Letters to the Editor

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, May/June 2005 | Go to article overview

Letters to the Editor


April's Back Cover

I was dumbstruck by the pathos represented by the picture on the back cover of your April 2005 issue. The face of the young girl-there are no words to describe the amount of pain and horror that she is experiencing at that moment.

Multiply that picture thousands upon thousands of times and one can begin to understand what the Palestinians have been through since the creation of the Israeli state.

Robert Younes, M.D., via e-mail

As has been the case with other photographs featured in the Washington Report, we found the April back cover almost unbearable to contemplate. That this is part of the daily reality of millions of Palestinians is beyond comprehension-as is the fact that Israeli occupation forces killed this young bey one week after agreeing to a cease-fire. But contemplating the horror of Israel's brutal occupation is what Americans must do-until our government insists that Israel bring it to an end.

Supporting Academic Freedom

I have been very concerned lately with the controversy surrounding Dr. Joseph Massad at Columbia University. He's being harrassed and intimidated by pro-Israeli-occupation groups for speaking out about Israeli apartheid practices. These groups are shadowy and no doubt sponsored by neoconservatives like Daniel Pipes. What can we do to help support academic freedom of speech and divestment from Israel? And what can we do to support these professors of Middle East Studies?

Carol Dennis, via e-mail

See p. 40 for continued coverage of the crisis at Columbia by our new education columnist, Robert Gaines. You may also want to join our e-mail mailing list (), to which we recently sent an alert in support of Dr. Massad.

"Old News"?

Our new director of intelligence presents a really frightening picture. Four officials now in the Bush administration worked for President Reagan in the mid-1980s, when money from arms sales to Iran was diverted to aid the Contra rebels in Nicaragua: Poindexter, Abrams, Reich, and now Negroponte hold powerful positions in our administration; John Negroponte himself has a less than savory background, no matter how it is viewed.

He was the ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985, where he directed the secret arming of Contra rebels in Nicaragua to overthrow the Sandinista government. He was "cozy" with the chief of the Honduran national police force, Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, who ran the infamous Battalion 316 death squad that "kidnapped, tortured and murdered" dozens of people while Negroponte was ambassador. Negroponte, however, turned a blind eye to the death squads and ignored the gross human rights abuses so Honduras would allow bases for U.S.-backed Contras.

The Baltimore Sun ran a series of articles on the kidnappings and murders in Honduras and the Honduran press ran hundreds of reports about military abuses during 1982 alone. Honduran officials made direct pleas to Negroponte. Relatives of the battalion's victims demonstrated in the streets and appealed to U.S. officials for intervention, including once in an open letter to President Reagan's presidential envoy to Central America. Negroponte still maintains that none of this happened.

Do we really want someone like this having access to our phones, Internet, personal information, and opinions; using the Patriot Act to circumvent the law, and exercising a life-or-death power over our rights?

Of course, this will be dismissed as "old news." If Charles Manson were appointed to a government post, would the Manson murders be deemed "old news"? If Adolph Hitler was resurrected and made intelligence czar, would the Holocaust and WWII be "old news"?

Scott Abramson, Los Angeles, CA

Iran Not Part of Middle East

I enjoyed reading Andrew I. Killgore's article "Neocons Concentrate on Promoting U.S.-Iran War," in the March 2005 Washington Report on the Middle East Affairs.

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