Friday, February 18, 2005

Honduran deathmaster takes office in DC

As the week winds down, I'm taking a moment to review what's happening here in America.

The Honduran deathmaster and super coke/arms dealer
John Negroponte has been named as the new master of intelligence for the Shrub administration.

This seems perfectly appropriate, as we all know that the object of torturing Arabs is to gather "intelligence," and John has some experience in this field, having been Ambassador to Honduras in its darkest years, that of the infamous Contra-arms-cocaine CIA/Oliver North escapades, during which John got to witness the death squads up close and learned to keep his mouth shut about it, the first requirement of a spook. In fact, while CIA operatives overseas report to their respective assigned-country's ambassador as a matter of policy, apparently nobody in Honduras seems to have breathed a word about the thousands of disappeared in Honduras to Mr Negroponte, at least to hear John tell it.

This item from Democracy Now's report on Negroponte, from April, 2004:

Former official Rick Chidester, who served under Negroponte, says he was ordered to remove all mention of torture and executions from the draft of his 1982 report on the human rights situation in Honduras. During Negroponte's tenure, US military aid to Honduras skyrocketed from $3.9 million to over $77 million. Much of this went to ensure the Honduran army's loyalty in the battle against popular movements throughout Central America.

What will he be doing in his new post, you might well ask? Well, he will be personally briefing the President about intelligence. Personally, as if he didn't have better things to do, what with being in charge of something like 150,000 federal employees.

Update (02/19/05) This, from, about Mr Negroponte and the briefing problem, by Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst:

From what President Bush said yesterday, John Negroponte, the man farthest removed from substantive intelligence analysis—not to mention the background and genesis of the briefing items chosen for a particular day—will be the president’s “primary briefer.” I am told that President Bush does not read the President’s Daily Brief, but rather has it read to him.Who will do the reading? Who will attempt to answer the president’s questions? Will there be a senior analyst there in a supporting role? Will s/he have career protection, should it be necessary to correct Negroponte’s answers? Will Negroponte ask CIA Director Porter Goss to participate as well? Will the briefer feel constrained with very senior officials there? Will s/he be able to speak without fear of favor, drawing, for example, on what the real experts say regarding Iran’s nuclear capability and plans? These are important questions. A lot will depend on the answers
McGovern has more to say on Negroponte. Check it out.

Just when you thought things might be calming down, the shit just gets worse and worse.

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