From 1976 to 1983, a military dictatorship ruled Argentina. During those years, the military and intelligence agencies of Argentina conducted what came to be known as the “Dirty War” against opponents of the regime including activists, students, trade unionists, and other civilians. As many as 30,000 people were “disappeared” during this period, seized by security forces, taken to clandestine prisons, and executed. Hundreds of children born in captivity were taken from their mothers and given, as infants, to military personnel.
Judicial processes in Argentina to prosecute those responsible for some of these crimes have been moving forward in recent years. And efforts are underway to identify some of the children, now adults in their 20s and 30s, who were taken from their mothers, and to put them in contact with family members.
In August of 2002, the U.S. State Department released declassified documents related to the Dirty War in Argentina. (Most of these documents are available through the National Security Archive.) Human rights groups, Members of Congress and others called on the U.S. intelligence community, which had close links to intelligence services in Argentina and elsewhere in the Southern Cone, to complement the State Department release by revealing information in their possession about human rights abuses during that period.
Ten years later, the U.S. intelligence community has still failed to come forward and share what information it might have that would enable justice and help identify children.
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) has introduced an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2012 that would correct this problem, by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to share relevant information with the Congressional Intelligence Committees.
WOLA strongly endorses Rep. Hinchey’s amendment, which is likely to come up for a vote within the next few days.
For more information, please contact Geoff Thale, Program Director, at 202-797-2171 or [email protected]