Shimon Peres celebrated his 80th birthday on September
22nd, there at the top of the guest list, ahead of
Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, South Africa's F.W.
De Klerk, and Australia's Bob Hawke, was Carlos Bulgheroni.
Bulgheroni is head of the Argentinian energy company
Bridas. If terrorism cropped up in their conversation,
Bulgheroni and Peres had plenty to reminisce about.
Israel and Argentina served as US proxies training
terrorists in Central America through the 1970s and
death squad trainers based in Guatemala were reported
to have masqueraded as Bridas employees. During that
time Peres served as Israel's Defence Minister, Prime
Minister, deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
- well aware of Israeli military commitments in the
Americas. Reviewing the background to US sponsored
Argentinian and Israeli terrorism reveals how the
fictional "war on terror" is just another
pretext for the pillage of Latin America by the US
government and its favoured multinational corporations.
- 30,000 reasons to cry
years after destroying democracy by instigating the
military coup against Salvador Allende in Chile in
1973, Henry Kissinger was in Santiago for a meeting
of the Organization of American States. There he met
the Argentinian military junta's foreign minister.
According to Robert Hill, then U.S. Ambassador in
Argentina, "Kissinger asked how long it would
take ... to clean up the (terrorist) problem ....
Kissinger gave the Argentines the green light ...
The Secretary wanted Argentina to finish its terrorist
plan before year end."  Hill should know.
It was he who served as intermediary between organizers
of the Guatemalan death squads and leading figures
in the Argentinian government.
1976 and 1983, under the military dictatorship, the
Argentinian armed forces killed over 30,000 civilian
members of the country's political opposition. Around
500 babies of women who gave birth in detention were
distributed among their parents' murderers. In over
300 camps and detention centres, victims were tortured
to death and then dumped in mass graves or flown out
to be dropped into the Atlantic from military transport
planes. Their property and goods were divided up among
their torturers and murderers - over US$70m worth.
Condor - some history
determination to destroy opposition to its domination
in Latin America stemmed from its defeat in Vietnam.
The 1972 team in Paris helping Kissinger negotiate
with the Vietnamese included current US ambassador
to the UN, John Negroponte, and Vernon Walters, later
a key adviser to Ronald Reagan, then Army Attache
at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. In those days George
Bush Sr. was ambassador to the UN.
1975 Bush Sr. was head of the CIA and working together
with Kissinger and Vernon Walters to develop Plan
Condor - a coordinated operation against opposition
movements throughout Latin America. Plan Condor
involved using illegal covert means such as the assassination
team coordinated between the Chilean DIN security
service and Miami Cuban terrorists like Orlando Bosch,
Guillermo Novo and Luis Posada Carriles. It also
meant supporting brutal government policies of mass
repression in countries throughout South America.
Plan Condor was an ambitious and successful attempt
to coordinate that repression.
Condor moves to the Isthmus
1980, the priorities for President Reagan's Latin
American team were to defeat the Sandinistas in Nicaragua,
stop the revolutionary movements in Guatemala and
El Salvador and to wipe out the popular movment in
Honduras. By the end of 1981 many now familiar people
were in place. Elliot Abrams (now Senior Director
for Near East and North African Affairs on the National
Security Council) was Assistant Secretary of State
for, incredibly, human rights and humanitarian affairs.
John Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras and John
Maisto ambassador to Nicaragua. John Poindexter, Colin
Powell, Richard Armitage, Otto Reich, Roger Noriega,
all worked on Latin America under Reagan. All were
brought back into the White House by George W. Bush
after the Republican packed Supreme Court effectively
validated the Florida voting fraud in the 2000 US
in 1980, Argentinian army and naval officers arrived
in Guatemala to provide counterinsurgency training
for the Lucas Garcia regime. Together with advisers
from Chile and Israel they assisted the Guatemalan
death squads, originally created by the CIA in the
1960s. An estimated 200,000 people were killed by
the Guatemalan military during the long popular resistance
to that country's US supported dictatorships. In August
1981, the deputy director of the CIA, Vernon Walters,
arranged a meeting in Guatemala City with the aim
of consolidating an anti-Sandinista terrorist force
with training from Argentina.
1981 and 1983, members of Argentina's Battalion 601,
the unit responsible for much of the terror in Argentina
itself, worked with Israeli trainers out of Guatemala.
In El Salvador they helped train murderers like Roberto
D'Aubuisson (who organised the killing of Archbishop
Oscar Romero). In Honduras they helped organise both
the notorious death squad Battalion 3-16 and the mass
murderers of the Nicaraguan Contra. From 1983 onwards,
the Israelis trained Carlos Castaño and other
current leaders of the Colombian AUC paramilitary
Negroponte - fascist proconsul
may seem strange now that Elliot Abrams and John Negroponte
would have facilitated Argentinian fascists (who refined
their torment of Jewish victims back in Buenos Aires
by torturing them beneath portraits of Adolf Hitler).
But Abrams and Negroponte did just that. Argentinian
officers trained members of the Honduran army in techniques
of mass repression while John Negroponte was ambassador
in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa from 1981 to 1985.
There he worked closely with Honduran armed forces
chief Gustavo Alvarez Martinez to impose a "national
security" state on the Argentine model - that
is, a police state based on extra-judicial murder.
US ambassador in Honduras, John Negroponte displayed
cynical contempt for US Congress and legitimacy, shamelessly
violating the 1983 Boland Amendment restricting aid
to the Contra. On Negroponte's recommendation, the
Reagan government gave Alvarez Martinez the Legion
of Merit in 1983 for "encouraging democracy."
Alvarez Martinez was reponsible for disappearing over
140 trades unionists, students and other leaders of
the Honduran popular movement between 1981 and 1984.
In 1989, in a test case, the Inter-American Court
of Human Rights convicted Honduras of forcibly disappearing
four people between 1981 and 1983. During that period,
under Negroponte's proconsulship, Argentinian and
Israeli terrorists helped the Honduran military refine
their techniques of repression.
and drugs paymasters
training did not come free. Who paid for it? Mostly
the US taxpayer via military aid to Argentina and
Israel. But when legal funds were hard to come by,
illegal sources served, including drugs proceeds and
money siphoned through the fraudulent Bank of Commerce
and Credit International, courtesy of links between
George Bush Sr., the Saudi royal family and the Bin
Laden family. BCCI folded afer revelations that
it laundered money from the Colombian Medellin drugs
cartel, later to figure in the Iran Contra affair.
this time, both Colombia and Taiwan also gave training.
But the principal countries involved were Argentina
and Israel. To help things along, Israel set up a
plant in Guatemala to manufacture Galil rifles. Under
an agreement reached in October 1981, 200 Guatemalan
army officers took anti-insurgency courses in Buenos
Aires including use of "interrogation techniques".
Among their "instructors" was Ricardo Cavallo.
June 11th this year the Mexican authorities confirmed
an extradition order against Ricardo Cavallo by the
Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon for crimes against humanity
during the terror in Argentina. Cavallo is accused
of 337 political kidnappings, 227 forced disappearances
and the theft of children of political prisoners.
Cavallo's story stems from Plan Condor and threads
back to the current Bush administration.
and his colleagues, Jorge Radice, Jorge Acosta and
others were torturers in the Argentine armed forces.
They forced their victims to sign authorities permitting
them to dispose of their property, bank accounts and
belongings. Cavallo also worked closely with the Bolivian
army under Luis Garcia Meza in the early 1980s when
Bolivia was virtually run by drugs traffickers.
their illict capital, Cavallo and his friends set
up the security and data control businesses Martiel
and Talsud in Argentina. They made deals with Seal
Lock, an Argentine company representing US based Advantage
Security systems. Martiel represented Casa de la Moneda
of Brazil, CONSAD of Argentina, Ciccone Calcográfica
 and the French smart card firm Gemplus. Talsud
and Martiel were virtually interchangeable, both worked
on the deal to emit the New Zaire currency for CIA
favourite President Mobutu in Zaire in 1993.
1995, Bridas subsidiary TTI and Seal Lock helped Talsud
secure lucrative deals in Argentina's Mendoza province.
In 1996, Talsud got the contract to issue driving
licenses in Argentina's Rioja province. Among Seal
Lock's clients were the Argentine Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, the Argentine Central Bank, The National
Registry of Bolivia, Shell Paraguay and Israel's ZIM
maritime line. Cavallo and his brother Oscar also
set up a business in El Salvador called Sertracen,
closely linked to the Salvadoran military. Sertracen
issues driver and gun licenses in El Savador.
August 1998, Cavallo entered Mexico as a tourist,
miraculously managing to process his residency within
a month. Within a year his Talsud company was bidding
for the Mexican driver licensing authority (RENAVE),
together with Gemplus and the Mexican company CIFRA.
On September 7th 1999, they won the contract guaranteeing
an estimated annual turnover of US$400 million
Cavallo/RENAVE scandal broke in Mexico earlier this
year amid mounting evidence of irregularities. Commerce
Vice-Minister Raul Tercero, who authorised the RENAVE
deal, was found in a wood near Mexico City with his
throat cut. He left behind several letters defending
himself against accusations of corruption.
business associates have an unfortunate tendency to
die violently. In October 1998, during a bribery scandal
involving IBM, Marcel Cattaneo, brother of the owner
of Cavallo client CONSAD was found hanging from a
lamp post. That apparent suicide followed similar
suspicious deaths. In June 1998 a friend of President
Carlos Menem, leading businessman Alfredo Yabran,
associated with De La Rue subsidiary Ciccone Calcografica,
was found dead. In August of the same year Jorge Estrada,
Cavallo's former chief at the ESMA torture centre
and a shareholder in Martiel was found dead, another
Condor veteran in Mexico
Cavallo, someone else arrived in Mexico in 1998, but
not as a tourist, US ambassador Jeffrey Davidow. 
Davidow was a political adviser at the US embassy
in Chile from 1971 to 1974. In Santiago, he was an
embassy insider when the CIA and the DIN Chilean security
agency were organising the assassination gang that
later murdered leading Chilean opposition figures,
Carlos Prats in Buenos Aires and Orlando Letelier
in Washington. In Mexico Davidow continued honing
the skills he learned in Chile, covering up human
rights abuses in Chiapas and cultivating dubious relationships
with drug dealing businessmen - all to be expected
of a Plan Condor veteran.
Cavallo scandal sharpened concern in Mexico and the
rest of Latin America relating to reports that US
data mining company Choicepoint has been purchasing
confidential information from companies like Talsud
and Martiel on whole populations of Central and South
American countries. People fear violations of the
legitimate privacy of Latin American people travelling
to or living in the United States. Choicepoint is
the company whose DBT subsidiary spoiled the electoral
roll in Florida enabling George Bush to win that 2000
presidential election. 
abuse - the Choicepoint link
is hard to get precise details on who is selling Choicepoint
this confidential information.  But some idea
of the use to be made of all that data can be inferred
from the role envisaged by John Poindexter for his
Total Information Awareness program (TIA) in the developing
John Ashcroft police state. While Poindexter, convicted
of lying to Congress during the Iran Contra hearings,
may be off the public scene after the DARPA "terrorism
futures" fiasco, TIA soldiers on under different
guises, like the MATRIX program in various US states,
Armitage, one of the Iran-Contra plotters, was a board
member of Database Technologies (DBT)/ChoicePoint
Inc before taking office under George Bush Jr. Now
he is Colin Powell's deputy Secretary of State. Choicepoint
is a partner of data mining company SAIC whose web
site proclaims it has "developed a strategic
alliance with ChoicePoint Incorporated to provide
our clients with quick and effortless information
retrieval from public records data. ChoicePoint Incorporated
maintains thousands of gigabytes of public records
data." SAIC's clients include The U.S. Army
National Guard and Reserve, United States Marine Corps
and BP Amoco. Before becoming Defence Secretary, Donald
Rumsfeld was on BP Amoco's advisory board.
Sounds like Bridas-Pan American Energy....
at the conversation between Shimon Peres and Carlos
Bulgheroni, their terrorist reminiscences over, maybe
the conversation turned to oil and gas. Funny how
times change and erstwhile friends fall out.
the early 1990s Bridas obtained oil exploration concessions
in Turkmenistan. By 1997 they were negotiating with
the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to build a pipeline
there. Bridas found itself in competition vying for
Taliban favor with Unocal, a US oil company heavily
criticised for its operation in army controlled Myanmar
Armitage  worked for Unocal along with another
Iran-Contra figure, Robert Oakley. The Taliban favoured
a deal with Bridas. Bridas and Unocal ended up fighting
it out in the US courts. Bridas lost. At the same
time, through 1997 and 1998, US policy on Afghanistan
turned sour. Between November 2000 and August
2001, Argentina had its financial guts ripped out
by US banks and the international finance markets.
In October 2001 the US invaded Afghanistan.
is a fine illustration of the Bush Doctrine: no country
will be permitted to pose a threat to the perceived
interests of the United States, not even a friendly
former terrorist client state like Argentina. Bridas
could see how things were going and went with the
flow. In 1997 it teamed up with BP-Amoco. Reborn as
Panamerican Energy, Bridas is working with BP-Amoco
to exploit gas and oil reserves throughout Latin America,
but mainly in Argentina and, controversially, Bolivia.
BP-Amoco gets the benefit of Bridas assets in Central
Condor - alive and well
progression from Chile, Argentina and Uruguay through
Central America to present day Venezuela and Colombia
is clear. The same actors appear time after time.
Elliot Abrams, John Negroponte, Colin Powell, Richard
Armitage, John Maisto Roger Noriega and Otto Reich
all move between comfortable jobs in US government
and the corporate plutocracy that dictates US government
one of them participated one way or another in the
Iran Contra conspiracy to mislead Congress. Abrams
was indicted and found guilty by the Congressional
investigating commission but pardoned by George Bush
Sr. Richard Armitage escaped prosecution because the
investigating commission lacked resources. They were
exhausted nailing former Defence Secretary Caspar
Weinberger, also pardoned by Bush Sr. Now Powell,
Armitage, Maisto, Noriega and Reich are plotting the
overthrow of democratically elected Hugo Chavez in
Venezuela and attempting to deepen US military engagement
in Colombia. In Guatemala, an old associate, mass
murderer Rios Montt is threatening violent overthrow
of the country's hard-won democratic governance.
of this has anything to do with any "war on communism"
or "war on drugs" or "war on terror".
The United States and the European Union are in Latin
America for the same reasons as the Spanish, Portuguese,
British, French and Dutch colonialists before them
- natural resources and cheap labour, compounded these
days by neo-colonial extraction of forcibly contrived
"debt". The methods are privatisation, dismantling
of domestic agricultural economies, and open markets
imposed by the IMF and World Bank through local clients
to favour multinational corporations like BP-Amoco,
Monsanto, Cargill and other all too familiar names.
people in the United States the lessons of Latin America
should be very clear. French philosopher Simone Weil
once wrote that people in Europe were shocked by the
Nazis because the Nazis applied to Europe the methods
European powers practiced in their colonies. Now it's
the turn of the United States. The banal, evil individuals
currently running the White House are steadily putting
into practice at home what they have done for three
decades while facilitating terror in Latin America.
1.Bridas is an energy production and exploration
company. It operates in Latin America and Central
Asia. It has a joint exploration & production
venture with BP Amoco called Pan American Energy.
The company owns 40% of Pan American Energy (60%
owned by BP Amoco). Pan American Energy LLC is a
company registered in Delaware, USA. (From BP-Amoco
and related web sites.)
2. For Hill quote see : www.icai-online.org/72616,46136.html
among many others
3. "Guatemala: Laboratorio estadounidense del
terror", February 2002.
Gustavo Meoño Brenner, Nuevo Diario, Guatemala.
This article cites:
- Ariel C. Armony "La Argentina, los Estados
Unidos y la Cruzada Anti-Comunista en América
Central, 1977-1984" Editorial Universidad Nacional
de Quilmes, 1999.
- Stella Calloni "Operación Cóndor,
pacto criminal" Ediciones La Jornada, Ciudad
de México, 2001.
-"Las intimidades del proyecto político
de los militares en Guatemala". Jennifer Schirmer,
Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Guatemala,
4.The same team helped set up in 1975 the Committee
on the Present Danger, in which Paul Wolfowitz was
a leading figure.
5.Hernando Calvo Ospina, "Pinochet, la CIA
y los terroristas cubanos", 23 de agosto del
6. Colin Powell is Secretary of State. Richard Armitage
is Deputy Secrteary of State. John Maisto is US
representative to the Organization of American States.
Roger Noriega is Assistant Secretary of State for
Western Hemisphere Affairs. Otto Reich is US Special
Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives.
7.Testimony of Edgar Chamorro, former Contra organizer
to the International Court of Justice in the Hague,
September 5th 1985.
8. Jeremy Bigwood, Narco News, "Israel y los
paramilitares colombianos" from www.rebelion.org
August 15th 2003
9. The Reagan administration also used BCCI to channel
funds to the Afghan mujaheddin in the days when
Bin Laden was a US hero. Two former CIA directors,
Richard Helms and William Casey were involved in
BCCI before it folded following revelations that
it laundered money for the Medellin drugs cartel.
William Casey died before the Iran Contra hearings
took place. Among various sources:
- "US arms group heads for Lisbon" The
News, Portugal's English language Weekly, 4 April
-"À qui profite le crime? Les liens
financiers occultes des Bush et des Ben Laden"
Réseau Voltaire 11 septembre 2001
10. Sources for information on Cavallo:
- Article by Olga Viglieca, Hector Pavon and Guido
Braslavsky. Clarín-Zona. Argentina September
- "Renave: los porqué de un fracaso"
Jorge Fernández Menéndez. Semanario
Milenio. Mexico, September 14th 2000
- "El largo brazo de la mafia argentina",
José Steinsleger La Jornada. Mexico September
- "Se expanden las empresas del ex marino Ricardo
Cavallo licencia." Mario Fiore. Los Andes.
Mendoza. Argentina August 17th 2001.
- "Tiene Cavallo Información Estrategica"
Jorge Carrasco A. La Reforma. Date unclear.
11. A subsidiary of De la Rue producing passports
for the Mexican government. De La Rue now own the
US Sequoia computerised voting systems company,
part owned by Carlyle group partner, US investment
firm Madison Dearborn who took over Jefferson Smurfit's
share of Sequoia
12. Fort Worth based Texas Pacific Group recently
made a huge private equity investment between $300
and $500 million into Gemplus to expand Gemplus
presence in the international wireless communications,
e-commerce and Internet security markets.
13. "Borderline behavior", Al Giordano.
The Boston Phoenix. December 16-23, 1999
14. Greg Palast, November 2nd 2002,"The re-election
of Jim Crow: How Jeb Bush's team is trying to steal
Florida again" and his book "The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy"
15. "Imperio de control", Dieter Drüssel.
www.rebelion.org, September 1st 2003. Drussel mentions
Costa Rican owned Silnica in Nicaragua. In El Salvador
and Guatemala public concern has centred on Sertracen
16. SAIC web site
17. Iran-Contra Special Counsel's report, "Independent
Counsel declined to prosecute Armitage because the
OIC's limited resources were focused on the case
against Weinberger and because the evidence against
Armitage, while substantial, did not reach the threshold
of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
18. Various web sites
- "Afghanistan, Turkmenistan Oil and Gas, and
the Projected Pipeline",
- Timeline, www.worldpress.org/specials/pp/pipeline_timeline.htm
- "Enron played key role in events presaging
war", Martin Yant. Columbus Free Press. April
19. "Argentina Didn't Fall on Its Own - Wall
Street Pushed Debt Till the Last", Paul Blustein.
The Washington Post. August 3rd 2003
Solo is an activist based in Central America.)
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