Nestor Miguel Gorojovsky gorojovsky at
Mon May 21 07:06:29 MDT 2001

[ 4 day delay ]

En relación a Argentina, el 17 May 01, a las 14:48, Dayne Goodwin

> Nestor, would appreciate any comments you care to make on (my selections
> from) following article.  dayne goodwin
>  - - - - - -	
> Mass Murder Used To Open Argentina To Big Corporations
> By Asad Ismi
> (Asad Ismi is the author of "Canadian Investment in and Trade with
> Colombia," a forthcoming report.)
> "What was the objective behind the torture and the disappearances? Where
> did the perpetrators of torture and genocide come from? Where did it all
> come from?
> It came from the world's so-called leader in democracy, the United States.
> The United States trained more than 80,000 personnel in the School of the
> Americas and [other] military academies."
> --Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize winner who was imprisoned and
> tortured for 14 months in Argentina.


> *     *     *
>  . . .
> Five hundred babies were stolen from their parents by the military junta
> which overthrew an elected government in March 1976 and ruled until 1983.

Worse still, the robbers were convinced that they were doing the
babies a favour by not sending them to the homes where their parents
had been brought up so badly that they became terrorists!

> Only 66 of these children have been found. The armed forces were
> responsible for killing over 30,000 people in a reign of terror they
> called the "Dirty War." Many were tortured to death in 340 secret camps,
> shot and buried in mass graves, or thrown alive from airplanes into the
> Atlantic Ocean.

They were drugged asleep before they were thrown down. A nice detail,
don't you think? The family of a friend of mine had recently purchased
a small appartment at the seashore resort of San Bernardo. She had the
silly idea to go and spend a few days there during 1978. She returned
to Buenos Aires in a horrified race when, only two days after she
arrived there, people in the place spoke of "still another one"
(another corpse that the sea had returned to the beach...)

> Nine of the top officers responsible were jailed in 1985 but pardoned in
> 1990 by then President Carlos Menem (1989-1999). His amnesty, however, did
> not cover baby kidnappings, and for this crime 11 military leaders have
> been arrested during the last two years. They include the two most
> notorious dictators: army General Jorge Rafael Videla and navy Admiral
> Emilio Massera, both sentenced to life imprisonment in 1985 for murder,
> torture, robbery and extortion.

The paragraph above is providing an undue alibi to Menem's
predecessor, Raúl Alfonsín, who enjoys a favourable "democratic" press
image. He established the general setting for Menem to acquit those
military by establishing the laws of "Full stop" and "Due duty". Had
Alfonsín been decided to end with the military- oligarchic
pro-imperialist clique, he could have done it in a few weeks. But that
is not what he was allowed to get to power for.

On the other hand, it should be always stressed that most of the
victims were _not_ guerrilla or terrorist fighters but ordinary people
whose sin was to belong to the working class and to be Peronist
combative leaders. And, something else that is seldom commented,
repression and murder was established AGAINST suspect officers WITHIN
the Armed Forces also.

>  . . .
> Five thousand prisoners were held at the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) in
> Buenos Airea, the most infamous torture and killing centre during the
> repression. Only 150 got out alive.

Well, the ESMA was not "the most infamous" centre. It was just one
among others. But there was a press operation against Admiral Massera,
the Navy Commander who during the late 70s and early 80s attempted a
personal move against the Army officers: he made the sin to try an
agreement with Peronist union leaders and seek a "populist" escape
from the maze. This does not mean he was a good person, he was (and
is) one of the most repugnant worms on Earth.  But his "bad image" has
more to do with his only and slight attempt at a reasonable policy
than anything else. He was no better, NOR WORSE, than others.  But
while the others are still a political power in Argentina, Massera,
the man who sought some sortie through "populism", is mentioned as the
arch-criminal.  Well, he was not.

> The junta justified its coup and genocide by citing the need to combat "a
> vast army" of left-wing guerrillas on the verge of engulfing the country.
> But, according to Martin Edwin Andersen, author of "Dossier Secreto," a
> highly regarded history of the repression, there was no "dirty war."
> Military intelligence services fabricated the left-wing threat as "a
> pretext for seizing power and terrorizing the civilian population."

This is true but somehow misleading. It was not the "military
intelligence services" who fabricated the threat, but the whole plexus
of imperialist- oligarchic media and civil society forces. The
intelligence services in Argentina are unable to fabricate anything
anyone else could seriously believe.  This is providing an alibi to
the gang of journalists, writers, intellectuals (including
"progressives" such as Sábato) who were calling for the coup or
supported it afterwards. Anyway, there was no military threat at
all. This is absolutely true.

> Mario Firmenich, the leader of the Montoneros, the largest guerrilla
> group, had been an agent of Army Intelligence Battalion 601 (which played
> a central role in the killing) since 1973. The other main guerrilla force,
> the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP), was also infiltrated. Firmenich's
> role was to take credit for a series of murders actually committed by
> security forces and their death squads. In this way an omnipresent
> left-wing terrorist threat was concocted by the generals to justify their
> coup and extreme measures.

The story of Firmenich is one of the most sinister ones
imaginable. Maybe some of these days I will tell the whole story of
how were the Montoneros created.

> The military reported hundreds of fake terrorist acts, including "battles"
> with already dead "guerrillas." Many supposedly happened at night in
> outlying districts. Those killed in these incidents had been kidnapped
> unarmed from their homes or workplaces.


> The Montoneros and ERP together totalled no more than 2,000 people, of
> whom only 400 had access to arms; among these, few had fighting
> capability. As such, these groups were never a threat to the state and
> amounted to no more than a police problem. By March 1976, when the junta
> took over, whatever military potential the guerrillas possessed had been
> destroyed. What followed was not a war, but a massacre of innocents.

True. But the dead were not innocent of the "sin" of struggling for an
independent homeland. This is what was to be uprooted...

> The business of anti-communism
> The main reason for the military coup and mass murder was economic: to
> turn what was becoming an industrialized, middle- class society into a
> low-wage haven for multinational corporations by breaking the growing
> strength of the unions and salaried sectors.
>  . . .

Absolutely right!

> The junta's repression was approved by the U.S. and fuelled by its
> counterinsurgency doctrines. Trained, armed and financed by Washington,
> the Argentine military carried out the murderous instructions it had been
> given in Pentagon schools. In June 1976, Henry Kissinger, Secretary of
> State in the Ford administration, met Admiral Cesar Guzetti, the junta's
> foreign minister, at a meeting of the Organization of American States
> (OAS) in Santiago, Chile. According to Robert Hill, U.S. Ambassador to
> Argentina at the time, "Kissinger asked how long it would clean
> up the ["terrorist"] problem. Guzetti replied that it would be done by the
> end of the year. Kissinger approved."
> In other words as Hill explained, "Kissinger gave the Argentines the green
> light...The Secretary wanted Argentina to finish its terrorist plan before
> year end." Not surprising for the man who had instigated Gen. Pinochet's
> bloody coup against the socialist Allende government in Chile three years
> earlier.
>  . . .
>  . . . the Reagan administration, which embraced the junta and praised it
> for the elimination of the "Marxist threat." Reagan not only encouraged
> the slaughter in Argentina, but used Argentine officers to spread it to
> Central America where, under U.S. command, the junta trained the Contras
> who later killed 40,000 Nicaraguans. Here, both Battalion 601 and the CIA
> became involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
> The failure to punish the perpetrators of genocide has institutionalized
> impunity, corruption and repression in Argentina today. Menem pardoned 300
> enforcers of the mass murder and praised the junta leaders. Even their
> conviction for baby kidnapping 18 years later will leave the other 289
> killers untouched.
> Survivors have met their torturers in their apartment buildings, on the
> street, and in the subway. Former Minister of Economy Domingo Cavallo
> called Menem's inner circle of advisers "a Mafiosi regime" based on
> "corruption, drug [money] laundering, and political thuggery."

But Cavallo is one of the highest officials in the military regime!
What he hates in Menem is the undue share that this rogue has been
able to extract from Cavallo's bosses and partners! Cavallo is one of
the darkest figures in our contemporary history.

> Gangsters from the dictatorship largely run Argentina's military and
> police. Between January and September 1997, 116 violent incidents or
> threats against journalists (including the grisly murder of photographer
> Jose Luis Cabezas) were recorded. Police are the main suspects. On May 16,
> 2000, Judge Maria Servini de Cubria, who is investigating the baby thefts,
> called for protection after a series of threats, including a break-in at
> her legal secretary's home, where a knife was left embedded in his closet.

Not exactly that way. There has been renewal in the officer's bodies,
and I would not be surprised if sometime in the future this paragraph
could be integrated into a vast and sweeping offensive (a preventive
offensive, so to say) against the future patriotic Argentinean
military... As to the Police, yes, it is a hole full of spiders and
vipers. But most of the former criminals, in fact, are not
active. They run myriad private "security" firms. There is a dialectic
in this: first, they created the conditions for widespread lack of
personal security by generating a tremendous misery, then they squeeze
money out of the situation -and of the shrunken State police and
military budget- by offering services as private agents to the former
patrons of their "services" as State officials.

> "The military destroyed two generations of Argentines," Antonio Savone
> told me in Toronto recently. "That is why we have no leaders left."
> Antonio was tortured and beaten for two-and-a-half years during the
> dictatorship before he escaped to Canada.

This is only partly true. We have no leaders left, essentially,
because Argentinean capitalism is absolutely clogged, forever. New
leaders will be generated by the new situation.

>  . . .

Hope this has been useful.

Néstor Miguel Gorojovsky
gorojovsky at

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