Operation Condor trial resumes in Argentina
The Operation Condor trial is set to continue in Argentina on March 25 when relatives of the Chilean victims take the stand to present testimony. The proceeding is investigating the kidnapping, disappearance and assassination of 106 opponents to the southern cone military dictatorships including Argentinians, Paraguayans, Chileans, Bolivians, Peruvians and Uruguayans.
During the early seventies, the infamous Operation Condor, also known as Plan Condor, was an international coordination of the various then-existing military dictatorships’s political police to secretly and quickly extradite political prisoners – no matter what their nationality was – then interrogate, torture and later execute them. With the help and counsel of Cuban terrorists, the conspiracy network also included international attacks and the scheming of news report to justify some of their most notorious crimes.
According to a number of reports from Latin American news outlets, the prosecution of 25 agents, police and high ranking Argentinian officials is expected to include 450 witnesses and will last for at least two years. Among those indicted are the late Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Benito Bignone.
The general prosecutor of Operation Condor, Pablo Ouviña traveled to Chile last year to conference with families of the 23 victims. Some of the relatives will travel to Argentina others will testify via video from the Argentinian Embassy in Santiago. Last year, judges Adrian Grünberg, Oscar Amirante, Paul Laufer and Ricardo Basílico ordered the unification of four lawsuits related to the case.
It is not clear if the judges will summon Henry Kissinger to testify in the case.
According to a declassified cable of Sept. 16, 1976 uncovered by the National Security Archive, Kissinger refused to send a warning to the military dictatorships in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay about stopping Operation Condor and ordering the State Department: “no further action be taken on this matter.” With Kissinger, then Secretary of State, looking the other way, Condor became one of the biggest international terrorist conspiracy networks ever created in the Americas that included kidnappings and assassinations, such as the car bombing that killed Allende’s diplomat Orlando Letelier and his aid Ronni Moffitt five days after Kissinger’s instructions. Before 9/11, the Washington DC’s Embassy Row bombing – by Chilean and Cuban terrorists lead by CIA agents Michael Townley and Novo Sampol – was the boldest terrorist attack ever on US soil.