please see our article,
"Lies and Damned Lies:
Not Discerning the Truth."]
Fernando Gabeira went home to publish a book about
kidnapping the American ambassador and his ordeal in prison. The book became
a bestseller throughout Brazil, and Gabeira was elected to the national legislature.
In an election last October, he came within 1.4 percentage points of becoming
the mayor of Rio de Janeiro.
But in our country, there's been a disheartening
development: In 1975, U.S. officials still felt they had to deny condoning
torture. Now many of them seem to be defending torture, even boasting about
A.J. Langguth is the author of Hidden Terrors: The Truth About U.S. Police
Operations in Latin America.
We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the
eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR
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insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned
- a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY
trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN
rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners
in the abject poverty that American corporations have
imposed on the peoples and nations the American military
machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE
THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME
OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles,
"The Third World
as a Model for the New World Order," Inside
the American New World Order System" and "The
American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary
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