"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Friday, February 18, 2005

Definitely the man for the job

US envoy to Iraq is new chief of spy agencies
Conor O'Clery in Washington

US: President Bush yesterday named Mr John Negroponte, currently the American ambassador in Iraq, to be the first US national intelligence director, with oversight of all 15 US spy agencies.

Mr Negroponte (65) is a former US ambassador to the United Nations and was at the heart of the Bush administration's drive to convince the world body that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Bush chose the career foreign service officer for the job of ambassador to Baghdad last April. Mr Negroponte took over from US administrator Paul Bremer hours after the handover of sovereignty to Iraq's interim government.

Mr Bush had originally resisted creating the post of national intelligence director, which was a major recommendation of the bipartisan commission that investigated intelligence failures before September 11th.



Dear Madam,

Conor O'Clery writes in today's Irish Times "As ambassador to Honduras Mr Negroponte strengthened the military dictatorship of Gen Gustavo Alvarez at a time when scores of political opponents were disappearing." However "[he] has since said he did not believe death squads operated in Honduras during his time as US ambassador."

Is this the most informative article possible, while still remaining concise?

Although Mr Negroponte has maintained his defense, against allegations that he was either aware or complicite in extreme violations of human rights in the 1980s while ambassador to Honduras. His defense amounts to nothing more than pleading ignorance. Mr Negroponte's main task was to implement the Reagan administration's policy of arming and training Contra rebels in an attempt to overthrow the Sandinista government (who won an election endorsed as free and fair by international monitoring agencies) in neighboring Nicaragua. In executing this policy Mr. Negroponte channeled US aid (which had increased from $3.9 million in 1980 to $77.4 million by 1984) away from the Honduran population, living in abject poverty, and into developing the country's military.

Battalion 316, a project of Honduran military intelligence and trained by the CIA (who later admitted the following), was responsible for widespread torture, kidnapping, and assassination. Avoiding combat with the Nicaraguan army, Battalion 316 attaked civilian targets, essentially acting as a terrorist organisation.

With experience such as this, even if he cannot recall it, he is arguably the man for the job.

Yours sincerely,