In response to:

Torture in Brazil from the February 26, 1970 issue

To the Editors:

As an addendum to the growing literature on Free World torture and torturers [NYR, February 26], and Washington’s relation thereto, a little-publicized assassination in Guatemala earlier this year is deserving of serious attention. On March 11 a Reuters dispatch from Guatemala City reported that Jose Berube Linares had been machine-gunned to death, presumably in a vengeance killing by the Revolutionary Armed Forces. For those who do not follow these matters, Linares attained notoriety as a highly innovative torturer in his years of service as head of the secret police under dictators Ubico and Castillo-Armas. According to the Hispanic American Report (August-September, 1954), “Linares was known to have submerged political enemies in electric-shock baths, and perfected a head-shrinking steel skull cap to pry loose secrets and crush improper thoughts.”

The Reuters dispatch of March 11, 1970, concludes with the remark: “Sources said he [Linares] was employed by an office of the US Embassy.” Why? For what purpose?

Edward S. Herman

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pa.

This Issue

October 8, 1970