The news that a judge in Guatemala has ordered Gen. Rios Montt to stand trial for genocide and crimes against humanity is welcome, to say the least.

Rios Montt headed the Guatemalan government in 1982 and 1983, when it was slaughtering its own people.

Congratulations to this Guatemalan judge, Miguel Angel Galvez, for having the guts to hold Rios Montt accountable in a country where the military still has a lot of power.

But when will a judge or a prosecutor hold accountable members of the Reagan Administration, who were helping Rios Montt do his dirtiest work? Reagan himself called Rios Montt a man of "great personal integrity."

As the great investigative reporter Allan Nairn has pointed out, "In '82 and '83, as Gen. Rios Montt was sending military sweeps into the northwest highlands, annihilating by their own count 662 rural villages, Reagan went down, embraced Rios Montt, and said Guatemala was getting a bum rap on human rights. The U.S. military general attaché at the time told me the sweep strategy was in large part his idea, and that he was working hand in hand with [the Guatemalan military] to carry it out. It's hard to overstate the U.S. role, because the U.S. role was so extensive."

In "The Guatemalan Connection," a cover story Nairn wrote for the May 1986 issue of The Progressive magazine, he also pointed out a State Department role. "During the Rios Montt period, as the Reagan Administration repeatedly tried and failed to win Congressional approval for sale of the $2 million worth of helicopter parts, the State Department was giving the nod to a separate, costlier deal," Nairn wrote. "In late 1982, it quietly approved a pair of transactions worth $40 million to supply the Guatemalan air force with two transport jets and eight T-37 trainers."

I looked long and hard at the reports in the mainstream corporate press today to try find mention of the U.S. role in the atrocities committed by Rios Montt, but I've found nothing.

That's one reason why the U.S. perpetrators go free, while Rios Montt now stands trial.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story The "Final Offensive" Against Organized Labor.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter.

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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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