30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Human Rights and Genocide

May 9, 2000 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 9, 2000 – Late last month, the U.S. Department of State released under the Freedom of Information Act an interagency study of recent U.S. humanitarian interventions titled, "Interagency Review of U.S. Government Civilian Humanitarian & Transition Programs." Under this turgid bureaucratic title lies an extraordinarily blunt, even scathing, "lessons learned" report from inside the U.S. government on the successes and failures of the most recent U.S.

Mar 14, 2000 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 14, 2000 – Today's Washington Post features an op-ed on page A17 titled "Hardly a Distinguished Career," written by National Security Archive director Tom Blanton and commenting on the CIA's decision to award the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal to the highest-ranking CIA official fired in a 1995 scandal for failing to inform Congress about the CIA's ties to human rights abuses in Guatemala. THE DOCUMENTS Document 1: The Biographic Register, U.S. Department of State, July 1973, p. 402

Feb 14, 2000 | Briefing Book
On January 21, Guatemalan police detained retired Col. Byron Lima Estrada and his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, in connection with the 1998 assassination of Bishop Juan José Gerardi.  Although the two officers had been under suspicion since shortly after the prelate's murder, it was not until newly-elected president Alfonso Portillo took office that the government was willing to act. 

Oct 8, 1999 | News
On October 8, 1999, the U.S. Government released 1100 documents on Chile. Among them is a declassified State Department report on the case of Charles Horman, an American citizen who was killed by the Chilean military in the days following the coup. This document was released once before in 1980, pursuant to a lawsuit filed by the Horman family. At that time, significant portions were blacked out. The version released today reveals what was censored: the State Department's conclusions that the CIA may have had "an unfortunate part" in Horman's death.

Jun 30, 1999 | Briefing Book
June 30, 1999--The National Security Archive, Center for National Security Studies and Human Rights Watch hailed today’s release of more than 20,000 pages of U.S. documents on Chile. The records, estimated to total more than 5,300 in number, were declassified pursuant to a February l, 1999 White House "tasker" directing U.S.

Jun 1, 1999 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 1, 1999 – The relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China over the fifty years since the PRC was established on October 1, 1949 has been extraordinarily complex. Several years ago the National Security Archive initiated a project to shed more light on U.S.-China relations. The purpose was to obtain critical documentation on key aspects of the U.S.-Chinese relationship, with a focus on the years 1969 to the present.

May 20, 1999 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 20, 1999 – The Guatemalan military kept detailed records of its death squad operations, according to a document released by four human rights and public interest groups today. The army log reveals the fate of scores of Guatemalan citizens who were "disappeared" by security forces during the mid-1980s.

Oct 23, 1998 | News
Washington, D.C. October 23, 1998 -- The CIA yesterday declassified its secret Inspector General's report on controversial CIA activities in Honduras during the 1980's. The report states officially for the first time: "The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned" and were linked to "death squad activities." (p. 2) "Reporting inadequacies" by the CIA station in Honduras "precluded CIA Headquarters from understanding the scope of human rights abuses in Honduras." (p.

Oct 15, 1998 | Briefing Book
THE DOCUMENTS Document 1 [U.S. Counter-Terror Assistance to Guatemalan Security Forces] ?January 4, 1966 ?United States Agency for International Development, Secret cable U.S. Public Safety Advisor John Longan, on temporary loan from his post in Venezuela, assists the Guatemalan government in establishing an urban counter-terrorist task force in the wake of a rash of kidnappings for ransom by insurgent organizations.

Oct 2, 1998 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. – Mexico's tragedy unfolded on the night of October 2, 1968, when a student demonstration ended in a storm of bullets in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas at Tlatelolco, Mexico City. The extent of the violence stunned the country. When the shooting stopped, hundreds of people lay dead or wounded, as Army and police forces seized surviving protesters and dragged them away. Although months of nation-wide student strikes had prompted an increasingly hard-line response from the Diaz Ordaz regime, no one was prepared for the bloodbath that Tlatelolco became.

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