Inteligencia y Seguridad Frente Externo En Profundidad Economia y Finanzas Transparencia
  En Parrilla Medio Ambiente Sociedad High Tech Contacto
Inteligencia y Seguridad  
 
15/07/2005 | Andersen responds to Wall Street Journal editorial on Argentine

Martin Edwin Andersen

 

July 11, 2005

Mr. Ned Crabb

Letters to the Editor

The Wall Street Journal

To the Editor:

As a frequent reader of the Journal’s editorial pages, I have been very pleased with those Mary Anastasia O’Grady columns that have focused on the continued denial of basic human rights in Cuba and myriad threats to regional democracy and security posed by strongman Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Ms. O’Grady has frequently been ahead of the curve on those issues—and should be praised in particular for bringing up inconvenient facts about Castro’s gulag even as they are ignored in other media. Which is all the more reason why I have found her recent columns on Argentina so disturbing, as they use distorted historical analysis to make otherwise unsustainable arguments.

In her July 8, 2005 column, “Don’t Count on Argentina to Help Fight Terror,” Ms. O’Grady decries, and is absolutely right in doing so, the decision of an Argentine judge not to grant a request from neighboring Chile to extradite Sergio Galvarino Apablaza, a former leader of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front charged with the kidnapping of a newspaper heir and the assassination of a senator. The decision followed upon a May ruling by the Argentine Supreme Court that rejected the extradition of an alleged terrorist belonging to the Spanish Basque ETA to that country. Even more—legitimate—reason for concern. 

Not content to let the facts speak for themselves, however, Ms. O’Grady serves up some dubious statistics and opinions to create both a lopsidedly unfavorable view of the government of President Nestor Kirchner and a curiously indulgent take on a former regime that gave the world the Spanish word “desaparecido”—a person secretly kidnapped, tortured and killed by his or her government.


First Ms. O’Grady gilds the lily by saying that, during the 1970s Argentine leftist guerrillas “rack(ed) up over 1,500 victims,” when the number of those actually killed was around 600, if that. Bandying about inflated numbers about the size of the guerrilla threat is one way apologists for the former Argentine military dictatorship justify why some 25,000 people, including hundreds of senior citizens, pregnant women and children, were tortured and killed in secret concentration camps.

No less than Robert W. Scherrer, who, as the FBI legal attaché stationed in Buenos Aires during those years, was responsible for monitoring violence for our embassy there, has written: “A considerable portion of the murders, kidnappings and extortions attributed to the guerrillas were caused by other elements. … Terrorism in Argentina was serious and deadly but its scope was exaggerated. … [it was] a convenient vehicle for irresponsible elements of the military and their civilian counterparts to seek retaliation against real or imagined wrongs.”

Ms. O’Grady then writes: “Today, Argentina allows many known Montoneros (leftwing guerrillas) to go about Argentina with impunity. Some are even in (the Kirchner) government.” 

First, the Montoneros as an organization have not existed for more than two decades. Second, former Montoneros also served as high-ranking officials in the corruption-ridden government of former President Carlos Menem, but one is hard pressed to find any mention, much less criticism, of that fact in the Journal.

Ms. O’Grady made similar charges in an equally loaded piece, “The Other Villains in Argentina’s Dirty War,’ published last March 25—29 years and a day after the coup in Buenos Aires. Writing that it was “remarkable to count the number of people populating” the Kirchner government who are “ex-Montoneros,” she includes erstwhile anti-corruption journalist Horacio Verbitsky, who she correctly identified as “a ranking member of the Montonero intelligence apparatus.”

Surely Journal readers are entitled to know that the poly-faceted Mr. Verbitsky was also the ghost writer, in 1977-1979 (in other words, during some of worst years of the military-run clandestine repression), of a book published by the official air force publishing house, Argentine Air Power, (El Poder Aereo de los Argentinos). Written by a retired senior Argentine air force officer, not only did the book praise the Argentine air force’s senior leadership which was at the time part of the junta’s effort to exterminate real and imagined foes, it explicitly singled out Mr. Verbitsky, who was already a well-known Montonero supposedly in hiding, in its acknowledgments for his “efficacious collaboration.” 

That fact alone should clue Journal readers in about the capricious and often ersatz nature of the guerrilla threat. However, Ms. O’Grady echoes charges made by “dirty war” apologists in Argentina that, after Juan Peron died in July 1974, the guerrillas were allowed to operate “without the least obstacle”—even though many both legal and illegal obstacles did in fact exist, including vicious death squad activity responsible for as many as 2,000 deaths.

Then, citing a 1975 army-led campaign in the remote province of Tucuman as being “where terrorism was most intense,” Ms. O’Grady neglects to add that the military’s own secret documents—part of the public record for the last two decades—show that normal guerrilla strength there was between 60-70 poorly trained and armed militants, except for a two-week period where they numbered 120. And that force had been effectively crushed, by regular army troops numbering as many as 5,000, six months before the generals launched their coup under the pretext of saving the country from “subversion.”

Sincerely,

Martin Edwin Andersen

Andersen is the author of two books on recent Argentine history: Dossier Secreto: Argentina’s Desaparecidos and the Myth of the “Dirty War” (1993) and “La Policia,” a 455-page history of that country’s police, written in Spanish (2001).

 

Offnews.info (Argentina)

 



Otras Notas del Autor
fecha
Título
01/12/2022|
11/11/2022|
19/03/2022|
23/09/2020|
05/03/2020|
17/01/2020|
05/06/2018|
27/03/2018|
21/02/2018|
22/04/2017|
17/02/2017|
17/12/2016|
14/09/2016|
07/08/2016|
27/03/2016|
22/03/2016|
22/03/2016|
11/03/2016|
15/02/2016|
20/09/2015|
20/09/2015|
07/09/2015|
03/09/2015|
18/02/2015|
20/01/2015|
18/12/2014|
09/12/2014|
18/11/2014|
06/11/2014|
01/10/2014|
17/09/2014|
06/09/2014|
14/05/2014|
12/03/2014|
04/02/2014|
19/12/2013|
03/11/2013|
25/10/2013|
10/10/2013|
29/08/2013|
27/06/2013|
19/05/2013|
08/05/2013|
08/05/2013|
02/05/2013|
20/03/2013|
23/02/2013|
23/02/2013|
25/01/2013|
15/06/2012|
26/05/2012|
04/05/2012|
28/04/2012|
17/04/2012|
01/11/2011|
04/07/2011|
04/07/2011|
11/04/2011|
07/02/2011|
24/01/2011|
14/12/2010|
21/11/2010|
15/09/2010|
09/08/2010|
18/07/2010|
01/07/2010|
11/06/2010|
06/06/2010|
13/01/2010|
29/10/2009|
24/09/2009|
03/09/2009|
02/09/2009|
29/08/2009|
25/07/2009|
25/07/2009|
25/07/2009|
25/07/2009|
01/04/2009|
12/03/2009|
12/03/2009|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
14/11/2008|
14/11/2008|
18/09/2008|
18/09/2008|
13/08/2008|
13/08/2008|
28/01/2008|
17/01/2008|
30/12/2007|
16/12/2007|
02/12/2007|
01/12/2007|
06/10/2007|
12/09/2007|
17/06/2007|
17/06/2007|
17/06/2007|
17/06/2007|
17/06/2007|
17/06/2007|
21/05/2007|
21/05/2007|
06/04/2007|
28/03/2007|
12/01/2007|
12/01/2007|
18/12/2006|
18/12/2006|
22/09/2006|
22/09/2006|
03/08/2006|
01/08/2006|
23/02/2006|
08/10/2005|
18/08/2005|
22/07/2005|
12/07/2005|
23/06/2005|
14/06/2005|
25/05/2005|
26/04/2005|
26/04/2005|
29/03/2005|
29/03/2005|
19/02/2005|
19/02/2005|
16/02/2005|
16/02/2005|
15/02/2005|
15/02/2005|
11/02/2005|
11/02/2005|
09/02/2005|
09/02/2005|
09/02/2005|
09/02/2005|
06/02/2005|
06/02/2005|
04/02/2005|
04/02/2005|
04/02/2005|
02/02/2005|
02/02/2005|
02/02/2005|
31/01/2005|
31/01/2005|
28/01/2005|
28/01/2005|
25/01/2005|
25/01/2005|
25/01/2005|
25/01/2005|
24/01/2005|
24/01/2005|
18/01/2005|
18/01/2005|
14/01/2005|
14/01/2005|
13/01/2005|
13/01/2005|
11/01/2005|
11/01/2005|
11/01/2005|
11/01/2005|
11/01/2005|
11/01/2005|
06/01/2005|
06/01/2005|
04/01/2005|
04/01/2005|
24/12/2004|
24/12/2004|
22/12/2004|
22/12/2004|
22/12/2004|
22/12/2004|
14/12/2004|
14/12/2004|
06/12/2004|
06/12/2004|
02/12/2004|
02/12/2004|
30/11/2004|
30/11/2004|
23/11/2004|
23/11/2004|
20/11/2004|
20/11/2004|
12/10/2004|
12/10/2004|
24/09/2004|
24/09/2004|
27/06/2003|
27/06/2003|
20/06/2003|
20/06/2003|
03/06/2003|
03/06/2003|
07/05/2003|
07/05/2003|
06/05/2003|
06/05/2003|
24/04/2003|
24/04/2003|
16/04/2003|
16/04/2003|
16/04/2003|
16/04/2003|
10/04/2003|
10/04/2003|
09/04/2003|
09/04/2003|
02/04/2003|
02/04/2003|
27/03/2003|
27/03/2003|
21/03/2003|
21/03/2003|
20/03/2003|
20/03/2003|
17/03/2003|
17/03/2003|
15/03/2003|
15/03/2003|
03/03/2003|
03/03/2003|
22/02/2003|
22/02/2003|
17/02/2003|
17/02/2003|
07/02/2003|
07/02/2003|
04/02/2003|
04/02/2003|
01/02/2003|
01/02/2003|
30/01/2003|
30/01/2003|
28/01/2003|
28/01/2003|
22/01/2003|
22/01/2003|
15/01/2003|
15/01/2003|
26/12/2002|
26/12/2002|
24/12/2002|
24/12/2002|
22/12/2002|
22/12/2002|
13/12/2002|
13/12/2002|
13/12/2002|
13/12/2002|
01/12/2002|
01/12/2002|
06/10/2002|
06/10/2002|
04/10/2002|
04/10/2002|
28/09/2002|
28/09/2002|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House