Dennis Jett served as ambassador in Peru and Mozambique and on the National Security Council. His book, "Why American Foreign Policy Fails," is being published this month by Palgrave Macmillan.
Journalism and smear tactics
By Dennis Jett
Special to The Star
Would a serious newspaper accuse someone of supporting terrorism simply because the paper does not like the person's politics? In the case of The Wall Street Journal, the answer appears to be yes.
In a column on April 28, a Journal correspondent, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, described a recent controversy regarding the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). The MRTA, along with another group, Sendero Luminoso, are terrorist organizations that plagued Peru during the 1980s and 1990s. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission, after a two-year investigation, issued a report in 2003 noting that Sendero was responsible for 54 percent of an estimated 69,280 murders and the MRTA for about 2 percent. Security forces were found to be responsible for the remainder. Given that death toll, it is easy to understand why terrorism is still a sensitive subject in Peru.
The controversy erupted when the European Union was considering adding the MRTA to its list of terrorist organizations. The EU began the list after the 9/11 attacks as a way to strengthen international efforts to combat terrorism; it always included Sendero. The Peruvian government and some members of the Peruvian congress reacted vociferously when a local human-rights organization sent a letter to the EU suggesting the MRTA not be included. The group, the Pro-Human Rights Association or APRODEH, was accused of treason, defending terrorists and insulting the armed forces...
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