Skip to main content

Israel’s shadowy role in Guatemala’s dirty war

Part 4 - Belligerence at the border

The Israeli military-security complex casts a long, intercontinental shadow over Guatemalans who are still fleeing the consequences of the dirty war.

In some areas along the US-Mexico border, such as in Texas, the numbers of migrants hailing today from Central America (but only from the countries combusted by US intervention – Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras) – has begun to outpace the number coming from Mexico.

According to information provided to this author by the Pima County Medical Examiner’s office in Arizona, many Guatemalans who have perished while crossing these desert borderlands originated from among the indigenous Mayan areas hit hardest by the 1980s genocide: El Quiché, Huehuetenango, Chimaltenango.

Southern Arizona has also seen a spike in undocumented Guatemalan migration. US firms and institutions have been collaborating with Israeli security companies to up-armor Southern Arizona’s border zone.

The Israeli weapons firm Elbit won a major government contract to provide 52 surveillance towers in Southern Arizona’s desert borderlands, beginning with the pilot program of seven towers currently placed among the hills and valleys surrounding Nogales, a border town split by the wall.

More towers are slated to surround the Tohono O’odham Nation, the second largest Native American reservation in the US. Already the number of federal forces occupying permanent positions on Tohono O’odham lands is the largest in US history.

Alan Bersin, a senior figure in the US Department of Homeland Security, described Guatemala’s border with Chiapas, Mexico, as “now our southern border” in 2012. That “southern border” was heavily militarized during Barack Obama’s eight years as US president.

We can safely expect that militarization to continue during Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump’s anti-migrant rhetoric during the presidential election campaign suggests it is likely to be intensified.

During the dirty war, tens of thousands of Guatemalans fled over this border into Southern Mexico. Today, Israel assists the Mexican authorities in Chiapas with “counterinsurgency” activities largely targeting the indigenous Maya community.

Though media reporting on Guatemala’s connection with Israel has dissipated, Israel’s enterprising efforts in the country have never diminished. Today, Israel’s presence in Guatemala is especially pronounced in the private security industry which proliferated in the years following the so-called Guatemalan peace process of the mid-1990s.

Ohad Steinhart, an Israeli, relocated to Guatemala at this opportune moment, originally working as a weapons instructor. Roughly two years after his 1994 move to Guatemala, he founded his own security firm, Decision Ejecutiva.

Steinhart’s modest 300-employee company is small compared with the colossal Golan Group, Israel’s largest and oldest private security conglomerate in Guatemala.

Founded by ex-Israeli special forces officers, the Golan Group has also trained Department of Homeland Security immigration agents along the US-Mexico border. The Golan Group has employed thousands of agents in Guatemala, some of whom have been involved in repressing environmental and land rights protests against mining operations by Canadian firms. The company was named in a 2014 lawsuit by six Guatemalan farmers and a student who were all shot at close range by security agents during a protest the previous year.

Guatemala’s use of Israeli military trainers and advisers, just as in the 1980s, continues. Israeli advisers have, in recent years, been assisting the current “remilitarization” of Guatemala. Journalist Dawn Paley has reported that Israeli military trainers have shown up once again at an active military base in Coban, which is the site of mass graves from the 1980s. The remains of several hundred people have so far been uncovered there.

The mass graves at Coban serve as the legal basis for the January arrests of 14 former military officers. This past June a Guatemalan judge ruled that the evidence is sufficient for eight of those arrested to stand trial. Future arrests and trials are likely to follow.

Scholars Milton H. Jamail and Margo Gutierrez documented the Israeli arms trade in Central America, notably in Guatemala, in their 1986 book It’s No Secret: Israel’s Military Involvement in Latin America. They worded the title that way because the bulk of the information in the book came from mainstream media sources.

For now, Israel’s well-documented role in Guatemala’s dirty wars passes largely without comment. But Guatemalans know better than most that the long road to accountability begins with acknowledgment.

Yet it is unclear how long it will be before we hear of Israeli officials being called to Guatemala to be tried for the shadowy part they played in the country’s darkest hours.

Source and links:


***

[1] [2] [3]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Pro-Trump capitalists fire the first serious warning shot in Capitol

globinfo freexchange In June, 2020, we wrote that, the whole picture indicates that all these far-right militia groups together with a significant part the US police force are forming a loony army of Trump defenders, driven by racism, ultra-conservative ideas and far-right extreme conspiracy theories. These fanatics have become so loyal to their leader - who happens to be the President of the United States - that they will do whatever it takes to see him in charge for another four years. As Trump's popularity has taken a downturn, his "brigades" are ready to take action in case he loses November's election. Especially if he loses marginally. Previously, we explained that, what we see now in the United States with Trump, is a counter-attack by the part of the American capital against the globalist faction. The faction that is primarily consisted by the liberal plutocracy . Therefore, as the capitalist class splits, the capitalists around Trump are now taking with the

The DNC mafia is about to complete the process of assimilation of the progressives, exactly as predicted

globinfo freexchange   Since already July 2018, we identified an immediate mobilization by the corporate media in the US to force the progressive wing of the Democratic party comply with the DNC neoliberal norm. In the specific example , we analyzed how the corporate pundit forced the new star of the progressive wing, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, to literally declare loyalty to the DNC corporate "chief-baroness" Nancy Pelosi. After that, we saw an unexplained and bizarre contribution of both Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez to the establishment pro-McCain 'litanies'. In this totally unnecessary self-recruitment for the McCain's legacy whitewash operation, Cortez retreated unconditionally and the establishment marked a second victory against her. As we had mentioned , the corporate media will focus mainly on pushing progressives to be 'swallowed' by the current DNC establishment in order to destroy the political revolution of Bernie Sanders. Yet, it is expect

George Monbiot got it half-right: There is a capitalist civil war, but not exactly the kind of war he describes

by system failure  Since at least July 2019, we were supporting the idea that Brexit is primarily the result of a capitalist civil war. Very few people (mostly in social media), were eager to accept this theory, while several were even mocking it as some kind of crazy conspiracy theory.    What puzzled us most, was the fact that even people from the global real Left were completely ignoring the capitalist-civil-war factor in Brexit equation during public debates. Many of them were seeing Brexit mainly as an angry response by the UK working class against the political and financial elites. We thought it would take forever to find someone from the Left to support the capitalist-civil-war theory.   Finally, at last, it was George Monbiot who spoke clearly about a capitalist civil war. And not only that. He correctly supported (as you can hear in the beginning of his analysis) that " The only way really to understand Brexit is as the outcome of a civil war within capitalism. " 

Venezuelan Foreign Minister on why Juan Guaidó wasn't arrested & the Left's revival in Latin America

The Grayzone   As Venezuela elects and swears in a new National Assembly Red Lines host Anya Parampil sits down with the country's Foreign Minister, Jorge Arreaza, in their latest conversation since the US launched its coup attempt against his government in January of 2019. They discuss the impact of US regime change policy on Venezuela's domestic political situation, why Juan Guaidó has not been arrested, hope for diplomacy with the incoming Biden Administration, the left's resurgence in Latin America, and more. 

The real reason corporate America fights Chinese high-tech giant Huawei so hard

globinfo freexchange   The short answer that comes immediately in mind is: competition.    Indeed, Huawei had been found frequently at the epicenter of Trump's "holly" trade war against China. Someone should expect this since Silicon Valley oligarchs see the Chinese high-tech giant rapidly penetrate into the global market, claiming bigger and bigger portion of the market pie.   As we reported previously, the US imperialist machine openly called Western allies (and particularly the UK), to sabotage China's economic and technological penetration in its Western sphere of influence, through a Foreign Policy article. According to the article, the UK appears to be the most suitable, among the US allies, to lead the race against China's 5G infrastructure deals with Western countries. In essence, it called the UK to play a leading role in sabotaging China's and Huawei's deals with the UK itself and other Western countries.   Also, according to MintPress , &

Assange wins - The cost: the crushing of Press Freedom

by Jonathan Cook   Part 2 - A moment of celebration   We have contributed collectively in our various small ways to win back for Assange some degree of freedom, and hopefully a reprieve from what could be a death sentence as his health continues to deteriorate in an overcrowded Belmarsh high-security prison in London that has become a breeding ground for Covid-19. For this we should allow ourselves a moment of celebration. But Assange is not out of the woods yet. The US has said it will appeal the decision. And it is not yet clear whether Assange will remain jailed in the UK – possibly in Belmarsh – while many months of further legal argument about his future take place. The US and British establishments do not care where Assange is imprisoned – be it Sweden, the UK or the US. What has been most important to them is that he continues to be locked out of sight in a cell somewhere, where his physical and mental fortitude can be destroyed and where he is effectively silenced, encouraging

Assange verdict: Statements from WikiLeaks, Assange's partner, Reporters Without Borders & more

acTVism Munich   These statements were recorded by the "Don't Extradite Assange" campaign. acTVism Munich has republished it today because of the lack of coverage of these statements in the local media landscape, as well as to foster understanding of the Julian Assange case.  

Spooky Western journalists regurgitate CIA and collaborate with spy agencies

The Grayzone  Max Blumenthal, reporting from Venezuela, discusses with Aaron Maté and Ben Norton how Western corporate media outlets are full of stenographers for spy agencies, how the CIA and MI6 drive reporting on Russia, how the US and UK governments fund regime-change website Bellingcat and its deceptive articles on Syria and the OPCW, and how the British military censors journalism.

Julian Casablancas Interviews Chris Hedges | S.O.S. Earth is a Mess

Rolling Stone   Julian Casablancas sits down with his “ personal hero and greatest intellectual (along with elder chieftain Noam Chomsky), ” journalist and professor Chris Hedges, on the latest episode of his Rolling Stone interview series, S.O.S. — Earth Is a Mess. 

UK judge justifies CIA spying on Assange citing debunked CNN report based on… CIA spying

UK judge Vanessa Baraitser justified CIA spying on Julian Assange by citing a falsehood-filled CNN report. Her judgment highlighted corporate media’s enthusiastic role in a state-sponsored assault on press freedom.   by Ben Norton   Part 2 - UK judge casts doubt on US spying on Assange while simultaneously justifying it   The Grayzone has published several investigations into the US government spying operation that targeted Julian Assange when he was trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Spanish company hired by Ecuador to provide security, UC Global, was secretly working with the CIA, providing the US spy agency with 24/7 video and audio surveillance that covered almost every inch of the diplomatic building, including even the women’s bathroom. Max Blumenthal demonstrated that the CIA presided over this illegal spying ring with the help of a company owned by billionaire Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, a close ally of President Donald Trump and former CIA Director and Secretar