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Revealed: The US 'Dirty War' Veteran Who Trained Iraqi 'Death Squads'

World  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', children, conflict, corruption, crime, death, ethics, freedoms, government, iraq, middle-east, news, politics, Refugees&Relief, society, terrorism, UnitedNations, violence, war, world )

- 1903 days ago -
Exclusive Guardian/BBC investigation shows how Gen. Petraeus and Donald Rumsfeld unleashed 'dirty war' tactics and 'torture regime' in Iraq

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Kit B (276)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 7:29 am
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. (Screenshot: BBC/Guardian footage)

A special investigation by The Guardian newspaper and BBC Arabic that took place over 15 months claims to reveal a shocking, but substantial connection between the murderous tactics of US-backed Latin American 'death squads' in the 1980's and the rise of a similar tactics—including secret detention centers, torture, disappearances, and mass killings—that helped spark a sectarian civil war between Shia and Sunni rivals in the violent days triggered by the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

And the connection, according to the investigation, lives in a gated golf community in Texas and has a name: (Ret.) Colonel James Steele.

"Steele's contribution was pivotal" in Iraq, says the report. And his time in El Salvador nearly 20 years earlier made him a perfect choice for the Pentagon's Donald Rumsfeld, who took control over a plan to break the back of an insurgency unwilling to conform to US occupation.

"It was a role made for Steele," the investigative team writes. "The veteran had made his name in El Salvador almost 20 years earlier as head of a US group of special forces advisers who were training and funding the Salvadoran military to fight the FNLM guerrilla insurgency. These government units developed a fearsome international reputation for their death squad activities. Steele's own biography describes his work there as the "training of the best counterinsurgency force" in El Salvador."

As the Guardian explains:

The allegations made by both American and Iraqi witnesses in the Guardian/BBC documentary, for the first time implicates US advisers in the human rights abuses committed by the commandos. It is also the first time that General David Petraeus – who last November was forced to resign as director of the CIA after a sex scandal – has been linked through an adviser to this abuse. Coffman reported to Petraeus and described himself in an interview with the US military newspaper Stars and Stripes as Petraeus's "eyes and ears out on the ground" in Iraq.

"They worked hand in hand," said General Muntadher al-Samari, who worked with Steele and Coffman for a year while the commandos were being set up. "I never saw them apart in the 40 or 50 times I saw them inside the detention centres. They knew everything that was going on there ... the torture, the most horrible kinds of torture."

The following video, a condensed version of the full-length video, tells the outline of the story:
***Please take a few minutes for the video and to hear and see the actual investigation highlights - You Need to Know*** video is about 3 minutes - it will surprise and maybe anger you. It is not You Tube and anyone should be able to view.****

By: Jon Queally, staff writer | Common Dreams |

Kit B (276)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 7:32 am

So much truth and facts are being given a bright light, I think it's normal to feel angry and betrayed. What to do with that anger? Maybe - just maybe we can learn, we will use that knowledge to be more cautious, more careful and not allow those placed in positions of power to display so much abuse of that power. Maybe.

Susanne R (235)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 8:09 am
I started to get excited when the narrator stated: "The Bush team also denied any knowledge..." But then she added "to these death squad activities," and I realized that she wasn't assessing their personal intelligence. Seeing the smug, smiling kissers of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld sparked those same old feelings of anger and disgust that they inspired in the past. At one time, there had been talk of charging them with treason. Whatever happened to that?

The narrator also stated that "James Steele was decorated by Donald Rumsfeld for his work in Iraq." When an egomaniac without a soul decorates another egomaniac without a soul, does it really mean anything?

Thanks for posting this, Kit. I won't be able to view the full-length video this morning, but it's something I definitely will return to later.

Kit B (276)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 8:17 am

I think this ties in well - very well with the documentary "Hubris, The Selling of the Iraq War", which can also be found in my news submissions. The more we learn, the more we are prepared for each new lie, each new attempt to take the power and freedom of the people to use for destructive means.


Arielle S (313)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 9:25 am
And this scum of the earth has to take a lot of the blame for today's high veteran suicide rate - you cannot train people to kill and torture and then expect them to be normal members of society. The sad part is that so many still have no clue....

JL A (281)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 11:10 am
Gated community so no one arrests him for trial in International Court? Sounds eerily like a plan grounded in the Oliver North experiences plugging the gap that let him be held accountable.

l L (1)
Thursday March 7, 2013, 4:42 pm
If we remember any one who stood up to the trio were bullied, cause you better not stand up to them , something will happen to you. That's the demeanor of all of them.If media made known any misdeeds, they mysteriously lost their jobs. That's how they are.
You know how kids gotten raped and killed in that boys home in Florida and all of us, including me wondered how it went on for so long. This is why. You just don't cross certain people they will assert themselves to ..your harm.
Thx Kit for this article kit. Never heard this before. Suspected something but this knowledge opens up a can of worms.

Sherri G (128)
Friday March 8, 2013, 2:28 am
Excellent and very interesting piece of news I doubt many Americans know about. Rumsfeld and anyone and everyone who took us into the Iraq war under the guise of nuclear weapon threats should be shot. It was all to often apparent that Rumsfeld, Generals, Pres Bush and VP Chaney knew their lives were safe. But every 20 years in this country the military complex corporations have to have a war to make billions selling our war arsenal. We need a woman President who has not been tainted by corporate greed mongers.

. (0)
Friday March 8, 2013, 9:24 am
The Iraq war was never about WMDs or cheap oil. It was about dividing the country and playing each group against the other. The Shias in the South appeared to be sympathetic [excuse?] to Iran and therefore had to be destabilized. Creating a Sunni buffer at all costs against Iran in the Middle East is what it's all about as Iran is China's catspaw. This is also why Syria has been targeted.
Last but not least it was about prying open the closed Arab Street so that the Multinationals could move in and make immense profit which they have done. Rumsfeld is just the figurehead of the group. Did you know he used to hold the patent on Tammiflu and the other five top vaccines [Gilead]. He has made huge profits out of war; not to mention the sick incense of human suffering he and his ilk have created in the name of whatever it is they worship.
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