Friday, May 17, 2013

Fallen Condor

Al Jazeera English certainly came up with a good sentence to conclude their report of the death of military leader Jorge Rafael Videla, who ruled Argentina during some of its darkest repressive days:
Videla died while standing trial in a case focused on kidnappings and killings related to Operation Condor.
Nevertheless, Operation Condor deserves more than a passing citation in a concluding sentence, since it represents so many heinous acts which probably laid the groundwork for the blowback of the first two decades of this century. It thus seems advisable to reproduce the opening summary of the Wikipedia entry for this atrocity:
Operation Condor (Spanish: Operación Cóndor, also known as Plan Cóndor, Portuguese: Operação Condor) was a campaign of political repression and terror involving assassination and intelligence operations officially implemented in 1975 by the right-wing dictatorships of the Southern Cone of South America. The program aimed to eradicate communist or Soviet influence and ideas and to control active or potential opposition movements against the participating governments.
Due to its clandestine nature, the precise number of deaths directly attributable to Operation Condor is highly disputed. Some estimates are that at least 60,000 deaths can be attributed to Condor,[unreliable source?] and possibly more. Condor's key members were the governments in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil. The United States provided technical support and supplied military aid to the participants until at least 1978, and again after Republican Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 (see Dirty War#US involvement with the Junta, Dirty War#Anti-Communism, Operation Charly), with Ecuador and Peru joining later in more peripheral roles. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Israel earned more than $1 billion a year selling weapons, many of them American in origin, to the military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile and Brazil. "Thus while Argentine Jewish newspaper publisher and human rights advocate Jacobo Timerman was being tortured by the Argentine military in cells painted with swastikas, three Israeli generals, including the former armed chief of staff, were visiting Buenos Aires on a 'friendly mission' to sell arms."
This is definitely a case where a little context can go a long way!

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