Dayne Goodwin dayneg at
Thu May 17 14:33:11 MDT 2001

Nestor, would appreciate any comments you care to make on (my selections
from) following article.  dayne goodwin
        p.s. to anyone, does Christopher Hitchens have Argentina on his
list for Henry Kissinger's war crimes trial?
        - - - - - -

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.
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.

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.
        . . .

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.


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."

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 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.

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.
        . . .


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
        . . .

 . . . 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."

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.

"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.

        . . .

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