Unbelievable? It’s entirely possible.
Sometimes you just got to laugh at the manipulative dealings of world leaders. It was reported today in the Buenos Aires Herald that American President Obama “congratulated” Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for joining together with America in building “…on (a) longstanding partnership in areas such as the promotion of human rights”.
Obama’s letter seems to ignore the history of human rights abuses in both America and Argentina.
With the recent death of former dictator Jorge Videla and The Dirty War the topic of discussion in every barrio and cafe in the Argentine capital, the claim of “promotion of human rights” is laughable and pathetic.
AMERICA’S SCHOOL OF TORTURE
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the US Army School of the Americas, is a United States Department of Defense Institute located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia, that provides military training to government personnel of Latin American countries.
Founded in 1946, the school began it’s current mission in 1961 under President John F Kennedy when it was assigned the specific goal of teaching “anti’communist counterinsurgency training”.
That mission continued until 1989 when the Soviet Union collapsed. The focus then shifted to to supporting America’s primary policy goals in the western hemisphere, with the “strategy of engagement” designed to prepare military and police forces to respond to threats to the achievement of it’s goals.
Items such as narcotrafficking, terrorism, environmental catastrophes — and the corollary potential for civil disturbance — were now the main targets.
With the tsunami of political upheaval and ineptness in Latin America, one of the target countries was Argentina.
The dancer-turned-first lady-turned President, “Isabel” Peron was a caricature of a national leader and her vaudeville-esque antics paved the way for a military take over.
Since the founding of the school in 1946, 931 Argentine military personnel were trained at the school, first in Panama and later in Columbus, Georgia when it was moved there following the Panama Treaty signed by American President Jimmy Carter.
Emilio Massera, Jorge Rafael Videla, Luis Arce Gomez, Leopoldo Galtieri were just four of the notorious graduates of the WHINSEC.
Trained by WHINSEC, the Argentine military dictatorship was responsible for approximately 30,000 kidnappings, illegal detentions and deaths from 1976 – 1983.
The fact that the American embassy in Buenos Aires knew about the atrocities carried out by the graduates of WHINSEC is borne out a memo sent from James J. Blystone while he was the chief security officer at the embassy.
In the memo, since declassified and obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Blystone talks about meeting left-wing terrorists, learning about the dumping of kidnap victims and alludes to the knowledge of babies being kidnapped from parents who had been detained for being members of the opposition.
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency)
Documents unsealed within the past decade also clearly show that the American government in Washington was aware of human rights abuses early on.
One piece of information that has been recently released is the admission by the CIA that DINA (Chilean version of the CIA) Chief Manuael Contrearas was a CIA “asset” between 1974 and 1977.
The Chilean government, under Pinochet, was the instigator of Operation Condor and were primarily responsible for the other countries getting involved.
The CIA didn’t see fit to let anyone know about this connection when they were questioned in 1978 by a United States Federal Grand Jury which ultimately indicted Contreras for his role in the Letelier-Moffitt assassinations on Embassy Row in Washington.
On a early fall day in 1976, agents of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet exploded a car bomb that killed two of Pinochet’s critics.
Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier and an IPS development associate, Ronni Karpen Moffitt were assassinated in Washington D.C.
“Operation Condor is a cooperation effort by the intelligence/security services of several South American countries to combat terrorism and subversion. The original members included services from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia; Peru and Ecuador recently became members.”
“Today Americans would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.”
This quote is from a speech Henry Kissinger gave at the annual Bilderberger meeting on May 21, 1992. Kissinger, who served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, and continued as Secretary of State under Nixon’s successor Gerald Ford, was also heavily involved in the policies that gave rise to the human rights violations in Argentina
A declassified report, “The Third World War and South America,” dated August 3, 1976 and provided to Kissinger shows just how deeply involved Kissinger (and the American intelligence community) was in the human rights abuses in South America’s second largest country.
This report, based on CIA intelligence, was written by Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America, Harry Shlaudeman and presented to Kissinger in August 1976. The document summarizes the coordination of Southern Cone security forces and opens with this:
“They are joining forces to eradicate ‘subversion,’ a word which increasingly translates into non-violent dissent from the left and center left. The security forces of the Southern Cone now coordinate intelligence activities closely; operate in the territory of one another’s countries in pursuit of ‘subversives’; have established Operation Condor to find and kill terrorists…in their own countries and in Europe. Brazil is cooperating short of murder operations.”
The military dictator that was “first among equals” in the three member ruling junta that took over the Argentina government in 1976 recently died. Even his death seems to indicate some possible involvement by the CIA.
Initial reports seemed to indicate that Videla had died alone in his cell of a “natural causes”.
When Argentine Federal Judge Juan Pablo Salas authorized the release of Videla’s body and delivered to Videla’s family for autopsy and burial, the autopsy revealed Videla had suffered “fractures and internal bleeding” allegedly suffered in a fall in the shower FIVE DAYS prior to his death at the Marcos Paz prison in Buenos Aires.
While by itself a dead body with fractures that allegedly came from a fall is no proof of CIA involvement, when you take the time to piece together the entire scenario, it becomes entirely plausible especially when you remember a key fact:
Videla was scheduled to discuss in open court the involvement of The American Government with the brutalities now known as “The Dirty War”.
Why hasn’t all of this come to light before now? Well, it has. But only for individuals who are willing to take the time and put forth the effort to collect fragments here and there. The American mainstream media is complicit in covering up the truth, and too many Americans allow the media to “dumb down” it’s audience. Consider this quote from Howard Zinn:
“The media are a pitiful lot. They don’t give us any history, they don’t give us any analysis, they don’t tell us anything. They don’t raise the most basic questions.”
Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America. Now living in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe. Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Follow this link to read more of his work on Huffington Post and Examiner. Have a story that needs to reach national media? Email him today.
- Former Argentinean dictator Jorge Rafael Videla dies at 87 (panarmenian.net)
- Human Rights Trial Reveals American Involvement in 30,000 Deaths (journeyamerica.wordpress.com)
- Burial place of Argentinan dictator Videla sparks anger (worldbulletin.net)
- Argentina’s General Videla and the “war on terror” (rinf.com)