Magazine article The Nation

Contra Polygraphs

Magazine article The Nation

Contra Polygraphs

Article excerpt

Contra Polygraphs

Juan Zabala Mora, 50, is a Nicaraguan contra, and he is at war--not, for the moment, with the Sandinistas but with the C.I.A. He is one of a number of high-ranking contra leaders who is recent months have been expelled from or have quit the Costa Rica-based Nicaraguan Armed Revolutionary Force (FARN) because they refused to take a lie detector test.

Last fall the agency ordered military, political and administrative leaders of FARN to submit to the tests. Contra sources say it also required anti-Sandinista leaders in Honduras and Miami to undergo polygraph examinations. According to one rebel official, "The C.I.A. plans to make [them] obligatory for everyone who is working with American funds."

Here the tests are administered by persons known to work for the C.I.A.--among them, a Puerto Rican called Tom Castillo, a Colombian called Armando and a black and a white American whose names are not known. The tests are given at a safe house in Escazu, a residential area where many Americans live. Since the testing began, at least a half-dozen members have been expelled from FARN--by order of the C.I.A., their superiors told them.

The agency's involvement in the tests violates Congressional guidelines attached to the $27 million aid package prohibiting direct C.I.A. assistance to the contras. Several contras told me that agency operatives are no longer in their military camps, but they continue to direct anti-Sandinista affairs from San Jose, even dictating who can and who cannot be a leader.

FARN, which is led by Fernando (El Negro) Chamorro, is allied with the largest of the contra groups, the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (F.D.N.), which operates out of Honduras. FARN and the F.D.N. are both members of the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO), which was formed last June at the behest of the Reagan Administration to oversee the disbursal of $27 million in "humanitarian" aid. FARN is the main guerrilla group in Costa Rica designated to receive the aid. Two other organizations based there, Eden Pastora's ARDE and the Miskito Indian leader Brooklyn Rivera's Misurasata, have been excluded from aid.

FARN sources say they were told that before "humanitarian" funds would be sent, the C.I.A. wanted the organization overhauled and a new military command structure created. Ostensibly so that Sandinista infiltrators could be screened out, all those being considered for leadership positions had to submit to lie detector tests. The UNO directorate, composed of Arturo Cruz, Alfonso Robelo and Adolfo Calero, and C.I.A. officials drew up a list of about forty individuals slated to take the test. El Negro was told to convince FARN members to cooperate, and two other FARN officials, both of whom are said to be on the agency's payroll, helped administer the examinations.

In a recent interview Cruz said he knew nothing about the polygraph testing, but added, "If it's for security reasons and is performed in an orderly fashion, whith complete objectivity, . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.