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March 13, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-13

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, March 13, 1986 The Michigan Daily

A

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bre Mtiib4an ia4lu
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Don't support the Contras

Vol. XCVI, No. 110

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board

Authoritative move

RECENT EVENTS have put
the Philadelphia MOVE in-
cident that left 11 dead and 60
houses razed in better perspective.
On Monday, Mayor Goode respon-
ded to criticism'of the Philadelphia
Special Investigation Commission,
which he had appointed to issue an
investigative report on the city's
bombing of MOVE.
Goode's friends and supporters
made up the commission that un-
tangled conflicting claims of
various city government branches
and different reports.
Courageously the commission
opened the door to criticism of the
MOVE bombing instead of white-
washing Goode. The commission
had several pointed conclusions
that the New York Times printed.
" "Five children were killed
during the confrontation on May
13, 1985. Their deaths appear to be
unjustified homicides which should
be investigated by a grand jury."
" "Dropping a bomb on an unoc-
cupied row house was incon-
scionable and should have been
rejected out-of-hand."
" "Even after the bomb exploded
and ignited the fire, life and
property could have been saved
without endangering any of the
police officers or firefighters by
using the officers or firefighters by
using the "Squrts" to extinguish
the fire on the roof while the fire
was in its incipient stage."
" "The firing of over 10,000 roun-
ds of ammunition in under 90
minutes ... was unconscionable."
* "At least one agent of the
Philadelphia office of the F.B.I.
made available to the Philadelphia
Police Department, without proper
recordation by either agency, sub-
stantial quantities of C4, some of
which may have been incorporated
in the explosive devices used."
* "The city administration

discounted negotiations as a
method of resolving the problem.
Any attempted negotiations were
haphazard and uncoordinated."
" "Directives to remove the
children from 6221 Ossage Avenue
were unclear, poorly com-
municated, and were not carried
out."
" "The decisions of various city
officials ... would not likely have
been made had the MOVE residen-
ce been in a white neighborhood."
The commission's report fell
short of calling for Goode's
resignation, but it used the
language of legal suits in calling
Goode "grossly negligent." Even
Goode himself openly apologized
for the worst day in his life and
commended the commission's
work.
For ten months after intially
sensational coverage, the MOVE
bombing lurked in the back pages
of newspapers. It is only ap-
propriate that follow-up efforts
examine the nature and causes of
the MOVE bombing, especially
since polls showed that a large
majority of Philadelphians suppor-
ted the MOVE bombing.
Mobilizers of public opinion
should heed the commission's
recommendations-all the more
because they come months after
the initial uproar. There is no
reason that the recommended
homicide investigation should ex-
clude Goode, who has penitently
accepted blame for the MOVE
bombing. Responsible citizens
should no longer approve the
MOVE bombing and instead should
support criminal charges and law
suits against city officials in-
volved. In that way, the public will
deliver a clear verdict and
message to city government of-
ficials everywhere against
toleration of repression like the
MOVE bombing.

By Mark Weisbrot
Nationwide efforts to defeat Reagan's
proposed $100 million aid to the Nicaraguan
Contras will reach a peak in the next few
days. Herein Ann Arbor, a peace march to
the office of U.S. Representative Carl Pur-
sell (2nd Congressional District) is planned
for today. The march, sponsored by the
Latin American Solidarity Committee, the
National Lawyer's Guild, A2mistad, and
numerous other local peace groups, will
begin with a rally on the Diag at noon.
Demonstrators will march down State
Street to Pursell's office, with the protest
there to begin at 2:00 p.m.
The House of Representatives is
scheduled to vote on Wednesday, March 19
and it is crucial that we continue to build as
much pressure as possible to defeat not only
Reagan's aid request, but any possible
compromise that might help prolong the
Contras' existence as a significant terrorist
force. Pursell voted consistenly in favor of
aid to the Contras last year, including the
military aid package that was defeated
overwhlemingly in the House, with 40
Republicans voting against it.
Who are the Contras?
The F.D.N. (Nicaraguan Democratic
Force) has been the principal recipient of
U.S. aid among the Contras, which is short
for counter-revolutionaries. The revolution
they are fighting against is the one that top-
pled the U.S.-backed dictator Somoza in
1979. A Congressional report released in
April, 1985 concluded after an investigation
that "46 out of 48 positions in the FDN
military leadership are held by ex-National
Guardsmen" - that is, Somoza's infamous
and brutal National Guard. (Arms Control
and Foreign Policy Caucus, U.S. Congress,
4-18-85).
It is therefore not surprising that the Con-
tras engage in the systematic murder and
torture of civilians which has been
documented by international human rights
organizations such as Amnesty inter-
national and America's Watch. The CIA
which supplied the Contras with hundreds of
millions of dollars of covert aid before
Congress even discussed it, actively en-
couraged such tactics. This is clear from the
CIA Psychological Warfare
Manual, developed specifically for FDN
use, which describes how to select targets
and plan assassinations.
Weisbrot is a graduate student in
economics.

Former FDN leader Edgar Chamorro,
who was chosen to lead the organization by
the CIA, resigned in late 1984 because of the
CIA's control and the "terrorist tactics" of
the Contras. Said Chamorro: "The
atrocities I had heard about were not
isolated incidents, butareflected a consistent
pattern of behavior by our troops. There were
unit commanders who openly bragged about
their murders, mutilations, etc. . . . I com-
plained to Calero and Bermudez, and to the
CIA station chief about these activities, but
nothing was done to stop them."
Enrique Bermudez, mentioned by
Chamorro, is a former National Guard
Colonel and military attache in Washington
under Somoza. He was and remains the top
military commander of the FDN. Calero is a
former manager of the Coca-Cola franchise
in Managua, who according to Chamorro,
was also picked by the CIA as current
president of the FDN directorate.
The atrocities continue. Less than one
month ago, on Feb. 19, the Contras attacked
a pickup truck carrying 17 civilians. Five
women, whose ages ranged from 28 to 70,
were killed. Also killed was a Swiss
agronomist who had worked in the region
for three years. (New York Times, 2-20-86).
The background and brutal character of
the Contras explains why, after more than
five years and hundreds of millions of our
tax dollars, as well as some of the "best"
training and technology from highly skilled
CIA paramilitary operatives, the Contras
have not been able to control one square in-
ch of territory within Nicaragua.
Contrast this to the Salvadoran rebels,
who without anything approaching the level
and sophistication of military aid, have
managed to control about one third of the
territory of El Salvador. But, as New York
Times reporter James Lemoyne noted in a
recent article about the Contras, the
Salvadoran guerillas "are politically com-
mitted fighters who have organized public
support and waged a war based on genuine
grievances." (3-6-86)
LeMoyne should know the difference bet-
ween theContras and the Salvadoran
guerillas, as well as the governments each
are fighting against. Last december he
visited rebel-controlled areas of
Chaletanango province in El Salvador. The
stories he collected are typical of people
who join the armed struggle against the
Salvadoran government.
"Fausto Orellano, 35 years old, from the
village of Patamera, said his commitment
to the rebels was cemented for life when the
army and rightist gunmen killed seven

members of his family between 1979 and
1981. The dead included his sister
Apolinaria, his niece Elvira and his mother,
Ramo Caillidos, he said."
"The head of thedlocal rebel village
militias, whose nom de guerre is Hector,
said he decided to become a rebel in 1977
when a right-wing death squad killed Rutilio
Grande, a well known priest who had ac-
tively supported peasant unions. Hector
said he walked to the distant town of
Aguilares to look at the body of a priest
"who told the truth."
"Paco Dubon from the town of Arcatao said
a rightist gunman shot and killed his
brother, Ernesto Menjivar, in 1979 because
his brother was a Christian Democratic ac-
tivist."
" 'We all left for the hill,' Mr. Dubon said
by way of explaining how he became a rebel
backer." (New York Times, 12-24-85)
No comparable atrocities are cited by the
Contras to justify their war on the people of
Nicaragua. When asked why they have
taken up arms, they typically say they are
fighting "communism": this is very shallow
propaganda in a. country where 60-70% of
the economy is in private hands.
The U.S. is on the wrong side of the con-
flict in Central America - or more ac-
curately, as Daniel Ellsberg said about the
war in Vietnam, we are the wrong side. The
protest today will demand that Pursell vote
against the funding of- the Salvadoran
military as well as the Contras.
1986 may well turn out to be a historic year
for the struggle for human rights and
national self-determination. Two longstan-
ding U.S.-backed dictators have already
fallen. While our government's efforts
behind the scenes to preserve
"Duvalierisme without Duvalier" and
"Marcosism without Marcos" may yet
achieve at least a temporary success, the
ouster of these dictators who symbolized
U.S.-sponsored repression for decades can
only inspire people throughout the Third
World.
The Contras have been practically
militarily defeatedand its leaders have
publicly said that they will hang it up if they
don't get this funding. In major cities all
across the country there will be protest and
civil disobedience to make sure that they
don't get it.
There are lives in the balance and our
presence can make a difference. For the
sake of the thousands of human beings who
will suffer and die if this aid passes
Congress, please join in.

I

Wasserman

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Heal education cuts

~~1

T WO WEEKS ago in
Washington, more than 400 top
level research administrators of
the National Academy of Sciences
agreed that academic institutions
must devise strategies to further
development. The administrators
decided that basic research and
campus maintenance need protec-
tion from federal budget cuts
caused by the Gramm-Rudman-
Hollings law.
Last week, a White House ad-
visory panel composed of 13
leaders in education and "industry
issued a different study which
focused on aging buildings and
outmoded equipment at various in-
stitutions. It recommended that
$five billion go to a "catch-up"
fund for the backlog in unmet
maintenance in college facilities
around the country.
Here at the University, the con-

decline as a temporary one, so they
deferred maintenance of
laboratories and purchases of new
equipment. This greatly con-
tributed to the present shortage of
modern facilities at many univer-
sities. However, the Reagan ad-
ministration's deemphasis on
education has helped this descent
continue rapidly. This year's
programs at the nation's univer-
sities are averaging a four percent
cut as a result of the deficit reduc-
tion law. The cuts are so severe
that research is likely to be affec-
ted well into the next decade. The
only research increases Reagan
proposed are for military related
programs.
As one investigator stated, in or-
der to correct this problem, real
cultural and financial ties must
develop between government and
industry on the one hand and
academic institutions on the other.

000

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WEJ MUT EVERSE

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LETTERS:
U.S. employs unjust Indian policy

a

To the Daily:
The government of the United
States is presently perpretrating
a ridiculous paradox concerning
its attitudes and policies toward
Native American Indians,

reside on the Black Mesa
Plateau, an area rich in coal.
A perfect example of the
paradoxical policies of the ad-
ministration is as follows.
Because the U.S. government is
opposed to the socialist policies of

named) are generally supportive
of the Sandinista policies and
have become a political force in
their own right. However, the
Reagan administration twists
this incident and uses it as

in their homes. Despite the fir-
mness of the families' resolve to
keep their homes, Senator Barry
Goldwater, a member of the
Navajo and Hopi Indian
Relocation Committee, has

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