16 August 2007

A Sextet Of Truthout.org Stories About Argentine Dirty War Trials

Just got through reading five stories on the Truthout.org site about a trial that's been going on in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of a priest, Christian Von Wenrich, who served as a chaplin to the Buenos Aires Provincial Police Force during the years of the "Dirty War", the period when Argentina was controlled by a right-wing military and civilian junta that kidnapped an estimated 30,000 Argentines suspected of having links to left-wing guerrillas. An estimated 10,000 or so of these "disappeared" were murdered by the Argentine military and police during that time.

While a fair number of the military, police and civilian officials responsible were put on trial and convicted after the Junta's fall in 1983, they were pardoned, along with those then under investigation or already on trial, by Argentine President Carlos Menem in 1990, in order to stem a wave of military uprisings that took place in Argentina in the late '80's, and which used those convictions as a reason for launching them.

Last year, the Argentine Supreme Court declared these pardons to be unconstitutional, and the process of investigating and trying former military, police and civilian officials for their crimes during the Dirty War began again, with the trial briefly described above being one of this new set.

Anyhow, the link to the first story, dated 9th July, 2007, can be found at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/070907H.shtml, the second, dated 13th July, at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/071307F.shtml, the third, dated 20th July, at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/printer_072007F.shtml, the fourth, dated 24th July, at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/072407S.shtml, the fifth, dated 2nd August, at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/080207H.shtml, and the sixth and last, dated to-day, at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/081607S.shtml.

Am also enclosing several links to various sites that are either about or contain articles about the Dirty War, such as the Wikipedia article on it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirty_War, The Vanished Gallery, which is dedicated to giving out as much information as possible about the vanished, or disappeared, of the Dirty War, and those who carried the Dirty War out, at http://www.yendor.com/vanished/index.html, the English language portion of the Nunca Mas(Never Again)organisation's site at http://www.nuncamas.org/index2.htm(the far more extensively documented Spanish version can be found at http://www.nuncamas.org/), the Argentine Government's official Dirty War Victims Memorial Day web-site(in Spanish)can be found at http://www.24demarzo.gov.ar/, while the Team Nizkor's Los Archivos Del Horror Del Operacion Condor(The Archives of the Horrors of Operation Condor, which was the combined efforts by the militaries of Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia to eliminate left-wing guerrillas, politicians, trade unionists, and other opponents from the early '70's through the early '80's, and yep, it's in Spanish)can be found at http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/doc/condor/calloni.html, a Social Science Research Council article, "Old Ideas In New Discourses:" The War Against Terrorism" and Collective Memory In Uruguay and Argentina" by Aldo Marchesi, can be found at http://www.ssrc.org/sept11/essays/marchesi.htm, and a National Security Archives web-page about Henry Kissinger and the Argentine Dirty War can be found at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB104/index.htm.

That should be about enough to get ya started on this topic.

In closing, there are those who might ask, "What does this have to do with where we are to-day???".

My answer's that in the Dirty War period of Argentine history, left-wing terrorism, real and imagined, was used as an excuse by the Argentine military, its police and civilian allies to impose a military dictatorship that kidnapped thousands of its own citizens, imprisoned, tortured and murdered many of those detainees, maintained secret torture centres and prisons, perverted the Argentine legal system, used their positions to steal property, and even babies and toddlers, from those whom they had arrested and imprisoned, all in an attempt to build a new Argentina, which, "purified" of left-wingers of all stripes, trade unionists, and anyone else who disagreed in the Junta's ideal of a Christian(in this case, Roman Catholic), right-wing controlled military, anti-Communist Argentine state to come after the Dirty War's purges.

In the end, it was the short, disastrous Falklands/Malvinas War with Great Britain, and its immediate aftermath, not a revolt by the Argentine political establishment or people, that brought down the Junta.

The parallels between Dirty War-era Argentina and the current situation in the US are far from exact, but there are enough of them that are similar enough to be eerily disturbing, and well they should be.

So, y'all may want to think on that a bit.

Be seeing you.

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