Argentina: prison terms for Operation Condor

Argentina’s last dictator, Reynaldo Bignone, and other former military officers were sentenced to prison on May 27 for their roles in Operation Condor in the 1970s. The criminal court in Buenos Aires handed Bignone a 20-year prison term on top of his previous sentences for crimes against humanity. The trial began with 22 defendants, but five died or were absolved. According to attorneys for advocacy groups, this was an important step in human rights because "it is the first time the existence of Operation Condor has been proved in court." Operation Condor was a multi-state campaign that created and sanctioned death squads from South American countries to kidnap, torture and kill political opponents from each others' countries who had fled their country of origin. Evidence was produced during the trials that showed the US was aware of Operation Condor and played a role.

From Jurist, May 28. Used with permission.

School of the Americas link to Operation Condor

Prosecutors based their case against the Operation Condor defendants partly on declassified US intelligence documents showing how the South American regimes worked together to track down political exiles in neighboring countries and kill them or have them sent back to their home countries. The various regimes communicated for this purpose using a telex system dubbed "Condortel." Officers were trained to use it at the infamous School of the Americas in Panama, a US training center that drilled repressive Latin American regimes in counter-insurgency tactics. (Al Jazeera)