America’s CIA helped the Guatemalan army create a blood-thirsty killing machine that destroyed entire Mayan villages in the 1980s, according to declassified reports cited by The New York Times.

About 200,000 people were killed in the U.S.-supported genocide against the Mayan people, said the Times article. Mayans constitute the majority of Guatemala’s population, but virtually all power in the country is controlled by a small handful of wealthy families.

The documents, obtained by the National Security Archive, a Washington research group, show how fanatically anti-communist U.S. covert operatives created a new type of warfare known as counter-insurgency in Guatemala.

In 1954, the CIA engineered a coup in Guatemala against a popular left-wing government and installed a brutal military dictatorship that it provided with millions in arms and training. Washington’s counter-insurgency arsenal combined with the violence and racism of Guatemala’s military to make “a horrifying brew” that lasted well after world communism had fallen, said the Times.

U.S. General James Doolittle advised President Dwight Eisenhower in 1954, “There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply.”

CIA officers compiled a hit list for the Guatemalan military of its opponents. CIA officers were present as Guatemalan intelligence – men responsible for death-squad killings – planned their covert ops, according to the Times. As far back as the 1960s, the CIA centralized command structures of the Guatemalan agencies that became involved in the worst killings of civilians.

CIA reports detailed secret executions of Community Party leaders by the Guatemalan government that Guatemalan officials publicly denied.

The CIA station in Guatemala City knew that the army was massacring entire Mayan villages while the U.S. Reagan Administration publicly supported the military regime’s human-rights record. American intelligence also was aware and did nothing while Guatemala’s army destroyed evidence of torture centres and secret graveyards in 1994. “Not a word was uttered by the Clinton Administration,” said the Times.