Sunday, August 29, 2004

Kissinger Okayed Argentine Mass Murders

'Kissinger OK'd Argentina 'Dirty War' Of Mass Murder
By Ken Guggenheim

WASHINGTON - While Argentina's military junta was suppressing dissidents in 1976, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told the country's foreign minister "If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly," according to a newly declassified document.
The conversation left Argentine generals with the belief that Kissinger gave them "a carte blanche for the dirty war," National Security Archives spokesman Carlos Osorio said.
The foreign policy research centre obtained the documents that were released on Friday. But a former State Department official who attended Kissinger's meeting in June 1976 with Argentinian foreign minister Admiral Cesar Augusto Guzzetti said that view was "a distortion of history". "It's a canard," said William Rogers, vice chair of Kissinger's lobbying firm, Kissinger Associates. "The idea that he would tell another country to violate human rights quickly or slowly or under any circumstances is preposterous."
Kissinger's office did not respond to a request for comment. He has denied condoning abuses.
The documents revive the debate about Kissinger's relationship with military dictators in Latin America when he was secretary of state in the Nixon and Ford administrations.
It was an era when military officers frequently toppled elected governments and brutalised dissidents, but were accepted by US leaders as anti-communist allies. Argentina's military rulers seized power in March 1976, beginning six years of rule in which they kidnapped, tortured and killed dissidents.
The government says 8,900 people disappeared over that period; human rights groups put the figure around 30,000.