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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Former Ambassador to Honduras with Troubling Human Rights Record...
06 May 2004
Modified: 02:45:22 PM
...Named as Chief U.S. Diplomat in Iraq* Interview with Larry Birns, executive director, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Former Ambassador to Honduras with Troubling Human Rights Record, Named as Chief U.S. Diplomat in Iraq

Interview with Larry Birns, executive director, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, conducted by Scott Harris

In recent weeks, the Bush administration has been reeling from crisis to crisis in Iraq. Battles in the cities of Falluja and Najaf have resulted in one of the most deadly months for U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians, with more than 115 American personnel and over 1,300 Iraqis dead. A cease-fire brokered in Falluja arranged for the deployment of an all-Iraqi force in the rebellious town and was to have been led by a former Republican Guard general in Saddam Hussein's army. But that move was widely criticized by Iraqis persecuted by the former regime and was quickly reversed. A standoff in the holy city of Najaf between U.S. troops and a militia group loyal to Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr continues with frequent skirmishes.

Meanwhile, the abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of U.S. troops has erupted into a major international scandal. Allegations describe the beating and sodomizing of Iraqi prisoners, which may have resulted in the death of at least one detainee. These charges, along with photos published of American soldiers subjecting hooded and naked Iraqi prisoners to sexual humiliation, have enraged millions of Iraqis and Muslims around the globe -- already vehemently opposed to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Into this turmoil will walk John Negroponte, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Iraq who is slated to take charge of the nation in July as the U.S. symbolically transfers sovereignty to an as-yet unknown Iraqi provisional government. Between the Lines Scott Harris spoke with Larry Birns, executive director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs who examines Negroponte's disturbing career which includes an assignment as the American ambassador to Honduras during a period of gross human rights abuses there, and a U.S.-sponsored illegal war against neighboring Nicaragua.

Contact the Council at (202) 216-9261 or visit their website at

Related links:

"Negroponte: Nominee for Baghdad Embassy, a Rogue for all Seasons," Council on Hemispheric Affairs, April 27, 2004

"Negroponte, a Torturer's Friend," by Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, April 21, 2004

"Congress Ignores 'Dirty War' Past of New Iraq Envoy," by Jim Lobe, by the Inter Press Service, April 30, 2004

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit: httC://
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc.
(c)2004 Squeaky Wheel Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright by the author. All rights reserved.
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