Category Archives: Argentina

Does Henry Kissinger Have a Conscience?

Jon Lee Anderson writes for The New Yorker:

[…] We have repeatedly reviewed evidence of Kissinger’s callousness. Some of it is as inexplicable as it is shocking. There is a macho swagger in some of Kissinger’s remarks. It could, perhaps, be explained away if he had never wielded power, like—thus far—the gratuitously offensive Presidential candidate Donald Trump. And one has an awareness that Kissinger, the longest-lasting and most iconic pariah figure in modern American history, is but one of a line of men held in fear and contempt for the immorality of their services rendered and yet protected by the political establishment in recognition of those same services. William Tecumseh Sherman, Curtis LeMay, Robert McNamara, and, more recently, Donald Rumsfeld all come to mind.

In Errol Morris’s remarkable 2003 documentary “The Fog of War,” we saw that McNamara, who was an octogenarian at the time, was a tormented man who was attempting to come to terms, unsuccessfully, with the immense moral burden of his actions as the U.S. defense secretary during Vietnam. McNamara had recently written a memoir in which he attempted to grapple with his legacy. Around that time, a journalist named Stephen Talbot interviewed McNamara, and then also secured an interview with Kissinger. As he later wrote about his initial meeting with Kissinger, “I told him I had just interviewed Robert McNamara in Washington. That got his attention. He stopped badgering me, and then he did an extraordinary thing. He began to cry. But no, not real tears. Before my eyes, Henry Kissinger was acting. ‘Boohoo, boohoo,’ Kissinger said, pretending to cry and rub his eyes. ‘He’s still beating his breast, right? Still feeling guilty.’ He spoke in a mocking, singsong voice and patted his heart for emphasis.”

McNamara died in 2009, at the same age Kissinger is today—ninety-three—but his belated public struggle with his conscience helped leaven his clouded reputation. Now that he is nearing the end of his life, Kissinger must wonder what his own legacy is to be. He can rest assured that, at the very least, his steadfast support for the American superpower project, no matter what the cost in lives, will be a major part of that legacy. Unlike McNamara, however, whose attempt to find a moral reckoning Kissinger held in such scorn, Kissinger has shown little in the way of a conscience. And because of that, it seems highly likely, history will not easily absolve him.

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Henry Kissinger hindered U.S. effort to end mass killings in Argentina, according to files

Uki Goñi reports for The Guardian:

Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger jeopardized US efforts to stop mass killings by Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship by congratulating the country’s military leaders for “wiping out” terrorism, according to a large trove of newly declassified state department files.

The documents, which were released on Monday night, show how Kissinger’s close relationship to Argentina’s military rulers hindered Jimmy Carter’s carrot-and-stick attempts to influence the regime during his 1977-81 presidency.

Carter officials were infuriated by Kissinger’s attendance at the 1978 World Cup in Argentina as the personal guest of dictator Jorge Videla, the general who oversaw the forced disappearance of up to 30,000 opponents of the military regime.

At the time, Kissinger was no longer in office after Carter defeated Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential election, but the documents reveal that US diplomats feared his praise for Argentina’s crackdown would encourage further bloodshed.

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Argentina Attempts to Silence TeleSUR and Other ‘Undesirable Media’: Interview with Pedro Brigier

Sharmini Peries talks to Pedro Brigier, journalist and professor at the University of Buenos Aires, who says Argentinians view the government’s dissociation from TeleSUR as the loss of one of the only alternative voices for news in Latin America. (The Real News)

Johan Cruyff: How Can You Play Soccer Next to a Torture Center?

TeleSUR writes:

Cruyff dazzled fans with this trickery and rejected Argentina’s brutal dictatorship in an unmatched soccer career.

Johan Cruyff, one of the greatest soccer players of his generation, and perhaps ever, missed the 1978 FIFA World Cup held in Argentina as he didn’t want to play close to the torture chambers the right-wing government had set up to house dissidents of the regime.

“How can you play soccer a thousand meters from a torture center?” he is quoted as saying before the tournament.

The South American nation was in turmoil at the time of the competition after a right-wing coup, led by General Jorge Rafael Videla, Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera and Brigadier-General Orlando Ramón Agosti, overthrew Isabel Peron’s democratically elected government two years before.

The dictatorship, which was backed by the U.S., led to brutal repression of the Argentine people with as many 30,000 people forcibly disappeared by the regime.

Argentina’s political instability couldn’t be ignored by Cruyff, who was aged 31 at the time and winding down his illustrious career. So he pulled out of the Netherlands squad in a move that infuriated Dutch soccer officials.

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Discovering America’s Role in Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’

It was a military rule where thousands were killed or went missing. In Argentina, US President Barack Obama will mark the 40th-anniversary of what people there call the ‘dirty war’.  Activists want him to declassify files which are suspected to show US involvement. (Al Jazeera)

Obama Honors Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’ Victims, Faults U.S. on Human Rights

Jeff Mason reports for Reuters:

President Barack Obama said the United States was too slow to condemn human rights atrocities during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship as he honored victims of the “Dirty War” on Thursday, but he stopped short of apologizing for Washington’s early support for the military junta.

Obama’s state visit to Argentina coincided with the 40th anniversary of the coup that began a seven-year crackdown on Marxist rebels, labor unions and leftist opponents, during which security forces killed 30,000 people.

“There has been controversy about the policies of the United States early in those dark days,” Obama said while visiting a memorial park in Buenos Aires dedicated to victims of the dictatorship.

“Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don’t live up to the ideals that we stand for. And we’ve been slow to speak out for human rights and that was the case here,” he said.

Obama’s trip, winding up later on Thursday, is part of a wider effort to deepen ties and bolster U.S. influence with Latin America after years of frosty relations with left-leaning governments in the region.

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Argentina’s Presidential Giveaway to Vulture Funds: Interview with James Henry

Greg Wilpert talks to economist and journalist James S. Henry who analyzes the new conservative Argentine president’s economic policies and his effort to appease “vulture” funds. (The Real News)

Vulture Capitalists Are the Real Winners of Argentina’s Elections: Interview with James Henry

Jessica Devereux talks to Economist James Henry who explains how the new conservative president of Argetina will make vulture capitalists like Paul Singer turn a $43 million loan into a $1.5 billion return. (The Real News)

Britain Used Spy Team to Shape Latin American Public Opinion on Falklands

Andrew Fishman and Glenn Greenwald report for The Intercept:

Faced with mounting international pressure over the Falkland Islands territorial dispute, the British government enlisted its spy service, including a highly secretive unit known for using “dirty tricks,” to covertly launch offensive cyberoperations to prevent Argentina from taking the islands.

A shadowy unit of the British spy agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) had been preparing a bold, covert plan called “Operation QUITO” since at least 2009. Documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, published in partnership with Argentine news site Todo Notícias, refer to the mission as a “long-running, large scale, pioneering effects operation.”

At the heart of this operation was the Joint Threat Research and Intelligence Group, known by the acronym JTRIG, a secretive unit that has been involved in spreading misinformation.’

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“Nazi hideout” in the jungle: Why the discovery is more fiction than fact

Uki Goñi, author of The Real Odessa, writes for The Guardian:

Nazi coin discovered in Argentina jungle‘[…] In an interview with the Guardian, Schavelzon admitted that evidence linking the Teyú Cuaré ruins to a supposed Nazi safe haven plan is slim.

“There is no documentation, but we found German coins from the war period in the foundations,” he said.

But does a handful of old German coins provide sufficient proof of a secret Nazi hideaway plan in northern Argentina?

“That was just speculation on my part,” Schavelzon said. “The press picked it up and magnified it.”’

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Mystery Shrouds Prosecutor’s Death In Argentina

Argentina president claims US plotting to oust her

Uki Goñi reports for The Guardian:

Cristina‘Argentinian opposition politicians have accused the country’s president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, of being “completely out of touch with reality” after she gave a rambling televised address in which she claimed the US may be behind a plot to overthrow her government and possibly even assassinate her.

“If something should happen to me, don’t look to the Middle East, look to the North,” Fernández said during the address on Tuesday night, in which she alluded to an alleged plot against her by local bankers and businessmen “with foreign help”.’

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Argentina Sues U.S. In World Court To Stop Vulture Fund Billionaire: Interview with Greg Palast

‘Greg Palast: President Obama has failed to exercise his authority to stop a New York judge from ordering Argentina to pay vulture fund billionaire Paul Singer debt worth pennies on the dollar’ (The Real News)

Stiglitz on Argentina’s default: “This is America throwing a bomb into the global economic system”

Peter Eavis and Alexandra Stevenson write for The New York Times:

‘[…] The campaign against Argentina shows how driven and deep-pocketed hedge funds can sometimes wield influence outside of the markets they bet in. George Soros’s successful wager against the pound in 1992 affected Britain’s relationship with Europe for years.

While Mr. Singer’s firm has yet to collect any money from Argentina, some debt market experts say that the battle may already have shifted the balance of power toward creditors in the enormous debt markets that countries regularly tap to fund their deficits. Countries in crisis may now find it harder to gain relief from creditors after defaulting on their debt, they assert.

“We’ve had a lot of bombs being thrown around the world, and this is America throwing a bomb into the global economic system,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, the economist and professor at Columbia University. “We don’t know how big the explosion will be — and it’s not just about Argentina.”’

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UN committee backs Argentina over Falkland Islands

Alexandra Olsen reports for the Associated Press:

‘A United Nations’ committee approved a new resolution calling on the UK and Argentina to negotiate a solution to their dispute over the Falkland Islands, essentially favouring Argentina’s stance in the long-running feud. The 24-nation Decolonization Committee passed the resolution by consensus despite passionate speeches from two Falkland Islands representatives who said most islanders wanted to keep things as they are.

The decision showed that the committee members have been largely unmoved by a referendum in the Falkland Islands last year in which more than 99 per cent of voters favoured remaining a British Overseas Territory. The UK has rebuffed Argentina’s calls to negotiate the sovereignty of the south Atlantic islands, saying it is up to people who live there to decide. Argentinian Foreign Minister Hector Timerman attacked the UK for ignoring dozens of UN resolutions urging the two countries to talk.’

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U.S. Supreme Court Preserves Power of Finance Over Argentina: Interview with Bill Black

Argentina appoints new secretary of ‘national thought’

From AFP:

Cristina Kirchner has created the new post of secretary for strategic co-ordination of national thought‘Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner has created a new post: secretary for strategic co-ordination of national thought. Opposition leaders immediately derided the initiative, with some bristling over what they see as the post’s fascist overtones. “With a year and a half to go before they leave office, they could have named someone to act instead of think,” said Ernesto Sanz, head of the opposition Radical Civic Union.

Ricardo Forster, who was named to the post, said the idea was to “build networks among academics and intellectuals who are thinking about joint projects in Latin America”. He said it had nothing to do with trying to inculcate “uniformity of thought”. The 56-year-old trained philosopher is a member of a circle of intellectuals close to Kirchner, whose term ends in 2015.

“It’s pathetic and deplorable to designate a strategic secretary for national thought, as if those who aren’t Kichneristas are not national,” said Federico Pinedo, head of a conservative bloc in the lower house. “That’s old-style fascism.”‘

SOURCE

Survivors: Pope Francis saved many in dirty wars

Debora Rey reports for the Associated Press:

Gonzalo Mosca was a radical on the run. Hunted by Uruguay’s dictators, he fled to Argentina, where he narrowly escaped a military raid on his hideout. “I thought that they would kill me at any moment,” Mosca says. With nowhere else to turn, he called his brother, a Jesuit priest, who put him in touch with the man he credits with saving his life: Jorge Mario Bergoglio.It was 1976, South America’s dictatorship era, and the future Pope Francis was a 30-something leader of Argentina’s Jesuit order. At the time, the country’s church hierarchy openly sided with the military junta as it kidnapped, tortured and killed thousands of leftists like Mosca.

Critics have argued that Bergoglio’s public silence in the face of that repression made him complicit, too, and they warn against what they see as historical revisionism designed to burnish the reputation of a now-popular pope. But the chilling accounts of survivors who credit Bergoglio with saving their lives are hard to deny. They say he conspired right under the soldiers’ noses at the theological seminary he directed, providing refuge and safe passage to dozens of priests, seminarians and political dissidents marked for elimination by the 1976-1983 military regime.

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Argentina & The Emerging Market Crisis: Interview with James Henry

Argentine lab finds alternative to pesticides

Argentina’s fertile lands make it one of the world’s great food-producing nations. But farmers there are in a constant battle against insects with environmentalists worried about the side effects from the heavy use of pesticides. (Al Jazeera)

Emerging Market Financial Crises Raise Concerns About Another Global Recession: Interview with Bill Black

New Memo: Kissinger Gave the “Green Light” for Argentina’s Dirty War

World Economic Forum/Wikimedia CommonsFrom Mother Jones:

Only a few months ago, Henry Kissinger was dancing with Stephen Colbert in a funny bit on the latter’s Comedy Central show. But for years, the former secretary of state has sidestepped judgment for his complicity in horrific human rights abuses abroad, and a new memo has emerged that provides clear evidence that in 1976 Kissinger gave Argentina’s neo-fascist military junta the “green light” for the dirty war it was conducting against civilian and militant leftists that resulted in the disappearance—that is, deaths—of an estimated 30,000 people.

In April 1977, Patt Derian, a onetime civil rights activist whom President Jimmy Carter had recently appointed assistant secretary of state for human rights, met with the US ambassador in Buenos Aires, Robert Hill. A memo recording that conversation has been unearthed by Martin Edwin Andersen, who in 1987 first reported that Kissinger had told the Argentine generals to proceed with their terror campaign against leftists (whom the junta routinely referred to as “terrorists”). The memo notes that Hill told Derian about a meeting Kissinger held with Argentine Foreign Minister Cesar Augusto Guzzetti the previous June. What the two men discussed was revealed in 2004 when the National Security Archive obtained and released the secret memorandum of conversation for that get-together. Guzzetti, according to that document, told Kissinger, “our main problem in Argentina is terrorism.” Kissinger replied, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly. But you must get back quickly to normal procedures.” In other words, go ahead with your killing crusade against the leftists.

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Argentine Judge Helps Victims of Franco Regime Seek Justice

From Spiegel:

[…] immunity for Franco’s helpers may be about to end. In Argentina, Judge María Servini de Cubría of the first chamber of the Federal Criminal Court in Buenos Aires issued international arrest warrants for four former Spanish police officers in mid-September. They include some of the tormentors of Galante and Chivite. At least two of them are still alive: Jesús Muñecas and Juan Antonio González Pacheco. There is “tremendous symbolic value” to Argentina’s decision to demand the extradition of Franco’s officers, 38 years after his death, says Chivite.

The Spanish attorney general’s office refuses to have them arrested, and for Spanish citizens there is no threat of extradition. Nevertheless, a judge on the Spanish National Court wants to summon both former police officers to determine whether they are willing to testify voluntarily before Servini.

To this day, the Spaniards have not legally come to terms with the crimes committed by the Franco regime against the leftists on the losing side of the civil war. The cases now being looked into in Argentina occurred during the time period from the coup against the elected government of the Spanish Republic on July 17, 1936, to the first free parliamentary elections on June 15, 1977. The parties of the left, which had been brutally persecuted for four decades, agreed to an amnesty law at that time to help facilitate a peaceful transition to democracy.

But now a wave of lawsuits is heading toward Spain.

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Argentina finds 1,500 secret military junta files

From BBC News:

Some 1,500 secret files, dating back to the years of military rule in Argentina, have been discovered in Buenos Aires.

They were found in an abandoned wing of the Air Force headquarters.

The files contain the transcripts of all meetings held by the military junta, which ruled the country from 1976 to 1983, said Defence Minister Agustin Rossi.

The documents also name famous artists and intellectuals who were blacklisted.

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Argentina court rules controversial media law constitutional

Newspaper stand in ArgentinaFrom BBC News:

Argentina’s Supreme Court has ruled that a media bill passed in 2009 is constitutional – clearing the way for the break-up of large media groups.

The country’s biggest broadcasting and newspaper company, Clarin, had appealed against the law proposed by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Critics say the bill is an attempt to silence opposition voices in Argentina.

Supporters say it will boost pluralism and reduce the dominance of big corporate interests.

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Report Finds Police Worldwide Criminalize Dissent, Assert New Powers in Crackdown on Protests

In a major new report, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations details a global crackdown on peaceful protests through excessive police force and the criminalization of dissent. The report, “Take Back The Streets: Repression and Criminalization of Protest Around the World,” warns of a growing tendency to perceive individuals exercising a fundamental democratic right — the right to protest — as a threat requiring a forceful government response. The case studies detailed in this report show how governments have reacted to peaceful protests in the United States, Israel, Canada, Argentina, Egypt, Hungary, Kenya, South Africa and Britain. The report’s name comes from a police report filed in June 2010 when hundreds of thousands of Canadians took to the streets of Toronto to nonviolently protest the G20 Summit. A senior Toronto Police Commander responded to the protests by issuing an order to “take back the streets.” Within a span of 36 hours, more than 1,000 people — peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights monitors and downtown residents — were arrested and placed in detention. We are joined by three guests: the report’s co-editor, Abby Deskman, a lawyer and program director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association; Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union; and Hossam Bahgat, an Egyptian human rights activist and the founder and executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. (Democracy NOW!)

Argentineans protest oil pact, concessions to US energy giant Chevron ~ Press TV

Press TV

Protesters in Argentina have set US flags afire at the headquarters of the country’s national oil and gas company YPE, denouncing its impending deal with major American energy corporation Chevron.

The protest rallies were sparked by a USD1.2 billion agreement signed between the two energy companies on Tuesday to exploit a huge oil reserve, using the controversial hydrofracking technique to extract oil.

The energy deal has further drawn harsh criticism due to the concessions the Argentine government has reportedly made in order to make it acceptable to the US-based Chevron Corporation.

Moreover, protesters insist that the agreement is in violation of the Argentinean sovereignty and rips away their national wealth.

FULL ARTICLE @ PRESS TV

South American states to recall ambassadors from Europe over Bolivian plane incident ~ RT

RT

South American countries belonging to the Mercosur trade bloc have decided to withdraw their ambassadors for consultations from European countries involved in the grounding of the Bolivian president’s plane.

“We’ve taken a number of actions in order to compel public explanations and apologies from the European nations that assaulted our brother Evo Morales,” explained Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, who revealed some of the agenda debated during the 45th summit of Mercosur countries in Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo.

The decision to recall European ambassadors was taken by Maduro, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, and Uruguay’s President, Jose Mujica, during the meeting.

FULL ARTICLE @ RT

Brazilian Paper: NSA ‘spied’ on most Latin American nations ~ Reuters

SEE ALSO: Alleged NSA surveillance in Brazil stirs regional tension – again (CS Monitor)

Reuters

The U.S. National Security Agency has targeted most Latin American countries in its spying programs, with Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Mexico ranking among those of highest priority for the U.S. intelligence agency, a leading Brazilian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Citing documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the fugitive former American intelligence contractor, O Globo newspaper said the NSA programs went beyond military affairs to what it termed “commercial secrets.”

These included petroleum in Venezuela and energy in Mexico, according to a graphic O Globo identified as being from the NSA and dated February of this year.

Also swept up in what O Globo termed as U.S. spying were Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru and El Salvador.

FULL ARTICLE @ REUTERS

‘Argentina sold Israel yellowcake uranium in 1960s’ ~ JPost

Dimona nuclear reactorJerusalem Post

Argentina may have sold Israel material necessary for making a nuclear bomb in the 1960s, Foreign Policy reported on Monday, citing newly-published American archival documents.

Israel has never clearly admitted to having a nuclear weapons program in the country, although it is has been estimated that the Jewish State has dozens of nuclear warheads.

According to the report in Foreign Policy, Argentina sold Israel 80-100 tons of “yellowcake” uranium in 1964. Yellowcake, a concentrated uranium powder produced in countries in which uranium ore is mined, can be further processed to make weapons-grade uranium which can be used to make nuclear bombs.

Washington was concerned with the weaponization of Israel’s nuclear program at the time, and was concerned over the sale of the yellowcake by Argentina to Israel, but was unable to prevent the sale, according to the report.

The archival documents show the efforts to which Israel went to cultivate relations with nuclear suppliers and the concern that the US, as well as Canada and Britain had regarding Israel’s nuclear program.

FULL ARTICLE @ THE JERUSALEM POST