University of Washington Legal Center Battling State Department, CIA

December 27, 2015


U.S. reportedly supplied chemical, biological weapons to Salvadoran military

The Center For Human Rights at The University of Washington has released more U.S. documents from the bloody civil war in El Salvador in the 1980’s, this time with startling information indicating official knowledge of death squad activity and the reported use of chemical and biological weapons against a defenseless peasant population.
This report follows on the heels of a previous release we wrote about at this link in October:

The above report describes a brutal 1981 massacre at Santa Cruz, and enclosed documents link a Salvadoran military official named Ochoa, torture expert Roberto “Blowtorch Bob” D’Aubuisson, the Santa Cruz massacre, with the killing of Archbishop Oscar Romero and reports that led to the desk of Vice President George H.W. Bush – a former CIA director.

The Center For Human Rights also reported that a computer hard drive containing information of a lawsuit against the CIA was stolen from their office. As it happens, current CIA director John Brennan just happened to be attending a meeting at the University’s Law school at the very time the information was stolen. Here’s a brief statement carried in the Seattle Times:

“The break-in coincided with a campus visit by CIA Director John Brennan, who spoke Friday at a symposium at the UW law school. However, Norm Arkans, the UW’s associate vice president for media relations and communications, cautioned against “connecting those dots.”

Here is a summary of the new document release by the CHR:

La Quesera Massacre: Declassified documents open window into US awareness of wartime atrocities

“Recently declassified US government documents released to the UW Center for Human Rights by the US Department of State permit a glimpse into behind the scenes discussions of atrocities at a key moment in the Salvadoran armed conflict.

The documents, from October and November 1981, declassification of some of which was previously refused on national security grounds, show that high-ranking US officials had detailed knowledge of the massacre of unarmed civilians during an October military campaign in the departments of Usulután and San Vicente. When the newly-released documents are analyzed alongside others released previously, a more complete picture of the US response to these killings – including the notorious massacre of La Quesera – emerges. The record shows that:

US officials were eyewitnesses to attacks on unarmed civilians by a Salvadoran helicopter pilot, a fact reported to the highest levels of the US government.
Ambassador Deane Hinton and colleagues reacted with grave concern to reported atrocities, issuing strongly worded admonitions to the Salvadoran counterparts that future US support could be threatened should such incidents continue.
At the same time, Hinton took steps to counter the manipulation of information regarding atrocities by journalists they view as sympathetic to the rebels.
Despite knowledge of these events, plans to finance the Salvadoran military at historic levels continued apace.”

The documents at the CHR site linked above indicate that U.S. Ambassador Deane Hinton and Secretary of state Alexander Haig were clearly aware of death squad activities, in at least one case witnessed by two U.S. military “advisers” and one USAID employee. State Department cables list approximate numbers of civilians, their ages, and occupations who were killed as part of a reprisal for guerrillas destroying a bridge. Other documents suggest unknown numbers of dead interred in mass graves. Women and children were also targeted in an effort to terrorize the population and cut off supply lines to the rebel FMLN fighters.

The link to the CHR report will be at the bottom of this article and contains many disturbing documents, but document 4 is particularly interesting. Here is the CHR summary of that article:

“Document 4
Date: November 6, 1981
Agency: Department of State
Source: UW CHR Freedom of Information Act Request
Title: Black Propaganda Against the United State: Genocide, Bacterial and Chemical Warfare in El Salvador

This cable reports the text of a paid announcement placed in the Costa Rican daily newspaper La Nación on November 5, 1981 by the “Costa Rican Committee of Solidarity with the Salvadoran People.” The announcement denounces “the genocide against the Salvadoran people” and the use of “criminal technology provided by the government of Ronald Reagan.” Specifically, the announcement cites “extermination operations in the department of Usulután against the towns of Jucaran, El Jicaro, El Llano, Bolivar, La Montañita, Corozalito, and in the department of San Vicente in the zone of Chinchotepec volcano”. The announcement also cites the use of weapons including heavy bombs, white phosphorous, agent orange, and “biological warfare methods”.

The document is in PDF format so I can’t cut-and-paste the actual copy – but here’s a few sentences:

…”The indiscriminate use of the 210 kilo bomb, white phosphous, (sp, presumably phosphorus), napald fatidic agent orange which was much used in Vietnam against the civilians…the use of biological warfare weapons without respecting the international conventions concerning warfare…”

The above quote includes misspellings in the State Department cable and the origin is a report from a Costa Rican paper sympathetic to the Salvadoran FMLN guerrillas, but clearly had U.S. officials on edge.

The Center For Human Rights at The University of Washington is doing superb work to help provide remedy for these war crimes, and has also worked to locate adults who were (as children) adopted by or given to Salvadoran or other officials after various massacres. Reports such as these provide a window into Ronald Reagan’s reign of terror in Latin America, actions that destabilized a half-dozen nations – a murderous rampage that they haven’t recovered from to this day.

Here is the link to The CHR’s website:

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2 Responses to University of Washington Legal Center Battling State Department, CIA

  1. DR on February 6, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    I approved the previous comment but believe it to be a possible “sock puppet”.

    The comment would best be placed in this previous post:

    “Those Voices In Your Head”

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