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The witness who would have accused the US and Pérez Molina
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The witness who would have accused the US and Pérez Molina

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American journalist Allan Nairn is very familiar with the term “scorched earth”. It wasn’t something he read about in a report, or something that he heard about, he witnessed it with his own eyes during his trips to the Ixil region during the early 1980s. Nairn interviewed former dictator Efraín Ríos Montt and his advisor Francisco Bianchi, who talked about the operations launched against the civilian population in an attempt to destroy support for the guerrillas. He also talked to military commander Guatemalan president Otto Pérez Molina in the days when he used the nom de guerre Tito Arias. Nairn believes that on the day he interviewed him, Pérez Molina tortured four guerrillas to death. He also argues that Pérez Molina, US diplomats and the CIA all took part in the wave of genocidal attacks against civilians that swept over Guatemala. He was called by the prosecution as a witness in the Ríos Montt case but at the last minute he was told that he wouldn’t testify.
I asked him whether, given the fact that he was a great believer in the death penalty, he should be tried and executed for his own role in the massacres. And he jumped to his feet and shouted “Yes! Try me! Put me against the wall! But if you’re going to try me you must also try some Americans including Ronald Reagan!” And that’s always been his style.
How can a legal system convict the overall commander for a program of genocide and mass killing but not investigate and leave open to indictment the figure who was implementing that program? Pérez Molina was closer to the blood than Ríos Montt. Ríos Montt was in the Palace. Even though he was giving the orders and even though he received very regular reports and was commanding these massacres from the top with a very firm hand, it’s Pérez Molina who is coming face to face with the victims...

Nairn has written in his blog that he was due to testify on April 15. However, following revelati...

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