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Secret U.S. Military Arms Dumping Ground Off the Coast of El Salvador

Sent by Y., July 2001

CIS, Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad June 22, 2001

It has been revealed that the United States Military has a hidden arms dumping ground off the coast of El Salvador. The site was discovered on a map produced by the secretive NIMA, National Imagery and Mapping Agency. NIMA produces maps for the United States government and was brought to public light after the United States bombed the Chinese embassy during the war on Yugoslavia.

The dumping ground is about 38 miles from the coast of El Salvador and a massive 68 kilometers long by 17 kilometers wide. The dump is located at the bottom point of a drop off about one-mile under sea level, between the Coco and Caribe tectonic plates. The dumping ground does not appear on any Salvadoran map.

The map was brought to public attention by Engineer Rafael Colindres who began investing the earthquakes that struck El Salvador last January and February. According to Colindres, the earthquakes were abnormal in nature. The number of aftershocks were considerably higher than normal. For example, since the first earthquake in January, almost 9,000 aftershocks have been registered and after the 1986 quake only a small fraction of that number were registered.

Interview with Rafael Colindres, June 2001

Colindres contacted US congress, the Pentagon, US Southern Command and the Salvadoran Minister of Defense asking for any details regarding the dumping ground. Nobody gave any answers.

Colindres, who is president of FUNDASISMICA, an organization dedicated to studying seismic activity, and UNES, a Salvadoran environmental organization, placed a demand in the Legislative Assembly asking that they investigate the case. As a result, a special legislative commission was formed to investigate the matter.

The response by the US embassy has been characterized by denial and misinformation. The US embassy first gave a declaration saying that the map dated from 1965 and that "there are no indicators that we were using it (the dumping ground)".

La Prensa Grafica, June 6, 2001

However, the Embassy has also stated that it purges its documents, confirming the suspicion that the embassy might have destroyed relating documents. The suspicion was further confirmed when, after preliminary investigations, a document dating back to 1947 was found implicating the United States military in using the dumping ground. They were forced to retract their statement saying, "It is possible that the area was used to dump ammunition by barges en route to the Panama Canal." They then added once again, that there is nothing registered that would prove they have used the area after 1947.