by John Wight
HEDGES: One of the things I’d like you to speak about is the mechanics of how it works. You had written, I think the first article I’d read that you wrote was about a death squad leader completely trained, funded, backed by the U.S. called Chele Medrano in El Salvador who was eventually assassinated by the FMLN rebels. And when we were in El Salvador, the head of the military group, Col. James Steele, who had been with some of the dirtiest army units in Vietnam, there was always that question as to the extent–we knew that there were, there was collaboration between the death squads, which were run primarily out of the hacienda police, the treasury police, and the national police. And then you had freelance squads run by the right-wing group [inaud.] Roberto D’Abuisson and others.
In 2004, with the war in Iraq going from bad to worse, the US drafted in a veteran of Central America’s dirty wars to help set up a new force to fight the insurgency. The result: secret detention centres, torture and a spiral into sectarian carnage