This is from Michael Chossudovsky's latest article for Global Research:
In January 2005, following Negroponte's appointment as US ambassador to Iraq, the Pentagon confirmed in a story leaked to Newsweek that it was "considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago". (El Salvador-style 'death squads' to be deployed by US against Iraq militants - Times Online, January 10, 2005)
John Negroponte and Robert S. Ford at the US Embassy worked closely together on the Pentagon's project. Two other embassy officials, namely Henry Ensher (Ford's Deputy) and a younger official in the political section, Jeffrey Beals, played an important role in the team "talking to a range of Iraqis, including extremists". (See The New Yorker, March 26, 2007). Another key individual in Negroponte's team was James Franklin Jeffrey, America's ambassador to Albania (2002-2004). Jeffrey is currently the US Ambassador to Iraq.
Negroponte also brought into the team one of his former collaborators Colonel James Steele (ret) from his Honduras heyday:
Under the "Salvador Option," "Negroponte had assistance from his colleague from his days in Central America during the 1980's, Ret. Col James Steele. Steele, whose title in Baghdad was Counselor for Iraqi Security Forces supervised the selection and training of members of the Badr Organization and Mehdi Army, the two largest Shi'ite militias in Iraq, in order to target the leadership and support networks of a primarily Sunni resistance. Planned or not, these death squads promptly spiralled out of control to become the leading cause of death in Iraq.
Intentional or not, the scores of tortured, mutilated bodies which turn up on the streets of Baghdad each day are generated by the death squads whose impetus was John Negroponte. And it is this U.S.-backed sectarian violence which largely led to the hell-disaster that Iraq is today. (Dahr Jamail, Managing Escalation: Negroponte and Bush's New Iraq Team,. Antiwar.com, January 7, 2007)
John Negroponte described Robert Ford while at the embassy in Baghdad, as "one of these very tireless people ... who didn’t mind putting on his flak jacket and helmet and going out of the Green Zone to meet contacts." Robert S. Ford is fluent in both Arabic and Turkish. He was dispatched by Negroponte to undertake strategic contacts:
[O]ne Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, according to military insiders familiar with the discussions. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. The current thinking is that while U.S. Special Forces would lead operations in, say, Syria, activities inside Iraq itself would be carried out by Iraqi paramilitaries. (Newsweek, January 8, 2005, emphasis added)
The plan had the support of the US appointed Iraqi government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi:
The Pentagon declined to comment, but one insider told Newsweek: “What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are. We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defence. And we are losing.”
Hit squads would be controversial and would probably be kept secret.
The experience of the so-called “death squads” in Central America remains raw for many even now and helped to sully the image of the United States in the region.
.... John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, had a front-row seat at the time as Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85.
Death squads were a brutal feature of Latin American politics of the time. In Argentina in the 1970s and Guatemala in the 1980s, soldiers wore uniform by day but used unmarked cars by night to kidnap and kill those hostile to the regime or their suspected sympathisers.
In the early 1980s President Reagan’s Administration funded and helped to train Nicaraguan contras based in Honduras with the aim of ousting Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime. The Contras were equipped using money from illegal American arms sales to Iran, a scandal that could have toppled Mr Reagan.
It was in El Salvador that the United States trained small units of local forces specifically to target rebels.
The thrust of the Pentagon proposal in Iraq, according to Newsweek, is to follow that model and direct US special forces teams to advise, support and train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shia militiamen to target leaders of the Sunni insurgency.
It is unclear whether the main aim of the missions would be to assassinate the rebels or kidnap them and take them away for interrogation. Any mission in Syria would probably be undertaken by US Special Forces.
Nor is it clear who would take responsibility for such a programme — the Pentagon or the Central Intelligence Agency. Such covert operations have traditionally been run by the CIA at arm’s length from the administration in power, giving US officials the ability to deny knowledge of it. (Times Online, op cit, emphasis added)
Under Negroponte's helm at the US Embassy in Baghdad, a wave of covert civilian killings and targeted assassinations was unleashed. Engineers, medical doctors, scientists and intellectuals were also targeted. The objective was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Shiite, Kurds and Christians, as well as weed out civilian support for the Iraqi resistance. The Christian community was one of the main targets of the assassination program.
The Pentagon's objective also consisted in training an Iraqi Army, Police and Security Forces, which would carry out a homegrown "counterinsurgency" program (unofficially) on behalf of the U.S.
The Role of General David Petraeus
A "Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq" (MNSTC) was established under the command of General David Petraeus with the mandate to train and equip a local Iraqi Army, Police and Security forces. General David Petraeus's (who was appointed by Obama to head the CIA in July 2011), assumed the command of the MNSTC in June 2004 at the very outset of Negroponte's tenure as ambassador.
The MNSTC was an integral part of the Pentagon's "Operation Salvador Iraq" under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte. It was categorized as an exercise in counterinsurgency. At the end of Petraeus' term, the MNSTC had trained some 100,000 Iraqi Security Forces, police, etc., which constituted a body of local military personnel to be used to target the Iraqi resistance as well as its civilian supporters.
The article's focus is how the same thing is now being done in Syria but I wanted to focus on the Iraq aspect of it. And I wanted to point out that David Petraeus now heads the CIA. That was Barack's call. All the illegal criminals got rewarded for what they did -- either by Bush or by Barack.
Think about that when he next starts insisting you need to vote for him.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"