Memorial Day in Washington DC by Jay Janson
Presiding Judge, "he knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out." US President Ronald Reagan also had the power, greater power, to stop the massacres being perpetrated by dictator General and President RÃos Montt. Instead visited him in Guatemala City and praised Rios Montt as "a man of great personal integrity and commitment. Who was more guilty?
Jose EfraÃn RÃos Montt began the his political and military career as a young officer taking part in the bloody successful CIA-organized coup against the first democratically elected president in Guatemalan history that was ordered by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. Two years earlier he had attended what peace activists call, the 'US School for Assassins,' namely, the long infamous School of the Americas. He ended his career a few days ago, convicted of genocide by the Guatemalan court he once controlled as president and dictator.
Associate Press reported, 'The three-judge panel essentially concluded that the massacres followed the same pattern, showing they had been planned, something that would not be possible without the approval of the military command, which Rios Montt headed. In delivering the verdict, Presiding Judge Yassmin Barrios said, "he knew about everything that was going on and he did not stop it, despite having the power to stop it from being carried out." '
US President Ronald Reagan also had the power, greater power, to stop the massacres being perpetrated by dictator General and President RÃos Montt. Reagan must have been aware of them, known enough about them, and could have stopped those year-and-half-long massacres with far less effort than President Eisenhower had made in ordering the bloody and merciless overthrowing of a popularly elected president, a democratic president, who in making land reform, had gotten in the way of the massive United Fruit Company that owned more than half of Guatemala. In the case of the President of Guatemala and in President Reagan's case, there was no room for sentiment. It was just business.
Prosecutors argued that RÃos Montt oversaw the massacres of Mayan Indians when he ruled Guatemala from March 1982 to August 1983. RÃos Montt held his great power as dictator of Guatemala for the financial and political and military backing he was receiving from US President Ronald Reagan's administration, and the administrations of US presidents before him, all of whom represented the interests of the financial consensus that really rules in America.
Midway through the eighteen months of horrific massacres, December of 1982, President Ronald Reagan visited President-General RÃos Montt in Guatemala City and in a press release, praised the dictator, "President RÃos Montt is a man of great personal integrity and commitment....I know he wants to improve the quality of life for all Guatemalans and to promote social justice."
These were the first years of President Ronald Reagan's administration during which CIA was organizing, funding and overseeing the sickening terrorist attacks on rural areas of nearby Nicaragua from across the border of US ally Honduras, planning sabotage of industries and mining Nicaragua's ports (which brought a US conviction by the International Court of Justice when Nicaragua sued in 1984). Reagan had let it be known he didn't approve of the popular revolution that had overthrown a brutal thieving dictator whose father had been installed by the US Marines as they were ending their twenty-one year old occupation of Nicaragua ordered by President Woodrow Wilson. In El Salvador, despite evidence that by 1984, 65,000 civilians had been murdered by the National Guard and right-wing paramilitary forces, President Reagan's national Bipartisan Commission on Central America justified massive military support.
As yet, there has never been a trial in the United States of US officials and their financial backers for bribery, for CIA crimes like assassinations, promoting massacres, arranging destabilizing violence, for armed intervention or the treat of armed intervention in a foreign nation in peace time. Investigations, yes, but to this writers knowledge never a prosecution. After a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence investigated the CIA in the 1974, a bill was passed forbidding (future) assassinations of government officials. (American school books cite Admiral Perry's 1854 ultimatum to the Japanese government to sign a treaty of commerce or see Yokohama reduces to ashes by his flotilla's cannons, as Perry's achievement 'The Opening up of Japan' .)
Once the US is no longer omnipotent, and Americans no longer enjoy immunity as an exceptional race, their crimes against humanity will be prosecuted as was the genocide committed by RÃos Montt, a loutish butcher employed by who and what everyone knows. Everyone! If one of Al Capone's triggermen was on trial for murder, who was more importantly guilty, the triggerman, who was only one of the Mafia Don's many triggermen convicted, or Mafia don Al Capone himself?
Eventually, if not sooner, given the fact that there is no time limitation on prosecution of genocide, and the coming inevitable restitution of logic and law in public affairs, one can expect prosecution of Americans, and not just Americans in high office serving that "financial element in the circles of power that has owned the government since the days of Andrew Jackson" as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt quipped to his friend Colonel House in 1932.  (One might also like to recall that at the time FDR, in confidence, noted his secondary importance to that "financial element," a tightly inclusive group of his of his friends and acquaintances and captains of industry and banking were, as a block, investing in the cheap labor of a financially prostate Nazi Germany and building its Wehrmacht up to number one military force in the world in full knowledge of Hitler's plan for the Soviet Union and European Jews.)
If one confines oneself to researching the well published documentation of crimes against humanity during the administrations of the presidents that followed Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the last American president, who, as an aristocrat, had some influence among his wealthy peers, it becomes very clear why eminent historian Prof. Noam Chomsky of M.I.T. can say over and over again, without provoking much negative outcry, "If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged." Prof. Chomsky followed this statement with listing the crimes against humanity of each of these presidents he had condemned to the gallows, and has since occasionally updated the list to include subsequent new US presidents. A hard rain is going to fall in America one day.
But the conviction of RÃos Montt portends more immediate future prosecution of similar criminally traitorous servants of the last of the white world colonial powers that have overseen massacres and slower forms of death throughout the Americas and especially in Central America and Mexico. And they are innumerable, so great is the reach of the corporatist government of the US superpower run by automaton legal thieves incapable of factoring death and misery, even deaths of children, into their mindless calculator-machine-like adherence to capital accumulation by the commodification of planet and life on Earth. (Two popular American axioms come to mind: 'Business is business' and 'good guys don't win ball games.')
Those known for direct and immediate forms of genocide in the name of maintaining the maximum profitability of US and European predatory investments, are mentioned in encyclopedias and honest history books, e.g., Fulgencio Batista of Cuba, General Humberto Branco of Brazil, Raoul Cedras, Duvalier, Francois, Duvalier, Jean Claude of Haiti, Vinicio Cerezo and RÃos Montt of Guatemala, Roberto Suazo Cordova of Honduras, Alfredo Christiani of El Salvador, General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez of El Salvador, General Manuel Noriega of Panama, General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Anastasio Somoza Sr. and Anastasio Somoza Jr. of Nicaragua, General Alfredo Stroessner of Paraguay, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, General Jorge Rafael Videla of Argentina, just to mention those who made themselves notorious by being responsible for mass murder.
The list of thugs inflated in importance to infamous lethal monsters created by the United States and allied colonial powers in Africa and Asia is more than twice as long as the one for Latin America. For every one of these household names of horror from immediate genocide through the use of military or paramilitary, there are dozens of local presidents in the nations that make up the non-white majority mankind, that have arisen from the comprador class or military. They have represented their own people only nominally, while enforcing the infinitely broader in victims slow genocide of starvation and years of life lost from early death through malnutrition, treatable deceases, infant mortality and the mortality within all age groups, that results from populations having lost control natural resources needed to sustain life. The lands, natural resources and human resources of this majority of Mankind have for centuries belonged to the plundering speculating investors of the First World, by internationally recognized 'colonial law' enforced by firepower.
Because the convictions of Presidents and Generals RÃos Montt, Pinochet, and Videla impact Latin Americans more, we can focus on how these convictions will spread consciousness of the slow genocide caused by the parasitical economic hegemony of the US over the nearly six hundred million human beings living south of the US-Mexican border. Mexico and Haiti, perhaps for proximity to the Yankee trader in lives of human beings, have suffered far and away the most from a merciless economic subjugation of their populations by the world's single superpower.