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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico • Page 12

Location:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Page:
12
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

A-12 ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL Sunday, Decemberjg, 1983 iwErafrtzifflnrera lira Emn iramw Right Built Itself in Mirror Image of Left for Civil War Copyright 1983 Albuquerque Journal By CRAIG PYES Journal Investigative Reporter retired or transferred nearly 60 senior officers and ordered the disbanding of a controversial rural paramilitary National Democratic Organization, known by its Spanish acrynym ORDEN. They also established a commission to investigate the fate of political prisoners and the "disappeared." IE Salvador's Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) first made its appearance as an organized A Young Reformers' Coup Planned an End To Abuse, But the Killings Climbed to 800 a Month i i i i D'Aubuisson's video presentations were praised by Col. Nicolas Carranza, then deputy minister of defense and the number-two man in the military. Carranza said he had helped D'Aubuisson with the files. The military "thought what he (D'Aubuisson) was doing was right," said Carranza, now head of the Treasury Police.

"There was no reason to prosecute him while he was fighting communists." Later, he added, when D'Aubuisson began "to attack the Christian Democrats we held off a little. The army had a pact with the PDC." D'Aubuisson's files contained the names of most of the civilians of the popular opposition who had been invited to join the government after the coup. D'Aubuisson said he considered the civilians in the new government communists or their "useful fools," and wrote that conclusion in an intelligence report for the army high command a few months after his ostensible resignation from the military. In December 1979, only 11 weeks after joining the government, virtually the entire civilian Social Democratic opposition resigned over the question of death squads tied to senior military officers. The Social Democratic moderates had been viewed by many as the last chance to avert a violent revolution.

Within five months, government resignations from center-left democratic parties protesting the violence surpassed 30. Many subsequently allied themselves with leftist guerrillas. political party in the fall of 1981, behind the charismatic leadership of former army intelligence major Roberto D'Aubuisson. The "Nationalist" in its name emphasized the predominant importance of the state, typical of other violent anti-communist political movements which have used the term, such as the German Nazi (National Socialist) Party and the Guatemalan National Liberation Movement (MLN). The "Republican" was added in recognition of the right wing's resurgence in the United States, signaled by the victory of Reagan Republicans in 1980.

And the term "Alliance" recognized the pooling of interests of sympathetic members of the oligarchy, military men, civilian businessmen and conservative peasants who, until four years ago, exercised El Salvador's only recognized political power. ARENA is the vehicle by which its backers seek to reassert their traditional hold over Salvadoran society. Its emergence came four years after the Oct. 15, 1979, Young Officers Coup that set out to end corruption and human-rights abuses and topple the traditional power structure. But unlike the rest of El Salvador's parties, ARENA is not just a political organization: it is a political-military organization, modeled after the revolutionary communist parties of the extreme left.

In San Salvador the names of the operating groups are the Secret Anti-Communist Army, the Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez Anti-Communist Brigade and the Comando Metropolitano, whose commander is known only as Comandante Leopoldo. In the eastern part of the country, the death squad is known as the Gremio Anti-Communista Salvadorena. In western El Salvador, it is called the escuadron de la muerte (literally translated, "the death which operates under the trademark "EM." Federal authorities have been ordered by the administration to determine whether affluent Salvadoran exiles in Miami might be financially linked to the death squads, and if so, whether they could be deported from this country. D'Aubuisson told the Albuquerque Journal the group's underground organization was copied from the Taiwanese, with whom he studied special counterinsurgency courses in 1978. The Taiwanese teach, according to Rand Corporation analyst Brian Jenkins, that civilians should be organized in a political structure to support their own military, to give it "a flow of intelligence." The result, he says, is a military at the service of a political party, not just the state.

"The Taiwanese really insist on this 'war of D'Aubuisson explained in a long interview with the Journal. "If an infantry battalion isn't adequate to combat guerrillas, let us design an organization that works." The plan, explained one D'Aubuisson aide, was to establish a three-tiered organization containing a "political or propaganda level to encourage and protect the military level; a financial system where we would always have money to attack; and a military level what the United States called right-wing death squads people who go out and kidnap and kill the communists the way they were doing it to the rightists." "We divided into a Salvadoran group and a Miami group," said the D'Aubuisson aide. "The Miami group was finances." In the Miami group were members of El Salvador's oligarchy. They felt dangerously exposed after the 1979 coup broke its hold on the military and upset the old power structure. At the beginning, said a D'Aubuisson associate, "everybody (on the right) was jockeying for position.

The people who had money were putting up the money, and the people who had the guts were doing it by putting themselves up." Those who put up the money at first, and who later became key financial backers of ARENA, which emerged later, were primarily planters with agribusiness and banking interests and who live in condominiums in Miami. The Underground Valued the Ruling Party as a Moderate Facade While Attacking It Murderously said, there was talk in 1979 about hiring military men and foreign advisers to re-establish "a security network" that would operate its own death squads. Names of participants weren't revealed, but rumors put the fund-raising goal for this endeavor as high as $10 million. The general plan was confirmed by former Salvadoran president and Christian Democratic Party leader Jose Napoleon Duarte. "The people in Miami started to get military people," Duarte said.

"I know at least three of the men they called. They were looking for people to create a structure outside the army, to do the things the army could not do." They wanted to find someone to put together a "military and guerrilla force, the same as the left had They were concerned about the intelligence work in particular." "Terrorism cannot be fought with conventional methods," asserted Guillermo "Billy" Sol, a financier and right-wing activist and one of D'Aubuisson's earliest backers. The only answer, he said, is "destroy it." And to acomplish its destruction, "you need excellent intelligence. D'Aubuisson is excellent on that. He's U.S.-trained." In fact, the intense, chain-smoking intelligence officer had spent most of his 20 years of military service tracking down enemies of the state.

Those who knew D'Aubuisson in ANSESAL, El Salvador's executive intelligence agency, where he worked until a few months before the coup, described him as an eager, energetic political policeman, whose photographic memory contained the information from file cards, computer printouts and dossiers on the political opposition. In 1978, fresh from special training courses in Taiwan, D'Aubuisson composed a 64-page intelligence report for the National Guard which became the text on the relationships between social reformers and Marxist guerrillas for the various Salvadoran governmental intelligence services. D'Aubuisson was assigned to the elite of those services, the Salvadoran National Security Agency, ANSESAL. ANSESAL was formed of the heads of the military services and internal security forces and answered directly to the president. From its offices in the Presidential Palace, it functioned as the brain of a vast state security apparatus that reached into every town and neighborhood in the country.

By conservative estimate, at least one Salvadoran out of every 50 was an informant for the agency. In addition to gathering intelligence, ANSESAL was used to carry out death-squad activities before the coup, according to Salvadoran and U.S. officials. After the coup, ANSESAL was ordered disbanded. Rebuilding that intelligence system, and using its data base for identifying the enemy, became a central goal of D'Aubuisson's nationalist movement.

"It is not a civil war, an open war, a legal war," explained Ricardo Paredes, a former ARENA vice minister of education. "We don't want to fight a fair war. We have to go and beat their pants off." Because the ultimate leadership of the communist organizations is always hidden, the intelligence services must be turned into "services of combat" to uncover the "the secret brain" and destroy it, D'Aubuisson explained. "If you destroy the (civilian) organization, the guerrillas will starve up in the mountains," Paredes said. In addition to abolishing ANSESAL, when the young officers came to power in their bloodless 1979 coup, they If an Infantry Battalion Isn't Adequate To Combat Guerrillas, Let Us Design an Organization That Works, Says D'Aubuisson 'Aubuisson's "new ANSESAL" was moved under the army general staff and, until late 1981, 'Aubuisson said he resigned I I II frm tne military two Illy weeks after the coup, JLJUS rather than testify against his superiors before the investigating commission.

But the Journal found that D'Aubuisson maintained a close relationship with high military authorities even after he resigned the service and while paramilitary units tied to his organization were carrying out a widespread terrorist campaign. Before the coup, almost 200 people a year were being killed, allegedly by government security forces. El Salvador was known in the international community as one of the world's worst violators of human rights. After the coup, the rate of killing rose steadily to 800 a month. Both U.S.

and Salvadoran officials attribute most of the increased post-coup violence to "independent anti-communist death squads" financed by the oligarchy and directed by the right-wing paramilitary underground. The Salvadoran military leadership said that D'Aubuisson was running these paramilitary operations from Guatemala and that they had issued an arrest warrant to be served should he re-enter El Salvador. D'Aubuisson said that, after he left the army, his activities were directed toward building a network, both within -and outside the armed forces, which he said had been compromised by pro-Marxist elements supporting the coup. Initially, he said, he met with former intelligence operatives and right-wing political leaders to salvage the intelligence system of the pre-coup regime. Three members of the Salvadoran high command at that time said D'Aubuisson was employed by the military for at least six weeks after he formally resigned, reorganizing the central ANSESAL intelligence files for the army general staff.

D'Aubuisson filched a duplicate set of the reorganized files, which became the basis of a central enemies list used to orient the death squads. "Only a small circle of us saw the files," said Paredes. They were loaned to the security forces and consulted like scripture, and used in video tapes circulated in the barracks in an effort to link the young officers with the communists. And to make sure the intelligence files had the widest public exposure, D'Aubuisson used portions as the basis for an unusual "guerrilla TV" series in which he would recite the names of civilian opposition leaders, in much the same manner that former U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy produced lists of alleged American communist sympathizers in the 1950s.

But unlike McCarthy's victims, those denounced by D'Aubuisson lost not only their jobs some lost their lives, and others were forced to flee the country. operated as a political police against the Christian Democrats then in power and did littic else, according to military officials from the United States and El Salvador. Rightist insiders involved with the paramilitary underground said that D'Aubuisson remained in contact with about 100 mostly low- and mid-level officers from the security forces, working closely with 15 to 20. These sources pointed out the National Guard and Treasury Police, particularly their intelligence units, as the rightists' two main bases of support in 1980, which they called "a big paramilitary year." Both agencies have been accused by U.S. officials of conducting mass assassination campaigns.

The biggest target was the Christian Democrat Party (PDC), whose right wing maintained power with U.S. support after the civilians of the first junta resigned at the end of 1979. The PDC remained in power until the elections of March 1982. ARENA party leaders told the Journal that they recognized the need for the moderate facade of Christian Democratic President Duarte during the junta period, in order to get military support from Washington. But to the extreme right-wing network being assembled by Continued on A-13 ARENA insiders describe a theory of counterinsurgency (anti-guerrilla) warfare which parallels the development of the party.

The theory explains El Salvador's epidemic of death-squad killings as the implementation of a philosophy of selective and mass assassinations carried out in an organized manner. D'Aubuisson is perhaps only the most public figure in ARENA, a political movement that contains others more powerful than he. The party organization spans all of El Salvador's 14 departments (provinces). It is divided into sectors that correspond roughly to the traditional divisions of Salvadoran society, such as youth, peasants and farmers. But the party also embraces local military officers, security-force operations and a broad vigilante network of civil defense units suspected of being used to eliminate the party's political opposition.

Current U.S. intelligence indicates that ARENA may be connected to a single countrywide death-squad network, consisting primarily of three loosely knit regional organizations which in total do not exceed 50 persons. From Condominiums in Miami, Salvadoran Exiles Looked for People To Do What the Army Could Not rpi HE identities of most of I I them are as well known in El Salvador as the names -3 Rockefeller and Getty are in the United States. They include: Guillermo "Billy" Sol, Orlando De Sola, and relatives of Guatemalan rightist leader Mario Sandoval Alarcon. Within the Salvadoran exile community in Miami, Journal sources HZ Hi' liv "'Jo fop fSrl LJ: 1 Journal Photoi by Craig Pye "It's not a legal war," says Ricardo Paredes, straying the left's civilian support would leave formerly ARENA'S vice minister of educa- the guerrillas to starve in the mountains, he tion.

"We don't want to fight a fair war. We said, have to go and beat their pants off." De- Jose Napoleon Duarte, former president of El ian Democratic Party as a moderate facade to Salvador, hugs women in a crowd. The obtain U.S. aid, but attacked its members, extreme right-wing groups valued his Christ-.

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Pages Available:
2,170,627
Years Available:
1882-2024