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Thanks to Johnathan Schwarz, I saw this piece by Robert Parry, in which he reports that Ronnie was aware that his Argentine-dictator friends were murdering leftists and giving their babies to military personnel. Why is this is now getting attention (to the extent that it's getting attention)? Because two former dictators -- Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone -- have been convicted. This is so rare these days it might be hard to recognize; it's called accountability.

The conviction of two former dictators for the systematic stealing of babies from political prisoners 30 years ago is a big step in Argentina's effort to punish that era's human rights abuses...

Please note that the SF Chronicle manages to ignore the fact that Reagan championed the Argentinian junta as it waged its dirty war against leftist opponents, killing tens of thousands. The military rulers, reports Parry, were pioneers in monstrosity, employing torture techniques that other Latin American regimes would adopt.

the military’s intelligence officers also advanced Nazi-like methods of torture by testing the limits of how much pain a human being could endure before dying. The torture methods included experiments with electric shocks, drowning, asphyxiation and sexual perversions, such as forcing mice into a woman’s vagina. Some of the implicated military officers had trained at the U.S.-run School of the Americas.
The baby-stealing was one of the dirtier parts of the dirty war, and Parry informs us that it was no secret to Reagan.
Testimony at the trial included a videoconference from Washington with Elliott Abrams, then-Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, who said he urged Bignone to reveal the babies’ identities as Argentina began a transition to democracy in 1983.

Abrams said the Reagan administration “knew that it wasn’t just one or two children,” indicating that U.S. officials believed there was a high-level “plan because there were many people who were being murdered or jailed.”

A human rights group, Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, estimates that the government stole 500 babies between 1976 and 1983. Some of the women were kept alive just long enough to give birth, and then killed along with other prisoners. A favored killing technique was to push them out of planes.
One of the most notorious cases involved Silvia Quintela, a leftist doctor who attended to the sick in shanty towns around Buenos Aires. On Jan. 17, 1977, Quintela was abducted off a Buenos Aires street by military authorities because of her political leanings. At the time, Quintela and her agronomist husband Abel Madariaga were expecting their first child.

According to witnesses who later testified before a government truth commission, Quintela was held at a military base called Campo de Mayo, where she gave birth to a baby boy. As in similar cases, the infant then was separated from the mother.

What happened to the boy is still not clear, but Quintela reportedly was transferred to a nearby airfield. There, victims were stripped naked, shackled in groups and dragged aboard military planes. The planes then flew out over the Rio de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean, where soldiers pushed the victims out of the planes and into the water to drown.

But hey, the U.S. had to stop the spread of communism. It had no choice but to get in bed with neo-Nazis who stole people's babies and pushed them out of planes. Schwarz:
What's especially interesting about this is how incredibly lurid it is – it would obviously grab the attention of any normal human being – yet somehow, as Parry points out, the whole subject is of no interest to the current rotation of U.S. elites. If you asked them about it at a party they could barely keep their eyes open even as they told you they were flying off to Dubai tomorrow out of Reagan National Airport.
While we should blast Reagan for enabling such horror, we should also recognize that the United States currently supports some of the most brutal regimes on the planet, including one that recently beheaded a man for "witchcraft."

Originally posted to david mizner on Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 02:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Inherent Human Rights.

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