Tuesday, March 17, 2009
El Salvador's Vice President-Elect, FMLN Comandante Salvador Sanchez Ceren, is seen in this September 15, 2001 video celebrating the 9/11 Al Qaeda attacks on the United States and issuing statements in approval of the vandalism and burning of the American flag. This after he visited the US Embassy to sign the condolence book.
Highlights of the video follow, with the number corresponding to the time on the video clip:
1:54 Headline in El Diario de Hoy, El Salvador’s largest newspaper: “A march in support of the terrorists.”
2:25 Politicians of all political factions in the National Assembly (unicameral parliament) go to the US embassy to sign a condolence book. Salvador Sanchez Ceren is chief of the FMLN faction of the National Assembly. He and the others express their condolences at the US Embassy, then go to a demonstration to accuse the United States and burn the American flag.
2:43. Salvador Sanchez Ceren: “The Frente we participate in this is a march to condemn the situation that the country is in, against dollarization, against privatization.” (Note: FMLN is the Spanish initials for Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front. Farabundo Marti was the founder of the Salvadoran Communist Party. The FMLN calls itself “Frente” or “Front” for short.)
Men in FMLN shirts are shown spray painting vandalism, equating US-backed privatization in El Salvador with terrorism. Salvador Sanchez Ceren defends these actions.
The FMLN issued a communiqué about September 11, proclaiming that world peace is in danger. A US embassy spokeswoman compares it to the rhetoric coming out of Taliban-run Afghanistan.
2:57 Announcer: “Despite the leftist party assuring that its participation was different from those of the supposed students who committed the vandalism on September 15, the spokeswoman of the American Embassy said that an FMLN communique concerning the terrorist attacks has a tone heard only from states like Afghanistan.”
3:17 Newspaper headline “Support for terrorism,” concerning the FMLN protests. I believe the paper is El Diario de Hoy.
3:28 Schafik Handal, head of the FMLN and a member of the National Assembly, speaks about terrorism, blaming the US and Israel, and equating the US preparations to attack the Taliban with the 9/11 attacks: “Terrorism also happens continually at all hours of the day and night by the government of Sharon in Israel against the people of Palestine. The government of the United States at this moment has taken a tolerant position on this, to say at least. All of this is terrorism. And now it’s starting to be carried out over Afghanistan. It’s the same kind of thing.”
4:01. Salvador Sanchez Ceren press quote, defending the “students” who committed vandalism and burned flags at the September 15 protest: “There was no disorder in the protest (in support of the attacks), ask the students.”
4:04. Headline: “That was not the intention.” Text: “For his part, the chief of the FMLN bloc [in the national legislature], Salvador Sanchez Ceren – who participated in the demonstration on Saturday – rejected that there was any disorderliness. ‘What happened was that they made use of the regular characteristics of a demonstration: placards and paint,’ he said.”
4:10. Image of FMLN Legislative letterhead headlined, “World Peace Is In Danger.” The text is not legible on my screen. The sidebar says: “In the lead of the communiqué, the FMLN maintained that the terrorist acts against New York and Washington composed ‘the use of the pretext of the violence of the United States and of anarchic groups.’”
“They [the FMLN] condemned terrorism of all kinds that attack civilian populations and promote economic policies that affect humanity and the [words illegible].”
“In point number three, they [the FMLN] ask the United States to resolve its conflicts through political means and through dialogue, as a sign of political goodwill, and that safeguards social, political and economic tranquility and stability of all peoples.”
4:13: Photo of FMLN leaders on the steps of the National Assembly building in San Salvador. Salvador Sanchez Ceren is seen applauding, standing in the light shirt between the paunchy man in the red vest and the woman in the white blouse. “ANDES” is the teachers’ union front of the FMLN. At right is the FMLN banner.
4:14: Press clip: “The chief of the FMLN faction [in the national assembly], Salvador Sanchez Ceren, says that conflicts should be resolved by the political route and dialogue, in order not to endanger world peace.”
4:21: Press clip with quote from parliamentary FMLN faction leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren: “World peace is in danger. The options are either revenge or promotion of a new order of peace.”
4:25: Announcer commentary: “The position of the Embassy of the United States of America accredited in our country, before the declarations of the FMLN, were delivered by means of a letter in which Ambassador Rose Likins tells Mr. Sanchez Ceren, ‘Concerning the aforementioned, one cannot but be surprised and offended that the Faction [FMLN] decided to compare these mass killings with unspecified ‘economic policies.’”
4:59: Salvadoran President Francisco Flores speaks out in support of the United States: “It’s important to signal that to make declarations that justify acts of terrorism, like the declaration by the FMLN, saying that the terrorism was justified by the brutality or the economic policies of the United States, or even more, making a public act by people of high level in the FMLN, the chief of faction, members of the mayors office of San Salvador, constitutes enormous damage to our country.”
Bush: “You are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Note how even the Democrats gave him a standing ovation.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
(Photo: Qaddafi and Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega renew old ties.)
Friday, March 13, 2009
The students carried a banner featuring a montage of Funes with the Venezuelan and Cuban dictators, and the left-wing leaders of other Latin American countries.
AP photographer Esteban Felix snapped the photo at an FMLN student rally in San Salvador on October 31, 2008. From left to right, the figures on the banner are: Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, the FMLN's Mauricio Funes, Bolivian coca grower-turned-President Evo Morales, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Brazilian President Lula da Silva, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo and Nicaraguan Sandinista Comandante Daniel Ortega.
The slogan at the bottom shows the intended domino effect of the Chavez-backed Bolivarian revolution and of Farabundo Marti, founder of the Salvadoran Communist Party. The slogan says, "El Salvador will be the next sovereign country of the great fatherland of Marti and Bolivar."
The effort to discredit any loss is being echoed by FMLN supporters in other countries. Today, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's satellite TV propaganda channel is echoing the FMLN call.
Telesur, the Chavez TV channel modeled after Al Jazeera, is issuing reports denouncing a "dirty campaign" against FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes - this just days after Funes' vice presidential running mate, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, made an identical allegation in an interview with La Prensa Grafica.
Click here for a link to the Chavez channel to follow the line.
Vice presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a militant who said that Al Qaeda was justified in attacking the United Sates on September 11, 2001, has become so controversial that the FMLN campaign has decided for "strategic" reasons not to have him appear in public with the moderate-looking Funes.
Sanchez Ceren admitted the strategy in an interview with the Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa Grafica, published March 10. (Click here for a video of the interview, in Spanish)
Known as Leonel Gonzalez during the war when he headed the militant FPL faction of the FMLN, Sanchez Ceren has admitted to killing his own comrades over policy disputes and is unrepentant about his communist ideology and his actions to try to turn El Salvador into a totalitarian revolutionary state. He continues to come under political fire for participating in a September 15, 2001 demonstration accusing the United States of terrorism and justifying Al Qaeda's attacks.
A group of US congressmen led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) openly sympathizes with the FMLN and has raised no objections to Sanchez Ceren's candidacy or his stated support for terrorism.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
FMLN front is coordinating phone calls into State Department; Propaganda campaign seeks State to issue neutrality declaration
A US front group for the FMLN is rallying supporters to flood the State Department with phone calls to echo the former guerrillas' demand for American "neutrality" concerning the March 15 elections.
The front group, founded in 1980 by Farid Handal, the brother of the late Salvadoran Communist Party chief and FMLN commander Schafik Handal, is known as CISPES.
CISPES has just sent out an "action alert" to flood the State Department's El Salvador desk and the American Embassy in San Salvador with phone calls, urging people to recite a scripted message.
"Take Action! Call the State Department to demand an immediate public declaration of US neutrality toward the Salvadoran election!" the CISPES website says. CISPES urges FMLN supporters to call the El Salvador/Nicaragua desk at State at 202-647-1510, and to call Chargé d'Affaires Robert Blau at the US Embassy in San Salvador at 011-503-2501-2999.
The CISPES phone script goes as follows:
"CALL SCRIPT: 'I am calling to urge Secretary Clinton to immediately make a public statement declaring that the United States will respect the results of Sunday's presidential election in El Salvador and seek a positive relationship with whoever is elected.'CISPES has instructed FMLN supporters to call Blau at the American Embassy after calling the El Salvador desk at the State Department in Washington. The call script is as follows:
"'On Wednesday, Members of Congress publicly threatened to revoke the immigration status of Salvadorans living here in the U.S. and outlaw the remittances they send back to their families. These threats have been extensively covered by the media in El Salvador. Without a statement by the State Department refuting these threats, the integrity and fairness of the Salvadoran election will be severely compromised.'"
"CALL SCRIPT: 'I am calling from the United States to ask that the Embassy publicly declare that the U.S. government will respect the results of Sunday's election, and that the threats made by Members of Congress this week about immigration status and remittances are false.'"
The FMLN front group is upset by calls from Republican Members of Congress who are concerned that an FMLN government, with its terrorist sympathies, would force the US to invoke anti-terrorism legislation and clamp down on remittances to El Salvador. The lawmakers have been friendly to El Salvador's democratic development for decades, even when CISPES was supporting the FMLN's guerrilla and terrorist war against Salvadoran society.
Funes made the statement in a report distributed by the Cuban propaganda agency Prensa Latina.
The statement comes as the FMLN faces the possibility of winning the presidency without resorting to violence. The FMLN is allied with street gangs, known as maras, which act as the party's local enforcers (click here for video).
The FMLN and the Cuban regime are accusing conservative ARENA party activists of isolated acts of harassment. Funes warned his supporters not to respond to what he called "provocations."
Max Manwaring, an El Salvador expert at the US Army's Strategic Studies Institute and a noted authority on the FMLN, reported in 2005 that the more sophisticated Central American gangs were becoming politically active in order to defend and expand their territories and illegal operations.
The montage of three photos, appearing here, appeared yesterday in El Diario de Hoy in San Salvador. The photo on the top left shows a semi-nude FMLN activist in a mask and stars-and-stripes cape marching with the American flag flying upside down. The bottom left photo FMLN militants burning an American flag in front of San Salvador's national cathedral.
In the photo at right, FMLN vice presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, in the light blue shirt, claps and cheers as the American flag burning takes place.
Fox News reports, "There have also been persistent rumors for years that if an FMLN candidate wins the presidency, the U.S. government will retaliate by deporting many of the 1 million Salvadorans who currently reside in the U.S. Last year about $3.8 billion was sent back to El Salvador from Salvadorans living in the U.S. Fear of these lost funds might explain why the polls -- which last summer so heavily favored Funes – have narrowed considerably."
“This is the first time you would have a left president in El Salvador and that’s creating I think a certain amount of consternation,” says Ray Walser of the Heritage Foundation.
Rep. Grijalva: 'the left has an opportunity to take control' of El Salvador and US should be neutral
In the words of DemocracyNow.org, which has championed the FMLN, Grijalva is trying to "reverse longstanding US interference" in El Salvador.
Grijalva (pictured) says in an interview with DemocracyNow, "the left has an opportunity to take control of a government," and the US shouldn't intervene.
Grijalva has voiced no objections to Cuban or Venezuelan "interference" in El Salvador's democratic process. Nor has he called on the FMLN to renounce its past alliances with the Soviet Union and Palestinian terrorist groups, or its continued sympathy with the Colombian FARC and Islamist extremists.
The Arizona Democrat is co-chair of the congressional Progressive Caucus.
One of the signers, Rep. Jim McDermott (pictured), took a junket to Iraq in 2002 on an anti-American propaganda trip paid for by Saddam Hussein's intelligence service.
CISPES, a front of the FMLN, coordinated the campaign to enlist lawmakers to sign, according to the group's website.
The only senator who signed the letter, Bernard Sanders of Vermont, is also the Senate's only openly avowed socialist.
Members of Congress include:
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who led the effort in support of the FMLN, and who says the US should be neutral in El Salvador because "the left has the opportunity to take control."
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL).
Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN), an old endorser of CISPES and other FMLN front groups from the 1980s.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), a former aide to Rep. Ronald V. Dellums who helped the Cuban-backed regime in Grenada run counterintelligence against a suspected pro-US individual in the Grenadian government, and who worked with Dellums in Cuba to generate support for the regime and to discredit President Reagan's concerns that the island was becoming a Soviet ally.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), considered even by Democrats to be one of the looniest people in Congress.
Rep. Jim McDermott, pictured (D-WA), disgraced when he took a Iraq propaganda tour that was secretly financed by Saddam Hussein's intelligence service.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), who copped a plea last year to avoid a conviction for assaulting a woman at Dulles International Airport.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the only Muslim in Congress, he has shown an aversion to federal anti-terrorist legislation.
Click here for the full listing of congressional signers of the letter.
The FMLN's ties to terrorism and to state sponsors of terror are increasingly viewed with alarm in Washington. Friends of El Salvador are worried that if the FMLN wins, the US will be forced to treat the longtime ally as a hostile regime. (Photo: FMLN militant waves Venezuelan flag at Salvadoran presidential campaign rally)
"The participation of [FMLN vice presidential candidate] Salvador Sanchez Ceren in a protest against the United States after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will be one of the core reasons to terminate remittances [to El Salvador from the US] and TPS [immigration privileges for Salvadorans], El Diario de Hoy reports.
"California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher stated yesterday on the floor of Congress that shortly after 9/11, the FMLN 'issued a communique that argued that the United States, due to its policies, was responsible for having been attacked by terrorists,'" according to El Salvador's leading newspaper.
"'Four days after 9/11,' Rohrabacher stressed, 'the FMLN organized a protest in the capital to celebrate the Al Qaeda terrorist attack and to burn the flag of the United States. The leader of that march was Salvador Sanchez Ceren, the current FMLN vice presidential candidate.'
"That action of Sanchez Ceren prompted United States authorities to consider the FMLN as a group that 'promotes violent anti-American acts.'
"If the FMLN wins the elections, an anti-terrorist law created in the wake of 9/11 will obligate the United States government to review its foreign relations with El Salvador and to consider severe measures, like terminating TPS and the flow of remittances of Salvadorans if they are tied to terrorist groups or promote violent anti-American actions," the report states.
Not just the conservative ARENA party is concerned. The center-left Christian Democrat Party (PDC) is also worried - and agrees with the analysis. "'The United States congressmen are clear because they handle important, real information,' according to Rodolfo Parker, secretary general of the PDC, 'it is not speculative to speak of the relation that the FMLN has with Hugo Chavez and of Chavez with narcoterrorism and the FARC.'
"He continued, 'What the United States values are changes toward the future, but an FMLN victory would be a change toward the past, in the entire relationship, so El Salvador would enter the network of 21st Century Socialism and narcoterrorism."
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
"US Fears Alliance of FMLN and Hugo Chavez." That's the front-page headline of El Salvador's leading newspaper, El Diario de Hoy.
Which is why the US should make sure the FMLN never is in a position to threaten democracy and freedom in the region.
Salvadorans voting the FMLN into power will be making a costly mistake. They will provoke the US into enforcing its own counterterrorism interests, and this means de-funding economies whose governments support terrorists.
El Salvador and the United States have a great partnership. It will be a terrible mistake for the Salvadoran voters to mess with it, since our countries have become so interdependent.
This statement is from the CISPES website. CISPES is an FMLN front organization founded in 1980 to support a communist guerrilla victory in El Salvador. In 2008 the US alleged that CISPES was serving illegally as a "foreign agent" of the FMLN.
A congressman who sympathizes with the FMLN has issued a statement signed with 32 of his colleagues calling for "neutrality" in the Salvadoran elections.
The FMLN's main American front group, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), is publicizing the effort.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) led the campaign, sending the letter to President Barack Obama. The letter, according to CISPES, rejected previous US "intervention" in El Salvador - a reference to President Reagan's successful efforts to battle the FMLN into military defeat in the 1980s. (In the video, Grijalva mis-names his own country in Spanish, calling it the "United States of North America.")
According to its website, CISPES has been working since February to get congressmen to sign the letter demanding "neutrality," in a bid to prevent Washington from using its influence to persuade Salvadorans not to vote for the FMLN.
Speaking in Spanish on a CISPES video, Rep. Grijalva calls on the US not to intervene in the elections, and expresses solidarity with the radical regimes of Bolivia and Venezuela.
"Four days after 9/11, the FMLN had a march in their capital city to celebrate the attack by Al Qaeda and to burn the American flag," said Congressman Paul Broun of Georgia in a statement on the House floor. "The leader of that march was Salvador Sanchez Ceren, who today is the FMLN's candidate for vice president.
"The FMLN political party in El Salvador supports designated terrorist organizations, such as the FARC [of Colombia], and state sponsors of terror such as Iran and Cuba," said Broun, a former Marine.
American lawmakers are worried that if Salvadorans vote to install a pro-terrorist government, the US will have to invoke existing counterterrorism policies that will have a detrimental effect on the population. El Salvador is a long-standing American ally.
"The FMLN has a long history of hostility towards us," said Broun. "Under current law, the election of a pro-terrorism party in El Salvador would have real consequences. Since the 9/11 attacks, the US has enacted stronger tools to fight terrorism and those who funnel money to support it.
"I want to make clear that these actions would not be punitive; they are not meant to chastise Salvadorans, but the US will not aid sponsors of terrorism," the Georgia lawmaker said. "We have an obligation to protect the US and our citizens against those seeking to do us harm."
The cash flow into the country from Salvadorans working in the United States, the lawmakers say, would be used to support international terrorism.
Lawmakers cite the FMLN's connections with international terrorist groups, its not-so-covert backing from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and its leaders' hostility to the United States.
One of the most significant effects of an FMLN victory would be a US attempt to cut off the flow of dollars to the country's economy in the event it became a pro-terrorist regime.
"El Salvador receives nearly $4 billion a year in remittances—almost 20% of its annual gross domestic product—from several million Salvadorans living in the United States," notes Rep. Connie Mack, in a statement of support for the Salvadoran people. "As we look to the future, we must weigh the potential ramifications of this election and its impact on our relations -- more importantly, the longstanding and open policies related to TPS and the flow of remittances," he said.
"Should the pro-terrorist FMLN party replace the current government in El Salvador, the United States, in the interest of national security, would be required to reevaluate our polices toward El Salvador including cash remittances and immigration policies, to compensate for the fact that there will no longer be a reliable counterpart in the Salvadoran government," said Rep. Trent Franks in a speech on the House floor today.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who has supported El Salvador's democracy for more than 20 years, made a strong statement as well. "The country policy regarding the unregulated flow of remittances should be urgently reviewed, and, in most cases, those remittances must be immediately terminated, if a pro-terrorist party wins power or enters the government of a country," Rohrabacher said. The FMLN, he added, is a pro-terrorist party.
On March 17, 1992, the government of El Salvador took custody of two FMLN operatives for the execution-style murders of LTC David H. Pickett and PFC Earnest Dawson, Jr., after the guerrillas shot down their US Army helicopter. Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Scott died in the crash.
An FBI investigation ascertained that Pickett and Dawson were injured but alive, and that the FMLN murdered them.
According to GlobalSecurity.org, after the FMLN shot down the helicopter, Scott was dead from the crash, Dawson was unconscious, and Pickett was "remarkably conscious." This account says,
"Several local farmers were forced at gunpoint by the rebels to drag the crew out of the helicopter. LTC Pickett asked for some water. The rebels then directed the farmers to go get some water. After the farmers had crossed the ridge line of the hill, the rebels shot PFC Dawson once in the head and then Pickett with two bursts of automatic weapons fire. PFC Dawson was posthumously promoted to Specialist."The murderers were identified as Ferman Hernandez and Severiano Fuentes, who confessed to the crime. A United Nations commission found that Hernandez gave the orders and that Fuentes carried out the actual murders. Both killers were allowed to go free under the terms of the State Department-brokered peace accords.
The FMLN has never made reparations for the crimes, which took place on January 2, 1991. FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes and vice presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a former top FMLN commander, have expressed no remorse for the killings and offered no reparations to the United States or to the families.
Fronius, with the 7th Special Forces Group, was training the Salvadoran military when the FMLN overran a base in El Paraiso, killing about 70. Fronius was the sole American among them. The FMLN reportedly carried out the attack for the express purpose of killing a US soldier for its propaganda value. FMLN guerrillas booby trapped Fronius' body.
The attack took place on March 31, 1987.
The FMLN carried out the killing with the help of intelligence provided by Ana Belen Montes, a Cuban penetration agent in the Defense Intelligence Agency. Montes visited the El Paraiso camp during an official visit a few weeks before the attack.
Author Scott W. Carmichael, in his book True Believer (Naval Institute Press, 2007), says that the Cuban spy directly assisted the FMLN in killing Fronius. Montes was convicted of espionage in 2002.
Many of the Salvadoran gangs plaguing both El Salvador and the United States find their origins in the FMLN from its guerrilla days.
What many people don't know is that the FMLN has been using the gangs inside El Salvador as political muscle for the 2009 presidential campaign.
The Salvadoran press has been reporting it for a long time, and some FMLN people have come forward with complaints. The ARENA party has even made political ads about the problem, as this Spanish-language video shows.
FMLN Presidential candidate Mauricio Funes, the former CNN correspondent, says he doesn't control the party of the former communist guerrillas. As he says at the beginning of this video, "Mauricio doesn't command the FMLN. Those who command the FMLN are the comandantes."
This 8-minute video about Funes is in Spanish. We'll try to get English translations. Readers are welcome to add their comments or translations.
Not only did he order the killings of thousands of Salvadoran civilians who opposed his communist revolution - or the murders of American military personnel in the 1980s. Salvador Sanchez Ceren admits he ordered the killings of hundreds of his own people in the FMLN.
See the political campaign ad aimed at Ceren, who is running as Mauricio Funes' running mate to be become the next vice president of El Salvador.
Readers are welcome to post translations of this video.
Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez and others have almost openly funded Funes and his FMLN political party to take control of El Salvador in the March 15 elections.
"The attorney general of El Salvador will investigate a bank account of leftist FMLN presidential candidate Mauricio Funes, in which he has received deposits of more than $2.2 million in recent months," the Spanish news agency ACAN-EFE reports, citing the Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa Gráfica.
The attorney general said he would not call Funes to make a formal declaration, but that he will ask for copies of documentation of the transactions in the account.
Funes has pledged to go "fishing" for corruption to clean up the country (see graphic).
"The newspaper published a review of the movements of Funes' account and affirms that for the year it had registered a balance of $2.29 million, and charges of $2.14 million," according to the report.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
FMLN vice presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren, one of the five notorious former comandates of the Soviet-backed guerrilla group that killed thousands of civilians in its failed communist revolution of the 1980s, says he'll still resort to armed violence if necessary.
Here are some quotes of Ceren's in this short video, in Spanish.
Admissions of murder and torture by FMLN vice presidential candidate Salvador Sanchez Ceren have resulted in a prominent Salvadoran lawyer calling for his withdrawal from the campaign.
This clip, from Salvadoran TV last December, contains the story in Spanish. Readers are invited to post translations and comments.