A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic reveals how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq. Another special forces veteran, Colonel James Coffman, worked with Steele and reported directly to General David Petraeus, who had been sent into Iraq to
organise the Iraqi security services.
To watch the BBC documentary, paste this url into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ca1HsC6MH0
The Pentagon’s “Salvador Option for Iraq” initiated in 2004 was carried out under the helm of the US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte (2004-2005) together with Robert Stephen Ford, who was appointed US Ambassador to Syria in January 2011, less than two months before the beginning of the armed insurgency directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad. Negroponte has an infamous record of involvement in torture, kidnapping, rape, extra-judicial killing and other police state crimes against democratic movements in Central America.
“The Salvador Option” is a “terrorist model” of mass killings by US sponsored death squads. It was first applied in El Salvador, in the heyday of resistance against the military dictatorship, resulting in an estimated 75,000 deaths. We were in Amman, Jordan, in January 2005. Iraqis had a question for us, and for US citizens who pay taxes to support the foreign policy implemented by men like John Negroponte and James Steele. “The Americans are in complete control of the air and constantly monitor activities in our cities and towns. They declare curfews, and threaten our people with death if they go outside their homes. And they mean it. Women have been shot to death by American snipers for the crime of trying to get food for their children after curfew. So our question for you is this. Why is it that brand new SUVs carrying armed monsters in brand new uniforms with brand new automatic weapons can drive down our roads in convoys, kidnaping our people from their homes and torturing them to death? There can only be one reason. The Americans are supervising these death squads. They are directing the forces that torture Iraqis.”
Thanks to Bradley Manning, we now have proof. It is up to us — the citizens of the US — to express our outrage and insist that American participants in these international crimes be brought to justice.