Argentina close to verdict on junta’s alleged theft of death-camp babies Dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone face long sentences for alleged plot over political captives’ children – former dictators accused of orchestrating the “theft” of hundreds of babies born to political prisoners in the 1970: After the mothers were killed the babies were handed over to be raised by military families according to the “western and Christian” values that the generals claimed to defend

Argentina's Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. in 2007

Women in Buenos Aires, five years ago, protesting at the children ‘disappeared’ by the ruling junta from the late 70s. Photograph: Eduardo Di Baia/AP

After 12 years and hundreds of hours of testimony an Argentine court is finally poised to pass judgment on former dictators accused of After the mothers were killed the babies were handed over to be raised by military families according to the “western and Christian” values that the generals claimed to defend..

Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, dictators who led the bloody military junta that ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983, face long sentences for allegedly masterminding what prosecutors hope to prove was a predetermined plan to “rescue” new-born babies from their “terrorist” mothers.

After the mothers were killed the babies were handed over to be raised by military families according to the “western and Christian” values that the generals claimed to defend.

Some lower ranking officers have already been convicted for taking the babies. This trial is set to decide whether the crimes were part of a systematic plan ordered from above.

“This will establish once and for all that these infants were not appropriated on a case-by-case basis by low-ranking officers who otherwise couldn’t have children, but that this was a plan decided at the highest level of the dictatorship,” said Alan Iud, a lawyer in the case for the group Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.

The association of now elderly women has, for 30 years, been at the forefront of resolving these crimes and identifying abducted children through DNA tests.

About 500 babies are believed to have been born to women who were held captive in the military’s death camps. So far 105 such children, now all in their 30s, have been united with their biological families by the grandmothers’ association.

Videla, now 86, dismissed the charges last week. “Although I respect them as mothers, the pregnant women mentioned by the prosecution were activists who used their embryonic children as human shields during combat,” he told the court.

The son of one of these murdered mothers, 34-year-old Francisco Madariaga, said he knew from painful personal experience that the plan existed and that the couple who raised him, pretending he was their own, were mixed up in it.

“They formed part of this systematic plan,” Madariaga said. “I lived it, I was breast-fed this. This notion that guerrilla women used their children as shields is something I grew up hearing in that family. It’s just another one of their idiotic excuses and nobody believes it.”

Madariaga, who said he was raised in an extremely violent environment, discovered his true identity only two years ago, through a DNA test, after being found by his father, Abel Madariaga, who had been searching for him for 32 years.

His mother, Silvia Quintela, gave birth to him at the Campo de Mayo army base, where thousands of people were killed. Shortly after giving birth she was sent on a “death flight” in which drugged victims were thrown alive into the freezing waters of the south Atlantic.

The infant Madariaga was handed over to Victor Gallo, an army officer, and his wife, Susana Colombo, both of whom will be sentenced on Thursday along with other former officers.

Iud said: “A guilty verdict would be very important because if the existence of a plan is proven then these cases will be classified as crimes against humanity.”

Among the accused is Jorge Acosta, the navy captain in charge of the ESMA (La Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada) torture and death camp, in Buenos Aires, where about 5,000 people were murdered and where many of the pregnant mothers were taken from other camps to give birth.

Long sentences are expected as well for a number of other former high-ranking officers, including Jorge Magnacco, a doctor, who delivered many of the babies born at the ESMA camp.

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About ottwf

The capitalistic and imperialistic system and its systematic aims: profit and power over others, still dominates our world and not the aims of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as 1948 agreed! After the world-economic-crisis after 1929 and the following World-War the world hat decided with agreeing the Universal Declaration of Human rights, to create a new world order; conflicts should be solved with peaceful means, not nations and their power, but the dignity of human beings around the world should be the aim of the policies and the economy, of every state and the community of states. But soon after the end of the war, when the victims and destruction were forgotten, all continued as before, with all risks, we had seen before. The split in rich an poor is getting bigger and bigger. We also overuse our global environment already, even if the big majority of mankind still lives in poverty! We are not victims, this world is men-made and be changed from men and women! It will be possible, if those, who do not want or serve (because of system-pressure) profits first, but want for themselves and everybody a life in human dignity unite and develop in a global base-democratic movement a common vision for our world, and learn, how to make this vision real. We need for it a big empowerment of many, many common men and women and their activities. Our chances are because of new communication technologies, of common languages, of the level of education and the mixture of people from different backgrounds better then ever. The occupy-movement is a good start for such a global movement. We support it and try to contribute to its success! We choose news and make comments and so try to unite people for an Occupy-Think-Tank: Its tasks: creating a news-network, self-education, working on global-reform programs and learning to organize projects for those, who are suffering. Join us, so that we can build teams for these aims for all subjects and countries as a base for the unification. We have Wan(n)Fried(en) in our name, because it means When peace and it is a modification of the name of the town our base is, in Wanfried, a small town in the middle of Germany, where we can use a former factory for our activities. Our telefon: 0049-5655-924981, mobil: 0171-9132149, email: occupy-think-tank@gmx.de
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