National Security

US releases secret docs on Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’

The Obama administration on Monday declassified more than 1,000 pages of documents about Argentina’s seven-year “Dirty War,” during which a military dictatorship killed thousands of people.

In response to a request from Argentina, the release on Monday included new military, intelligence and other records that might shed light on the U.S. role as bloodshed was being carried out. 

{mosads}“Taken together, these newly declassified documents shed light on the policies of the Carter administration and the role human rights issues played in the U.S. bilateral relationship with Argentina,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in releasing the pages.

As many as 30,000 people were killed and “disappeared” during the seven-year period from 1976 to 1983, after a military junta overthrew then-President Isabel Perón and carried out a purge of leftists and political dissidents.

During a visit to Buenos Aires in March, President Obama bemoaned the slowness of the U.S. to condemn the crackdown in Argentina. Leaders in Washington such as then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger originally supported the junta’s efforts and appeared to encourage it to act quickly so as not to suffer a blowback from Congress.  

“The quicker you succeed the better,” Kissinger told Argentina’s foreign minister in 1976, shortly after the coup took place.

“Democracies have to have the courage to acknowledge when we don’t live up to the ideals that we stand for; when we’ve been slow to speak out for human rights,” Obama said at the time. “And that was the case here.”

Obama promised to release documents about the U.S.’s role during the period while in Argentina to mark the 40th anniversary of the coup.

The newly declassified pages were delivered to Argentine President Mauricio Macri by Secretary of State John Kerry last week.

The U.S. in 2002 released more than 4,000 State Department cables and other records about the military dictatorship in Argentina, which have helped in judicial proceedings and to answer questions about one of the darker periods of recent South American history. 

Additional records will be released over the next 18 months, the administration claimed, as a set of 14 agencies and departments comb through records that can be made public.

Tags Argentina John Kerry

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