Oscar Mejía Goes Quietly Into The Night

Oscar Mejía, one of Guatemala’s brutal Cold War dictators died on February 1st, 2016.

Lake Atitlán

Lake Atitlán

He died as he lived, without remorse for the torture, genocide, and brutality he inflicted on the long-suffering people he ruled. I visited Guatemala in 1959. The street tales of fierce fighters in the highlands who faced machine guns with machetes were frightening. Time spent at Lake Atitlán brought a different reality to bear. These short-statured, barrel-chested remnants of the Mayan civilization wanted only to be left alone.

The 1871 revolution bore Justo Rufino Barrios to power. He stole previously protected native lands to accelerate coffee production in Guatemala. Barrios wrote law that forced the native population work for low wages for the new landowners. It was the onset of an appalling tradition, which later saw the U.S. and John Foster Dulles propagating.

Throughout the decades the U.S. intervened in Guatemala’s politics. President Ronald Reagan privately doubted, but publicly supported the Oscar Mejía Víctores’ regime. Unredacted provides a detailed look at Oscar Mejía Víctores role in Guatemala’s history. It is a ‘must read’ for the Cold War legacy.

Reblogged

Oscar Mejía Víctores Dead at 85: Guatemalan dictator dies as human rights trials resume

February 8, 2016

by Kate Doyle

Oscar Mejía Víctores in 2011 (L), photo credit: Prensa Libre/EFE, and in 1983 (R).

Oscar Mejía Víctores in 2011 (L), photo credit: Prensa Libre/EFE, and in 1983 (R).

Oscar Mejía Víctores, Guatemalan army general and former head of state from 1983 to 1986 who presided over some of the most repressive periods in the country’s 36-year civil conflict – first as minister of defense and then as military dictator – died on Monday, February 1. He was 85.

Mejía Víctores was never brought to justice for his alleged connection to human rights abuses. Due to his failing health in the years prior to his death, public prosecutors were forced to drop an indictment they had brought against him for genocide and crimes against humanity, after government doctors declared him physically and mentally incompetent to stand trial in 2011.

But on the same day that the retired general died, two military men who served under him appeared in a Guatemalan courtroom for the opening day of the “Sepur Zarco” case, the world’s first criminal trial of persons accused of sexual violence and enslavement in the context of armed conflict to be heard by a national court. The trial is one of several human rights cases that have advanced in Guatemala since the beginning of this year, signaling a resumption of major human rights prosecutions by a justice system that in 2015 was largely focused on important corruption cases.

Throughout his career, Oscar Mejía Víctores cut a classic figure as a loyal military officer, brutal strongman, and untouchable human rights violator.

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Madmen in the White House

The Soviets were master chess players so what happens when the Mad Hatter takes a seat

The Mad Hatter Creative Commons

The Mad Hatter
Creative Commons

at the table? That was a question President Richard M. Nixon asked. By January 1969, finding a face-saving way out of the Vietnam War became a foreign policy priority for Nixon and Kissinger, and they had a plan. The Madman card played by Eisenhower during Korea was legend and Nixon, Eisenhower’s Vice President (1953 – 1961), was familiar with the ploy. Many arrows fill the foreign policy quiver; economic, trade, intelligence, diplomacy, and, of course, military. Foreign policy arrows combine forming customized solutions to particular interests or threats. The Madman game, played in one guise or another from 1969 to 1974, customized a bizarre and risky combination of foreign policy shafts.

The Eisenhower Madman policy appears founded in scuttlebutt, and documentation is hard to come by. Admiral Joy commanded the Naval Forces Far East, including all naval operations in Korean waters during the Korean War (1950-1953). Later the Admiral served

Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, USN, Commander Naval Forces Far East Photographed 9 June 1951. Note his Nikon 35mm camera. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, USN, Commander Naval Forces Far East
Photographed 9 June 1951. Note his Nikon 35mm camera.
Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

as chief negotiator during the truce negotiations at Kaesong until they broke down in 1952. Joy asserted that the Eisenhower administration’s nuclear threats in May 1953, reaped Soviet compromises during negotiations. The January 1956, issue of Life Magazine published a supporting story by James Shepley, “How Dulles Averted War” (pages 70 and 71). Secretary of State Allen Dulles detailed how he carried Eisenhower’s nuclear warning to Beijing in 1953 during a visit with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Shepley reported that “…Dulles told Nehru that the U.S. desired to end the fighting in Korea honorably. He also said that if the war continued, the U.S. would lift the self-imposed restrictions on its actions and hold back no effort or weapon to win…” According to rumor, innuendo, and the tribal drums similar, clarified messages, on nuclear intent found their way to China through several different mechanisms. Continue reading

Happy New Year

Legacy is the Cold War Warrior lens. As the leaf of the calendar prepares to turn the oldHappyNewYear_col year new, what comes from our past? The tribes are vibrating in anticipation of a wild and woolly presidential election in the U.S.  Mongering fear is a rhetoric staple for the speechwriters. A new player in the political orchestra is playing discordant notes as if he is composing a new symphony in the middle of the presidential concert performance. The Cold War witnessed ten presidential elections, some more noteworthy than others.

The 1960s began with a bang when a young, attractive Democrat, John F. Kennedy, took Richard Nixon to task for the job of president. Richard Nixon was a known as a ‘red-baiter’, but Kennedy, a WWII veteran, was a hawk’s hawk. Both sides played the Cold War Soviet threat card, but Kennedy brought fear alive through words that painted a picture of thousands of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles destroying freedom’s cities, lost children, and hope’s demise for humanity’s future. The number of missiles Kennedy was attributing to the Soviet arsenal, compared to the U.S.’s paltry few, was ridiculous. President Eisenhower could have made short work of Kennedy’s vision of the apocalypse by pointing out the young candidate’s lie, but did not.

Kennedy’s short time in office did make a difference. He and Nikita Khrushchev found some common ground in between shoe poundings. They banned atmospheric and underwater nuclear testing. Together they formed a treaty framework, still in use, to reduce the stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Instead of both empires having enough nukes to destroy the world many times over, we each only have enough left to destroy the world once. Continue reading

Wreaths Across the Ages

It was an early and unseasonably warm day on December 12, 2015, day when we 293086LOGOarrived to begin our work with Wreaths Across America. It was the day I learned the meaning of Christmas, grief, sympathy, and humility.

Although I never served in the military, I come from a long line of proud soldiers and sailors on both sides of my family. In fact, I think we cover every branch except the Air Force. I am proud of, and honored to be related to such an amazing group of people and am so grateful for their service and the sacrifices they and their families have made. One of the people of whom I am most proud is my late grandfather Clayton Graybill. Until last weekend, I only knew that he served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II. I thought he was a member of a field artillery unit, but he died before I was old enough to know what questions to ask.

CEM45182_136317377067Pappy, as I always knew him, was a good man. He epitomized “The Greatest Generation”. He was a humble, hardworking, generous, loyal, kind man. He died when I was living out of state, and I was unable to return for his funeral. Never saying goodbye to him has haunted me throughout the years. As soon as I was able to get back, we went to visit his grave at Fort Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, PA. As I sat in the grass crying my eyes out, I looked up and right at the tree line was a huge deer, a buck, just standing there looking in our direction. At that moment, I knew my grandfather’s spirit was embodied in that majestic animal. Five seconds later, it was gone. It was Pappy’s way of saying, “I’m here, I know you are, thank you.” That’s the kind of man he was; simple and unassuming. Continue reading

No Man Left Behind

A value staple of military units for generations, the phrase “No man left behind” became,

John Phelps poses with his creation after an unveiling ceremony Nov. 12, 2014, at the Wounded Warrior Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.. The sculpture is based on the Operation Phantom Fury photograph 'Hell House' of then 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal being carried out of a house by two lance corporals after a firefight where Kasal sustained life-threatening injuries. Shaltiel Dominguez/U.S. Marine Corps

John Phelps poses with his creation after an unveiling ceremony Nov. 12, 2014, at the Wounded Warrior Battalion, Camp Pendleton, Calif.. The sculpture is based on the Operation Phantom Fury photograph ‘Hell House’ of then 1st Sgt. Bradley Kasal being carried out of a house by two lance corporals after a firefight where Kasal sustained life-threatening injuries.
Shaltiel Dominguez/U.S. Marine Corps

for the first time, a real possibility during the Korean War (June 25, 1950 – July 27, 1953) and a battle cry during the Vietnam War (November 1, 1955 – April 30, 1975). Until recently, the legacy goal of “No man left behind” drove the U.S. Military, the CIA, and the State Department. A utopian objective, as it is impossible to fully realize, it was and should remain an important core value to those on the battlefield and those who support the people who fight for us. It is a legacy worth having and it comes with great stories of daring to beat the odds.

The Korean War Legacy-That Others May Live

Forrest L. Marion’s monograph, That Others May Live: USAF Air Rescue in Korea, pinpoints the exact time when it became feasible to rescue large numbers of soldiers, wounded soldiers, and civilians from bloody chaos of an active battle. “When the Korean War began in June 1950, the United States Air Force’s Air Rescue Service was a fledgling organization possessing a variety of aircraft types, most having seen service during World War II. The concept of using helicopters and amphibious fixed-wing aircraft to rescue airmen downed behind enemy lines or in hostile waters had gained little consideration by the Air Force and was largely unproven. But by the fall of 1950, the 3d Air Rescue Squadron had begun to write a new chapter in the history of air power, and by July 1953, when the armistice was signed in Korea, air rescue had become established as an integral part of U.S. fighting forces. Although the H-5 and H-19 helicopters and SA-16 amphibians gained attention worldwide by virtue of countless daring rescues performed throughout the war, lesser known aircraft such as the L-5, SC-47, SB-17, and SB-29 also played important roles in building the U.S. Air Force’s overall air rescue capability in the Korean War theater.” Continue reading

The Sting

Cracks of sky color erupt through the dark night skies as Americans wake to the rustling

Syed Rizwan Farook

Syed Rizwan Farook

taffeta of the long con following the December 2, 2015, killings in San Bernadino, California. Word grenades chastising Republican candidates offering prayers to the victims’ and their families launch from newsprint, the endless battle over gun control at high volume is unabated, the Council on American-Islamic Relations marches out the suspects’ shell-shocked relatives, and countless talking heads posit expert knowledge on everything from id soup to terrorist nuts. American leaders, it seems, are writhing in agony as they search for a reason to say it is America’s fault this obscene massacre occurred. Only the police and FBI appear to be laser-focused on the madness’ method as they follow the breadcrumbs the perpetrators dropped while disarming suspected explosive devices left to obliterate the path.

As hearts break for the victims and their families and all those at that center, and its neighborhood, frog-marched through the trauma in San Bernadino, a neighbor of the two suspects is beset by guilt. She suspected something wicked was afoot and was caught in the suicidal clutches of political correctness. She could not separate herself from the ‘Gladys Kravitz’ nosy neighbor who calls police when a mother lets her child wander 120 feet from her; a sad commentary on the confusion between communicating information and extreme state nannyism.

How could Syed Farook, a fully-employed, middle-class, American citizen, perpetrate such treachery against colleagues who recently honored him with a baby shower? Syed Farook and his Saudi bride, Tashfeen Malik, are reported to have been devoted Muslims, the religion of peace. As the authorities conduct their investigation, it is time to review the concept of Taqiyya.

Taqiyya is foreign to most of Western Culture except for undercover officers, spies, politicians, and statesmen. Ingrained in most of us is a concept of honor and integrity based on a value or belief system that saw people as mostly good and encouraged trust. Muslim extremists, on the other hand, are taught that only Muslims, of their sect or tribe, are okay. Everyone else is expendable; their lives and property forfeit. To that end are two very foreign concepts to most in Western culture (except for politicians, of course): 1. Taqiyya, which is religious dissimulation-lying; and 2. War is forever.

First published in January 2015, The Endless War of Taqiyya explores the evolution and uses of Taqiyya. As the United States walks through the upcoming days, perhaps it will quit its efforts to self-flagellate and rip itself apart like a discordant machine and honestly address the intellectual and philosophical issues of how a republic born of Western values coexists with Political Islam, a theocracy based on Sharia Law. The reality that Syed Farook teamed with a woman (his wife), Tashfeen Malik, to massacre co-workers is a sea change. Women within Political Islam are assuming new roles.

The Enemy of My Enemy Illusion

“American blood tastes sweeter, and we are coming for you” paraphrases a battle cry

In honor of the people who died in France on November, 13, 2015.

In honor of the people who died in France on November, 13, 2015.

that rang through the streets of Paris on Friday, November 13, 2015. As shots and explosions rang out at Parisian symbols of Western culture, the people cried, and brutality unfolded. Make no mistake, this is a religious war. President Obama may dance around the words all he chooses, but the dance does not change the facts. ISIS and its allies have declared the war to be holy and just, based on its interpretation of Islam. It matters not that the religion is Dharmic faiths, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Rastafarian, or even other Muslims. It matters only that Western Culture and Eastern Cultures exist. Dissenting with the ISIS interpreters of Islam lands even fellow Muslims on an uncomfortable enemies list alongside Western and Eastern Civilization. Denying the role of religion in this war is like sending firefighters to fight the smoke rather than attack the fire. The structure will burn, and the smoke will hang in the air unfettered.

America, The Great Satan

With the Cold War decisions to use the drug trade to help fund secret, off-the-radar CIA ‘low-intensity’ wars and to align with various political factions of Islam evolving america-great-satan-via irantheocratic states with Shariah Law, the United States left its moral high ground floating in the wake of its fear of Soviet Communist expansionism. The Cold War legacy of the U.S. government’s drug trading is evident in shattered families across the United States and in its streets and alleys lined drug hazed with lost souls. Making a case for the U.S.’s involvement in the growth of the second generation drug cartels we fight now would not be difficult. Why and how the U.S. lost its Constitutional soul to trading drugs leads back to the myriad proxy wars it fought at the height of the Cold War: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America. The argument is made that proxy wars have been fought throughout history and, it particular, they kept the Cold War from becoming too hot. Whether or not you agree with the rationale, other peoples and their children died by the millions in proxy wars, and it was the first time the U.S. paid for proxy wars by trading drugs thereby bypassing Congress. In May 2009, Shunya published Namit Arora essay, America, the Cold War, and the Taliban pointed out that: Continue reading

Happy Veterans’ Day

Today, November 11th, is Veterans’ Day in the U.S. It is the day, when, with great threspect, we honor and pay homage to the 7 percent of the population who donned a military uniform at some point in their lives and took care of business. Without the service and sacrifice of that seven percent, the other 93 percent of the population would likely be toast of some description or another. This day is celebrated throughout the country in many different ways. In President Obama’s 2012 Veterans’ Day remarks, he acknowledged that “…Today, a proud nation expresses our gratitude.  But we do so mindful that no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service.  For that, we must do more.  For that, we must commit –- this day and every day -– to serving you as well as you’ve served us….” I agree and wait for that process to begin. It saddens me that the U.S. President chooses to speak in China rather than at Arlington National Cemetery this morning.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities. This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

A temporary cease fire agreed to on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 dropped a veil of relief on the WWI battlefields of Europe and kick-started the process that is now Veteran’s Day. The peace accords weren’t signed until the next year, but the quiet of 11/11/1918 marked the end of the ‘War to end all wars’[1]. “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” These words were spoken by President Wilson on November 11, 1919 during the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

In 1938, Armistice Day became a nationally sanctioned U.S. holiday. “…An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I….”[2]

By the 1950s it became clear that war was not going away anytime soon. World War II had begun and ended and the Cold War was off and running in Korea. Tens of thousands of American soldiers had died and millions were wounded. In the 1950s Eisenhower, an old, seasoned warrior was in the Whitehouse. And, soldiers who had seen service in the Civil War and children from soldiers who fought in the War of 1812 were stark reminders that peace was a fleeting dream. Continue reading

“…To the Shores of Tripoli…”

Happy Birthday to all Marines. Thank you for the last 240 years of service. The two

"America's Pride" by Stephen Harris WTC USN(Ret) has been declared public domain.

“America’s Pride” by Stephen Harris WTC USN(Ret) has been declared public domain.

battalions of Continental Marines raised from the Continental Congress’s resolution on November 10, 1775 became a critical link between land and sea forces. There wasn’t much time for the now famous Marine Corps training. About six-months after the congressional resolution, the Marines were testing their amphibious wings with a March 1776 raid on the Bahamas under the command of Samuel Nicholas.

For 240 years, the United States has depended upon the Marines to be the pointed end of the nation’s military spear. These soldiers have gone places and achieved heights few have known. They’ve also paid a heavy price in lives and pain. The Marines are respected, loved, and feared. The reasons why can be found in the excellent decade-by-decade timeline on the Marine Corps’ web page. Marines adapt and innovate. Continue reading

Syria Trick or Treat

The gallery of Cold War Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton

The gallery of Cold War Presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton

Poor, poor Josh Earnest. Imagine his scary world as a White House Press Secretary charged with elucidating the Administration’s foreign policy regarding Syria and the Middle East armed only with words from the Obama Abridged Collegiate Dictionary.   On October 30, 2015, Josh shared the President’s decision to send less than fifty special operation force members to Northern Syria to hold the hands of chosen rebel fighters. Just to be clear, the U.S. forces assigned to Syria will not be in combat, they will be accompanying and training Syrian forces as they go into combat. Operationally, these highly-trained nannies will be supervising uncertain children in the world’s biggest House of Horrors. Josh reassured his audience that the U.S. forces could at least defend themselves. Does no one in that big white house remember hearing about the Cold War?

Go ahead, put 50, 1,000, 100,000 pairs of boots on the ground anywhere you want, Mr. combat bootsPresident, just make certain they are not filled with U.S. soldiers until the mission objectives are clear. Do not send American men and women into war zones while you play with semantics and fuzzy logic. And exactly why is it that the United States of America is in the business of overthrowing other countries’ governments anyway? It didn’t work in Vietnam, Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, and other sovereign nations during the Cold War. Overthrowing other nation’s governments was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. More recently, it was wrong for Bush to have done it before you and it’s wrong for you to do it now. By the way, how are Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq working out for you?

What exactly is wrong with reviewing the Constitution and learning from the Cold War mistakes of Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II? Each of their mistakes was paid in the blood of American soldiers and civilians. Let us not forget the blood shed by the civilians in the foreign nations the U.S. was helping. If you want war, go to Congress and get one declared. Overthrow the country of your choice openly and with the consent of the governed. Continue reading