I would like to ask you to send a letter (the old-fashioned kind, on paper) to President Obama, your U.S. Senators, and also your U.S. Representative, asking them to contact the CIA Director Leon Panetta to express their support for a Freedom of Information Act request which I have sent to the CIA.
My request has to do with the case of Fr. James “Guadalupe” Carney, an American priest who disappeared in Honduras in 1983 when he entered that country as a chaplain to a small revolutionary group. (For more information, see PS below.)
Below is a sample letter which provides the basic information about this matter. You may wish to follow up with phone calls about a week after sending your letters.
Thanks for your kind consideration.
Peace, in struggle,
P.S. Father James (Guadalupe) Carney, a veteran of World War II, had worked in Honduras for 18 years. His defense of human rights and his support of the farmers' organizing efforts resulted in his deportation in 1979. In 1983, after living in Nicaragua and serving as pastor in San Juan de Limay, he returned to Honduras as a chaplain to an armed revolutionary column (PRTC-H: Revolutionary Party of Central American Workers-Honduras); the group was captured by the Honduran army, and Father Carney disappeared.
The Honduran military suggested that he had starved to death in the mountains. Five years later, a former sergeant of the Honduran army, Florencio Caballero, told The New York Times (June 5, 1988) that he personally had interrogated Carney and that the priest had been tortured, executed and perhaps thrown from a helicopter.
The CIA has stated that it cannot rule out the possibility that Father Carney was captured and killed by the Honduran military.
An excellent summary of the case is provided by MAY I SPEAK FREELY.
I am writing to you concerning the case of Fr. James “Guadalupe” Carney, an American priest who disappeared in Honduras in 1983 when he entered that country as a chaplain to a small revolutionary group.
His relatives are very interested in knowing exactly what happened to him and in having a Christian burial in Honduras, if they can ever find his remains.
David Arturo Baez Cruz, a Nicaraguan who became a U.S. citizen and served for years as a Green Beret in the U.S. Army before resigning and returning to Nicaragua, also entered Honduras with the same group and disappeared.
In a letter of July 11, 2001 to the Information and Privacy Coordinator of the CIA, Father Joseph E. Mulligan, S.J., who is living in Nicaragua, requested 83 items of information in relation to FATHER JAMES (GUADALUPE) CARNEY and DAVID ARTURO BAEZ CRUZ which had been blacked out of the “CIA Inspector General´s Report of Investigation: Selected Issues Relating to CIA Activities in Honduras in the 1980s” (August 27, 1997).
About half of this 250-page document was blacked out before being “declassified.”
The CIA assigned Fr. Mulligan’s 2001 request the Reference Number F-2001-01650. He has never received a decision on his request.
Since no decision was ever made about his request, on July 31, 2009 Fr. Mulligan submitted basically the same request. It should help that 25 years have passed since the events in question. According to CIA policy, this should facilitate the declassification.
Fr. Mulligan received a reply from the CIA Information and Privacy Coordinator, Delores M. Nelson, dated 16 December 2009, acknowledging receipt of his request of July 31, 2009 and stating that they are processing it. They have given this present request the Reference Number F-2009-01688.
Ms. Nelson also stated that the CIA is continuing to process Fr. Mulligan’s original request of 2001 – Reference Number F-2001-01650.
I would be very grateful if you would contact the CIA Director Leon Panetta in support of both of Fr. Mulligan’s requests. A complete declassification of the CIA Inspector General’s Report could shed light on the disappearance of these two U.S. citizens and also on important aspects of American policy in Honduras in the 1980s.
Thanks very much for your kind consideration.