Published on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Keeping “Secrets and Lies” on Argentina’s Past
By César Chelala and Alejandro Garro
May 24, 2011
For a relatively slight margin, the US Congress rejected an
amendment by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D) to declassify files on
Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship. The refusal to
declassify files on Argentina is likely to have momentous
consequences on the fate of hundreds of babies stolen or
‘disappeared’ during those years. Many of those babies were
born in clandestine torture centers, while others were
adopted or given in adoption by the same members of the
military or police personnel responsible for their parents’
It is not altogether clear whose interests are sought to be
protected, but one can hardly imagine that national security,
or the work of US spies fighting Al Qaeda, as suggested by
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R),
may be put in jeopardy by keeping these files in secret. It
is not even clear whether President Cristina Kirchner’s
administration is interested in having these files in the
open. However, if an official request from the Argentine
government were submitted, the U.S. government would be hard
pressed, as a matter of international comity, not to reveal
at least a redacted text of those files.
Aside from governmental interests and politicians’ desires to
keep secrets, what is at stake are human lives, victims, and
the administration of justice. In 1999, during the Clinton
administration, Rep. Hinchey presented a similar amendment
for declassifying documents related to General Augusto
Pinochet’s administration. Declassification resulted in the
publication of 24,000 documents that proved to be crucial in
the prosecution of crimes committed during the Chilean
dictatorship. It provided clear evidence of Pinochet’s
connections to the 1976 assassination, in Washington, D.C.,
of Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier, along with his
secretary Ronni Karpen Moffitt. Also disclosed was Pinochet
secret police’s plans to assassinate former Chilean president
Patricio Aylwin, the presidential candidate of the coalition
that ultimately defeated General Pinochet in 1988.
2 Comments to “Congress (narrowly) votes NOT to declassify US files on Argentine junta”
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