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Fri Aug 31, 2012, 04:45 PM

Argentina's ambassador to the UK badly needs a history lesson

Last edited Fri Aug 31, 2012, 05:49 PM - Edit history (1)

Alicia Castro hit the news this week with her comments: she said the UK was exhibiting precisely the same arrogance in the Assange affair that it had exhibited in the 1982 Falkland-Malvinas war

No one will fault the ambassador for her nationalism: surely she is proud of her country and is in London to serve its interests. And many see the Falklands-Malvinas war as a sad waste of 900 lives. We might quibble idly about whether archipelago was or was not within Argentine territorial waters, or whether the British Isles had really controlled the territory since 1833, or whether the inhabitants of Stanley considered themselves Her Majesty's subjects. Those of us who disliked Maggie Thatcher's reign, of course, easily consider pinning the entire unnecessary fiasco on her, for she was so proud of it. But there is much a larger back story here -- and other issues

Argentina endured seven years of military dictatorship after Videla's 1976 coup replaced Isabel Perón. It was not a happy time, and Argentina has labored long and hard to face it squarely. The Dirty War involved murdering activists by the thousands across the entire region. Some were tortured before being dumped into the Atlantic from aircraft. The fate of thousands is still unknown. Children, orphaned by the murder of their parents, were stolen from their remaining families and adopted to hide their true histories

Argentina's military, unsurprisingly, used nationalistic posturing to win support. They had scarcely come to power when they set out to provoke a conflict with the UK, by building an outpost in the Sandwich Islands. In the following years, the UK attempted to resolve the matter by diplomacy. In 1977, when the World Court ruled against Argentina, assigning the Beagle Channel islands to Chile, the junta denounced the ruling and began planning a military operation, which was prevented by further international mediation efforts. Ultimately, the Pope's intervention nominally settled the Beagle Channel islands dispute

So when Argentine troops landed in the Falklands-Malvinas, ill-will was available in whole-sale quantities. Recent history did not suggest to the UK that there were good prospects for diplomacy with Argentina. And recent history suggested to the Chileans that the Falklands-Malvinas operation was merely an exercise preparatory towards an invasion of Chile. So the UK cut a deal with Pinochet and (much to the surprise of Argentina's dictator) took back the Falklands-Malvinas and the Sandwich Islands

On the home front, people had become thoroughly sick of the junta -- and the defeat in the Falklands-Malvinas war showed that the junta was not invincible. Losing all political support, the junta was forced to accept a restoration of democracy

Alicia Castro may not have fond memories of the Falklands-Malvinas war. But Argentina's loss really was a good thing for Argentina

Castro: "El caso Assange demuestra la arrogancia del Reino Unido"
La embajadora argentina afirmó que no le sorprende la actitud del gobierno inglés en la sede diplomática ecuatoriana en Londres.

28.08.2012 | 13:06
La embajadora ante el Reino Unido afirmó que no le sorprende la actitud del gobierno inglés respecto al asilo de Julian Assange en la embajada de Ecuador en Londres, porque “se parece” al proceder con la Argentina en relación a las Malvinas.

“Para nosotros, para los argentinos, este hecho, que demuestra la arrogancia de la diplomacia británica, no nos sorprende” porque “se parece a las declaraciones respecto de la cuestión Malvinas con las cuales el Reino Unido también desatiende la legislación internacional”, afirmó Castro ...

Castro: "The Assange matter shows the arrogance of the United Kingdom"
Argentina's ambassador said she is not surprised at the attitude of the British government towards the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

28.08.2012 | 13:06
The ambassador to the UK said she is not surprised at the British government's attitude regarding Julian Assange's asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, because it looks to Argentina just like the UK's attitude towards Falklands.

"For us, the Argentinians, this fact shows the arrogance of British diplomacy, not surprising because it resembles statements regarding the Malvinas issue, in which the UK also disregards international law," said Castro ...


Kissinger backed dirty war against left in Argentina
Transcripts show former secretary of state urged violent crackdown on opposition

Julian Borger in Washington and Uki Goni in Buenos Aires
The Guardian, Friday 27 August 2004 21.33 EDT
... 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" ...

"The newly-revealed documents prove that as early as June 1976 Kissinger was informed of the existence of the Condor Plan," said Horacio Verbitsky, head of the Argentine human rights group Cels in Buenos Aires.

Mr Verbitsky, who during the 1970s ran an underground news service, said Mr Kissinger made it difficult for the US embassy in Buenos Aires to pressure Argentina's generals on human rights violations. "When US ambassador Robert Hill met with the generals to demand an end to the violence, the generals could say, your boss Kissinger knows what's happening and he doesn't care," he said ...


Kissinger approved Argentinian 'dirty war'
Declassified US files expose 1970s backing for junta

Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
The Guardian, Friday 5 December 2003 21.20 EST
... 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 ...


Kissinger to Argentines on Dirty War: "The quicker you succeed the better"
Washington, D.C., 4 December 2003 - Newly declassified State Department documents obtained by the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act show that in October 1976, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and high ranking U.S. officials gave their full support to the Argentine military junta and urged them to hurry up and finish the "dirty war" before the U.S. Congress cut military aid. A post-junta truth commission found that the Argentine military had "disappeared" at least 10,000 Argentines in the so-called "dirty war" against "subversion" and "terrorists" between 1976 and 1983; human rights groups in Argentina put the number at closer to 30,000 ...


Pilot arrested over Argentina 'death flights'
Juan Alberto Poch, a budget airline pilot, is accused of flying planes from which junta threw opponents into sea

Giles Tremlett, Valencia
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 23 September 2009 10.00 EDT
...Juan Alberto Poch, 57, was arrested on Monday at the controls of a Dutch holiday jet he was about to fly from Valencia to Amsterdam.

Poch is wanted by the courts in Argentina to answer allegations that he flew navy aircraft on the death flights between 1976 and 1983 ...


'Death flights' suspect returned to Argentina
By the CNN Wire Staff
June 29, 2010 10:10 a.m. EDT
... Former Argentine Navy Lt. Julio Alberto Poch was arrested last year on charges that he was at the helm of aircraft from which 950 drugged and blindfolded prisoners were thrown alive during the 1976-83 right-wing dictatorship. Poch, a commercial pilot for the Dutch airline Transavia.com, was arrested September 23 when his flight made a stopover in Valencia.

He was wanted on an international arrest warrant and was returned to Argentina on Thursday ...

The prisoners included students, labor leaders, intellectuals and leftists who had run foul of the dictatorship because of their political views. Most were dragged off the street or otherwise summarily arrested and held without trial in secret prisons where many were tortured.

Another pilot, former Navy Capt. Emir Sisul Hess, was also arrested last year on similar charges. Sisul Hess, accused in 56 deaths, was captured in the Argentine town of Bariloche, near the border with Chile ...


Argentina makes arrests in 'flights of death' killings
1 May 2011 Last updated at 05:39 ET
Argentine authorities have arrested three former policemen ... accused of being the crew when French nun Leonie Duquet and rights activist Azucena Villaflor were thrown from a plane in 1977.

Their bodies washed ashore and were buried in an unmarked grave until their remains were identified in 2005 ...

A judge on Tuesday ordered the arrest of former police officers Enrique Jose De Saint Georges, Mario Daniel Arru and Alejandro Domingo D'Agostino.

A lawyer and a former navy officer were also detained in connection with the case ...


Argentina's 'death flight' pilots to go on trial
Saturday, Aug 11, 2012
BUENOS AIRES - Pilots accused of flying "death flights" during Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship will be tried for allegedly throwing live prisoners - including a nun - into the sea, the judiciary said Friday.

The defendants include former pilots Julio Poch and Enrique de Saint Georges as well as lawyer Gonzalo Torres de Tolosa, said the Judicial Information Center (ICJ) of the country's Supreme Court ...

The trial is part of an ongoing effort to investigate crimes against humanity committed at a notorious naval school.

The first hearings were conducted in 2011 and resulted in several life sentences ...


Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo

Muro de la Memoria

Argentina: las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo recuperaron al nieto 106
Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda, de 34 años, conoció su verdadera identidad mediante un análisis realizado en el Banco Nacional de Datos Genéticos (BNDG).

Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo anunciaron la restitución de identidad de Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda, el nieto 106 recuperado - AFP
Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, organización humanitaria que se dedica a la búsqueda de hijos de desaparecidos robados durante la dictadura argentina (1976-1983), anunció este lunes a través de un comunicado de prensa la restitución de la identidad al nieto número 106 ...

Argentina: the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo identify their 106th grandson
Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda, 34 years old, learned his true identity with the help of an analysis using the National Genetic Data Bank (BNDG).

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the humanitarian organization dedicated to finding children of the disappeared who were stolen during Argentina's dictatorship (1976-1983), announced Monday in a press release the the recovery of the identity of grandson number 106 ...


Argentina's former dictator Jorge Videla given life sentence
Head of military junta that took power in 1976 convicted for deaths of 31 prisoners, in trial of several officials from regime

Associated Press in Buenos Aires
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 23 December 2010 06.15 EST
Former Argentinian dictator Jorge Videla has been sentenced to life in prison for the torture and murder of 31 prisoners, most of whom who were "shot while trying to escape" in the months after his military coup.

The conviction was Videla's first in 25 years for crimes against humanity, thrilling relatives who packed the courtroom, holding up grainy black-and-white pictures of the victims and shouting "murderers" at the defendants. Most of the two-dozen former military and police officials who were tried with Videla also received life sentences ...


Jorge Rafael Videla convicted of baby thefts
Former Argentine dictator jailed for 50 years after executing a systematic plan to steal babies from leftist dissenters

Uki Goni in Buenos Aires
guardian.co.uk, Friday 6 July 2012 02.09 EDT
Argentina took a giant leap forward in its struggle to come to terms with its bloody past during the 1976-83 dictatorship by condemning former dictator Jorge Videla to 50 years in prison for masterminding a plan for stealing the newborn children of political opponents and handing the babies over to be raised by "good" military families after killing their mothers.

The verdict on Thursday evening capped a 16-year trial during which hundreds of hours of testimony were heard proving that the kidnappings were not just collateral damage in the "civil war" between the military and leftwing guerrillas, as supporters of the dictatorship have claimed, but rather a deliberate policy put in place by the top leaders of the regime.

"The kidnapping of newly born babies is the last crime that former members of the military regime are willing to admit," says British journalist Robert Cox, who was one of the main witnesses at the trial last year. As editor of the small English-community daily Buenos Aires Herald in the late 1970s, Cox was one of the only journalists in Argentina who dared report on the crimes committed by the military as they happened, including their kidnapping of infants. "It's like the Nazis, what they did was so terrible they could never admit it," Cox said in Buenos Aires upon hearing the verdict that his testimony helped bring about ...


Argentina's 'Blond angel of death' convicted for role in dirty war
Alfredo Astiz, known as the 'blond angel of death,' served as a lieutenant at a torture center where thousands of dissidents were secretly imprisoned and executed during Argentina's dirty war from 1976-1983.

By Sam Ferguson, Correspondent
October 27, 2011
... Alfredo Astiz, known as the “blond angel of death,” served as a lieutenant at the Naval Mechanics School (ESMA), a torture center where thousands of guerrillas and dissidents were secretly imprisoned and executed. He and 17 other defendants were charged with various cases of kidnapping, torture, and murder relating to 86 victims ...

The charges against Astiz centered on his role in infiltrating, kidnapping, and executing 12 human rights activists in 1977.

Beginning in middle of that year, Astiz began marching with the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group of women who congregated in Buenos Aires’ central square to protest the disappearance of their children. The Mothers knew him as Gustavo Niño, a young, handsome, well-spoken man who was desperately seeking his missing brother.

When Astiz suspected that his cover had been compromised, he helped organize a series of raids around Buenos Aires in December of 1977. Twelve people were kidnapped, including three founding members of the Mothers and two French missionary nuns, Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet. Several were tortured in the Naval Mechanics School, and within days the 12 activists were loaded onto navy airplanes and thrown into the South Atlantic ...


Former Argentine Gen Eduardo Cabanillas jailed
31 March 2011 Last updated at 21:08 ET
Former Argentine Gen Eduardo Cabanillas has been sentenced to life in prison for running a notorious detention centre during military rule in 1976-83.

Three former intelligence officers were also convicted of murder, torture and illegal imprisonment.

Around 200 left-wing activists were kidnapped and taken to the Automotores Orletti secret prison in Buenos Aires.

Most of the victims were Uruguayan, but there were also Chileans, Bolivians, Peruvians and Cubans ...


Reynaldo Bignone, Argentina Dictator, Guilty Of Torture In Hospital
By MICHAEL WARREN 12/29/11 01:29 PM ET
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- Argentina's last dictator was convicted Thursday of more crimes against humanity, this time getting 15 years in prison for setting up a secret torture center inside a hospital during the 1976 military coup.

Reynaldo Bignone personally oversaw the takeover of the Posadas de Haedo hospital in Buenos Aires province 35 years ago, leading soldiers in tanks and helicopters in search of medical personnel who allegedly treated leftist guerrillas. The military dismissed all the doctors and nurses, but kept some for questioning, including the hospital's medical director. Eleven hospital staffers disappeared.

Bignone's trial involved 21 cases of kidnappings and tortures, including two victims who were killed and made to disappear by a civilian group of thugs who called themselves the "SWAT" team and answered to the air force. The SWAT team set up shop inside the medical director's home, interrogating the staff ...


Corbeta Uruguay base
Corbeta Uruguay base was an Argentine military outpost established in November 1976 on the island of Thule, Southern Thule, in the South Sandwich Islands. The base was established by order of the then-military junta governing Argentina as a way to back up its territorial claims on British territory in the South Atlantic. Britain discovered the base in December 1976 but sought a diplomatic solution to the issue until 1982 ...


Beagle conflict
In 1971 Chile and Argentina signed an agreement formally submitting the Beagle Channel issue to binding arbitration ... The court that was to decide the controversy was composed of five judges selected by Chile and Argentina from the International Court of Justice at The Hague ... On May 2, 1977 the court ruled that the islands and all adjacent formations belonged to Chile ... On 25 January 1978 Argentina rejected the ruling, and attempted via military force to challenge the Chilean commitment to defend the territory, and to coerce Chile into negotiating a division of the islands that would produce a maritime boundary consistent with Argentine claims ...


Anniversary of papal action that stopped Argentina-Chile war
Sunday, November 30th 2008 - 20:00 UTC
Brazilian cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer will represent Pope Benedict XVI in the ceremony honouring the 30th anniversary of the Vatican's mediation between Chile and Argentina which avoided a full fledged war over the Beagle channel and adjoining islands in the extreme south of the continent ...

The papal mediation in late 1978 and personal pleading to the then two military dictators, Generals Jorge Videla and Augusto Pinochet avoided a full fledged conflict between Argentina and Chile over the Beagle Channel. The dispute involved three minor islands and the Beagle channel which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in the Magellan strait, extreme south of the South American continent. Following John Paul II personal intervention both military regimes agreed to begin negotiations with the signing in Uruguay, in January 1979 of the Montevideo Declaration which was to be the cornerstone for the peace and friendship agreement ...


“We were prepared for war with Chile”, not in Malvinas admits former Argentine military governor
The former military governor of the Malvinas Islands during the Argentine occupation said that the negative outcome of the war for Argentina can only be attributed to “negligence and improvisation”.

Thursday, April 5th 2012 - 22:51 UTC
... In a long interview with an Argentine television channel, General Mario Benjamin Menendez admitted Argentina was not prepared “for a war in the Islands, but rather for war with Chile”.

General Menendez was named military governor of the Malvinas Islands a day after the Argentine invasion on 2 April and officially took the post three days later ...


Memorandum for Lady Thatcher on Chile’s support during Falklands’ conflict
Thursday, April 5th 2012 - 14:29 UTC
It is a well known and admitted fact that the Chilean regime of General Augusto Pinochet provided very useful intelligence to the British effort to recover the occupied Falkland Islands in 1982.

Now a memorandum on the story of those contacts written by then General Fernando Matthei Auble Chilean Air Force commander has surfaced ...

The memorandum was prepared for Lady Thatcher in 1999 when Pinochet was arrested and placed under house arrest in London

What motivated Piñera to make public the document was that in a November 2009 interview with Brigadier Basilio Lami Dozo, former member of the Argentine Junta that invaded the Falklands and commander of the Air Force, revealed that had Argentina succeeded in retaining the Falklands, afterwards they would attack Chile ...


Chile 'helped UK over Falklands'
Last Updated: Saturday, 25 June, 2005, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
... The book, The Official History of the Falklands War, details the deal between the governments of Margaret Thatcher and General Augusto Pinochet, said the BBC's Chilean correspondent Clinton Porteous.

Extracts from it claim "the Chilean military provided key information on the movement of Argentine forces and other assistance, and in return were offered a cut-price deal on the purchase of military aircraft" ...

Chile was officially neutral during the conflict, but the book claims it considered a border offensive against Argentina to draw military forces away from The Falklands.

Argentina and Chile both had military governments at the time and were "close to war", the BBC correspondent said ...


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Reply Argentina's ambassador to the UK badly needs a history lesson (Original post)
struggle4progress Aug 2012 OP
Spider Jerusalem Aug 2012 #1
loli phabay Aug 2012 #3
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #2
BritBob Sep 2012 #4

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 04:52 PM

1. Sorry, but if anyone was displaying "arrogance" over the Falklands it would be the Argentines.

Who invaded the sovereign territory of another country with their military and asserted rights of ownership based on geographical proximity rather than possession, self-determination, and history. And as far as international law goes? Self-determination is the most pertinent point; the Falklanders see themselves as British, full stop, and there the matter remains until such time as they change their minds.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 08:18 PM

3. yup this is the simplest part of the whole story


the islanders see themselves as being british and they should be able to decide what they want to be. Dont think the Argentinians will invade again but this stuff will just keep going on and on and on.

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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Aug 31, 2012, 08:12 PM

2. Argentina blasts UK “arrogant” approach to Assange case and Falklands’ dispute

... Ms Castro also revealed that ... she met with Assange at the Ecuadorean embassy in London while listening to the live transmission of the OAS Foreign ministers meeting in Washington ...

“We were sitting looking at the debate when Assange turned up and shook hands with all the ambassadors and diplomatic representatives and stayed on for quite some time. He talked with several of us while following the OAS debate”, said Ambassador Castro ...


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Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Sat Sep 1, 2012, 12:19 PM

4. The Falklands

In 1833 the Royal Navy removed a small Argentine garrison from the Falkland Islands but allowed some settlers to stay; Britain having already claimed the islands. This irked Argentina. But in 1850 Britain and Argentina signed a treaty called 'the Convention of Settlement.' In the treaty both countries acknowledged that, 'a state of perfect harmony had been restored' and 'that neither country had ANY outstanding differences.' In the 1870s and 1880s the Argentine government produced tens of thousands of maps for its consulates that either omitted the Falkland Islands from their territory or showed the Falklands in a different colour like the '1882 Latzina Map' - successfully used by Chile in their Beagle Island Dispute with Argentina. The UK government has offered to go to the Courts of International Justice with Argentina on three occasions over ownership of the Falklands. Argentina refused to take up any of the offers. The 'Great Malvinas Lie' has only been used since the time of Peron to stir up nationalist feelings. The Argentine claim to the Falkland Islands is no stronger than Canada claiming Alaska because it's closer. Argentine politicians are aware of this but keep using the topic to distract their people away from harsh economics, much of which has been caused by poor governance. The 3,000 people of the Falklands have the right to self-determination under the UN charter which is paramount.

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