Letter from Lhasa, number 328. State Terrorism. Operation Condor
by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi
McSherry, J. P., Predatory States. Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., Oxford, UK, 2005.
J. Patrice McSherry
Operation Condor was a covert operation of State Terrorism under U.S. management, started in the 1970s, and initially involving the military regimes of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil. They were later joined by Ecuador and Peru. In addition to internal State Terrorism, military and paramilitary commandos hunted refugees and exiles in other Latin American countries, as well as in the USA and Europe, so with clear cooperation of the U.S. and European governments when they operated in their respective countries. A few exceptions apart, nobody assassinates or makes to disappear anybody without the agreement and cooperation of the country where a foreign Death Squad operates. In the year 1980, Condor operations started also in Central America.
There was another member of Condor, the decisive one, the USA. (McSherry 2005, p. 162). It was such an obvious member that it did not appear as such. The role of the US puppet-master was so natural, too much visible, that it seemed as invisible.
For instance, when, on 6 October 1975, there was the assassination attempt of the Chilean Christian Democrat leader Bernardo Leighton and his wife, Ana Fresno, in Rome, Italy, that could not be realized without the active help of the Italian government and its Carabinieri-NATO. Both the targets were seriously injured and remained disabled for their whole life.
Idem, mutatis mutandis, in the USA, as well as in other countries, no foreign terrorism, overall the State terrorism of allied countries, could be implemented without the complicity and active cooperation of the indigenous State/government. Of course, this cooperation is absolutely hidden. Such cooperation was usually explicit, or easily detectable, in other Latin American countries while it was more covert elsewhere.
The Condor system enjoyed also of specific detention and torture centres. Nothing changes in the US&British-organized and -managed State Terrorism.
“OPERATION CONDOR WAS A SECRET INTELLIGENCE and operations system created in the 1970s through which the South American military states shared intelligence and seized, tortured, and executed political opponents in one another’s territory. Inspired by a continental security doctrine that targeted ideological enemies, the military states in the Condor system engaged in terrorist practices to destroy the “subversive threat” from the left and defend “Western, Christian civilization.” The Condor apparatus was a secret component of a larger, U.S.-led counterinsurgency strategy to preempt or reverse social movements demanding political or socioeconomic change.” (McSherry 2005, p. 1).
The USA always opposed and overthrew whatever even only limited modernizing government in whatever Latin America country, if it moved in same way against some US interest. Later they exploited the same Cuban Castroism for favouring, by the intermediation of the Cuban government, guerrilla movements in the whole Latin American and so fighting them under the excuse of the fight against ‘communism’.
The Cuban ‘revolution’ can be read in this way. US-British interests financed the overthrow of Batista by the guerrilla led from the then no-communist Fidel Castro. A guerrilla movement costs a lot of money. Castro was funded from US-British interests. Immediately later, since Castro was apparently damaging some immediate interests of some U.S. companies, he was progressively pushed into the arms of the Soviet Union and the “Socialist field”. Cuban, previously an offshore appendage of the USA, was now hetero-managed by a Soviet Union strategically subordinated to the US and British Empires.
In this way, the USA consolidated Castroism as an under-developmentalist leadership of Cuba. The embargo was and is a help to Castroism, and to the overwhelming Cuban backward bureaucracy, not a strike against it.
It is simply not credible that a Cuba totally subordinate to the “Socialist field” help could subvert Latin America without USSR and ...US-British agreement. More that agreement, it was USA-UK will.
Yes, there is the usual and sounding tale of the US aggression against Cuba. The USA and the UK are masters in the advertising and propaganda industry.
For example, the 17 April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion failed only because the USA firstly sponsored the operation, it was badly organized from the CIA, and later the US government did not provide sufficient support to the landed anti-Castroist troops. Not casually, “in August 1961, during an economic conference of the Organization of American States in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Che Guevara sent a note to Kennedy via Richard N. Goodwin, a secretary of the White House. It said: "Thanks for Playa Girón. Before the invasion, the revolution was weak. Now it's stronger than ever."” (from wikipedia).
Nothing is casual. If you want to strengthen a regime, you just need to provoke some irreversible failure of those opposing it. It was what the USA did by the 17 April 1961 Bay of Pigs operation.
‘Socialist’ Cuba, not anymore opened to the US entertainment industry, provoked the going back of this prosperous industry to the USA. A Cuba pushed to some sterile Latin America subversion was used as an excuse for the massive State Terrorism in the whole Latin America. There were also other US and their clients’ covert initiatives for pushing Latin American movements to some form of guerrilla and terrorism. Even the Forth International of Mandel-Maitan was used for this purpose, mobilized again (already in Algeria and for other covert activities) from the US&British governments by indigenous military Secret Police agencies and companies.
It was the usual scheme. If you want to fight terrorism, first you need creating it. If you want to keep your clients underdeveloped, a possible way, one of the possible techniques, is a condition of permanent internal civil war.
Cuba had no real interest in promoting terrorism in Latin America or elsewhere in the world. It was pushed to it from the US and British Empires, although the Cuban role have been considerably overvalued and mystifies. The Cuban State/government knew it was just playing a dirty game. It used the Empires’ dirty game for its own dirty games.
For instance, Che Guevara was considered in Cuba just an arrogant Argentinean to be in same way liquidated, as soon as possible. The Cuban growing ‘socialist’ and backward bureaucracy did not tolerate him while it had no problem with the logorrheic Fidel Castro.
Not casually, Che Guevara was finally sent to Bolivia, in an area where a successful agrarian reform let no space for whatever external subversion. The Che Guevara guerrilla comrades, in Bolivia were just agents of Cuban Secret Services, so obeying to the orders of the Cuban government, plus an agent of the GDR Secret Service (Tamara Bunke), plus a cover composed of Bolivians and some other Latin Americans (http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/che/bolivia-guerrillas.htm). What were they doing there? Just showing that Che Guevara was an idiot (as international guerrilla fighter), the theory of the “foco guerrillero” a delirium, and let Che Guevara die as result of his inaptitude and of the Cuban government will. Since many people do not understand easily, it was fruitful to create for them a Che Guevara myth for contemporary and further generations of manipulatable fools.
The liquidation of Che Guevara in Bolivia was de facto a joint Cuban-CIA operation. The successive deification of Che Guevara has the same characteristics of the deification of Lenin de facto defeated from Stalin. His assassination was wanted from the Cuban government and, after assassinated, he has been used for the Castroist-Cuban rhetoric and propaganda. He was transformed in an empty icon. So, his assassination had a double advantage for Cuba.
The Che Guevara voluntarism was incompatible with Cuban bureaucratism. In addition, and as a consequence of that, he was stigmatized as an arrogant Argentinean. The real Cuba refused him. Since he identified himself with an imaginary Cuba, he could be removed only assassinating him in some covert way. Given his suicide instincts, he helped the Cuban butchers’ work.
The Che Guevara case was a sui generis (since he was an Argentine) case of Cuban intra-State/government fighting, with this Argentine-Cuban Che Guevara sent away just for being freely assassinated. In Bolivia, he was coming from his Congo failure. In Congo, not differently from wherever in the world, the only guerrilla movements were and are the ones organized from companies or from other States, specifically from the mining companies and connected neo-colonial governments and Empires or sub-Empires.
Che Guevara did not know and did not understand Congo, as he did not know and did not understand Bolivia. Finally, the Bolivia State/government, not differently from Cuba and the USA, exploited ‘his’ suicidal guerrilla for its own purposes.
Many other Latin America guerrilla movements, endogenous ones, included the Marighella one, may be read using the same frame. Internal militaries, in coordination with the USA, needed terrorist movements for reasons of internal State terrorism, a form of consensus according to the frames of the [pseudo-] stabilizing destabilization. So they pushed internal subjects to terrorism. They were aided, in that, from the Cuban government, which had no apparent direct interest to do that. However it de facto helped the CIA and its Latin American militaries to sink Latin America in this screwing, in this clash terrorism=><=anti-terrorism just for helping Latin American militaries, their death squads and their CIA puppet-masters. Also European leftists (a case study is that of the Mandel-Maitan Fourth International), clearly manipulated on US-British behalf by their European clients (NATO countries and militaries), contributed to this craziness.
All that was very useful for keeping Latin American underdeveloped and absolutely subordinated to the USA-UK. Mutatis mutandis, the same pattern is followed everywhere in the world, where there are not developmental oligarchies.
Pseudo-revolutionary icons were very useful for the USA-UK. If you want to keep Latin America under under-developmental regimes with permanent internal wars, you need creating internal and external enemies. Pseudo revolutionaries legitimizing a permanent State terrorism are the best options, in same periods and contexts. For creating pseudo-revolutionaries (masses of manoeuvre), myths are an essential aspect. At the same time, you need someone or something providing weapons and funds. Vehicles for that were, then, foreign leftist organizations and States/countries as Cuba. The CIA and the SIS could not be happier.
Operation Condor was the internationalization, with US help, of State terrorism in single Latin American countries. So, targets were persecuted and hit everywhere in the world, actually not only in Latin America. Obviously, everything was covered by the State secret. The usual State/government [military-, war-] propaganda told that everything was normal, than nothing was happening. Usual pattern.
Paramilitary forces were just official parallel militias. They were government additional apparatuses for special purposes, for State terrorism. The USA provided all kind of assistance and supervised everything.
The use of organized criminality and extremist (and not only extremist) organizations from State/government apparatuses was and is not a novelty. It is everyday practice everywhere in the world.
This US-led death squads’ system struck persons’ supposed ideas, not necessarily illegal acts. A suspect of heterodoxy was automatically guilty and was struck by State terrorism. People was tortured and assassinated on this ground. It is actually the best, from the point of view of the barbarianism State terrorism is. Also the cheka did the same.
This work, (McSherry 2005), tells only one-half of the story.
The US & British world-wide State terrorist web, as well as each single State terrorist web, fights ‘subversion’ while creating it. They use ‘anti-communist’ para-State militias and they use, at the same time, ‘communist’ para-State militias. Of course, they massacre and/or lobotomize people while manipulating them by their leaderships. There are power’s levels were ‘political’ or other differences are just marketing labels.
This is even more visible now, after the 1989 implosion of the Soviet Empire. Not only. The so claimed Italian, Greek etc “communist movements”, WW2 “anti-fascist/nazist” resistance etc were created from the same UK and USA claiming, later, to fight them (not all in the same way, but according to the end 1943 Teheran agreements). If, at the rank-and-file level, that was not perhaps perceived, at the top levels, ideologies etc are just marketing labels.
The Empires create ‘subversion’, criminality etc for justifying State terrorism. It is not true that exploited and super-exploited people rebel. Exploitation and oppression do not provoke rebellion. Whatever organized rebellion is work of power fractions creating and using dissent and subversion for their interests. The same so-called ‘revolutions’ are always work of power fractions and State/government services creating and using them. ‘Revolutions’ always are ex-post story-telling, making sense, for further deceiving people.
It is not a question of infiltration.
Whatever political, trade-unionist, social, religious etc organization either acts as a State/government parallel militia, or is openly taken over or dissolved. Whatever organized criminality or terrorist organization cannot be created and survive without Secret Police agreement and support. Sometimes, or at certain levels, it may not be aware of that. There is the mass of manoeuvre and there are other levels.
At the highest levels there are organic links. When there are ‘honest’ leaders, they are manipulated by hetero-management techniques, or variously liquidated if not manipulatable. It is not a question of single informers, and of infiltrated and recruited agents. If an organized criminality or a terrorist organization is not useful and not manageable, it is immediately liquidated. The State/government plays the game of fighting it. Until it is useful, it is used and covered.
A single person may not be controllable. Collective entities are. Whatever organization is immediately known from intelligence services, from Secret Police agencies, and manipulated from them. It is highly improbable, nearly impossible, it be not. There is decisive technical and historical-factual evidence about that, about both the aspects: to be known, and to be manipulated and managed.
There are also decisive psychological aspects making highly improbable that even a small group be not known from intelligence and police apparatuses. But even in presence of geniuses of clandestinity, there are various forms of detection even from corrupted and inefficient bureaucracies as even intelligence and police apparatuses are or may be. Anyway, apart from science fiction-style arguing, from State/government-create conspiracy theories or a-conspiracy theories, a decisive mark of organized criminality and terrorist groups is precisely that they need to be known. If they are known to their reference areas, they cannot remain invisible to State/government apparatuses. When it seems that, it is simply because they are covered or protected from one or more Secret Police agencies.
A book as this one cannot avoid current stereotypes.
Nobody really worried that Moro (McSherry 2005, pp. 43-45) was including the PCI into formal government. Aldo Moro should become President of the Republic in a few months, since a precise agreement between the DC and the PCI. That was intolerable to Andreotti. He ordered the kidnapping and assassination of Moro and Berlinguer. Berlinguer was alerted from the P2, from Licio Gelli, and he was protected from an impressive PCI armed militia. Moro knew he would have been assassinated. Nobody could protect him. The BR had not the military expertise to liquidate the Moro bodyguard team and to kidnap him. The Andreotti Carabinieri Secret Police provided decisive military help by a Calabria organized criminality clan. Of course an Andreotti Carabinieri Secret Police officer supervised the entire operation, including the Via Fani attack, for removing whatever obstacle and avoiding whatever problem, and for driving it to the conclusion Andreotti wanted.
Not only then the Red Brigades, as well as whatever other organization of that kind, were ‘assisted’ and hetero-managed. Of course, they were liquidated (not completely; State/government may always need them), just they were not anymore useful because State terrorism, in Italy and in the world, assumed different forms.
Was Kissinger worried? Theatre... Low politicking. The Moro liquidation was an Andreotti operation, not a US one. Yes, Andreotti got the USA-UK approval, or not disapproval, with the excuse that Moro was a para-communist. The USA-UK did not worry that Moro were liquidated. They did not like him. So they were complacent or not obstructive relatively to the Andreotti will.
The Gelli’s P2?! The P2 was an Andreotti-Berlinguer partnership. Of course Berlinguer was the subordinate partner. When the USA-UK decided to liquidate it, the names of about one thousand of its affiliates were made public. They were the irrelevant ones. Another couple of thousands was really covered. The lists with their names were never found. If it had been a US-British structure, it would have not been liquidated. Its liquidation was a US-British reprisal against Andreotti.
It should not be difficult to discover why the British Intelligence Service hanged Calvi in London and heavily stole Banco Ambrosiano funds. It was part of the same British campaign against the Andreotti bloc. Something to do with the Falkland war and not only.
The game was more complex, not necessarily rational, and/or with short term rationalities, or apparent rationality, perhaps opposed to long term ones. The USA followed their ‘rationality’. The UK another one. Andreotti nobody can really know which one. The Church, or that specific Pope, his own ‘logic’ perhaps supposing a US support and no opposition from other sides. There were numerous ‘historical’ events in that period, in part obeying to the different logics, in part perhaps difficultly explicable. Sometimes there is the risk of forgetting interests and institutional actors. Other times there is the tendency to overvalue the latter.
Anyway, the CIA could cooperate and have cooperation, in Italy, for its terrorisms because formal government and the Presidency of the Republic used Carabinieri Secret Police services for State terrorism. Of course, this State terrorism had and has NATO assistance and cover. Whatever State terrorist operation usually needed and needs a formal government and Presidency of the Republic secret decree. Mutatis mutandis, it is what happens in whatever other country of the world.
The USA have created the Operation Condor apparatuses and provided worldwide support. However, whatever episode of State terrorism usually needed and needs a specific secret formal decree of the State/government of nationality of each target. Nobody acts without the cover of the State secret, so without a specific and formal order from an institution providing it. State terrorism uses criminal and insane louses. But they are coward too. They do not act without specific orders and covers.
Worldwide similarity with Operation Condor?
State terrorism was and is basically the same, everywhere in the world. The USA and the UK lead it. So they provide full assistance to their client States/governments, and also outside the NATO area, even from formally enemy blocs and State/governments. State terrorism unites all the criminal and insane louses of the world, be them Statesmen/women or ordinary ‘people’. Operation Condor, or Operation Condor-style State Terrorism is nowadays globalized and it is well broader than the little that media let to see and understand.
Banality of crime.
Criminal and insane bureaucracies are not different from the other ones. There is a bureaucratic ‘logic’ in State terrorism in all its forms.
Bureaucracies need more funds and more employees. State terrorism bureaucracies need to expand their activities for getting more funds and employees. So they need to persecute and to assassinate more and more people.
More persecutions and assassinations è more funds and employees.
More funds and employees è more persecutions and assassinations.
YOU pay! YOU are persecuted and assassinated. ...Of course, you hope be somebody else... YOU pay, anyway.
Many State terrorism criminal and insane louses are in need of psychiatric and similar help, despite all the mechanisms of deresponsabilization for making the State terrorist machine as going on without anybody feel responsible for its insanities and crimes. ‘They’ are trying inventing drones and satellites automatically finding out and striking whoever even only with some heretical thought. Perhaps it would be finally easier to replace humanoids with drones, instead of using armed drones for fighting them.
State of denial?
Of course, State terrorism be an immanent reality since a long time and it be in progressive expansion, it denies to exist or it admits just some of its forms. Function of the State secret is to cover State terrorism. The expansion of the State secret witnesses the expansion of State terrorism. The same State secret over the State secret, a Kafkian world, perhaps suggests a progressive implosion of these bureaucracies made of criminal and insane louses speculating over State terrorism. Will they go on expanding themselves while imploding?
Of course, they may also go on without imploding. Future always is uncertain and technology advancements are used without any problem for the expansion of State/government and of its State terrorism.
From the assault to lefts’ governments to supporting them.
The book extensively describes the US assault against lefts’ governments, using local militaries and their terrorism. It does not seem that lefts’ governments later in office in Latin America had undermined the US domination, and its imposed underdevelopment and under-developmentalism.
It was only a big, miserable, game. Yes, the “division of the world”... No, it was and is just propaganda, war propaganda. The world was intentionally divided from the US and British Empires precisely for playing such miserable games. There was and there is no real antagonism to the US and British Empires. The “cold war” was a tragic game for extending the US militarism, for perpetuating the war economy in the USSR, and for freezing the part of the world allocated to the ‘socialist’ area.
Despite the USA-UK formally (apparently) fired their military regimes, in a certain number of countries, firstly in Latin America, for replacing them with formally ‘democratic’ governments, US State terrorism impressively expended its activities. Also the Latin American countries, now claimed as ‘democratic’, do not seem to have seen undermined the power of their military.
State terrorism assumed different forms. Instead of paramilitary death squads, now organized criminality is used while Secret Police agencies obstruct whatever investigation and prosecution on State terrorism crimes. What is the difference?
Instead of torture centres there are now State/government-organized stalking against internal and foreign targets. What previously was visible is now apparently invisible.
Lefts’ formal governments now guarantee the same apartheid societies, the usual chronic underdevelopment, and the traditional subordination to the US and other interests. Some temporary apparent exceptions do not seem to worry too much foreign interests, also because the temporary exceptions are only about some nationalist policies about some economic interest. Since the traditional Latin American apartheid societies are not overcome, Latin American under-developmentalism remains solidly established. Predatory oligarchies remain the same, under formal ‘democratic’ governments.
With ruling classes and militaries under US and other influence, the comprador nature of all the Latin American States/government does not show any weakening. The same Cuba is a lightening example that, with US embargo, there is even more underdevelopment than with US open subordination. In Cuba, there are even stronger predatory bureaucracies although without the traditional comprador ruling classes.
What an achievement that Castroist Cuba is! Nothing works, while claiming ‘socialism’ near the US marine borders. If this is ‘socialism’, that is why the USA are well happy to preserve it, after having pushed the 1959 Cuba into Soviet hands.
“THE CONDOR PROTOTYPE BEGAN TO OPERATE as a transnational state terror organization in late 1973 or early 1974.” (McSherry 2005, p. 69).
It is a classic. If you are assassinated abroad, it is work of the State/government of your formal nationality jointly with the State/government of the State/country where you are. That for whatever other attack and persecution. Exceptions are possible although improbable. Bureaucracies, State terrorist ones included, have mafia-style rules. Real world works in this way. Not in another one. “International relations” work in this way.
They call it “modern State”. However proprietary rules are going on. They are called ‘citizens’ while they are just subjects, as slaves, personal property of what is now called State, with an apparently impersonal bureaucracy, a supposed rule of law. Forms are changed. Not substance. There are not free individuals, apart from in propaganda.
Since in Latin America, as elsewhere, there have been only formal regime changes, State terrorism assassins are very rarely prosecuted, sentenced and jailed. Someone in Argentina. Occasionally in Chile. Generally, nobody worries of even only unmasking State terrorism insane criminals. Millions of louses are sure of their formal unaccountability.
Do you think that a Lula could become a trade-unionist leader in Brazil without providing some decisive cooperation to the State terrorism machine? Impossible... Do you thing that a terrorist (turned infamous just arrested, since she denounced her comrades) as Dilma could later become president of Brazil without extending the usual total cover to the Brazilian State terrorism apparatuses, which are going on in their insane and criminal activities, assassinations included?
Various elements shown in this book show that the Condor networks, alias the US-led terrorism in Latin America, are yet operating and that the various military apparatuses do not tolerate any investigation and interference with their clandestine past and current activities. Now, with civilian governments, the military remains unaccountable.
Condor-style operations are nowadays generalized and super-clandestinized. They are covered by Interpol-agreements and they are implemented by SecretPoliceServices/governments’ direct contacts eventually with the intervention of the US and/or British Embassies/governments. Persecutions assume the form of State/government-organized stalking. Tortures assume the form of electronic targeting. Assassinations are realized in a plurality of usual and unusual ways. Whatever Secret Police agency easily gets worldwide cooperation.
They call it Interpol while it is a Condor-style frame. The legal side of Interpol is a cover for illegal/clandestine State terrorism operations. As in whatever State Terrorism, legal apparatuses are used as a cover for Secret Police agencies, so with special regulations and powers, practising State Terrorism.
Everything began well before the 11 September 2001 attacks ordered from the Christian (evangelic) terrorist Bush, Cheney and others against their same country. There is massive evidence that stacks of lies have been told about the 9/11 and that only the US government could have organized and implemented such attacks.
It is very easy. When there is massive State/government-organized deception (and the USA are not a marginal country), about some terrible events, for charging others with the responsibility of it, that is because the State/government promoting deception is surely guilty.
The post-9/11 US and British Terrorist World War are public affairs with visible and hidden sides. The worst one could think about what these US and British Evil Empires be doing, one would be anyway too naive. They are actually worse and the worst (for what they do), although also the remaining part of the world be what it be. It is only less developed so less powerful.
McSherry, J. P., Predatory States. Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., Oxford, UK, 2005.