Monday, July 16, 2007

Trial Against Accused Catholic Priest Torturer Begins in Argentina

A much awaited human rights abuse trial is underway in Argentina. The accused is a catholic priest charged with carrying out human rights abuses while working in several clandestine detention centers during the nation's 1976 to 1983 military dictatorship. The priest has been under arrest for 4 years ago while living under a false alias in Chile. This is the latest human rights trial of accused torturer since the landmark conviction of a former police officer for genocide in 2006.

Former Chaplin Christian Von Wernich wore a priest's collar and bullet proof vest as he sat behind reinforced glass in a federal court. The court clerk read charges accusing him of collaborating with state security agents and covering up crimes in seven deaths, 31 cases of torture and 42 cases of illegal imprisonment. He answered basic court questions but refused to testify in the case, “Following the advice of Dr. Jerollini who is my lawyer. I am not going to declare. And I am not going to accept questions.”

At least 120 witnesses are slated to testify against Von Wernich and the court has taken precautions to protect their safety, putting up police fences around the court house and installing metal detectors. In the front row of the court room's audience, representatives from the human rights organization Mothers of Plaza de Mayo sat with their white headscarves listening to the court's accusations.

According to Nora Cortinas, president of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo – Linea Fundadora, the Catholic Church supported the crimes committed during the dictatorship.

“The heads of the Catholic Church participated in the dictatorship. Many priests were chaplains inside the barracks of the concentration camps. We want to point out that there is a sector from the church that didn't have anything to do with the dictatorship, on the contrary they supported us and reported the crimes committed at the time. But most of the representatives from the church participated in the celebration of death and torture.”

Journalist Horacio Verbisky recently published a book on the Catholic Church's involvement with the military dictatorship. Outside the courthouse, hundreds of human rights advocates rallied, demanding a severe sentence for the Catholic Priest. At one point, Von Wernich interrupted head judge Carlos Rozanski, saying he couldn't hear the accusations against him because protestors could be heard yelling 'Assassin' from outside the courtroom.

Christina Valdez's, whose husband was kidnapped and disappeared in La Plata in 1976, describes how she felt seeing Von Wernich on trial. “Looking at Von Wernich is looking at the face of a murderer. I suppose that all the relatives of the disappeared must feel a similar sensation: a certain impunity because one has to sit and swallow down everything that he or she feels in that moment. You can't yell at the murderer, you can't scream assassin.”

This is only the third human rights trial since Argentina's supreme court struck down amnesty laws in 2005 protecting military personnel who served during the 7-year dictatorship. Human rights organizations worry that judicial roadblocks and an atmosphere of fear may provide former members of the military dictatorship a window to escape conviction.

Nora Cortinas says that Argentines do not wish to live with a justice system of impunity. “What we want is for the trials to speed up a little bit and not be tried on a case by case basis. And that the government takes responsibility to help end the threats against witnesses, judges, and lawyers. So that we can really say that there's justice in this country.”

Von Wernich's trial is expected to go on for two months. Human rights groups are preparing events to demand the safe return Julio Lopez, a key witness who helped convict a former officer for life, but who disappeared nearly a year ago.

Listen to interview on Uprising Radio: Clergyman on trial for human rights crimes

Marie Trigona



Anonymous said...

Los invito a leer "Mi amiguito Adolfo Hitler", cliqueando sobre CRISTIANAZISMO

beatroot said...

The catholic church has contradictory history in ‘Latin’ the Mediterranean it has allied itself often with authoritarians such as Franco. In Latin America we saw the growth of libertarian Marxism.

So, all in all, there is nothing about Catholicism that is fundamentally authoritarian.

This guy, however, appears to be a right shithead…

John Brown said...


Come on, man. Catholocism is a hierarchy in which the leaders demand submission and obedience on the basis of a book written by an invisible man in the sky.

Saying that religion isn't authoritarian is like saying ice cream isn't cold.

Frank Partisan said...

Marie's post shows some individuals within the Catholic church in Argentina, opposed the dictatorship. As an institution in Argentina, it supported the government.

Beatroot: Orwell was clear about the role of the church during the Spanish civil war.

The Liberation Theology movement that was mostly based in Central America, isn't active at this time, since denounced by the Vatican.

beakerkin said...

Maybe anti-Communists should run around with this man's picture on our shirts. That still leave us far brighter than the dolts who still revere Che.

John Brown should do stand up comedy as the insane Communist dog.
A man who praises Castro, Chavez, FARC, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Taliban is complaining about authoritarianism in religon.

Where is the trial for the Sandanista massacre of the Indians?
I get it when Commies butcher people we feign ignorance.

Larry Gambone said...

The Church hierarchy in Chile also supported the dictatorship, while individual priests were with the people. So far as I know, none of the pro-Pino types in the Church have had to answer for it yet.

Frank Partisan said...

Beak would look good in a Chaplin Christian Von Wernich t-shirt. That is his style.

It matches his Ghouliani t-shirt.

Aaron A. said...

I was going to hesitantly defend the Catholic Church based solely upon the merit of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but then again he's Anglican and a scarcity.

Graeme said...

What does the church today have to say about this? Condoms are bad maybe.

kartun said...

nice blog! ;)

Craig Bardo said...

I am no fan of and certainly not an apologist for the Catholic church. But let's say that this particular preist is guilty at some level of wrong doing, it is difficult to make the case that the church is guilty. That's like saying because Cheerios are round and float on milk, that all breakfast cereal is round and floats on milk, which is not true.

You can make more of a case of church complicity with the sex abuse scandals in North America, but even there, you can't make the case that it is church policy to abuse children.

Marie presents much of her "evidence" in this article as fact or has having the weight of fact like: 120 witnesses (which could probably be bought with fewer than that number of Argentine pesos), the Verbisky book that could be as true as the Word of God but could also be as error ridden as a Chomsky or Finklestein fiction and the bit about the preist not being able to hear the charges over the shouts of asesino is a bit melodramatic.

Von Wernich could be as guilty as sin, but it doesn't necessarily condemn or implicate the Catholic church and has absolutely no bearing on the value of Christianity and organized religion, which seems to be the underlying theme of leftists in general and Marie in particular.

beakerkin said...


It is far better to deal class genocide to commies than to sit around and wait for Katyn. Then again if one is Jim Jones you can do both.

Of course we will not go into the peversion of Liberation theology and the Commieknoll disorder. Then again only the incoherent would support regimes that persecute Catholics like Cuba.

Frank Partisan said...

kartun: Thank you for visiting.

Aaron: The church is not on trial yet.

Graeme: Read at Marie's blog her writing about abortion.

CB: When Marie writes a post, her writing is often going around the world. On issues in Argentina related to the crimes of the junta, she is the go to person. If she says it involved the church as an institution, she has more to answer to than just the readers on this blog.

During the Falklands War most of the left had an incorrect position, that poor Argentina is against imperialist UK. Argentina is not a country that 120 witnesses can be bought for cheap. Argentina is an imperialist country.

Horacio Verbitsky book was based on the confession of a naval officer involved in the junta. Is the Chomsky you were talking about the one who won the libel suit last year against "The Guardian" in the UK?

beakerkin said...


No CB is talking about the Noam Chomsky that admitted to forging Truman quotes and was called an intellectual crook by Arthur Schlessiger. He is talking about the Chomsky that called eyewitnesses to Pol Pots greatest hits liars based upon a communist publication in Australia with a readership of less than 100. The Chomsky who lied about stating that he claimed there was a Nazi US alliance. When the tape was produced he spun.

Lets see one source is considered valid when it agrees with you. However, Junglemom who witnessed plenty is considered not valid. How about the statements of hundreds leaving whose testimony is identical.

A person that praises Castro, Chavez and the butcher of Kulaks is worried about Rudy. You are almost as divorced from reality as John Brown. Have you considered stand up as a new career.

Frank Partisan said...

I'm not going to rehash Chomsky on this thread.

beatroot said...

I am reading a great book abort the Spanish Civil War at the moment, by Anthony Beever, and for sure Catholic Church was on Franco’s side. As I already said in my comment.

But Liberation theology showed the possibility of Catholicism being used in a different way.

There is nothing about religion that is fundamentally authoritarian. In fact, religion was the first way human’s came up with for thinking about stuff outside of themselves…for thinking about stuff which was not obvious. Marx hit it on the head with his famous lines.

Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Marx there is not saying ‘religion is shit..’ He is saying that it is something profoundly human, coming from real human experience…the point is to go beyond that…

John Brown said...

The kulaks had to go, Beak. That's where Stalin and Trotsky came to blows.

Not surprisingly, you come down with Stalin. Perhaps that explains your support today for Drug Dealers and Sexual Perverts like Ghouliana!

Who among us thinks Rudy's probably got a bevy of STDs?

MUMIA in 2008

beatroot said...

And Ren, what the hell does this mean?

During the Falklands War most of the left had an incorrect position, that poor Argentina is against imperialist UK. Argentina is not a country that 120 witnesses can be bought for cheap. Argentina is an imperialist country.

Oh, come on! I was in a small minority in UK that opposed the Falklands War. It was the first thing I ever did politically. I was not long out of school. I got called ‘traitor’ many times, and was physically attacked in a pub for my trouble…

Yes, the junta in Argentina in those days was a nasty military dictatorship….but Las Malvinas was Argentina’s … up until the British empire swallowed it up. The fact that Argentina wanted what was their’s back from a colonialist power like Britain (Thatcher trying to defend an empire that no longer existed) was something all Leftists in those days had to support. Many in the UK were too gutless too, alas.

Argentina a colonialist power? Don’t make me laugh…

beakerkin said...

All right lets look at this logic. The above post is based primarily on one source. What makes this source more valid than the eyewitness account of Junglemom and the scores I see at work that disagree with you.

People do not vote with their feet without good reason.

John Brown proves once again what homicidal lunatics you are. The Kulaks had to die but this man is guilty of what?? The Cubans that resisted collectivization had to die by Che's hand and this man is guilty of what?

Sounds like a clear cut case of self defense.

Frank Partisan said...

Beatroot: I'm not jumping on the bash religion per se bandwagon. I find it to be a diversion, from talking about bigger issues. I don't want to turn into a Christopher Hitchens, with left rhetoric to cover a reactionary agenda.

I didn't use the word colonialist about Argentina, I used the word imperialist. with major manufacturing and agricultural interests, Argentina is not a colonial country. The best article on this issue is Ted Grant on Falklands. Ted was alone in not seeing the war as an anti-colonial issue. To start with on the Falklands no Spanish is spoken. The small population there have no identity with Argentina. That doesn't mean supporting Britain, or think democracy had anything to do with why the junta fell. The national question is not about nations, it's about real people. The whole issue was created by the junta, to detract from its opposition in the working class. The left had goofy slogans as "sink the fleet".

John Brown said...

Trotsky wrote, "We are of the opinion that atheism, as an inseparable element of the materialist view of life, is a necessary condition for the theoretical education of the revolutionist. He who believes in another world is not capable of concentrating all his passion on the transformation of this one."

I agree with him.

When Marx writes that religion, "is the fantastic realization of the human essence." he's not saying that religion comes from "human experience," Beat.

He's saying the exact opposite. He's saying that religion ignores reality and focuses only on the "human essense," whatever that means.

Religion is the "fantastic realization" of a human essence that bears nothing in common with material reality.

It divorces the people from material reality. It confuses with incessant talk about Neverland and submission to an all-knowing Sky-Goblin!

CB's right: you can't make broad generalizations about the church from this one torturer.

How has the church responded to the great crises of the last 500 years? How did they behave regarding the rape and genocide of 'America'? How about the slave trade?

The holocaust? The Pope is a Nazi. It's always good to remember that.

Because of the inherently Socialist message that one can cherry-pick from any religion, there are good examples: Bishop Tutu, Romero, Aristide, and so on.

But by and large, the church falls on the wrong side of struggle. I submit that the reason is institutional: the church is a hierarchy based on obedience to 3,000 year old writings of an Invisible Man. The institutional momentum within such an organization fights progressive elements with vigor.

That's why we had the witch-trials.

Down with the Nazi Kulaks!
Down with Stalin!

MUMIA in 2008

beakerkin said...

The comments of Brown speak for themselves.Death is okay so long as it serves the cause. Liberation via starvation and death is an alternative form of liberation must be the new slogans.

Pondering the incoherence of bug eyed revolutionaries complianing about religion is amusing. However, the pseudo religious aspects of Marx have been discussed by Toynbee amongst others.

Frank Partisan said...


For all the noise about how much humor your finding in this discussion, you haven't expressed a personal opinion on the subject.

Don't talk about John Brown or anyone else. Where do you stand?

Duende Pagano said...

Hi Renegade eye.

Peruvian cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani (member of Opus Dei) once said Human Rights are “una COJUDEZ”, which in Peruvian slang means “Bullshit”, nonsense, etc. He said it before a military audience. Besides, he was a collaborator of the dictator Fujimori (1990-2000)

beakerkin said...

Actually Ren I have made myself clear on the subject. Defense against communist agression in a Civil war is justified.

In your book he should have waited for an Argentinian Katyn or to be like the Miskito indians gunned down.

Sorry you lacked the courage to keep the answers on my blog. It seems that for some reason you need to equivocate on the most extreeme cases of anti-semitic mania. You were almost human for a second.

The responses of Brown are honest and abundantly clear about what happens when Commies take power, death. However, commies spin fables about killing people for their own good. This is a clear case of self defense if true.

The man's religion and vocation are not relevant. The actual question is if defending your country from becoming another Cuba is self defense.

Larry Gambone said...

The Beak reminds me of an old joke. A cop arrests and clubs a demonstrator. Demonstrator shouts " Stop! I am an anti-communist!" Cop wacks him one on the side of the head and sez, "I don't care what kinda communist you are, you are under arrest!

Seriously though folks, this troll has to go. Bye bye beak...

beakerkin said...


As stated before defense against Communist agression is justified. The historical record has ample evidence of what your kind will do after consolidation of power.

Should the man just wait and be herded into a prison like the one Che ran and wait for execution?
His job is largely irrelevant to the case. Those of you that point to his vocation are bigots.

Frank Partisan said...

I agree his occupation is not the point. Some in the Catholic church opposed the junta. Still Marie reports as an institution it sided with the junta. That is in the tradition of the Catholic church siding with the fascists in Spain.

In the play "Evita" the narrator character was Che Gueverra. In real life Che had nothing to do with real life Eva Peron. Your points about Che have nothing to do with Chaplin Christian Von Wernich. Again an odd straw man argument.

beakerkin said...


Cpmmon ground check for a full moon.

The situation in Argentina was essentially a civil war. History has provided many examples of what happens to those who allow Communists to triumph.

If the charges are true it is self defense.

Che is not a strawman as he was not invoked because of his Argentian connection.Communism is deadly and Che's executions serve as a reminder of those who sit on the fence often do not live long.

The comments of Brown and the glee that he feels in the liquidation of the Kulaks shows the true naked face of communism. What do you do with those who resent your stealing their possesions in the name of your utopia. The answer is bloodshed and it follows communism like a shadow. You can place whatever labels you wish on it but communism and death follow each other.

Brown's bug eyed zeal for killing small farmeres is the true face of Communism with its flowery empty words tossed to the side. Brown is so deranged a poll was taken to see if he is a satire site.

Frank Partisan said...

The juntas main casualties were the legitimate leftist political opposition, trade unionists and political party leaders. To say Chaplin Christian Von Wernich was defending himself, is a slap in the face to the victims of the junta.

Given the "anti-democratic, anti-semitic and Nazi tendencies" of the Argentine officer corps, we may assume that that opponents were chosen for being Jews. Some Jews were arrested were not involved in politics. The number of Jews who disappeared was out of proportion to thew size of Argentina's Jewish community. In Argentina is a group called "Jewish Mothers of the Disappeared". Israel sent arms to the junta, without concern that the number of Jewish victims, was 10x their representation in the population.

There is nothing you say about John Brown that doesn't apply to you. Look in the mirror, you'll find an apologist for the junta in Argentina, and the dictatorship in Chile. I remember you posting about how comfortable you'd have been in Pinochet's Chile. Unlike you who makes up slurs, I have your own words.

Guess what? The situation in Russia was an authentic civil war after a revolution. I don't rejoice about any war situation, but the Kulaks were witholding food from the cities. If peasantry are allowed to lead, you end up with a Mao, Stalin or Pol Pot.

beatroot said...

Nobody spoke Spanish on Las Malvinas, Ren, because the UK, in typical colonialists fashion put a settler population down there.

The dictatorship used the opportunity to distract opposition to it at home by invading the place. But that doesn’t change the fact that the islands were and are Argentinean. And Argentineans still think they are. The left had to support their self determination. Just because Teddy and the Militants hiding in the Labour Party didn’t support those who defended that right makes no difference at all to that fact. Militant always were gutless little shits.

Daniel said...

During the Spanish Inquisition, priests showed they were more than capable of conducting cruel torture.

"Repent, repent," they cried gleefully as they poured molten lead into the ears of the unfortunate or put out his eyes with a red hot poker.

Why should anyone be surprised by The Von?

Greetings from Down Under!

beakerkin said...

What defined the Junta as Nazi?

Moreover, those who were persecuted were not persecuted because they were Jews. They were persecuted because they were Communists. The Argentine Jews I know have never made that preposterous claim.

The truth is the second a person decides they are a communist they are no longer Jews, Native Americans, Muslims and so forth.
Jews do not consider a person who has converted to Islam to be a Jew.
The religious aspects of a pseudo religious death cult have been noted by historians, notably Toynbee.

Commies trot out this claim when it is convenient like the Rosenberg traitors. However, entirely imaginary Titoist, Zionist (read Jooo) were executed after show trials. Then there is a lengthy list of Communist harassment of real Jews in places as diverse as Eithiopia, Cuba, Nicaragua and now Venezuela.

Funny you should complain about Nazism. You have endorsed the Nazi-Soviet alliance and remained silent on the posts of LWB that are identical in style and substance to those written by Neonazis.

So now it is okay to kill the Kulaks in your view. It would appear given the history and reality of Communism this man is practicing self preservation. The Kulaks were allegedly guilty of hoarding food. It seems that they produced that food even if the contrived charge were true it does not justify genocide.

Larry Gambone said...

Don't be so hard on the peasants Ren, You might get a Mao, but you also get a Zapata, a Mahkno or a Marcos. Depends upon a lot of things... as for the Kulaks they basicaly ceased to exist after the first years of the Russian Revolution. Stalin used the word kulak the way Beak uses the word communist. During the period of colectivization there were no kulaks left and the word was used against peasants who resisted forced collectivization.

beatroot said...

You have endorsed the Nazi-Soviet alliance...

Ren, if you do not denounce the Nazi-Soviet pact then I am going to firebomb your house and eat your pet hamster!

Frank Partisan said...

Jacobo Timmerman also addresses certain tribulations that were allocated only for the Jews. For instance, he remembers being interrogated in a room that hung pictures of Hitler and swastikas. He also recalls the special tortures invented for Jews, the reduced food for Jewish prisoners, poor treatment towards Rabbis who would visit, and the constant insults he received when officers would shout at him in a furious yet self-gratifying way –“Jew!”[32] When describing the officers who dealt with the Jews he writes, “[T]orturing a Jewish prisoner always yielded a moment of entertainment to the Argentine security forces, a certain pleasurable, leisurely moment.”[33] He also recounts the story of a seventy year old man at the prison of Coti Martínez who was beaten senselessly by policemen because he was suspected of being Jewish. When they discovered that he was wearing a cross they accused him of trying to hide his Jewish identity. When Timmerman later meet him in the cell they shared, he pondered on the idea that this man, although a practicing Catholic, was beaten on the belief that he is a Jew.[34] As descriptive as Timmerman’s work is in portraying the way Jews were targeted and humiliated by the military, his story is neither unique nor original given that other Jews found themselves in similar situations.
The Israeli government arranged a special commission whose task was to seek and document the stories from relatives of Jews in Argentina whose loved ones were taken by the Argentine government and were never to return. The “Comisíón Israeli por los Desaparecidos Judios en Argentina,” was able to put together a collection of interviews of Argentine Jews whose family members were victims of the right-wing military regime. This commission’s goal is to secure the authenticity of the stories and unsure they do not go unforgotten. This commission also worked on accumulating information about the Argentine government’s actions on kidnapping and torturing Jews. In an article put together called “El terrorismo de estado en 1976-1983 sobre el transfondo de la política argentina en el siglo XX” by Luis Roniger and Mario Sznajder, there is a detailed analyses of the situation that many Jews found themselves in since they were perceived by those in power as the unwanted and menacing minority. Another comprehensive article that helps in grasping how Jews were subjugated to extreme torment can be seen in “Informe sobre la situacion de los detenidos-desaparecidos judios durante el geocidio perpetrado en Argentina” by Maris Braylan, Daniel Feierstein, Miguel Galante, and Adrian Jmelnizky. After reading numerous first hand accounts, as well as these articles, one can understand the mistreatment that many Jews suffered as a result of their religious background. This will undoubtedly verify that the Argentine military regime discriminated and targeted Jews, even those who were not associated with Leftist activities.
Among the extensive list of interviews provided by the “Comisíón Israeli por los Desaparecidos Judios en Argentina”, is the testimony by Nora Strejilevich who was kidnapped at the age of twenty-six on July 16th, 1977 and released four days later.[35] As fortunate as she is to be alive, her relatives Gerardo Strejilevich, Graciela Barroca, and Hugo Strejilevich did not bear the same fate and were eventually categorized as desaparecidos. [36] During her interview, she states that the reason for her interrogation was that she was Jewish and her anticipated one year trip to Israel to work. She was intensely questioned about her planned voyage to leave the country and go to Israel. Her first thought when the military appeared in her house was that she would probably end up dead or forever missing. Strejilevich had heard rumors of people disappearing and never returning.
When she was taken away on that dreadful day, she had a book in her bag called “Oh Jerusalem,” which only provoked the officers to further ask her about the Jewish agency and their Zionist activities. The officers assumed that Zionist organizations were somehow involved in Leftist plots against the government. Upon entering the detainment center, she recalls being shouted at “judia de mierda, vamos a hacer jamón con vos y aunque no haya hecho nada las vas a pagar por judia.”[37] Strejilevich also remembers overhearing the guards discuss about two different torturing cells, one which was specially designed for the Jews in order to forcefully collect information. When she was finally let free, the officers ordered her to believe that she had not visited anywhere, heard anything, and that nothing happened, otherwise her family would undergo severe consequences. She had done nothing illegal, yet was treated like a criminal.
This is not the only case which accounts for Jews receiving harsher treatments while under military custody. Marcelo Weisz Gustavo was kidnapped on February 16, 1978 at the age of twenty-six; he was never again to be seen by anyone. He was taken to the prison called “El Turco Julian” which was notorious for its open anti-Semitism and its extreme torturing of Jewish inmates.[38] When asked about the punishments and torturing of Jews at this particular camp, his mother, Ruth Paradise de Weisz answered, “cualquier tipo de tortura es terrible pero eso tipo de tortura…imaginense.”[39] There is also the story of Fernando Ruben Brodsky who was twenty three years old when he was taken away on August 14, 1979. His family is convinced that he was kidnapped because he was Jewish. Sara Silberg de Brodsky, Fernando’s mother, states that her son was given more torture than normal because he was a Jew. Once while talking to Fernando on the phone, she recalls him describing that while under interrogation the soldiers would ask him about certain aspects of Judaism that he was not able to answer, and as a punishment for his ignorance he was further castigated.
An Argentine Jewish woman by the name of Juana Nuger, whom I personally interviewed, told me the story of her disabled son Heron who was taken away in front of her. He was kidnapped due to his Leftist activities that he and his brother were involved in.[40] She believes that although being Jewish may have factored in on his abduction, it was not the sole reason. According to Juana, many Jews, such as her son, were participants in Leftist politics; therefore, as a result many innocent Jews were also seen as being a threat and were deemed automatically an enemy of Argentina. This led to fear amongst Jewish communities because anyone could be marked as a potential enemy. While singling out an already disliked minority group, the Argentine government attempted to categorize all Jews under one branch of politics. Juana believes that since the Red Scare was sweeping the world, and Jews were often been unfairly connected to communism, it was a scary time being a Jew in any country that viewed Leftist thinking as threatening, as was the case in Argentina.[41]
These testimonies by Jewish sources give credibility to the accusation that the military government throughout the years 1976-83 openly discriminated against Jews. A few explanations given as to why Jews in Argentina were heavily discriminated by the military is because of the abundance of anti-Semitic beliefs in Argentinean society, a predisposition that Jews poised a threat to their power, and simply because the Jews were not seen as being genuinely Argentinean. Therefore, targeting Jews whether involved with Leftist politics or not could be favorable in order to dismiss any disruption to their dictatorship. According to Sergio Starlik, the military investigators were watchful about the activities of Jewish organizations, sports clubs, synagogues, and the overall Jewish community in Argentina.[42] One must wonder why Chile, a country also ruled by a right-wing military leader who loathed communists, did not see Jews as a threat, while in Argentina, where Jews consisted of only one percent of the country’s population, ten percent of the people who disappeared were Jews. [43]
This is from a term paper by Gaddy Goren. Even Israeli sources document Jewish prisoners in Argentina received special treatment. This writer said Pinochet wasn't an anti-Semite, but the junta in Argentina was. No anti-Semitism from the junta Beak? Chaplin Christian Von Wernich acted in self defense? Why not go to BsAs and picket for his defense?

Larry: Trotsky opposed Stalin's collectivization plan.

Beatroot: Beak lied about what I posted. I don't debate nuanced topics with him, since he is here on troll duty. I will email you the answer to the question.

beatroot said...

Right - I am coming round to eat ya hamster....

Anonymous said...

I sympathize with Joseph de Maistre and Maximilien Robespierre on this one.

Ben Franklin had a pretty "Enlightened" solution to the problem, but I'm sure that you revolutionaries would never agree to abide by its' terms. Too paranoid for your own good, I'd say.

Personally, I prefer the ancient approach. But then, you all wouldn't go for that one either. Again, too paranoid. You also would refuse to ackowledge that "better" is the enemy of "good enough". For as Isaiah Berlin once said, "the only truth which I have ever found out for myself... Some of the Great Goods cannot live together.... We are doomed to choose, and every choice may entail an irreparable loss." In short, it's what Michael Ignatieff once described as "the tragic nature of choice".

But as usual, I digress....

liberal white boy said...

I must admit renegade eye you are an interesting character. I stop by on occaision just to see what you have to say. I don't feel the need to comment like others on every post. I now know a great deal more about Trotsky than I might have otherwise known without your blog (although I must admit I am not a fan of Trotsky like you are.) This of course is what blogging is about. The exchange of ideas. Like on other blogs however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell whether I am at "beak speaks" or here. When every other comment is beakerkahane's nonsense you get a blog that is little more than nonsense. You like others put much into your blog. Why let Beakerkahane make it a waste of time?

beakerkin said...

Timmerman is a well known Communist
and hardly innocent.

The Argentine Jews I know never made that claim and departed in the next regime. It seems that the boys of Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence blew up some houses of worship.

Frank Partisan said...

Farmer John: Atleast it's clear what side your on. It's the losing side.

LWB: Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Beak: Your Argentine friends are misinformed if they think the junta was not anti-Semitic.

As usual you are imprecise with words. Jacobo Timmerman was a left leaning journalist and human rights activist. The way you throw the word communist around as Larry pointed out is less than precise. Timmerman supported fighting guerilla terrorists.

Precisely what was he guilty of?

beakerkin said...

No Timmerman is an actual Communist
and communist use the word activist to describe Stalinists like Paul Robeson.

The presumption on your part that my Jewish friends who emigrated after the Buenos Aires bombings are misinformed is amusing. I think practicing Orthodox Jews can determine for themselves if their government or the popular mood is anti-semitic.

Timmerman was not persecuted because he was a Jew. He was persecuted for his Communist sympathies. My friends did not leave until the next regime.

Frank Partisan said...

What was Timmerman charged with? How do you know he was a communist?

Robeson was a Stalinist.

Marie Trigona said...

I would like to say that I am surprised to some of the comments to my post, but I can honestly say that I'm not surprised. Nazi supporters and apologists for dictatorships are alive and well and commenting in support of a torture criminal like Von Wernich. Echoes of this scary discourse to support the dictatorship's crimes have reverberated in the past year since the beginning of the human rights trials. Hundreds of witnesses, lawyers and even judges have been threatened, some even attacked by people who want to prevent military leaders from going to trial.

There are two things I'd like to comment on: The Junta followed a Nazi ideology and the nature of hierarchies like the Catholic Church.

First, all of the evidence presented in the article on Von Wernich's trial is pretty cut and dry. No one can overlook evidence presented by over 120 witnesses, most of whom are torture survivors. This is why this trial is so important, and why the continuing struggle for human rights is important: to not let history be erased and to never allow history to repeat itself.

The military dictatorship had many Nazi, criminal and anti-Semitic tendencies. The military carried out a state-supported plan to systematically kidnapping, torture and murder 30,000 people which according to international law could be considered genocide. Any person who was carrying out subversive activity would be disappeared, not depending on their ideology. It was a systematic plan to wipe out the working class to impose a new economic order, which the military did by devastating national industry, running up IMF debt and increasing unemployment and inequity.

The Junta and its military officers were notorious for being anti-Semitic. Julio Simon, who was convicted in 2006 was notorious for beating detainees unconscious and calling them things like “dirty Jew.” Over a dozen ex-detainees testified during the trial that Simon had tortured them in the Olimpo, one of the most infamous clandestine detention and torture centers in Buenos Aires. He also carried out dirty work in Club Atletico and El Banco. Christian Von Wernich is also a notorious anti-Semite. He is implicated in the disappearance of Timmerman, who was a well respected head editor at a mainstream daily newspaper.

The Catholic Church supported the military dictatorship and its crimes saying that the Junta would rid Argentina of subversives. This support came from the Church heads (people higher up in the hierarchy). Adolfo Scilingo, who was sentenced to 645 years in prison by a Spanish Court, reported that the Catholic Hierarchy approved drugging dissidents and dropping them from planes into the Atlantic Ocean in the “vuelos del muerte,” as Christian form of death. When Scilingo felt anguished after directing the Death Flights, he would seek counseling from military chaplains at the ESMA Navy Mechanics School, the largest clandestine detention center in Buenos Aires.

During the dictatorship, there were a representatives from the church who provided refuge for people fleeing being kidnapped by commando groups and reported the crimes being committed by security commando. At the same time, they risked their own lives. French nuns, Alice Domon and Léonie Duque, were disappeared and murdered in 1977 for their organizing activity with the poor. Humanitarian organizations have reported that during the dictatorship at least 19 priests were disappeared, 11 were kidnapped, tortured and later released, and 22 were arrested for political reasons.

The Catholic Church condoned all of these crimes and even participated in them.

I agree that responding to fascists is a waste of time, given the comments by the companeros, I thought this information in this comment may be interesting and useful. Thanks to everyone, except the fascists for commenting on this piece.

Ni Dios, Ni Amo - No Gods, No Masters

jams o donnell said...

I can't see how anyone could express outrage at the many atrocities committed in the name of communism (I can't see how anyone caould condone the atrocities committed in the name of Communism at all) but condone the brutality of of Videla and his minions. There is no excuse for the evil acts that took place at places like ESMA.

jams o donnell said...

Jacobo Timmeerman a communist? I doubt many communists would say something like “If it is true that every Cuban knows how to read and write, it is likewise true that every Cuban has nothing to read and must be very cautious about what he writes”

Just a thought...

Craig Bardo said...


The opening paragraph of your response betrays your bias. I, for one, don't have enough information to question the case and I certainly didn't defend Von Wernich but the tenor of your article led me to question your motivation.

So now, rather than addressing the perception, you attack those who have put reasonable questions to you as "nazi supporters," "apologists for dictators" and "fascists."

I'll reiterate my feeling, that in your left bias, you would implicate the entire church and by extension Christianity and organized religion because of the potential guilt of one man. Your zeal has caused you to overreach and that overreach and bias compromises the integrity of your entire argument.

Frank Partisan said...

Jams: Thank you for your comments.

Craig: Marie made clear that the Catholic church in Argentina, as an institution supported the junta. That actually has little to do with all of Catholism, or Christianity in general. Do you think the junta was anti-Semitic?

The fascist remark was aimed at Beak. People who are not used to him react emotionally. I don't believe he is objectively a fascist, but he is a supporter of a fascist and anti-Semitic government.

Anonymous said...

30,000 Commie sympathizers dead (an exaggeration, I'm sure) seems a small price to pay in exchange for peace and the absense of a much larger, bloodier and completely unnecessary civil war.

Blame the "authoritarian" regime if you wish. The revolutionaries, I'm sure, didn't deserve the treatment they got. But if they didn't deserve it, why would the regime's in question be considered reactionary?

I've a feeling there's a LOT more blame deserves spreading around than current finger pointing at government and church.

Perhaps there were fewer "victims" than the numbers of dead cited would improperly suggest.

Revolutionaries deserve to be squashed. In many cases, they are worse than disease and pestilence.

Case in point. The Taliban fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Civilization will always have its' Discontents. May they never organize and reach the critical mass necessary to foment a successful revolution!

Frank Partisan said...

Craig: I noticed that you seperated yourself from Beak's assertions about Jacobo Timmerman etc. I don't blame you.

Farmer John: Are you studying at the Beak school of straw man argument? Taliban as revolutionaries? Both myself and my blog team member Maryam, have received death threats from Islamists. You don't find support for Islamists on this blog.

Do you support all anti-communist governments unconditionally?

It sounds like you are doing what you attack Chomsky for? Only you present no numbers.

Do you consider yourself a doctrinal fascist? I'm asking you seriously.

Mohamed A. H. said...

it always amazes me how much the catholic church plays politics, and this single fact is hardly criticized. While any Islamic ideology playing politics (peacefully, to make myself wingnut proof)is attacked for "playing politics", yep, just that!

What is it about the way the catholic church does it that makes it so subtle?

roman said...

mohamed a.h.,

"What is it about the way the catholic church does it that makes it so subtle?"

I think that it has a lot to do with the concept of separation of church and state. It has finally accepted the concept as "gospel" and works within that framework. The few extreme examples of corrupt clergy does not change the fact.

beakerkin said...


How is it you again claim to know more about the mood of the Junta than Orthodox Jews who live in Buenor Aires? Timmerman is a communist and he was in no way persecuted for his ethnicity. Commies used that angle on the Rosenbergs who deserved to die. Taking liberties with a famous patriotic quote. " Tis a pity that the Rosenbergs could only die one for betraying their country for Stalin."

Killing Communists in a Civil war is clearly self defense. No doubt some bug eyed Communist assassin was waiting to kill this man and others. Self defense against genocidal Commies in a Civil War is not a crime.

The same hypocrites who defend the mass slaughter of kulaks hve no right to pass judgement on this man.

Ren when are you going to learn that Commies are not Jews, Indians or Americans. You are a hemrhoid on the buttocks of life.

Craig Bardo said...


I'm not familiar with Timmerman and didn't read beak's post on the thread before I responded to Marie.

jams o donnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jams o donnell said...

I would be interested if anyone could:

i) set out the political affiliations of Dagmar Hagelin

ii) that her death in ESMA was utterly justifiable.

Expressions such as "collateral damage", "you can't make an omelette, without breaking a few rggs" and "Caedite eos! Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" are unacceptable...

The same also goes

Frank Partisan said...

Beak: You never documented one statement. You were even wrong that Argentina was in a civil war situation. That type of government can only come about by a demoralised revolutionary and progressive movement. There was terrorism, but not a civil war.

Name calling is your main tool, in your intellectual arsenal. It certainly isn't logic.

Jams: Good question for the junta supporters to answer.

jams o donnell said...

Ren, I would of course ask the same of those who would condone the Killing Fields or Stalin too

Graeme said...

Beak recently stated that Ren, I and others should be under constant government surveillance. That shows you how much he cares about freedom. His hero Giuliani is an authoritarian that thinks the patriot act doesn't go far enough. The NYC firefighters aren't fooled.

30,000 Commie sympathizers dead (an exaggeration, I'm sure)

Got any info?

Case in point. The Taliban fighters in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

What does the Taliban have to do with anything? They were our revolutionaries.

beakerkin said...

Thats funny Ren I know plenty of Argentine Jews who had zero problem with the Junta. They were left alone to run their business until the boys at Hezbollah blew up two houses of worship.

However, you seem to think you know more than Junglemom who lived in Venezuela for years. You seem to think nothing of a tiny country having 10 times more H-1b petitions than Brazil or Argentina.

As for barter in Venezuela a simple google search found plenty of stories.

Timmerman was not persecuted for his ethnicity. Moreover, to save his ass he invoked the right of return. Israel should have left him there as a Communist sympathizer. Commies played this same song and dance with the Rosenbergs. Paraphrasing Bill Clinton " Its the Bolshevism Stupid".

None of the many Argentine Jews I know from NYC ever saw it your way.
Argentinian Jews are not uncommon in Manhattan. Amazingly Venezuelan Jews have just been showing up recently. Gee I wonder what Hugo did to cause so many to leave.

Frank Partisan said...

Beak: According to Hitchens: The regime was openly anti-Jewish and had kidnapped the courageous editor of La Opinion, Jacobo Timerman. The government's whole ideology was thoroughly racist and totalitarian. My neck hair stood up, not just at this obvious realization but at a nasty glance I received from one of Videla's sidekicks. This thug had understood that the general had made a stupidly revealing admission. I had been given a damaging story. I was followed, too, for some days afterward, and wouldn't happily repeat the experience.
But the general had felt he had to answer my questions, and his goons didn't feel quite up to menacing me further, because the whole context had recently changed. Henry Kissinger was gone. President Carter had appointed an assistant secretary of state for human rights, Patricia Derian, a true civil-rights southern belle who had made it clear that the sunshine days for the regime had passed. She wouldn't stop asking about the whereabouts of Jacobo Timerman until his Jew-baiting torturers finally gave up and let him go.

You keep trying to take away focus from what you said. You denied the junta was anti-Semitic, and Timmerman is a communist.

I can tell you Hugo didn't kill 1,000 Jews, torture countless others, like the junta.

Jams had a question for you.

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