Reagan Administration Complicit in Baby Theft Schemes

Any of us that endured the Reagan years know of the horrific US policy in Central and South America that included propping up dictators at any cost. Reagan’s paranoia of leftist regimes led to the Iran-Contra Scandal which probably would have led to impeachable crimes had Reagan been in better mental health and George Bush lost the election.  This Alternet article on leftist Argentinian mothers who were murdered is highly disturbing.  It just shows the high human cost of our cold war mentality.  Not only were these mothers murdered, but their infants were stolen and given to their murderers to raise. The disturbing article is called “What did Reagan Know about the Argentine Dictator’s Baby Thefts?”

An Argentine court has convicted two of the nation’s former right-wing dictators, Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, in a scheme to murder leftist mothers and give their infants to military personnel often complicit in the killings, a shocking process known to the Reagan administration even as it worked closely with the bloody regime.

Testimony at the trial included a videoconference from Washington with Elliott Abrams, then-Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, who said he urged Bignone to reveal the babies’ identities as Argentina began a transition to democracy in 1983.

Abrams said the Reagan administration “knew that it wasn’t just one or two children,” indicating that U.S. officials believed there was a high-level “plan because there were many people who were being murdered or jailed.” Estimates of the Argentines murdered in the so-called Dirty War range from 13,000 to about 30,000, with many victims “disappeared,” buried in mass graves or dumped from planes over the Atlantic.

You may remember that Reagan sent the CIA to Argentina to run a dirty, nasty, covert war.

After becoming President in January 1981, Reagan entered into a covert alliance with the Argentine junta. He ordered the CIA to collaborate with Dirty War experts in training the Contras, who were soon rampaging through towns in northern Nicaragua, raping women and dragging local officials into public squares for executions. [See Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

Yet, Reagan kept up a happy face, hailing the Contras as the “moral equals of the Founding Fathers” and heaping gratitude on the Argentine junta.

The behind-the-scenes intelligence relationship apparently gave the Argentine generals confidence that they could not only continue repressing their own citizens but could settle an old score with Great Britain over control of the Falkland Islands, what the Argentines call the Malvinas.

Reagan isn’t the only Republican linked to South American Death Squads.  Bain Capital probably would not exist were it not for blood money coming out of El Salvador. BostonBoomer has pointed to this Salon article before but it’s worth remembering that the 1980s were basically a free for all for Republicans. Romney personally benefited from the Reagan-backed South American Dictators that violently suppressed civil uprisings.

A significant portion of the seed money that created Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, was provided by wealthy oligarchs from El Salvador, including members of a family with a relative who allegedly financed rightist groups that used death squads during the country’s bloody civil war in the 1980s

Bain, the source of Romney’s fabulous personal wealth, has been the subject of recent attacks in the Republican primary over allegations that Romney and the firm behaved like, in Rick Perry’s words, “vulture capitalists.”One TV spot denounced Romney for relying on “foreign seed money from Latin America” but did not say where the money came from. In fact, Romney recruited as investors wealthy Central Americans who were seeking a safe haven for their capital during a tumultuous and violent period in the region.

Like so much about Bain, which is known for secrecy and has been dubbed a “black box,” all the names of the investors who put up the money for the initial fund in 1984 are not known. Much of what we do know was first reported by the Boston Globe in 1994 when Romney ran for U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy.

In 1984, Romney had been tapped by his boss at Bain & Co, a consulting firm, to create a spin-off venture capital fund, Bain Capital.

A Costa Rica-born Bain official named Harry Strachan invited friends and former clients in Central America to a presentation about the fund with Romney in Miami. The group was impressed and “signed up for 20% of the fund,” according to Strachan’s memoir. That was about $6.5 million, according to the Globe. Bain partners themselves were putting up half the money, according to Strachan. Thus the Central American investors had contributed 40 percent of the outside capital.

Back in 1984, wealthy Salvadoran families were looking for safe investments as violence and upheaval engulfed the country. The war, which pitted leftist guerrillas against a right-wing government backed by the Reagan administration, ultimately left over 70,000 people dead in the tiny nation before a peace deal was brokered by the United Nations in 1992. The vast majority of violence, a UN truth commission later found, was committed by rightist death squads and the military, which received U.S. training and $6 billion in military and economic aid. The Reagan administration feared that El Salvador could become a foothold for Communists in Central America.

Cannonfire is currently looking in to the possibility that Bain was set up to be a money laundering scheme.

Here’s a few more details on the Baby Theft Scheme from the Altnet article.

General Videla also was accused of permitting – and concealing – the scheme to harvest infants from pregnant women who were kept alive in military prisons only long enough to give birth. According to the charges, the babies were taken from the new mothers, sometimes after late-night Caesarean sections, and then distributed to military families or sent to orphanages.

After the babies were pulled away, the mothers were removed to another site for their executions. Some were put aboard death flights and pushed out of military planes over open water.

One of the most notorious cases involved Silvia Quintela, a leftist doctor who attended to the sick in shanty towns around Buenos Aires. On Jan. 17, 1977, Quintela was abducted off a Buenos Aires street by military authorities because of her political leanings. At the time, Quintela and her agronomist husband Abel Madariaga were expecting their first child.

According to witnesses who later testified before a government truth commission, Quintela was held at a military base called Campo de Mayo, where she gave birth to a baby boy. As in similar cases, the infant then was separated from the mother.

What happened to the boy is still not clear, but Quintela reportedly was transferred to a nearby airfield. There, victims were stripped naked, shackled in groups and dragged aboard military planes. The planes then flew out over the Rio de la Plata or the Atlantic Ocean, where soldiers pushed the victims out of the planes and into the water to drown.

I guess as long as they weren’t killing zygotes, Reagan and krewe must’ve been fine with all this.

9 Comments on “Reagan Administration Complicit in Baby Theft Schemes”

  1. northwestrain says:

    How much did/does daddy bush know about this?

    rayGUN really hated my generation — and that apparently also spread to the Argentinian young people. I remember the mothers of the disappeared meeting every weekend and carrying the photos of their missing adult children. Even then the number of young people missing was in the thousands — and many of the women were known to be pregnant.

    Saint rayGUN was devoid of morals — he was an evil evil man.

    I feel sick — and yet when it was happening the underground press of the time managed to get out some of the information.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    I read about this this morning. I was horrified, but I should have been surprised. I’m getting so tired of learning about what our government has done in our name. It’s beyond sickening. Thanks for writing about it, Dak.

  3. mjames says:

    I’ll beat my same old drum before I hit the vodka and the teebee (Drop Dead Diva must be the most ridiculous “law” show of all time): it’s all CIA all the time.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    OT — Romney donor says “lower income people don’t understand what’s going on.”

    The woman, who wouldn’t reveal her name, said the following:

    I don’t think the common person is getting it…my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.

    • dakinikat says:

      I just stuck that in the morning reads … I found it pretty appalling.

      • northwestrain says:

        Oh we get it — people are not dumb. When their retirement money has been or is being stolen — we get it. When the sucker bank robber — gun and mask type — gets a few thousand the the government pulls out all the stops to get that crook — YET when the CEOs of banks rob the bank — the government gives the bank more money.

        What I get is that the parasite class never has enough money — yet they don’t get the fact that if they kill the middle class — who will be left to buy what the slave labor is producing?

        It is really very simple.