35+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Argentine Dirty War, 1976-1983

Mar 31, 2021 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., March 31, 2021 – The Chilean ambassador to Brazil, Raúl Rettig, sent an alarming cable in March 1971 to his foreign ministry titled “Brazilian Army possibly conducting studies on guerrillas being introduced into Chile.” Multiple sources had informed the Embassy that the Brazilian military regime was evaluating how to instigate an insurrection to overthrow the Allende government.

Mar 23, 2021 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 23, 2021 - On the eve of the 45th anniversary of the military coup in Argentina, the National Security Archive is today posting declassified documents revealing what the U.S. government knew, and when it knew it, in the weeks preceding the March 24, 1976, overthrow of Isabel Peron’s government. The documents provide evidence of multiple contacts between the coup plotters and U.S. officials. “[Admiral] Massera sought opportunity to speak privately with me,” U.S.

Mar 10, 2020 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 10, 2020 - Franklin Allen “Tex” Harris , the former political officer who took charge of reporting on human rights at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina between 1977 and 1979 and was the first official to document the disappearance of thousands of Argentine citizens during the military dictatorship, passed away on February 23, 2020. He was 81 years old.

May 30, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., May 30, 2019 – On August 20, 1976, Argentine security personnel dynamited the bodies of thirty people – ten women and twenty men – who had been detained by the Federal Police and executed in the town of Pilar, north of Buenos Aires. The explosion scattered human remains over a wide radius. This gruesome display of repression was intended to send a bloody message to other alleged militants to cease their activities five months after the military coup, according to a CIA intelligence report posted today by the National Security Archive.

Apr 12, 2019 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., April 12, 2019 – In late May 1976, the secret police chieftains of six Southern Cone military regimes gathered at a clandestine summit in Santiago, Chile, to create a “new unit, which was given the code name ‘Teseo’”—a reference to Theseus, the mythical Greek King of the Athenians and heroic slayer of the Minotaur, among other enemies.

Mar 24, 2019 | News
Washington D.C., March 24, 2019 - On the 43rd anniversary of the military coup in Argentina, the Argentine government of Mauricio Macri has announced that the Trump Administration will provide “the largest delivery of declassified documents, in size and file quality, to another nation”—formerly secret U.S.

Jan 17, 2017 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., January 17, 2017 –  A tribunal in Rome, Italy, today sentenced two former heads of state and two ex-chiefs of security forces from Bolivia and Peru, and a former Uruguayan foreign minister to life imprisonment for their  involvement in the coordinated, cross-border system of repression known as “Operation Condor.”  The National Security Archive, which provided testimony and dozens of declassified documents as evi

Dec 14, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., December 14, 2016 - Operation Condor, the trans-border, multinational effort by Southern Cone secret police services to track down and “liquidate” opponents of their regimes in the 1970s, targeted officials of Amnesty International as well as other human rights groups, and planned overseas missions in Paris and London, according to a comprehensive CIA report on Condor operations just released by the Obama administration. “The basic mission of Condor teams to be sent overseas,” according to the CIA, was “to liquidate top-level terrorist leaders.

Aug 11, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 11, 2016 – In September 1980, the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires transmitted a detailed six-page cable, entitled “The Tactic of Disappearance,” to the State Department. Although the Argentine military regime had already “won the ‘dirty war,’” the cable stated, the military would not cease using “disappearance” as its preferred form of repression. “This unwillingness does not reflect simple bloody-mindedness by unthinking military men,” the Embassy reported in its comprehensive effort to explain the institutional mindset behind this horrific atrocity.

May 27, 2016 | Briefing Book
Washington D.C., May 27, 2016 - As a federal tribunal in Buenos Aires announced guilty verdicts in the historic prosecution of eighteen Argentine military officers for participating in the coordinated, cross-border system of repression known as “Operation Condor,” the National Security Archive today hailed the ruling as a “major milestone for the principle of human rights and the pursuit of accountability for human rights violators.” 

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