Bad Cop, No Dollar
|Written by Dan Beeton|
|Thursday, 13 June 2013 12:07|
Yet another investigative report from the Associated Press’ Alberto Arce reveals more details on the extent of corruption within the Honduran police. Arce describes how a recent U.S.-funded program aimed at cleaning up the Honduran National Police ended in dismal failure:
Arce notes that recent efforts to purge the police forces of dirty cops were opposed by “dozens of officers [who] simply refused to accept a mass polygraph exam, seizing a police building until the government backed down” after 1,400 of them were suspended last week and told to take the test.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has apparently suspended support for the program, with AP citing State Department officials as saying the suspension happened in March.
Arce’s report is complemented by a National Public Radio update from correspondent Carrie Kahn who notes that
As AP revealed, and we blogged earlier this year, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs William Brownfield seems to have misled Congress regarding this support, suggesting that somehow U.S. funds are going to “vetted” police units outside of the control of Police Director Juan Carlos “El Tigre” Bonilla, himself suspected of death squad activity a decade ago. But as AP noted, Honduran officials say that naturally, as National Police Director, all police officers are under Bonilla’s command.
A New York Post article yesterday suggests that it is also Brownfield who was responsible for preventing a U.S. State Department investigation into a joint DEA-Honduran police counternarcotics operation in Ahuas, Honduras over a year ago that resulted in four villagers – including a pregnant woman and a 14-year-old boy – being shot to death, and several others wounded. Survivors and witnesses say the State Department-titled helicopters used in the operation opened fire on the victims’ boat. The surviving victims and family members still await a U.S. investigation and any sort of apology or compensation from the U.S. government.
Citing a State Department document leaked to the Post by “State Department inspector general investigator [turned] whistleblower” Aurelia Fedenisn, the Post reports, “The memo says an agent interviewed William Brownfield, the assistant secretary for international narcotics and law-enforcement affairs, ‘who reportedly was not forthcoming and gave the impression’ that State ‘should not pursue the investigation.’”
It remains to be seen whether Brownfield himself might become the subject of an investigation for the lack of the Ahuas probe, and for misleading Congress about U.S. support for death squads in Central America.