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Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:01 PM

Obama sorry for U.S. policies during Argentina's 'dirty war'

Source: USA Today

President Obama Thursday visited a memorial in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to the thousands of people killed and disappeared during that country’s “dirty war,” on the 40th anniversary of the coup that started it. Obama used his visit to announce his plan to declassify new military and intelligence records that document the human rights violations from 1976 to 1983.

“There’s been controversy about the policies of the United States early in those dark days,” Obama said, standing beside the Argentinian President Mauricio Macri. “The United States when it reflects on what happened here has to reflect on its own past…. When we’re slow to speak out on human rights, which was the case here.”

Despite early U.S. support for the coup, Obama said U.S. diplomats, human rights workers and reporters played an important role in documenting the abuses that took place in the aftermath. He extolled the likes of diplomat Tex Harris, who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires during the administration of President Jimmy Carter to document human rights abuses and identify the disappeared. "Such men did so despite threats to themselves and their families," Obama said.

Documents from the administration of President Gerald Ford, who was in office during the 1976 coup, show that top U.S. officials knew of the impending coup and did little to stop it. On February 28, 1976, less than a month before the coup, Ambassador Robert Hill wrote the State Department with the good news that few Argentine politicians believed the United States was actively fomenting a coup. "Our stock with democratic civilian forces therefore remains high; but at same time our bridges to military are open," Hill wrote. After the coup, then-secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in a March 26, 1976, staff meeting that he wanted to encourage the new military leaders of Argentina. "I don’t want to give the sense that they’re harassed by the United States," Kissinger said.

Despite being a spot for runners, the atmosphere in this memorial is rather gloomy. The names of the “disappeared” during Argentina’s "dirty war" are listed on the sides of the walkways, on the bank of the Río de la Plata. The sculpture of a man stands in the middle of the river. It is a reference to the “death flights” – the military junta's practice of dropping alive opponents to the regime from aircraft or helicopters into the water.

Not all supported the timing of Obama's visit to Argentina however. “We reject Obama’s presence because he came to support [Macri's] government, which has found agreement with the ‘vulture funds’ and [has plunged the country into] a massive debt crisis,” says Gabriel Solano, Head of the Workers’ Party. Silvina Retrivi, a language professor, said, "Obama's visit represents Argentina's shift towards a neoliberal economy. It is paradoxical that Obama spoke to us in the Usina del Arte concert hall about health programs implemented in the U.S. when we could stop benefiting from our own health programs because of this neoliberal influence."

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/03/24/obama-speaks-us-role-argentinas-dirty-war/82206754/



It should be noted that it's Kissinger - not Obama - who should be apologizing. Here's footage from the event:

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Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Obama sorry for U.S. policies during Argentina's 'dirty war' (Original post)
forest444 Mar 2016 OP
Roland99 Mar 2016 #1
forest444 Mar 2016 #3
SFnomad Mar 2016 #2
forest444 Mar 2016 #4
Elmer S. E. Dump Mar 2016 #6
Judi Lynn Mar 2016 #8
Elmer S. E. Dump Mar 2016 #10
Elmer S. E. Dump Mar 2016 #5
forest444 Mar 2016 #12
Judi Lynn Mar 2016 #7
forest444 Mar 2016 #9
Babel_17 Mar 2016 #11
forest444 Mar 2016 #13
onwardsand upwards Mar 2016 #14
Ichingcarpenter Mar 2016 #15
Ichingcarpenter Mar 2016 #17
Sunlei Mar 2016 #16

Response to forest444 (Original post)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:08 PM

1. That plus going to a ballgame after the Brussels attack will set the RWNJs on fire!!



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Response to Roland99 (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:14 PM

3. No doubt about it.

Frankly, apologies are due from Kissinger and Poppy Bush - not Obama.

Obama was extremely decent to do offer that, particularly since the new President of Argentina is a real right-winger whose family became billionaires during the dictatorship (thanks to padded contracts and insider info) and who himself is known to be a dictatorship sympathizer.

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:12 PM

2. Cue the "Apology Tour" outrage from the RepubliCONs in 3, 2, 1 ..... n/t

 

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Response to SFnomad (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:24 PM

4. It's a very good article that covers all the major angles - but the title is very misleading.

Obama, it should be noted, never apologized in so many words (that should be Kissinger or Poppy Bush). He simply pointed out that "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. And that was the case here."

Appropriate and eloquent (as always with Obama). But you're right: the GOP will find an "apology" in there somewhere.

The text of his remarks today: http://www.newsroomamerica.com/story/561513/remarks_by_president_obama_and_president_macri_of_argentina_at_parque_de_la_memoria.html

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Response to forest444 (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:56 PM

6. Remember, repubs don't understand nuance (or english for that matter).

 

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Response to Elmer S. E. Dump (Reply #6)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:59 PM

8. Don't say that in front of the muslins. n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #8)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 04:10 PM

10. Why?

 

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Response to SFnomad (Reply #2)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:55 PM

5. Yeah, they get to dust off an old talking point!

 

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Response to Elmer S. E. Dump (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 06:08 PM

12. It's a shame USA Today used such an (inaccurate) title for an otherwise excellent piece.

It's almost as if the editor-in-chief wants the GOP to pick up that line of attack.

I commend the author though. He wrote one of the few news articles on the Obama homage that really covered all the major angles impartially and in just a few paragraphs.

Another one is Gastón Chiller who wrote this in the New York Times yesterday: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/24/opinion/what-obama-should-know-about-macris-argentina.html?_r=1.

Excellent. Really cuts through a lot of the corporate press fluff on the new "pro-business" (but anti-labor and democracy) Argentine president, Macri.

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 03:57 PM

7. He took the step to acknowledge what is already known everywhere, which took courage & honor.

There is NO honor whatsoever in clinging to a defense of the morally diseased position taken in the past and pretending it never happened.

Apology? Not a bit. It's called maturity and dignity, and taking a place in the world of adults, not sneaking, lying, treacherous well-dressed, slimy criminals.

Yours is the story I've been hoping to see, forest444, so glad it has happened. Thank you for being the one to catch it.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 04:03 PM

9. You're welcome, Judi.

It was great of President Obama to applaud people like Patt Derian, Tex Harris, and Bob Cox - as well as President Carter - for their roles in mitigating, and ultimately helping end the Dirty War (which, thanks largely to their dogged efforts, practically ceased by 1980).

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 04:20 PM

11. That's a tough, important step. Thank you, President Obama (nt)

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #11)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 06:12 PM

13. Hear, hear.

We'll definitely never hear that from Kissinger and Poppy Bush - the two people who really should be apologizing.

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Thu Mar 24, 2016, 10:12 PM

14. It's still something of a whitewash, though.

 

What Obama is saying is that the US "did little to stop", and was "slow to speak out about" the coup.

Get real! The US engineered the coup!

This is obvious to everyone except most people in the US ...

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 04:01 AM

15. Kissinger approved Argentinian 'dirty war'..2003 The Guardian report

Henry Kissinger gave his approval to the "dirty war" in Argentina in the 1970s in which up to 30,000 people were killed, according to newly declassified US state department documents.
Mr Kissinger, who was America's secretary of state, is shown to have urged the Argentinian military regime to act before the US Congress resumed session, and told it that Washington would not cause it "unnecessary difficulties".

The revelations are likely to further damage Mr Kissinger's reputation. He has already been implicated in war crimes committed during his term in office, notably in connection with the 1973 Chilean coup.

The material, obtained by the Washington-based National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, consists of two memorandums of conversations that took place in October 1976 with the visiting Argentinian foreign minister, Admiral César Augusto Guzzetti. At the time the US Congress, concerned about allegations of widespread human rights abuses, was poised to approve sanctions against the military regime.

According to a verbatim transcript of a meeting on October 7 1976, Mr Kissinger reassured the foreign minister that he had US backing in whatever he did.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/dec/06/argentina.usa

Hillary vacations with this war criminal.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #15)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 04:21 AM

17. Transcripts show former secretary of state urged violent crackdown on opposition

2004


Henry Kissinger gave Argentina's military junta the green light to suppress political opposition at the start of the "dirty war" in 1976, telling the country's foreign minister: "If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly," according to newly-declassified documents published yesterday.
State department documents show the former secretary of state urged Argentina to crush the opposition just months after it seized power and before the US Congress convened to consider sanctions.

"We won't cause you unnecessary difficulties. If you can finish before Congress gets back, the better," Mr Kissinger told Admiral Cesar Augusto Guzzetti, the foreign minister, according to the State Department's transcript.

Carlos Osorio, an analyst at the National Security Archive, a US pressure group which published the transcript, said it was likely to be seen by historians as "a smoking gun".

It is likely to be seized on by Mr Kissinger's critics who have been calling for him to face charges for abetting war crimes and human rights abuses in Cambodia, Chile and Argentina.

The Argentine junta formed a secret pact in 1976 known as the Condor Plan with other South American dictatorships in Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil for the eradication of "terrorists". According to official figures, nearly 9,000 people disappeared in Argentina alone but human rights organisations put the figure nearer to 30,000.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/aug/28/argentina.julianborger

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Response to forest444 (Original post)

Fri Mar 25, 2016, 04:11 AM

16. To get past this, the USA has to face their demons.

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