Report on CIA in Guatemala 'Coy and Evasive.' (US Involvement in 'Dirty War' as Reported by Presidential Intelligence Oversight Board)

By Jones, Arthur | National Catholic Reporter, July 12, 1996 | Go to article overview

Report on CIA in Guatemala 'Coy and Evasive.' (US Involvement in 'Dirty War' as Reported by Presidential Intelligence Oversight Board)


Jones, Arthur, National Catholic Reporter


WASHINGTON--It was very little and it was very late, in the estimation of Ursuline Sr. Dianna Ortiz, who July 1 summarized for human rights groups and activists the significance of a June 27 "Guatemala Review" by the Presidential Intelligence Oversight Board, or JOB.

"Thanks to the JOB?" Ortiz told a Coaiition Missing news conference, "we at last have in writing what the U.S. government has denied for years-we have been fighting a dirty war in Guatemala."

Though a June 28 White House statement tried to scrub all traces of Guatemalan dirt off the CIA and saidthe Intelligence Oversight Board "found no credible evidence implicating CIA officers, assets or liaison contacts in the death, abduction or torture of U.S. citizens in Guatemala," some muck was allowed to stick to CIA "assets," people employed by the CIA.

Some assets, said the White House, were "credibly alleged to have ordered, planned or participated in serious human rights violations," and the White House statement noted that "the case of Sr. Dianna Ortiz remains under Department of Justice investigation." All of which leaves U.S. victims tortured in Guatemala and Americans whose family members have been murdered there in the past decade abandoned somewhere in the gap between oversight and accountability.

The IOB Guatemala Review leaves Jennifer Harbury no closer to knowing who ordered her husband, Efrain Bamaca Velasquez, tortured and killed, and leaves Ortiz with no leads yet to the identity of "Alejandro," the American she says supervised her torture (NCR, March 29 i.

"The IOB concedes that l suffered ,horrific abuse"" Ortiz said. "This is progress."

Ortiz said, "I would like to point out that with the publication of the IOB report, the U.S. government asserts that a crime was committed against me. I was not simply suffering from a bad case of nerves, as former ( Guatemala Defense Minister Hector Gramajo would have it. I did not stage my own kidnapping for political motives as (former) U.S. Ambas sador Thomas Stroock implied. I was not involved in same kinky, lesbian sexual relationship where sadomasochism was involved, as U. …

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