Wednesday, February 6, 2008
By ALLAN NAIRN
"As Americans went to the polls, a very brave man from the Mayan highlands remarked in Spain that when he returned to his mother's house once the US-backed Guatemalan army had gotten through with it, he found that his entire family had been "carbonized," i.e. burnt carbon-black and crispy.
Soon after, the US sent more money (and other things) to that very army, perhaps pioneering -- under Reagan -- the first known application of the "carbon credits" concept.
They are here to testify about the US-sponsored Guatemalan officers who, in the '70s and '80s, murdered their families, and came out on top as rich men, drug dealers, US embassy consultants, and Harvard fellows.
It's not as if you can bring back the dead wives, missing kids, or shot-in-the cerebrum husbands, or even sufficiently punish the guilty, who now grin in elegant Zona Cinco pools and in MacLean, Virginia homes with lawns. They still twirl power and walk around, uncuffed, in polite society......
They're afraid because there's been something like a tear in the fabric of the political universe and, somehow, as in one of those anomalies of quantum physics, there has emerged -- in this world -- a stray particle of civilization: a legal forum perhaps willing to enforce the murder laws, even against high officials.
Not yet too high, mind you. There are not yet American names on the defendants list. But as we say in the sports which American guys love, its not over till its over.
The case is in Spain's Audiencia Nacional (National Court), which, operating on the principle 'We're all people here,' is exercising its right under international law to try atrocity cases involving non-Spaniards.....
Imagine if that precedent caught on. Today's US primary might be awkward, as candidates and advisers dodged the cops, were pressed to sign pledges to stop murdering, and were asked by the press to explain their own pasts -- vis a vis killing civilians, not trivia -- and to explain their bipartisan ideological softness on official crime.
In this particular US-killing matter, one of dozens from around the world, the Republicans' patron saint is Ronald Reagan, so beloved by the Guatemalan leaders who slaughtered the Mayans (and others) that they hung ten-foot portraits of him in their homes as he sent them CIA men, surveillance equipment, covert money and -- most importantly -- open political blessings. The US Democrats' dove is Barack Obama, whose chief foreign adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, greenlighted Israel to deliver the actual killing rifles (Galils) to Guatemala, since his President -- Carter -- was a little embarrassed.
Is that the difference between the two big US parties on mass murder -- embarrassment versus pride? Maybe......"