The atrocities of Operation Condor – the U.S.-backed covert plan by Argentina, Chile, Brazil Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia to eliminate left-wing influence in Latin America – have been gradually revealed through declassified documents that detail the diplomatic manoeuvring and state terror that left tens of thousands of people killed, tortured and disappeared. Argentina is estimated to have the highest death toll with over 30,000 dictatorship opponents killed and disappeared. The Videla dictatorship in Argentina worked in close collaboration with Chile’s dictator Augusto Pinochet, who had ushered in a violent neoliberal experiment in Chile and a far reaching network of international surveillance to keep tabs on, and eliminate, any traces of organised resistance to the dictatorship that had the potential to form abroad.
U.S. intelligence was deeply involved in the propping of dictatorships in Latin America in particular after Chile’s Unidad Popular led by Salvador Allende triumphed at the polls. Declassified documents have shown that the U.S. knew about the tactics used by the Argentinian dictatorship – emulated after Chile’s practice of disappearing opponents into the ocean, packaged and thrown off helicopters provided by the U.S. In some cases, the death flights also served as a murder practice – some victims were thrown into the ocean drugged, yet still alive.
Recently, it has also been revealed that U.S. intelligence surveillance over the extent of human rights violations in Latin America was aided by Germany and Switzerland. A Swiss company, Crypto AG, was jointly owned by the U.S. and West Germany. The company was then acquired by the participating countries in Operation Condor and later incorporated into the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) technology.
News reports have revealed that the Swiss government was knowledgeable about the CIA operations conducted through Crypto AG, which makes the country complicit in the dealings of Operation Condor and sheds doubt about Switzerland’s purported political neutrality, a stance which has enabled it to embrace duplicity and serve both oppressor and the oppressed.
Eventually, the surveillance technology targeted over 100 countries. Swiss media have reported that along with Sweden, Israel and Britain, Switzerland was privy to the information compiled through the operation. The Swiss government has launched an investigation into the case and the company’s licence has been suspended….