Albion Monitor /News

Senate Orders CIA To Surrender Info On Honduras "Disappeared"

by Thelma Mejia

on this topic
(IPS) TEGUCIGALPA -- The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee has ordered the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to turn over all information on people who were "disappeared" for political reasons in Honduras during the 1980s.

In a letter to the CIA, the Senate committee stated that the agency must particularly make available any documents referring to James Carney, a U.S. priest who was abducted and disappeared in Honduras in 1992.

According to witnesses, Carney was picked up by public security forces in Honduras while holding mass in the country's eastern region.

The Senate acted following demands from the family of the priest, popularly known here as "Father Guadalupe," who have held several days of peaceful protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa last week.

Jesuit priest Joseph Mulligan, who has accompanied father Guadalupe's family in the protests, said the embassy told him the demand from the Senate Intelligence Committee had been sent to CIA director George Tenet.

But according to Mulligan, the proceedings could take up to a month. "We will stay here until we obtain concrete answers, because so far the government of President Bill Clinton has only given us empty promises," he said.

A year ago, the Clinton administration promised to "accelerate" the declassification of documents
Over the past two years, the CIA has sent Honduras a series of declassified documents on the "disappeared" victims. But they cannot serve as evidence in trials because the most important sections have been censored.

Leo Valladares, the representative of the governmental Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, told IPS Nov. 3 that the declassified information provided by the CIA was "a mockery of Honduran dignity, because the documents sent are blurry, which shows that they want to protect those who were really responsible."

Valladares said the peaceful protests were a sign that those seeking to find out about the final destiny of their loved ones were "tired of promises from the U.S. government" and hopeful that this time it would release something concrete that would clear up the case of Father Guadalupe.

Preliminary reports say James Carney was killed by Honduran army troops and his body dismembered and dumped in several corners of the large northeastern department of Olancho, where the priest was working with peasant groups.

The priest's relatives were outside the U.S. Embassy last week, even though Ambassador James Creagan has asked them to leave the area, promising to "speed up" their request.

Major human rights violations were committed in Honduras in the 1980s, such as the forced disappearance of 184 people for political-ideological reasons by the state's repressive forces in conjunction with the CIA, according to a report released by the Honduran government in 1993.

The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras said the CIA played a more violent role in Honduras than in neighboring Guatemala, where its direct links with the armed forces have already been proven.

A year ago, the Clinton administration promised to "accelerate" the declassification of documents referring to the disappeared victims in Honduras, in connection with which 13 active and retired officers, fugitive from justice for the past year and a half, are facing trial.

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Albion Monitor November 10, 1997 (

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