The threats of the 'White Legion' meet the requirements of counterintelligence military operations.
This type of operation, which the military community calls "psychological warfare campaign" is normally a part of a more elaborate counter-intelligence operation or a part of officials' counter-intelligence training. Anyway, we can be sure that if the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ecuador were to decide so, these groups would disappear.
This method has been used a lot in Latin America and it was abundantly employed in Central America by the Argentine trainers from Intelligence Battalion 601, which was based in Guatemala and then in Honduras, and which participated in almost all counter-intelligence operations that went hand in hand with systematic violations of human rights and, consequently, crimes against humanity.
In El Salvador, for example, the White Warrior's Union and the Anti-Communist Armed Forces of Liberation – War of Elimination – FALANGE were created, in coordination with the National Security Agency of El Salvador, ANSESAL. The coordinator amongst the Argentine trainers and these groups was Major Roberto D'Aubuisson. It must be remembered that between October 1979 and May 1981, under North American, Argentine, Chilean and Uruguayan coordination, training in this type of techniques was given to about 300 Salvadorian officials.
In Guatemala, they created Legion 15 of September, led by Col. Ricardo Lau, official of the National Somocist Guard, which later developed into the operation Contra in Nicaragua. This operation was also organised by Battalion 601 and ESMA [Argentina's Navy Mechanics School], both Argentine groups, with the constitution of FRENICA (Nicaraguan Revolutionary Front), and with the support of Mario Sandoval Alarcon and Lionel Sisniega Otero, leaders of the neofascist National Liberation Movement (MLN) of Guatemala. The Argentines moved their operations to Honduras, Col. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, who had graduated from the Argentine Military College in 1961, having guaranteed a "paramilitary paradise" and formed the sadly famous 316 Intelligence Battalion.
On 28th August 2001, in the grounds of the ex United States Military Base in Aguacate, abandoned in 1994, 80 kilometres from the capital of Honduras, forensic experts started to unearth remains of victims of this period. At that time they found 18 bodies. The human rights organisations involved hope to find there the majority of the 185 disappeared from Honduras. We hope that the Ecuadorian State will guarantee that the Base at Manta does not have the same end.
It is important to do this historical reconstruction because the political situation derived from the Colombian civil war has brought many of these ills to life again, and it wouldn't be surprising if there were again men ready to use the same methods. In that case, there could be interests of this kind acting to use and involve the Republic of Ecuador in this type of sinister activity.
For this reason, we call on all Human Rights organisations and the international movement of civil rights activists to continuously follow the evolution of the situation in the entire conflict area and, especially, in the Republic of Ecuador.
We also ask for open support for the threatened human rights leaders, at least ratifying their letter (reproduced above) and sending a transparent message to the members of the Ecuadorian General Staff and especially those responsible for counter-intelligence, reminding them that this type of activity manifestly violates international humanitarian law and human rights and constitutes a crime against humanity.
EU, 6th September 2001
Director of the Nizkor Team
[Translated on 14Sep01 by Equipo Nizkor from its Spanish original version, which was disseminated on 06Sep01]
Este documento ha sido publicado el 24sep03 por el Equipo Nizkor y Derechos Human Rights