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The Dirty War (Spanish: Guerra Sucia) was a period of state terrorism in Argentina from 1976 until 1983. Victims of the violence included several thousand left-wing activists and militants, including trade unionists, students, journalists, Marxists, Peronist guerrillas and alleged sympathizers. Some 10,000 of the disappeared were guerrillas of the Montoneros (MPM), and the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP).
Estimates for the number of people who were killed or "disappeared" range from 9,089 to over 30,000; the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons estimates that around 13,000 disappeared.
The exact chronology of the repression is still debated, however, as trade unionists were targeted for assassination as early as 1973, and individual cases of state-sponsored terrorism against Peronism and the left can be traced back at least to the Bombing of Plaza de Mayo in 1955. The Trelew massacre of 1972, the actions of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance since 1973 and Isabel Martínez de Perón's "annihilation decrees" against left-wing guerrillas during Operativo Independencia in 1975, have all been suggested as dates for the beginning of the Dirty War.
Prof. Carlos Marcelo Shäferstein in his work Cien años de subversión en Argentina, Alejandro García and Antonius C. G. M. Robbensay that the Dirty War has some of its roots in the violence witnessed in Buenos Aires during the Tragic Week of 1919 and the fighting that took place in Patagonia in 1921 and 1922, between anarchists and elements of the Argentine government forces popularly known today as the Patagonia rebelde. Alicia García, in her study of the National Security Doctrine in Argentina, points to the use of paramilitary squads to smash labor unions during the 1919 Semana Tragica and the mass executions ("disappearances") employed by the Argentine army in 1920 against the anarchist strikers in Patagonia as examples of Argentina's own traditional way of dealing with "subversives".In a brief memoir published in Panorama (14 April 1970), Peron acknowledged that first Argentine military coup in 1930 "had been prepared by the tragic week of 1919."
Military's rise to power
By the end of 1975, a total of 137 military regulars and national servicemen and police had been killed that year by left wing terrorism. US journalist Paul Hoeffel, in an article written for the Boston Globe, concluded that, "Although there is widespread reluctance to use the term, it is now impossible to ignore the fact that civil war has broken out in Argentina."
During the month of August 1975, the Argentine city of Córdoba witnessed a number of armed actions on the part of the left-wing guerrillas that resulted in the death of at least five policemen and units of the elite 4th Airborne Infantry Brigade were obliged to be called in to stand guard at strategic points around the city after the bombing of police headquarters and the police radio communications centre. Conservatives, including some among the wealthy elite, encouraged the army, which prepared to take control by making lists of people who should be "dealt with" after the planned coup.
In 1975, President Isabel Perón, under pressure from the military establishment, appointed Jorge Rafael Videla commander-in-chief of the Argentine Army. "As many people as necessary must die in Argentina so that the country will again be secure", Videla declared in 1975 in support of the death squads. He was one of the military heads of the coup d'état that overthrew Isabel Perón on 24 March 1976. In her place, a military junta was installed, which was headed by Admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera, who stepped out in September 1978, General Orlando Agosti and Videla himself.[clarification needed]On 13 January 1976, left-wing guerrillas set fire to a Buenos Aires commuter train after forcing passengers to descend at gunpoint.
On 2 February 1976 about fifty Montoneros attacked the Juan Vucetich Police Academy in Buenos Aires in an attempt to capture the helicopter-gunships there, but were repelled in heavy fighting. In the week preceding the military coup, the Montoneros killed 13 policemen as part of its Third National Military Campaign. During 1976, Videla himself narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in which a time bomb planted in the reviewing stand at the vast Campo de Mayo barracks blew out a metre-wide hole at the exact spot where he had been standing.
The junta, which dubbed itself "National Reorganization Process", systematized the repression, in particular through the way of "forced disappearances" (desaparecidos), which made it very difficult, as in Augusto Pinochet's Chile, to dismiss legal suits as the bodies were never found. The Generals organized a nation-wide system, from national scale to local scale, to track down so-called "subversives". Argentine newspaper La Opinión founded by Jacobo Timerman, who would himself later disappear, wrote on 31 December 1976 that the Argentine "guerrillas" had suffered losses of 4000, and that the Montoneros had lost 80% of their leaders. The Buenos Aires Herald estimated the victims in 1976 to be 1,100 dead. A clandestine newspaper added that "there is one dead each five hours, and one bomb each three hours." According to Argentine journalist Stella Calloni, author of the classic Los años del lobo, all of these numbers may be correct. In all, 293 servicemen and policemen were killed in left wing terrorist incidents between 1975 and 1976.
This generalization of state terror tactics has been explained in part by the information received by the Argentine militaries in the infamous School of Americas and also by French instructors from the secret services, who taught them "counter-insurgency" tactics first experimented during the Algerian War (1954–62).
In 1976 there was a successful series of Montoneros bomb attacks in which the general commanding the Federal Police, Cesáreo Cardozo was killed. Lieutenant-General Jorge Videla narrowly escaped three Montoneros assassination attempts between February 1976 and April 1977. The Montoneros conducted an assassination attempt against Navy Commandant Admiral Emilio Massera.
In an underwater mining attack on the Itati yacht of the Argentine Navy, the luxury craft was badly damaged by the explosives but Massera escaped unscathed. As pressure mounted on the Montoneros, the urban guerrillas struck back. On 2 July 1976 a Claymore shrapnel mine exploded at the headquarters of the Federal Police in west Buenos Aires during a secret meeting of the police leadership, killing 21, and injuring 60 others. On 12 September 1976, a car bomb destroyed a bus filled with police officers in Rosario, killing 9 policemen and 2 civilians and injuring at least 50.
On 29 September 1976 fierce fighting took place in the Floresta suburb of Buenos Aires, where one-hundred soldiers and policemen were forced to use bazookas and armoured cars against heavily armed guerrillas.On 2 October, Lieutenant-General Jorge Videla narrowly escaped death when a bomb packed in metal tubing supporting a reviewing stand at the Campo de Mayo army barracks exploded only moments after he left.
On 17 October a bomb blast in an Army Club Cinema in downtown Buenos Aires killed 11 and wounded about 50 officers and their families. On 15 December, another bomb planted in a Defense Ministry movie hall killed at least 14 and injured 30 officers and their families. On the one-year anniversary of launching a coup to oust President Isabel Perón, 124 soldiers and police had been killed in incidents involving left wing guerrillas in what the military referred to as, "the Dirty War".
In 1976 there had been plans to send great part of the Uruguayan MLN Tupamaros, the Chilean Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) and the Bolivian Revolutionary Army (ELN) to fight alongside the ERP and Montoneros in Argentina, but the plans failed to materialize due to the military coup.
Furthermore, by 1976 Operation Condor, which had already centralized information from South American intelligence agencies for years, was at its height. Chilean exiles in Argentina were threatened again, and had to go into hiding or seek refuge in a third country. Chilean General Carlos Prats had already been assassinated by the Chilean DINA in Buenos Aires in 1974, with the help of former CIA agent Michael Townley and DINA agent Enrique Arancibia. Cuban diplomats were also assassinated in Buenos Aires in the infamous Automotores Orletti torture center, one of the 300 clandestine prisons of the dictatorship, managed by the Grupo de Tareas 18, headed by Aníbal Gordon, previously convicted for armed robbery, and answered directly to the General Commandant of the SIDE, Otto Paladino. Automotores Orletti was the main base of foreign intelligence services involved in Operation Condor. One of the survivors, José Luis Bertazzo, who was detained for two months there, identified Chileans, Uruguayans, Paraguayans and Bolivians among the prisoners. These captives were interrogated by agents from their own countries.
According to John Dinges's Los años del Cóndor, Chilean MIR prisoners in Orletti center told José Luis Bertazzo that they had seen two Cuban diplomats, 22 years-old Jesús Cejas Arias, and 26 years-old Crescencio Galañega, tortured by Gordon's group and interrogated by a man who specially came one day from Miami to interrogate them. The two Cuban diplomats, charged with the protection of the Cuban ambassador to Argentina, Emilio Aragonés, had been kidnapped on 9 August 1976, in the intersection between Calle Arribeños and Virrey del Pino, by 40 armed SIDE agents who blocked off all sides of the street with their Ford Falcons, the cars used by the security forces during the dictatorship.
According to John Dinges, the FBI as well as the CIA were informed of their abduction. In his book Dinges published a cable sent by Robert Scherrer, an FBI agent in Buenos Aires on 22 September 1976, where he mentions in passing that former CIA agent Michael Townley, later convicted of the assassination on 21 September 1976 of former Chilean minister Orlando Letelier in Washington, D.C., had also taken part to the interrogation of the two Cubans. Former head of the DINA confirmed to Argentine federal judge María Servini de Cubría on 22 December 1999, in Santiago de Chile, the presence of Michael Townley and Cuban Guillermo Novo Sampoll in the Orletti center. The two men travelled from Chile to Argentina on 11 August 1976, and "cooperated in the torture and assassination of the two Cuban diplomats". Luis Posada Carriles boasted in his autobiography, Los caminos del guerrero, of the murder of the two young men. According to the "terror archives" discovered in Paraguay in 1992, 50,000 persons were murdered in the frame of Condor, 9,000–30,000 disappeared (desaparecidos) and 400,000 incarcerated.
False flag actions by SIDE agents
During a 1981 interview whose contents were revealed by documents declassified by the CIA in 2000, former CIA and DINA agent Michael Townley explained that Ignacio Novo Sampol, member of CORU anti-Castro organization, had agreed to commit the Cuban Nationalist Movement in the kidnapping, in Buenos Aires, of a president of a Dutch bank. The abduction, organized by civilian SIDE agents, the Argentine intelligence agency, was to obtain a ransom. Townley said that Novo Sampol had provided $6,000 from the Cuban Nationalist Movement, forwarded to the civilian SIDE agents to pay for the preparation expenses of the kidnapping. After returning to the US, Novo Sampol sent Townley a stock of paper, used to print pamphlets in the name of "Grupo Rojo" (Red Group), an imaginary Argentine Marxist terrorist organization, which was to claim credit for the abduction of the Dutch banker. Townley declared that the pamphlets were distributed in Mendoza and Córdoba in relation with false flag bombings perpetrated by SIDE agents, which had as aim to accredit the existence of the fake Grupo Rojo. However, the SIDE agents procrastinated too much, and the kidnapping finally was not carried out.
Human rights violations and guerrilla activity from 1976 to 1983
On 5 January 1979, the New York Times published an article by David Vidal, who claimed that the number of disappeared in Latin America now numbered 30,000. The Christian Science Monitor and Boston Globe followed suit with similar articles claiming that 30,000 people had disappeared under military dictatorships in Latin America. The Los Angeles Times repeated the claims of 30,000 Latin Americans disappeared in a new article in October and November of that year. In May 1980, the Montreal Gazette, in an interview with the sister of the slain guerrilla commander Ernesto (Che) Guevara, Cecilia Guevara, said that in Argentina alone more 30,000 people had disappeared and another 15,000 had been imprisoned.
On 10 December 1983, Raúl Alfonsín assumed the presidency in Argentina, and on 17 December he announced that he was setting up a commission to investigate the disappearances of what he believed to be more than 6,000 Argentines in nearly eight years of military rule.
The National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) researched and recorded, case by case, the "disappearance" of about 9,000 persons, though Argentinian human rights group maintain that 30,000 disappeared. However, official records put the number of disappeared at 13,000. An estimated 15,000 people "disappeared" in Argentina, according to a Human Rights Watch report in 2002. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International were gravely concerned by the state's use of 'disappearances' and periodical use of extrajudicial killings against what were supposed 'subversives'. In the last months of military junta under Lieutenant-General Reynaldo Bignone, Amnesty International estimated the total number of disappeared in Argentina to be 15,000.
Anyone believed to be associated with activist groups, including trade-union members, students (including very young students, for example in September 1976 during the Night of the Pencils, an operation directed by Ramón Camps, General and head of the Buenos Aires Provincial Police from April 1976 to December 1977), people who had uncovered evidence of government corruption, and people thought to hold left-wing views (for example French nuns Léonie Duquet and Alice Domon, kidnapped by Alfredo Astiz). Ramón Camps told Clarín in 1984 that he had used torture as a method of interrogation and orchestrated 5,000 forced disappearances, and justified the appropriation of newborns from their imprisoned mothers "because subversive parents will raise subversive children". But, there are people such as Professor Paul H. Lewis, who has written Guerrillas and Generals: The Dirty War in Argentina, that claim the guerrilla threat was real and that the guerrillas had countless sympathizers among the civilian population. Terence Roehrig, who has written The prosecution of former military leaders in newly democratic nations. The cases of Argentina, Greece, and South Korea (McFarland & Company, 2001), estimates that of the disappeared "at least 10,000 were involved in various ways with the guerrillas". Many of the "disappeared" were pushed out of planes and into the Río de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean to drown. This form of disappearance, theorized by Luis María Mendía, former chief of naval operations in 1976–77 who is today before the court for his role in the ESMA case, was termed vuelos de la muerte ("death flights"). These individuals who suddenly vanished are called los desaparecidos, meaning "the missing ones" or "vanished ones". This term often refers to the 9,000–30,000 Argentines that went missing. Tomás Di Toffino, Deputy Secretary General of Luz y Fuerza de Córdoba, was kidnapped on 28 November 1976 and executed in a military camp in Córdoba on 28 February 1977, in a "military ceremony" presided by General Luciano Benjamín Menéndez.
In December 1976, 22 captured Montoneros responsible for the death of General Cáceres Monié and the attack on the Argentinian Army 29th Mountain Infantry Regiment were tortured and executed during the Massacre of Margarita Belén, in the military Chaco Province, for which Videla would be found guilty of homicide during the 1985 Trial of the Juntas, as well as Cristino Nicolaides, junta leader Leopoldo Galtieri and Santa Fe Provincial Police chief Wenceslao Ceniquel. The same year, fifty anonymous persons were illegally executed by a firing-squad in Córdoba
Victims' relatives uncovered evidence that some children taken from their mothers soon after birth were being raised as the adopted children of military men, as in the case of Silvia Quintela, a member of the Montoneros guerrillas movement. For three decades, the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group founded in 1977, has demanded the return of these kidnapped children, estimated to number as many as five hundred. 77 of the kidnapped children have been located so far.
On 28 January 1977, Montoneros planted a bomb in a suburban police station, killing three policemen and wounding at least 10 others.On 18 February 1977, left-wing guerrillas bombed a crowded bus in Buenos Aires and several civilians suffered severe burns in the attack.On 26 March 1977, left-wing guerrillas bombed the ground floor of the Sheraton hotel in Buenos Aires, wounding a Spanish tourist and six hotel employees.On 5 April 1977, the Montoneros detonated a powerful bomb inside the building housing the Argentinian Air Force Headquarters located in Buenos Aires.On 11 April, Montoneros guerrillas shot and killed Luis Liberato Arce, of the Surrey company, an air conditioner maker.On 7 May 1977, the Montoneros mortally wounded Vice-Admiral César Augusto Guzzetti of the Argentinian Navy. On 30 July, 6 left-wing guerrillas were killed in a shootout with security forces in the La Plata suburb of Buenos Aires, and a kidnapped executive, Roberto Leon Lanzilliota was freed.In 1977, 36 policeman in Buenos Aires alone were assassinated or killed in action with militants and left-wing guerrillas. That year, Videla told British journalists: "I emphatically deny that there are concentration camps in Argentina, or military establishments in which people are held longer than is absolutely necessary in this ... fight against subversion". Alicia Partnoy, who was tortured and wrote her story in "The Little School", and others, have claimed otherwise.
In September 1977, General Albano Harguindeguy, minister of the interior, admitted that in May of that year 5,618 disappeared in the form of PEN detenidos-desaparecidos were being held in detention camps throughout Argentina.
The Montoneros tried to disrupt the World Cup Soccer Tournament being hosted in Argentina in 1978 by launching a number of bomb attacks.
In late September 1979, Major-General Luciano Benjamín Menéndez tried to stage a military takeover from Córdoba, calling for Lieutenant-General Roberto Eduardo Viola's resignation, charging the army chief had not "kept the promise to completely eradicate subversion, making it impossible for Marxism to make a comeback in the country in the future". Viola, a moderate who favored a return to democracy, was forced to send in 4,000 paratroopers to put down the rebellion.
In late 1979, the Montoneros launched a "strategic counteroffensive" in Argentina, and lost more than one hundred commandos killed.Among their targets was Francisco Soldatti, a top banking figure killed along with his driver at a busy downtown intersection in Buenos Aires on the morning of 6 November 1979.The exiled Montoneros had been sent back to Argentina after receiving special forces training in terrorist camps in the Middle East. The Montoneros leadership had wrongly believed the moment was ripe for revolution in Argentina. More than 600 Argentines, the majority of them civilians, had disappeared in 1978, and as the decade came to an end there were "only" 36 reported incidents of disappearances since January 1979. 
In 1980, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, a Catholic human rights activist who had organized the Servicio de Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice Service) and suffered torture while held without trial for 14 months in a Buenos Aires concentration camp, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the defense of human rights in Argentina. On 17 September 1980, a team of former ERP commanders killed Anastasio Somoza Debayle, the former president of Nicaragua, in a carefully planned ambush that also killed his driver and his financial advisor. Unable to operate in Argentina any longer, some Argentine guerrillas relocated to Central America. During the 1980s, a captured Sandinista guerrilla revealed that Montoneros "Special Forces" were training Sandinista frogmen and conducting gun runs across the Gulf of Fonseca to the Sandinista allies in El Salvador, FMLN guerrillas
In 1981, Videla retired and General Roberto Eduardo Viola replaced him, but nine months later, Viola stepped down, allegedly for health reasons, and General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri took the post. Democracy returned with Raúl Alfonsín, who created the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) on 15 December 1983. Under Alfonsín, Congress would then pass the Ley de Punto Final and Ley de Obediencia Debida as amnesty laws, overturned in June 2005 by the Supreme Court.
According to Argentine war correspondent Nicolas Kasanzew, a pro-Montoneros group of Buenos Aires national sevicemen saw action in the Falklands War with the 7th Infantry Regiment, unbeknown to their superiors. Upon returning to Argentina, these soldiers formed a vocal veterans group that repeatedly accused their officers of cowardice and maltreatment. They were largely ignored by the Alfonsin and Menem governments. But their attempts to arrest and put on trial their former commanders gained momentum under the presidency of the Kirchners. The case ran its course but their case was declared null and void in May 2011 when it was discovered that Pablo Andres Vassel, a former Corrientes human rights' lawyer representing their case, was paying for false testimonies against Argentine Army officers and NCOs.
The Disappeared held under PEN
By the time of the coup on 24 March 1976, the number of disappeared held under Poder Ejecutivo Nacional (PEN) stood at least 5,182. Some 18,000 disappeared in the form of PEN detainees were imprisoned in Argentina by the end of 1977 and it is estimated that some 3,000 deaths occurred in the Navy Engineering School (ESMA) alone. These disappeared were held incommunicado and reportedly tortured. Some, like senator Hipolito Solari Yrigoyen and socialist leader professor Alfredo Bravo, were "detenidos-desaparecidos". On 10 November 1977, Colonel Ricardo Flouret and captain Eduardo Andujar, representing the interior ministry, explained to Amnesty International that many of the disappeared were guerrillas who had gone underground or fled the country.
By refusing to acknowledge the existence of what was later established to be at least 340 concentration camps throughout the country they also denied the existence of their occupants, some 30,000 Argentinians are estimated to have passed through the camps. The total number of people who were detained for long periods was 8,625. Among them was future President Carlos Menem, who between 1976 and 1981 had been a political prisoner.
US President Jimmy Carter offered to accept 3,000 PEN detainees, as long as they had no terrorist background. Some 8,600 PEN disappeared were eventually released under international pressure. Of these 4,029 were held in illegal detention centres for less than a year, 2,296 for one to three years, 1,172 for three to five years, 668 for five to seven years, and 431 for seven to nine years. Of these detenidos-desaparecidos 157 were murdered after being released from detention.
In one frank memo, written in 1977, an official at the Foreign Ministry issued the following warning:
Our situation presents certain aspects which are without doubt difficult to defend if they are analyzed from the point of view of international law. These are: the delays incurred before foreign consuls can visit detainees of foreign nationality, (contravening article 34 of the Convention of Vienna.) the fact that those detained under Executive Power (PEN) are denied the right to legal advice or defense, the complete lack of information of persons detained under PEN, the fact that PEN detainees are not processed for long periods of time, the fact that there are no charges against detainees. The kidnapping and disappearance of people.
Children of the Disappeared
At the time when the CONADEP report was prepared, the Asociación Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo or Abuelas), had records of 172 children, who disappeared together with their parents or were born at the numerous concentration camps and had not been returned to their families.
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo now believe up to 500 grandchildren were stolen. 102 are believed to have been located.  On 13 April 2000, the grandmothers received a tip off that the birth certificate of Rosa Roisinblit's infant grandson, born in detention, had been falsified and the child given to an Air Force civil agent and his wife. Following the anonymous phone call, he was located and agreed to a DNA blood test, confirming his true identity. Rodolfo Fernando, grandson of Roisinblit, is the first known newborn of missing children returned to his family through the work of the grandmothers. Roisinblit's daughter, 25 year-old Patricia Julia Roisinblit de Perez, who was active in the Montoneros, was kidnapped along with her husband, 24 year-old José Martínas Pérez Rojo, on 6 October 1978.
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, is the best-known Argentine human rights organization. For over thirty years, the Mothers have campaigned to find out about the fate of their lost relatives. The Mothers first held their vigil at Plaza de Mayo in 1977, where they continue to gather there every Thursday afternoon.
An article of the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo monthly publication caused quite a stir in the mid-1980s, when the Human Rights Group Familiares were quoted as saying: "Familiares assumes the causes of their children's fight as their own, vindicates all the disappeared as fighters of the people, and understands (...) for which these disappeared people fought..."
In 1986 the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo split into two groups: Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo – Linea Fundadora (Founding Line), remains focused in recovering the remains of the missing and bringing former police and military commanders to justice. The Asociacion de Madres de Plaza de Mayo (The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Association)on the other hand, is opposed to the search for and identification of the missing and have also rejected monetary compensation.
In April 2004, the former head of the Mothers of Plaza, Hebe de Bonafini declared her admiration for her missing children, Jorge Omar and Raúl Alfredo for taking up arms as left-wing guerrillas.
In September 2011, the original Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo organization became embroiled in a major corruption scandal over alleged money laundering and fraud with government housing funds granted.
On 26 January 2012, former Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde criticized Hebe de Bonafini for openly supporting the Basque separatist group ETA and the Colombian left-wing FARC guerrilla movement.
In 1982, the Argentine military invaded the British-controlled Falkland Islands in a desperate attempt to rally the population behind a war. The junta hoped that the United States would side with the Argentines based on, among other things, the Argentine/CIA intervention in Central America against the Sandinistas and that the British would not be willing to go to war over the islands. However, the U.S. sided with the British who, led by Margaret Thatcher, defeated the Argentines after 73 days. The loss of the war led to the resignation of Galtieri on 17 June of the same year and a fourth (and last) junta was placed in power under a new president, Reynaldo Bignone. Raúl Alfonsín's civilian government took control of the country on 10 December 1983. Galtieri, along with other members of the former junta, was soon arrested and charged in a military court with mismanagement during the war. They were also charged later on human rights violations during the Trial of the Juntas.
The junta's mission was stated to defend against international communism. Indeed, the "ideological war" doctrine of the Argentine military focused on eliminating the supposed social base of insurgency, as much as targeting actual guerrillas. Associated with other South American dictatorships in Operation Condor, they also worked closely with the Asian-based World Anti-Communist League and its Latin American affiliate, the Confederación Anticomunista Latinoamericana. In 1980, the Argentine military helped Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, Stefano Delle Chiaie and major drug lords mount the bloody Cocaine Coup of Luis García Meza Tejada in neighboring Bolivia. They hired 70 foreign agents for this task, which was managed in particular by the 601st Intelligence Battalion headed by General Guillermo Suárez Mason.
After having been trained by the French military, the Argentine Armed Forces would train their counterparts, in Nicaragua, but also El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, in the frame of Operation Charly. From 1977 to 1984, after the Falklands War, the Argentine Armed Forces exported counter-insurgency tactics, including the systemic use of torture, death squads and disappearances. Special force units, such as Batallón de Inteligencia 601, headed in 1979 by Colonel Jorge Alberto Muzzio, trained the Nicaraguan Contras in the 1980s, in particular in Lepaterique base. Following the release of classified documents and an interview with Duane Clarridge, former CIA responsible for those operations, the Clarín showed that with the election of President Jimmy Carter in 1977, the CIA was blocked from engaging in the special warfare it had previously delivered against opponents. In conformity with the National Security Doctrine, the Argentine militaries then did the work the most conservative North-American elements wanted to achieve, while they pressured the US to be more active in counter-revolutionary activities. And finally, they submitted themselves to Washington's control following the access of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1981.
Many Chilean and Uruguayan exiles in Argentina were murdered by Argentine security forces (including high-profile figures such as General Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires in 1974, Héctor Gutiérrez Ruiz and Zelmar Michelini in Buenos Aires in 1976). Others, such as Wilson Ferreira Aldunate escaped death. Central Intelligence Agency documents released in 2002 show that Argentina's brutal policies were known and tolerated by the United States State Department, led by Henry Kissinger under Gerald Ford's presidency, and that the Argentine military knew the U.S. supported the repression.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Dirty War", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.