I know that there are two diaries already up on Negroponte. However, I am going to try to start a fact center here for the urgent need for information regarding Bush's new controversial selection for the National Intelligence post.
See below. Will update as facts progress.
John Negroponte is an unsuitable candidate for National Intelligence Director.
Mr. Negroponte was a key figure in the Iran-Contra affair. As Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, he helped direct the covert war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. He has also been charged as collaborating with the Honduran government in the training of so-called "death squads" and in carrying out other human rights abuses. These charges have never adequately been answered.
John Negroponte. Iran-Contra. Human rights abuses. Death squads. Bishop Romero. Disappearance and murder of dozens of Nicaraguan nuns. Illegal war against the Sandinistas. Torture.
Negroponte was born in London. His father was a Greek shipping magnate. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1956 and Yale University in 1960. He later served at eight different Foreign Service posts in Asia, Europe and Latin America; and he also held important positions at the State Department and the White House. From 1997 until his appointment as ambassador to the UN, Negroponte was an executive with McGraw-Hill. Negroponte speaks five languages. He is the brother of Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's MIT Media Lab.
Ambassador to Honduras
From 1981 to 1985 Negroponte was US ambassador to Honduras. During his tenure, he oversaw the growth of military aid to Honduras from $4 million to $77.4 million a year. At the time, Honduras was ruled by an elected but heavily militarily-influenced government. According to The New York Times, Negroponte was responsible for "carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinistas government in Nicaragua." Critics say that during his ambassadorship, human rights violations in Honduras became systematic.
Negroponte supervised the construction of the El Aguacate air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US, and which critics say was used as a secret detention and torture center during the 1980s. 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 show that a special intelligence unit (commonly referred to as a "death squad") of the Honduran armed forces, Battalion 3-16, trained by the CIA and Argentine military, kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people, 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. But 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.
In early 1984, two American mercenaries, Thomas Posey and Dana Parker, contacted Negroponte, stating they wanted to supply arms to the Contras after the U.S. Congress had banned further military aid. Documents show that Negroponte brought the two with a contact in the Honduran armed forces The operation was exposed nine months later, at which point the Reagan administration denied any US involvement, despite Negroponte's participation in the scheme. Other documents uncovered a plan of Negroponte and then-Vice President George H. W. Bush to funnel Contra aid money through the Honduran government.
During his tenure as US ambassador to Honduras, Binns, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, made numerous complaints about human rights abuses by the Honduran military and he claimed he fully briefed Negroponte on the situation before leaving the post. When the Reagan administration came to power, Binns was replaced by Negroponte, who has consistently denied having knowledge of any wrongdoing. Later, the Honduras Commission on Human Rights accused Negroponte himself of human rights violations.
Speaking of Negroponte and other senior US officials, an ex-Honduran congressman, Efrain Diaz, told the Baltimore Sun, which in 1995 published an extensive investigation of US activities in Honduras:
Their attitude was one of tolerance and silence. They needed Honduras to loan its territory more than they were concerned about innocent people being killed.
The Sun's investigation found that the CIA and US embassy knew of numerous abuses but continued to support Battalion 3-16 and ensured that the embassy's annual human rights report did not contain the full story.
The question of what John Negroponte knew about human rights abuses in Honduras will probably never be answered definitively, but there is a large body of circumstantial evidence supporting the view that Negroponte was aware that serious violations of human rights were carried out by the Honduran government with the support of the CIA. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, on 14 September 2001, as reported in the Congressional Record (http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2001_cr/s091401.html), aired his suspicions on the occasion of Negroponte's nomination to the position of UN ambassador:
Based upon the Committee's review of State Department and CIA documents, it would seem that Ambassador Negroponte knew far more about government perpetuated human rights abuses than he chose to share with the committee in 1989 or in Embassy contributions at the time to annual State Department Human Rights reports.
Among other evidence, Dodd cited a cable sent by Negroponte in 1985 that made it clear that Negroponte was aware of the threat of "future human rights abuses" by "secret operating cells" left over by General Alvarez after his deposition in 1984.
Appointment to the UN
When President Bush announced Negroponte's appointment to the UN shortly after coming to office, it was met with widespread protest. However, the Bush administration did not back down and even went so far as to try to silence potential witnesses. On March 25 2001, the Los Angeles Times reported on the sudden deportation from the United States of several former Honduran death squad members who could have provided damaging testimony against Negroponte in his Senate confirmation hearings.
One of the deportees was General Luis Alonso Discua, founder of Battalion 3-16. In the preceding month, Washington had revoked the visa of Discua who was Honduras' Deputy Ambassador to the UN. Nonetheless, Discua went public with details of US support of Battalion 3-16.
Negroponte in Iraq
On April 19, 2004, Negroponte was nominated by US President George W. Bush to be US ambassador to Iraq after the June 30 handover. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on May 6, 2004, by a vote of 95 to 3, and was officially sworn in on June 23, 2004, replacing L. Paul Bremer as the country's head American civilian official.
More news to come as news breaks. I know that some diarists out there -- Soj, I'm talking to you -- are good at taking a bunch of facts and developing a narrative from that that is a lot easier to understand than just a bunch of cuts and pastes like this. If you are one of these diarists, I'd really appreciate seeing something from you.