[Ppnews] Southern Cone Rendition Program

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Feb 22 18:06:49 EST 2008

National Security Archive Update, February 22, 2008

Operation Condor Crimes Focus of Italian Indictments

New York Times Story Draws Attention to 1980 Abduction, Disappearance Case


Washington D.C., February 22, 2008 - Declassified 
U.S. documents posted today on the Web by the 
National Security Archive (www.nsarchive.org) 
show that the U.S. government had detailed 
knowledge of collaboration between the Peruvian, 
Bolivian and Argentine secret police forces to 
kidnap, torture and "permanently disappear" three 
militants in a Cold War rendition operation in 
Lima in June 1980--but took insufficient action to save the victims.

The Archive's documents are part of a sweeping 
Italian investigation of Condor that has issued 
arrest warrants for 140 former top officials from 
seven South American countries and, in the words 
of today's New York Times, has "agitated 
political establishments up and down the continent."

The documents address what has become known as 
"the case of the missing Montoneros," a covert 
operation by a death squad unit of Argentina's 
feared Battalion 601 to kidnap three members of a 
militant group living in Lima, Peru, on June 12, 
1980, and render them through Bolivia back to 
Argentina. (A fourth member, previously captured, 
was brought to Lima to identify his colleagues 
and then disappeared with them.) "The present 
situation is that the four Argentines will be 
held in Peru and then expelled to Bolivia where 
they will be expelled to Argentina," a U.S. 
official reported from Buenos Aires four days 
after Esther Gianetti de Molfino, María Inés 
Raverta and Julio César Ramírez were kidnapped in 
broad daylight in downtown Lima. "Once in 
Argentina they will be interrogated and then permanently disappeared."

Italy's indictments include General Morales 
Bermudez and his military deputy Pedro Richter 
Prada, among 138 other military officers from 
Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay 
who were involved in the kidnapping, torture and 
disappearances of 25 Latin Americans who had dual 
Italian citizenship. The indictments, in a 
250-page court filing by Italian judge Luisianna 
Figliolia last December, come after a six-year 
investigation by investigative magistrate 
Giancarlo Capaldo, who drew on hundreds of 
declassified documents provided by the National 
Security Archive's Southern Cone project. "These 
documents provide hard evidence of Condor 
crimes," according to project director Carlos 
Osorio, "that almost 30 years later still demand the resolution of justice."

The New York Times story, "Italy Follows Trail of 
Secret South American Abductions," noted that the 
Italian effort at universal jurisdiction "deals 
not only with individual cases involving Italian 
citizens but also with the broader 
responsibilities of Condor's cross-border 
kidnapping and torture operations." The story 
also suggested that Condor's allied effort to 
track down, kidnap, and secretly transport 
targets to third countries, according to 
historians, was "reminiscent of the United 
States' modern terrorist rendition program."

The Archive's Peter Kornbluh noted "sinister 
similarities between Condor and the current U.S. 
rendition, enhanced interrogation, and black site detention operations."

Visit the Web site of the National Security 
Archive for more information about today's posting.


Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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