“Who Is Responsible? Define ‘Responsibility'”: Reactions to the Condor Indictment

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Source: Bandera, 1990 (see below)

… there are different psychological mechanisms by which moral control can be selectively activated or disengaged from inhumane conduct. Self-sanctions can be disengaged by reconstruing detrimental conduct through moral justification, euphemistic labeling, and advantageous contrast with other inhumanities; by obscuring personal agency in detrimental activities through diffusion and displacement of responsibility; by disregarding or misrepresenting the harmful consequences of inhumane conduct; and by blaming and dehumanizing the victims. These mechanisms of moral disengagement operate not only in the perpetration of inhumanities under extraordinary circumstances, but in everyday situations where people routinely perform activities that bring personal benefits at injurious costs to others. –Albert Bandura, Selective Activation and Disengagement of Moral Control (1990)

“A white horse is not a horse” (白馬非馬) –Attributed to Gongsun Long

If all responsibility is imposed on you, then you may want to exploit the moment and want to be overwhelmed by the responsibility; yet if you try, you will notice that nothing was imposed on you, but that you are yourself this responsibility. –Frank Kafka, The Fourth Notebook, 1918

Power without responsibility–the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages. –Rudyard Kipling

“Yo soy responsable político”: “I am politically responsible,” says former Peruvian president Francisco Morales Bermúdez, as an indictment handed down by an Italian court over Italian citizens subjected to extrajudicial execution and disappearance during Operation Condor hits the Transandean TAZ.

La República (Lima) reports.

In a related development, in Brazil, what the Estadão is calling an “unprecedented admission”:

The story comes as NMM prepares its traditional Memes of the Year of the year issue, in which, the buzz has it, “the domino theory of nonresponsibility” has even odds of prevailing over “moral crusades against phantom menaces.”

Fujimori recently argued before the court in its trial on human rights violations that, as commander in chief, he could not be held responsibile for actions taken, or acts of omission and failures of oversight, by military

Unfortunately for Fujimori, his propaganda master Vladimiro Montesinos bribed the Peruvian media to run an astonishing documentary in which Fujimori is portrayed as engaged in direct operational planning and tactical command of the Hunatar rescue. He strides among the smoking corpses. He comments the brilliance of the tactics he himself devised.

And so on. I guess if I were his attorney, I would tell the court that this propaganda broadcast was a lie designed to give credit where credit was not actually due. Otherwise, it tends to undermine his “technically, I was not responsible” theory.

See

Aunque negó que su gobierno haya participado en la “Operación Cóndor” para eliminar a opositores a varias dictaduras latinoamericanas en los años 70 y 80, el general (r) Francisco Morales Bermúdez Cerruti admitió su responsabilidad política en la deportación de tres ciudadanos argentinos de origen italiano.

Although he denied that his government participated in Operation Condor to eliminate opponents of various Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s and 1980s, Gen. Morales Bermúdez (ret.) admitted his political responsibility in the deportation of three Argentine citizens of Italian origin.

Analogy: “Political responsibility” is to what Bubba Clinton and Monica actually got up to as “reponsibility” is to “sexual relations.” Fair assessment of the semantics at work here?

John Dinges, whose book on the subject, based on declassified U.S. archives, claims that Peru was a Condor participant.

Dijo también que si la justicia italiana lo cita irá a ese país, por lo cual se está preparando para ponerse a derecho.

He also said that if the Italian court summons him, he will go to that nation, and is preparing his legal position.

Morales Bermúdez explicó: “En pleno proceso de culminación del proceso democrático fuimos alertados por nuestros propios servicios de inteligencia de la venida de un grupo de montoneros argentinos al Perú. Y mi decisión, como jefe de Estado, fue que esta gente fuera extrañada del país. Esa fue mi decisión política y voy a responder por ella”.

Morales explained: “In the midst of the culmination of the democratic process, we were alerted by our intelligence services of the arrival of group of Argentine montoneros in Peru. My decision, as chief of state, was that these persons be expelled. That was my political decision and I will respond for it.”

El general –incluido en una lista de 140 ciudadanos latinoamericanos denunciados por la justicia de Italia por la desaparición de 25 ciudadanos de ese país– indicó que su única acción fue haber ordenado la expulsión de los extranjeros por considerarlos de alta peligrosidad.

The general — included on a list of 140 Latin American citizens denounced in an Italian court for the disappearance of 25 Italian citizens — indicated that his only action was ordered the expulsion of the foreign citizens because they were considered dangerous.

NO ERA DEL GRUPO

Not a member of the group.

Morales Bermúdez negó que Perú haya tenido como política de Estado formar parte del Plan Cóndor –integrado por Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Brasil y Bolivia–, argumentando que durante su mandato (1975-1980) no había acciones terroristas, pues si bien Sendero Luminoso ya se estaba gestando, durante su gobierno no cometieron ningún acto subversivo.

Morales denied that Peru, as a matter of state policy, was part of the Condor plan — in which Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Bolivia participated — arguing that during his administration (1975-1980) there were no terrorist activities, since, though the Sendero Luminoso movement was building, it committed no subversive acts during his term in office.

“Yo no podía tomar ninguna actitud contra Sendero desde el punto de vista físico, ni encarcelar a la gente ni menos desaparecer a la gente como se hacía en el sur, porque eran ideas y no había actos terroristas para tomar acciones de otro tipo”, refirió.

“I could take no action against the Shining Path from the physical point of view, nor jail anyone, much less disappear anyone, as was done in the South (in Argentine, Uruguay and Paraguay), because these were ideas and not terrorist acts that you could take that type of action against,” he said.

In Brazil, military intelligence officers conducted a terrorist campaign against cultural institutions — publishing houses, theaters, and the abortive attack on a pop concert at the Riocentro — in the name of a “war of ideas.”

(As Gaspari narrates, as well as Lucas Figueiredo: O Ministerio do Silêncio; LF won an Esso Prize this year. For what the Esso Prize is worth: O Globo also won for a highly dubious gabbling ratfink piece.)

Insistió en que lo único que hizo su gobierno fue decidir la deportación de los “montoneros para que no complicaran la vida política del Perú”, que en ese momento estaba culminando un proceso de transición democrática.

He insisted that the only thing his government did was decide to deport the “montoneros in order not to complicate Peru’s political life,” which at that moment was reaching the culmination of a democratic transition.

More of a transition to anarchy, practically speaking.

“Mi decisión política fue el extrañamiento de esas personas. Como jefe de Estado, persona y como cristiano que soy nunca pude ordenar que se torture a la gente, en la vida pude ordenar semejante cosa, mi decisión fue extrañar a los montoneros del país”, sostuvo.

“My political decision was to deport these persons. As chief of State, as a person and the Christian I am, I could never order the torture of people, in my life could I order such a thing, my decision was to deport the montoneros,” he maintained.

FUNCIONES DELEGADAS

Delegated functions

En su defensa, el general Morales Bermúdez dijo que si bien no ordenó que se torture a los argentinos detenidos, no puede descartar que esto se haya producido sin su consentimiento. “Mi política de Estado nunca pudo ser que se torture gente y si se hizo que se investigue y que se castigue a los que torturaron”.

In his defense, the general said that although he did not order the torture of the Argentines detained, he could not deny that that torture could not have taken place without his consent. “My policy could never have been to torture people and if this happened it was investigated and those who tortured were to be punished.”

Gaspari recounts the struggle making a similar policy prevail during the Geisel years in Brazil — when the boundary between “on the reservation” and “off the reservation” activities (that DMZ-TAZ where the hog heaven of the hard men lives) got awfully, awfully blurry.

The dispute human rights record of Thaksin in Thailand involves a similar problem of political responsibility.

Thaksin was politically repsonsible for the conduct of his armed forces. His armed forces allegedly committed atrocities. Therefore Thaksin — who was overthrown by those same armed forces — is co-responsible for their acts. Gets confusing, does it not?

Are there any Thai military men defending their role in the coup with the Colonel von Stauffenberg Rationale (tried to blow up Hitler, appalled by Final Solution), I wonder?

Aclaró que si bien él ordenó la deportación, delegó en otras personas las gestiones necesarias. “Yo no tomé la decisión directa. Yo fui informado después de que se les había entregado a Bolivia, con todos los cánones de la ley y con actas de presencia”.

He explained that although he ordered the deportation, he delegated to others the necessary administrative measures. “I did not take the decision directly. I was informed afterwards that they had been handed over to Bolivia, with all the legal formalities and documentation.”

Manifestó que si bien el gobierno boliviano de entonces no le generaba desconfianza, él hubiera elegido otro país, como México, para la expulsión de los ciudadanos argentinos. “Pero en la parte ejecutiva yo no fui consultado. Yo tenía que delegar mis funciones políticas como debe hacer un presidente”.

He said that although he felt no distrust of the Bolivian government at the time, he would have chosen another country, such as Mexico, to receive the deported Argentine citizens. “But as the executive-branch part of the procedure I was not consulted. I had to delegate my political functions, as a president ought to do.”

What is the good of being a self-proclaimed dictator (1975) unless you use your dicatorial powers to dictate?

Sin embargo, insistió en que él es responsable político de todo lo que pasó en el Perú durante su gobierno y por eso se está preparando para ponerse a derecho si se concede la extradición. E incluso si ésta es denegada, afirmó tener la voluntad de viajar a Italia a declarar si le financian el pasaje en avión.

However, he repeated that he is politically responsible for all that occurred in Peru during his government, for which reason he is preparing a legal defense if he is extradited. Even if extradition [to Italy] is denied, he says he would like to go to Italy to give a statement, if the Italians will pay his airfare.

Varios indicios vinculan a Perú

Numerous indications of Peru’s involvement.

El ex diputado Gustavo Espinoza Montesinos fue testigo de excepción de la detención de un ciudadano argentino en el Perú, como parte de lo que dice fue el inicio de la “Operación Cóndor”. La primera semana de marzo de 1977 compartió celda con Juan Carlos Maguid, un catedrático que huyó de su país acosado por la dictadura del general Rafael Videla y trabajaba como docente en la Universidad Católica.

Former federal lawmaker Espinoza Montesinos was a firsthand witness to the detention of an Argentine citizen in Peru as part of what he says was the beginning of Operation Condor. In the first week of March 1977 he was sharing a cell with Juan Carlos Maguid, a university lecturer who fled his country because of persecution by Rafael Videla and worked as an instructor at the Catholic University.

Recordó que Maguid fue liberado alrededor del 7 de marzo, pero cinco semanas después fue nuevamente detenido mientras esperaba un vehículo en una de las calles de Lima, desapareciendo hasta hoy. Según Espinoza su detención y la de tres ciudadanos argentinos en junio de 1980 –que forman parte de la denuncia de las autoridades italianas– son indicios de la vinculación peruana con la Operación Cóndor.

He recalled that Maguid was freed around March 7, but five weeks later was rearrested while waiting for a ride on a Lima street, and was never seen again. According to Espinoza, his detention, and that of three Argentine citizens in 1980 — part of the charges brought by the Italians — are evidence of Peruvian involvement in Condor.

Dinges presents documents on is Web site whose contents are characterized as follows:

Documents obtained in Chile demonstrates that Peru was a member of Operacion Condor as of April 1978. In June 1980, in one of the final “phase 2” operations of Condor, Peru collaborated with Argentinian agents of the Intelligence Batallion 601 in the kidnapping, torture and disappearance of a group of Montoneros living in exile in Lima.

Reading.

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The Glory of Fujimori: Inspecting the smoking corpses of Chavín de Húantar, he is born away in triumph upon the shoulders of his centurions. Triumph has a TV-mythical national father, but inconvenient “behind the music” truths are a CNN satellite that never falls to earth. Source: El Mercurio (Chile)

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